The science of pleasing women (1898)

Here’s an… interesting… take on the so-called science behind successful male-female relationships.
The science of pleasing women and what it means

by Dr George F Shrady

Woman controls man today despite his boasted strength

Expert medical opinion is that the American business man is degenerating. Dr George F Shrady, editor of the Medical Record and recognized as the leader of the profession in the United States, says the cause of the truth is one that can be summed up in three words — straining after luxuries. Beside this fact Dr Shrady places woman and says it is to please her that the business man is burning the candle at both ends.

The statement most commonly made concerning the early breakdown and generally debilitated condition of the business men of the United States is that they never take things easy.

Dr Shrady declares that it is not the intoxication of money-making, the pleasure of becoming a modern Midas, that causes such a condition, but it is the desire to gain wealth in order to gratify the ambition of what has generally been called the weaker sex that makes the bone and sinew of the business world mature at thirty and be far on the downgrade at forty.

Men are much-abused individuals, and while they are far from being injured innocents, they are painted far more black than the facts warrant.

If a man were left to what are purely his own inclinations, his life would be of the simplest because his tastes are naturally of that sort. In order, however to hold his own with woman, he finds it necessary to take on new habits, a host of new expenses and live a life that by no means conforms with his original desires as nature implanted them in him.

“The science of living is the science of pleasing women”

Therefore, the science of living as modern man interprets it is the science of pleasing woman. Women of all degrees love luxury, although their ideas of what luxury consists of vary in accordance with the station in life of the individual. A trip to Manhattan Beach is to one what the diamond parure is to the other.

In each case it is a luxury, and in order not to be excelled by his fellows the man in either case who strives to be first with the woman he cares for must find a means toward gratifying at least occasionally luxurious tastes in his sweetheart.

“Women can no longer be called the weaker vessel”

Woman can no longer be called the weaker vessel. Her influence over man, the fact that she has really become the pivotal center of man’s existence, has so increased her power of control that it forever puts an end to the old-time theory of weakness. She may not be able to saw wood or carry trunks as easily as man, but she can twist man around her finger and make him rejoice in the twisting.

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In other words, woman has so far exceeded man in progress that today she is the real cause of that feverish activity that makes the modern business man of the United States stand alone among his fellows of the world as the one who carries the maxim of business first and pleasure afterward to an extreme far beyond the bounds of common sense.

The sin of the business man is straining after luxuries

The sin of the business man of today is straining after luxuries. He burns his electric lights all the time. He does this in order that his ambitions may be gratified. He is degenerating as a victim to ambition. Ambition is the fox that gnaws its way to his heart, and it is woman that spurs on the fox.

His science of life is to make woman happy, to make her look well, and in each individual instance where possible to outshine her sister feminines. And he pays for this with months and years of life. He pays for it by becoming prematurely old, he shatters his nervous system, he pursues the bubble of finance until at last as he falls gasping it bursts in his face. And his reward is the smile of a woman, the consciousness that his wife looks better than the other fellow’s.

Man would not care for dress at all, if…

I am not a woman hater. Women have inspired the best deeds the history of the world records, but granting all this, we cannot disguise the truth. If it was not for woman, man would not care anything about dress at all. But for her, he would be perfectly willing to live in a hut or tent and wear a breech-clout. The simplest food that nature gives would be just as agreeable to him as champagne and oysters are today.

You can see examples of this any time you want to go down in that section of New York which includes our financial world. We will select a prosperous broker as an example. Did you ever stand in the office of such a man when a carriage containing his wife and probably her pet dog drove up?

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Notice the expression in the man’s face. It says: “That lady in the carriage is my wife. Pretty nice looking woman. Notice her jewels? Haven’t seen anybody with any better, have you? I did that. I gave her that carriage, those diamonds, that fine dress she is wearing. Guess that’s worth working for, isn’t it?”

The broker looks worn. He may be stout and jolly looking, but there is that in his expression and in his general appearance which indicates plainly enough that there never is time to refill the lamp of life, that it burns steadily. He has been straining after luxuries and the pride he exhibits shows why this is so. He has been doing the worst thing the modern business man can do for himself.

