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Title: 'Oh, Well, You Know How Women Are!' AND 'Isn't That Just Like a Man!' - 'Oh, Well, You Know How Women Are!' by Cobb; and 'Isn't - That Just Like a Man!' by Rinehart
Author: Cobb, Irvin S. (Irvin Shrewsbury), 1876-1944, Rinehart, Mary Roberts, 1876-1958
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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"OH, WELL, YOU KNOW
HOW WOMEN ARE!"


BY
IRVIN S. COBB

Author of "The Life of the Party,"
"Back Home," "Old Judge Priest," etc.


NEW YORK
GEORGE H. DORAN COMPANY


COPYRIGHT, 1920, BY GEORGE H. DORAN COMPANY

COPYRIGHT, 1919, BY THE CROWELL PUBLISHING COMPANY

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA



"OH, WELL, YOU KNOW HOW WOMEN ARE!"


She emerges from the shop. She is any woman, and the shop from which she
emerges is any shop in any town. She has been shopping. This does not
imply that she has been buying anything or that she has contemplated
buying anything, but merely that she has been shopping--a very different
pursuit from buying. Buying implies business for the shop; shopping
merely implies business for the clerks.

As stated, she emerges. In the doorway she runs into a woman of her
acquaintance. If she likes the other woman she is cordial. But if she
does not like her she is very, very cordial. A woman's aversion for
another woman moving in the same social stratum in which she herself
moves may readily be appraised. Invariably it is in inverse ratio to the
apparent affection she displays upon encountering the object of her
disfavor. Why should this be? I cannot answer. It is not given for us to
know.

Very well, then, she meets the other woman at the door. They stop for
conversation. Two men meeting under the same condition would
mechanically draw away a few paces, out of the route of persons passing
in or out of the shop. No particular play of the mental processes would
actuate them in so doing; an instinctive impulse, operating mechanically
and subconsciously, would impel them to remove themselves from the main
path of foot travel. But this woman and her acquaintance take root right
there. Persons dodge round them and glare at them. Other persons bump
into them, and are glared at by the two traffic blockers. Where they
stand they make a knot of confusion.

But does it occur to either of them to suggest that they might step
aside, five feet or ten, and save themselves, and the pedestrian classes
generally, a deal of delay and considerable annoyance? It does not. It
never will. If the meeting took place in a narrow passageway or on a
populous staircase or at the edge of the orbit of a set of swinging
doors or on a fire escape landing upon the front of a burning building,
while one was going up to aid in the rescue and the other was coming
down to be saved--if it took place just outside the Pearly Gates on the
Last Day when the quick and the dead, called up for judgment, were
streaming in through the portals--still would they behave thus. Where
they met would be where they stopped to talk, regardless of the
consequences to themselves, regardless of impediment to the movements of
their fellow beings.

Having had her say with her dear friend or her dear enemy, as the case
may be, our heroine proceeds to the corner and hails a passing street
car. Because her heels are so high and her skirts are so snug, she takes
about twice the time to climb aboard that a biped in trousers would
take. Into the car she comes, teetering and swaying. The car is no more
than comfortably filled. True, all the seats at the back where she has
entered are occupied; but up at the front there still is room for
another sittee or two. Does she look about her to ascertain whether
there is any space left? I need not pause for reply. I know it already,
and so do you. Midway of the aisle-length she stops and reaches for a
strap. She makes an appealing picture, compounded of blindness,
helplessness, and discomfort. She has clinging vine written all over
her. She craves to cling, but there is no trellis. So she swings from
her strap.

The passengers nearest her are all men. She stares at them, accusingly.
One of them bends forward to touch her and tell her that there is room
for her up forward; but now there aren't any seats left. Male
passengers, swinging aboard behind her, have already scrouged on by her
and taken the vacant places.

In the mind of one of the men in her immediate vicinity chivalry
triumphs over impatience. He gives a shrug of petulance, arises and begs
her to have his seat. She is not entitled to it on any ground, save
compassion upon his part. By refusing to use the eyes in her head she
has forfeited all right to special consideration. But he surrenders his
place to her and she takes it.

