Bluestocking Journal

Real history, through the eyes of a fictional person

Tag: men

Sunday, December 15, 1912

The Daily Illini bored me again today, so once again I turned to my copy of the Siren, the university humor magazine. Here is an article I found there:

Tea drinking, to our mind, is a vicious habit and a dangerous weapon. To our certain knowledge this herb has been instrumental several times in late months, to bacheloricide with malice afore thought, or marriage in the first degree. And this under our very eyes;—perpetrated by honored ladies of the faculty;—consummated under the shadow of a statue of learning.

The plot is this. Two or more ladies, of culture and graces beyond question, combine resources and establish quarters wherein they may furnish tea and aesthetic language to eligible bachelors on the faculty.

The unmarried males arrive. Tea is served. The males speak thus: “What de-l-icious tea!” “Yes, simply go-orgeous.” “What charming apartments!” “So bohemian!” Oh gracious, I have spilled a drop of tea on my trousers. Oh no—nevermind—not at all! It will not hurt them a bit.” This occupies the first hour.

Then comes the dirty work. The ladies begin to smile naughtily and make such appalling jokes as: “When the mice are away the old cat must play” (High tenor giggle from the men) or “What would Mrs. So-and-So say if she knew” (frightened little laugh) or “I just love these little parties—they are so deliciously naughty. But you mustn’t tell a soul” (pursed lips and mockingly stern finger).

The deed is did. Murder is out. The demoralizing atmosphere is too many for the Professors—they succumb.

The women must be women. Have they not in care the instruction of younger women? The men are surely men for they are intrusted with the making of other men. Yet—well—I suppose it’s that darned tea.

Thursday, November 7, 1912

An unknown negro shot “Red Ben” Barnett in the arm at Woody Mathews’ pool room on Market street in Champaign. “Red Ben” is a notorious bootlegger who was recently ordered to leave the Twin Cities and never return.

The Progressive party intends to put up candidates in every district for the 1914 election, when a new house of representatives will be elected. Said Colonel Roosevelt, “The Progressive party has superseded the Republican party. All we need to do is to keep steadily on with the fight and we will win.” Fight, fight, fight. Reading all of this news just makes it clear to me that politics is too important to be left in the hands of the men.

Wednesday, October 30, 1912

Forty different kinds of tobacco will be chewed by 125 enlisted men at the New York navy yard over the next six weeks, to decide which kind shall be bought for use in the navy. A year’s supply of tobacco for the navy is 200,000 pounds.

In Lincoln, Illinois, Aldred Whitaker spent eight years working on a perpetual motion machine while afflicted with locomotor ataxin and lying on his back. He died as he was completing the last section of his model.

Finally, the chief of police issued a proclamation this morning. “Only innocent fun will be tolerated on Thursday night, which is Hallowe’en. Any persons who are found destroying or in any way molesting property will be arrested and prosecuted,” Already several complaints have been made regarding young men hurling rocks through windows, tearing up cabbages and flower beds, and throwing bottles and other refuse against houses. “Without words of caution from the father or mother,” says the article, “the boy may well be expected to act the rowdy.”

Tuesday, October 22, 1912

The Urbana progressives have this to say today: “Fellow voters, in the coming election let us forget our old party traditions that made us vote for Satan himself if he bore the right party label. Let us be men for once and all and show our manhood and good common sense by casting our ballot for Theodore [Roosevelt], the greatest man now living.” Col. Roosevelt indeed seems like a great man, but is that the quality that makes a good president? If I were able to cast a vote, I would still be making up my mind about it all. I suppose I would vote based on the issue that seemed to me most important, which now is woman suffrage … and of course that wouldn’t be an issue if I were allowed to vote!

An aged Urbana man named Charles Judd went to Danville on Sunday. He attempted to board an I.T.S. car to return home, but the conductor would not let him on, owing to his intoxicated condition. Mr. Judd angrily hurled a whiskey bottle at the conductor. “Then he ran, and, although an old man, gave two policemen a good race around the public square.” He is now being held on a charge of assault.

Sunday, October 6, 1912

Today is Encyclopaedia day, because there is, of course, no paper on Sundays. The next article, “Man As a Domesticated Animal,” was very enlightening. There are many examples of how a woman may domesticate a husband and get him to participate in the running of the household. Here is my favorite selection:

“An excellent way to domesticate a husband is to take a country cottage and have in daily help, who comes at seven in the morning and leaves at perhaps seven in the evening. The couple have to get their own supper, and Edwin soon becomes an adept in garnishing dishes, shredding lettuce for salad, and even in cookery itself. He washes his potatoes cleaner than any hired cook has ever been known to do, and cooks them to a turn, but the worst of his accomplishments is that he requires those at table audibly to appreciate his achievements almost without intermission. He thoroughly enjoys the products of his own skill, and seems resolved that no one else should miss doing so from want of attention being drawn to them.”

I have never seen Papa do any cooking, unless carving a roast counts.

There is also an interesting part about how if a woman has a wonderful idea for improving the home, she must go to great lengths to convince her husband that it is his own idea. This marriage business is more complicated than I ever imagined!

Sunday, September 29, 1912

In Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia there is an entire section devoted to women’s work. The following professions are gone into in some detail: manicurist, baby-linen outfitter (a good choice for widowed mothers or those with infirm husbands), poultry farmer, and hostess for paying guests, which is apparently a fancier version of the operator of a boarding-house.

The section on marriage begins with a discussion of the matchmaking mother, “an abomination” from which all young men flee. Still, the author urges sympathy for such a woman, who is after all only doing her duty. “She looks into the future, and sees that if she cannot get her girls married and suitably provided for there will be nothing for them but hopeless poverty, or, to her, the equally distressing alternative of working for their own living.”

The next section, called “How to Domesticate a Husband,” looks to be more entertaining, but I shall save it for next week. Are men like wild animals who must be tamed by women? What was Papa like before marriage?

Sunday, September 8, 1912

Since there is no paper today, I have been reading the Encyclopaedia. The first article is all about how to set up a hall properly. Outer garments must be hidden away from sight. “These most generally belong to the men of the house, who, by some strange unwritten law, are always allowed to take off coats and hats downstairs, and are never expected to take them to their rooms.”

The writer seems really quite peevish about men. In discussing glove boxes in hall cupboards, she writes, “This seems better than the shelf, though whether any but the perfect male—not yet born—would ever be induced to put his gloves each day in a box is not within the scope of this article to decide.”

Following the hall-furnishing discussion is a lot of information about proper heating, and then there are detailed instructions on how to fold several types of table fan out of napkins. This actually looks like fun, and I’m going to surprise my parents when I set the dinner table.