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What is it that most of us work for? Just board and clothes

What is it that the most of us work for when you come right down to it? Just our board and clothes.

Saying this makes me think of a little incident that I was concerned in. It all happened up near my summer place up Kingston way. I was driving a span of horses along the road there, driving into town from my place, when I overtook a fellow that asked me if I would give him a ride into town. Most everybody around there knows me, but this fellow didn’t. I was glad enough to give him a ride and as we jogged along he commenced to ask me about myself.

Women of all degrees love luxury

“Whom do you drive for?” he asked.

“Dr Shrady,” I said.

“Treat you well?” said the man.

“Fairly,” said I.

“How long you been with him?”

“Ever since I was a boy.”

“What does he pay you?”

“He gives me my board and clothes.”

“Why, you’re foolish to work for him for any such return as that. Why, Mr So-and-So’s coach man over here gets $30 a month and his board. Why don’t you go to some other place?”

“Well, you see, I’ve been with the doctor so long I don’t like to make a change. Twenty-five years is a long time, and then it’s a good deal longer that I’ve been with him.”

“What do you do for him besides drive?”

“Oh, I wash him and dress him and feed him, put him to sleep and wake him up and take care of him generally.”

“Well, I swan, I think you work too cheap. What sort of a man is the doctor?”

“Oh, sometimes he’s a pretty good fellow and sometimes he’s very cranky.”

“Well, does he find you in tobacco?”

“Yes, I smoke the same cigars he does, and besides, that I eat the same food he does and wear the same clothes.”

“Eat at the same table with him?”

“Yes.”

“That is a privilege, of course. Most people don’t allow their servants to do that.”

Here we reached the place where my companion wanted to leave me.

“Here,” he said, “hold your hat down here, my boy, so I can light my pipe.” I did so and he lit it and got out.

Then, standing on the ground, he leaned into the carriage and looking at me very earnestly said, “Look-a-here, my friend — if you go on working for anybody for just your board and clothes, you’re a chump.”

Are we a race of chumps?

And the query rose in my mind then as it rises now: “Are we a race of chumps?”

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Take the question then, what does a man gain from his labors? I mean the average man of means, and the more you look for the answer the more you will find that he doesn’t get much more than board and clothes.

There’s a great cry about club life ruining the American business man. Rot, perfect rot. It is ignorance that causes this cry. The exceptions are taken and held up as horrible examples and the world never hears anything of the other ninety-nine.

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There is a great hue and cry about a man enjoying hijinks in the city during the summer while his wife is at some resort. He is pictured as enjoying the Tenderloin and all its features, as living high at his club and as being a much-to-be-envied creature in general.

Now what is the truth where the majority of men who remain in the city during the summer to attend to business are concerned? They go to their clubs, yes, to be sure, and four-fifths of the evenings they sit around and read until they get sleepy and then go to bed. It has always struck me as very farcical, this depiction of the club man’s life in the summer time.

Woman controls man today, and he does her bidding

I suppose I am inviting no end of criticism when I say that when it comes right down to results, woman is no longer the weaker vessel. She controls man today, and despite his boasted strength, he does her bidding — and more than that, he does it cheerfully.

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You might add another maxim to that one about “the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.” Let us say that the woman who spends your money rules you. She looks pretty and that pleases you. She is stylish and you are delighted. She wears her clothes like a woman of fashion, and that fills you with pride. She is a walking exemplification of the fact that you can make money and that money enables you to present this beautiful creature to the world as yours, and you think every other fellow envies you and doesn’t possess ordinary intelligence if he fails to do so.

It brings back the stanza of an old ditty to me:

The lords of creation men they call
And they think they rule the whole;
But they’re much mistaken after all.
For woman has control.

And ever since the world began,
It has always been the way —
For did not Adam, the very first man,
The very first woman obey?

Woman has always been a power, but never in the history of mankind has she had so thorough a grasp on the throttle of the engine of civilization as she has today.

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