The car bumps along. The conductor, making his rounds, reaches her. She
knows he is coming; at least she should know it. A visit from the
conductor has been a feature of every one of the thousands of street-car
rides that she has taken in her life. She might have been getting her
fare ready for him. There are a dozen handy spots where she might have
had a receptacle built for carrying small change--in a pocket in her
skirt, in a fob at her belt, in her sleeve or under her cuff. Counting
fob pockets and change pockets, a man has from nine to fifteen pockets
in his everyday garments. If also he is wearing an overcoat, add at
least three more pockets to the total. It would seem that she might have
had at least one dependable pocket. But she has none.

The conductor stops, facing her, and meanwhile wearing on his face that
air of pained resignation which is common to the faces of conductors on
transportation lines that are heavily patronized by women travelers. In
mute demand he extends toward her a soiled palm. With hands encased in
oversight gloves she fumbles at the catch of a hand bag. Having wrested
the hand bag open, she paws about among its myriad and mysterious
contents. A card of buttons, a sheaf of samples, a handkerchief, a
powder puff for inducing low visibility of the human nose, a small
parcel of something, a nail file, and other minor articles are disclosed
before she disinters her purse from the bottom of her hand bag. Another
struggle with the clasp of the purse ensues; finally, one by one, five
coppers are fished up out of the depths and presented to the conductor.
The lady has made a difficult, complicated rite of what might have been
a simple and a swift formality.

The car proceeds upon its course. She sits in her seat, wearing that
look of comfortable self-absorption which a woman invariably wears when
she is among strangers, and when she feels herself to be well dressed
and making a satisfactory public appearance. She comes out of her trance
with a start on discovering that the car has passed her corner or is
about to pass it. All flurried, she arises and signals the conductor
that she is alighting here. From her air and her expression, we may
gather that, mentally, she holds him responsible for the fact that she
has been carried on beyond her proper destination.

The car having stopped, she makes her way to the rear platform and gets
off--gets off the wrong way. That is to say, she gets off with face
toward the rear. Thus is achieved a twofold result: She blocks the way
of anyone who may be desirous of getting aboard the car as she gets off
of it, and if the car should start up suddenly, before her feet have
touched the earth, or before her grip on the hand rail has been relaxed,
she will be flung violently down upon the back of her head.

From the time he is a small boy until he is in his dotage, a man swings
off a car, facing in the direction in which the car is headed. Then, a
premature turn of a wheel pitches him forward with a good chance to
alight upon his feet, whereas the same thing happening when he was
facing in the opposite direction would cause him to tumble over
backward, with excellent prospects of cracking his skull. But in
obedience to an immutable but inexplicable vagary of sex, a woman
follows the patently wrong, the obviously dangerous, the plainly awkward
system.

As the conductor rings the starting bell, he glances toward a man who is
riding on the rear platform.

"Kin you beat 'um?" says the conductor. "I ast you--kin you beat 'um?"

The man to whom he has put the question is a married man. Being in this
state of marriage he appreciates that the longer you live with them the
less able are you to fathom the workings of their minds with regard to
many of the simpler things of life. Speaking, therefore, from the
heights of his superior understanding, he says in reply:

"Oh, well, you know how women are!"

We know how women are. But nobody knows why they are as they are.

Please let me make myself clear on one point: As an institution, and as
individuals, I am for women. They constitute, and deservedly too, the
most popular sex we have. Since away back yonder I have been in favor
of granting them suffrage. For years I have felt it as a profound
conviction that the franchise should be expanded at one end and abridged
at the other--made larger to admit some of the women, made smaller to
bar out some of the men. I couldn't think of very many reasons why the
average woman should want to mix in politics, but if she did wish so to
mix and mingle, I couldn't think of a single valid reason why she should
not have full permission, not as a privilege, not as a boon, but as a
common right. Nor could I bring myself to share, in any degree, the
apprehension of some of the anti-suffragists who held that giving women
votes would take many of them entirely out of the state of motherhood. I
cannot believe that all the children of the future are going to be born
on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. Surely some of
them will be born on other dates. Indeed the only valid argument against
woman suffrage that I could think of was the conduct of some of the
women who have been for it.

To myself I often said:

"Certainly I favor giving them the vote. Seeing what a mess the members
of my own sex so often make of the job of trying to run the country, I
don't anticipate that the Republic will go upon the shoals immediately
after women begin voting and campaigning and running for office. At the
helm of the ship of state we've put some pretty sad steersman from time
to time. Better the hand that rocks the cradle than the hand that rocks
the boat. We men have let slip nearly all of the personal liberties for
which our fathers fought and bled--that is to say, fought the Britishers
and bled the Injuns. Ever since the Civil War we have been so dummed
busy telling the rest of the world how free we were that we failed to
safeguard that freedom of which we boasted.

"We commiserate the Englishman because he chooses to live under an
hereditary president called a king, while we are amply content to go on
living under an elected king called a president. We cannot understand
why he, a free citizen of the free-est country on earth, insists on
calling himself a subject; but we are reconciled to the fiction of
proclaiming ourselves citizens, while each day, more and more, we are
becoming subjects--the subjects of sumptuary legislation, the subjects
of statutes framed by bigoted or frightened lawgivers, the subjects of
arbitrary mandates and of arbitrary decrees, the subjects, the abject,
cringing subjects, of the servant classes, the police classes, the
labor classes, the capitalistic classes."

Naturally, as a Democrat I have felt these things with enhanced
bitterness when the Republicans were in office; nevertheless, I have
felt them at other times, too. And, continuing along this line of
thought, I have repeatedly said to myself:

"In view of these conditions, let us give 'em the vote--eventually, but
not just yet. While still we have control of the machinery of the ballot
let us put them on probation, as it were. They claim to be rational
creatures; very well, then, make 'em prove it. Let us give 'em the vote
just as soon as they have learned the right way in which to get off of a
street car."

In this, though, I have changed my mind. I realize now that the demand
was impossible, that it was--oh, well, you know what women are!

We have given woman social superiority; rather she has acquired it
through having earned it. Shortly she will have been put on a basis of
political equality with men in all the states of the Union. Now she
thinks she wants economic equality. But she doesn't; she only thinks she
does. If she should get it she would refuse to abide by its natural
limitations on the one side and its natural expansions for her sphere
of economic development on the other. For, temperamentally, God so
fashioned her that never can she altogether quit being the clinging vine
and become the sturdy oak. She'll insist on having all the prerogatives
of the oak, but at the same time she will strive to retain the special
considerations accorded to the vine which clings. If I know anything
about her dear, wonderful, incomprehensible self, she belongs to the sex
which would eat its cake and have it, too. Some men are constructed
after this design. But nearly all women are.

Give her equal opportunities with men in business--put her on the same
footing and pay to her the same salary that a man holding a similar job
is paid. So far so good. But then, as her employer, undertake to hand
out to her exactly the same treatment which the man holding a like
position expects and accepts. There's where Mr. Boss strikes a snag. The
salary she will take--oh, yes--but she arrogates to herself the sweet
boon of weeping when things distress her, and, when things harass her,
of going off into tantrums of temper which no man in authority, however
patient, would tolerate on the part of another man serving under him.

Grant to her equal powers, equal responsibilities, equal favors and a
pay envelope on Saturday night containing as much money as her male
co-worker receives. That is all very well; but seek, however gently,
however tactfully, however diplomatically, to suggest to her that a
simpler, more businesslike garb than the garb she favors would be the
sane and the sensible thing for business wear in business hours. And
then just see what happens.

A working woman who, through the working day, dresses in plain, neat
frocks with no jangling bracelets upon her arms, no foolish furbelows at
her wrists, no vain adornments about her throat, no exaggerated
coiffure, is a delight to the eye and, better still, she fits the
setting of her environment. Two of the most competent and dependable
human beings I know are both of them women. One is the assistant editor
of a weekly magazine. The other is the head of an important department
in an important industry. In the evening you would never find a woman
better groomed or, if the occasion demand, more ornately rigged-out than
either one of these young women will be. But always, while on duty, they
wear a correct and proper costume for the work they are doing, and they
match the picture. These two, though, are, I think, exceptions to the
rule of their sex.

Trained nurses wear the most becoming uniforms, and the most suitable,
considering their calling, that were ever devised. To the best of my
knowledge and belief there is no record where a marriageable male
patient on the road to recovery and in that impressionable mood which
accompanies the convalescence of an ordinarily healthy man, failed to
fall in love with his nurse. A competent, professional nurse who has the
added advantage on her side of being comely--and it is powerfully hard
for her to avoid being comely in her spotless blue and starchy
white--stands more chances of getting the right sort of man for a
husband than any billionaire's daughter alive.

But I sometimes wonder what weird sartorial eccentricities some of them
would indulge in did not convention and the standing laws of their
profession require of them that they all dress after a given pattern.
And if the owners and managers of big city shops once lifted the rule
prescribing certain modes for their female working staffs--if they
should give their women clerks a free hand in choosing their own
wardrobes for store hours--well, you know how women are!

Nevertheless and to the contrary notwithstanding, I will admit while I
am on this phase of my topic that there likewise is something to be said
in dispraise of my own sex too. In the other--and better half of this
literary double sketch-team act, my admired and talented friend, Mrs.
Mary Roberts Rinehart, cites chapter and verse to prove the
unaccountable vagaries of some men in the matter of dress. There she
made but one mistake--a mistake of under-estimation. She mentioned
specifically some men; she should have included all men.

The only imaginable reason why any rational he-biped of adult age clings
to the habiliments ordained for him by the custom and the tailors of
this generation, is because he is used to them. A man can stand anything
once he gets used to it because getting used to a thing commonly means
that the habitee has quit worrying about it. And yet since the dawn of
time when Adam poked fun at Eve's way of wearing her fig-leaf and on
down through the centuries until the present day and date it has ever
been the custom of men to gibe at the garments worn by women. Take our
humorous publications, which I scarcely need point out are edited by
men. Hardly could our comic weeklies manage to come out if the jokes
about the things which women wear were denied to them as
fountain-sources of inspiration. To the vaudeville monologist his jokes
about his wife and his mother-in-law and to the comic sketch artist his
pictures setting forth the torments of the stock husband trying to
button the stock gown of a stock wife up her stock back--these are
dependable and inevitable stand-bys.

Women do wear maniacal garments sometimes; that there is no denying. But
on the other hand styles for women change with such frequency that no
quirk of fashion however foolish and disfiguring ever endures for long
enough to work any permanent injury in the health of its temporarily
deluded devotees. Nothing I can think of gets old-fashioned with such
rapidity as a feminine fashion unless it is an egg.

If this season a woman's skirt is so scantily fashioned that as she
hobbles along she has the appearance of being leg-shackled, like the
lady called Salammbo, it is as sure as shooting that, come next season,
she will have leapt to the other extreme and her draperies will be more
than amply voluminous. If this winter her sleeves are like unto sausage
casings for tightness, be prepared when spring arrives to see her
wearing practically all the sleeves there are. About once in so often
she is found wearing a mode which combines beauty with saneness but that
often is not very often.

But even when they are at apogee of sartorial ridiculousness I maintain
that the garments of women, from the comfort standpoint, anyhow, are not
any more foolish than the garments to which the average man is incurably
addicted. If women are vassals to fashion men are slaves to convention,
and fashion has the merit that it alters overnight, whereas convention
is a slow moving thing that stands still a long time before it does
move. Convention is the wooden Indian of civilization; but fashion is a
merry-go-round.

In the Temperate zone in summertime, Everywoman looks to be cooler than
Everyman--and by the same token is cooler. In the winter she wears
lighter garments than he would dream of wearing, and yet stays warmer
than he does, can stand more exposure without outward evidence of
suffering than he can stand, and is less susceptible than he to colds
and grips and pneumonias. Compare the thinness of her heaviest outdoor
wrap with the thickness of his lightest ulster, or the heft of her
so-called winter suit with the weight of the outer garments which he
wears to business, and if you are yourself a man you will wonder why
she doesn't freeze stiff when the thermometer falls to the twenty-above
mark. Observe her in a ballroom that is overheated in the corners and
draughty near the windows, as all ballrooms are. Her neck and her
throat, her bosom and arms are bare. Her frock is of the filmiest
gossamer stuff; her slippers are paper thin, her stockings the sheerest
of textures, yet she doesn't sniff and her nose doesn't turn red and the
skin upon her exposed shoulders refuses to goose-flesh. She is the
marvel of the ages. She is neither too warm nor too cold; she is just
right. Consider now her male companion in his gala attire. One minute he
is wringing wet with perspiration; that is when he is dancing. The next
minute he is visibly congealing. That is because he has stopped to catch
his breath.

Why this difference between the sexes? The man is supposed to be the
hardier creature of the two, but he can't prove it. Of course there may
be something in the theory that when a woman feels herself to be smartly
dressed, an exaltation of soul lifts her far above realization of bodily
discomfort. But I make so bold as to declare that the real reason why
she is comfortable and he is not, lies in the fact that despite all
eccentricities of costume in which she sometimes indulges, Everywoman
goes about more rationally clad than Everyman does.

For the sake of comparing two horrible examples, let us take a woman
esteemed to be over-dressed at all points and angles where she is not
under-dressed, and, mentally, let us place alongside her a man who by
the standards of his times and his contemporaries is conventionally
garbed. To find the woman we want, we probably must travel to New York
and seek her out in a smart restaurant at night. Occasionally she is
found elsewhere but it is only in New York, that city where so many of
the young women are prematurely old and so many of the old women are
prematurely young, that she abounds in sufficient profusion to become a
common type instead of an infrequent one. This woman is waging that
battle against the mounting birthdays which nobody ever yet won. Her
hair has been dyed in those rich autumnal tints which are so becoming to
a tree in its Indian summer, but so unbecoming to a woman in hers.
Richard K. Fox might have designed her jewelry; she glistens with
diamonds until she makes you think of the ice coming out of the Hudson
River in the early spring. But about her complexion there is no
suggestion of a March thaw. For it is a climate-proof shellac. Her
eyebrows are the self-made kind, and her lips were done by hand. Her
skirt is too short for looks and too tight for comfort; she is tightly
prisoned at the waistline and not sufficiently confined in the bust.
There is nothing natural or rational anywhere about her. She is as
artificial as a tin minnow and she glitters like one.

Next your attention is invited to the male of the species. He is assumed
to be dressed in accordance with the dictates of good taste and with due
regard for all the ordinary proprieties. But is he? Before deciding
whether he is or isn't, let us look him over, starting from the feet and
working upward. A matter of inches above his insteps brings us to the
bottom of his trouser-legs. Now these trouser-legs of his are morally
certain to be too long, in which event they billow down over his feet in
slovenly and ungraceful folds, or they are too short, in which event
there is an awkward, ugly cross-line just above his ankles. If he is a
thin man, his dress waistcoat bulges away from his breastbone so the
passerby can easily discover what brand of suspenders he fancies; but if
he be stoutish, the waistcoat has a little way of hitching along up his
mid-riff inch by inch until finally it has accordion-pleated itself in
overlapping folds thwartwise of his tummy, coyly exposing an inch or so
of clandestine shirt-front.

It requires great will-power on the part of the owner and constant
watchfulness as well to keep a fat man's dress waistcoat from behaving
like a railroad folder. His dinner coat or his tail coat, if he wears a
tail coat, is invariably too tight in the sleeves; nine times out of ten
it binds across the back between the shoulders, and bulges out in a
pouch effect at the collar. His shirt front, if hard-boiled, is as cold
and clammy as a morgue slab when first he puts it on; but as hot and
sticky as a priming of fresh glue after he has worn it for half an hour
in an overheated room--and all public rooms in America are overheated.
Should it be of the pleated or medium well-done variety, no power on
earth can keep it from appearing rumply and untidy; that is, no power
can if the wearer be a normal man. I am not speaking of professional
he-beauties or models for the illustrations of haberdashers'
advertisements in the magazines. His collar, which is a torturer's
device of stiff linen and yielding starch, is not a comparatively modern
product as some have imagined. It really dates back to the Spanish
Inquisition where it enjoyed a great vogue. Faring abroad, he encloses
his head, let us say in a derby hat. Some people think the homeliest
thing ever devised by man is Grant's Tomb. Others favor the St. Louis
Union Depot. But I am pledged to the derby hat. And the high or
two-quart hat runs second.

This being the case for and against the parties concerned, I submit to
the reader's impartial judgment the following question for a decision:
Taking everything into consideration, which of these two really deserves
the booby prize for unbecoming apparel--the woman who plainly is dressed
in bad form or the man who is supposed to be dressed in good form? But
this I will say for him as being in his favor. He has sense enough to
wear plenty of pockets. And in his most infatuated moments he never
wears nether garments so tight that he can't step in 'em. Can I say as
much for woman? I cannot.

A few pages back I set up the claim that woman, considered as a sex and
not as an exceptional type, cannot divorce the social relation from the
economic. I think of an illustration to prove my point: In business two
men may be closely associated. They may be room-mates besides; chums,
perhaps, at the same club; may borrow money from each other and wear
each other's clothes; and yet, so far as any purely confidential
relation touching on the private sides of their lives is concerned, may
remain as far apart as the poles.

It is hard to imagine two women, similarly placed, behaving after the
same common-sense standards. Each insists upon making a confidante of
her partner. Their intimacy becomes a thing complicated with extraneous
issues, with jointly shared secrets, with disclosures as to personal
likes and dislikes, which should have no part in it if there is to be
continued harmony, free from heart-burnings or lacerated feelings, or
fancied slights or blighted affections. Sooner or later, too, the
personality of the stronger nature begins to overshadow the personality
of the weaker. Almost inevitably there is a falling-out.

I do not share the somewhat common opinion that in their friendships
women are less constant than men are. But the trouble with them is that
they put a heavier burden upon friendship than so delicate, so sensitive
a sentiment as real friendship is was ever meant to bear. Something has
to give way under the strain. And something does.

To be sure there is an underlying cause in extenuation for this
temperamental shortcoming which in justice to the ostensibly weaker sex
should be set forth here. Even though I am taking on the rôle of Devil's
Advocate in the struggle to keep woman from canonizing herself by main
force I want to be as fair as I can, always reserving the privilege
where things are about even, of giving my own side a shade the better of
it. The main tap-root reason why women confide over-much and too much in
other women is because leading more circumscribed lives than men
commonly lead they are driven back upon themselves and into themselves
and their sisters for interests and for conversational material.

Taking them by and large they have less with which to concern themselves
than their husbands and their brothers, their fathers and their sons
have. Therefore they concern themselves the more with what is available,
which, at the same time, oftener than not, means some other woman's
private affairs.

A woman, becoming thoroughly imbued with an idea, becomes, ninety-nine
times out of a hundred, a creature of one idea. Everything else on earth
is subordinated to the thing--cabal, reform, propaganda, crusade,
movement or what not--in which she is interested. Now the average man
may be very sincerely and very enthusiastically devoted to a cause; but
it does not necessarily follow that it will obsess him through every
waking hour. But the ladies, God bless 'em--and curb 'em--are not built
that way. A woman wedded to a cause is divorced from all else. She
resents the bare thought that in the press of matters and the clash of
worlds, mankind should for one moment turn aside from her pet cause to
concern itself with newer issues and wider motives. From a devotee she
soon is transformed into a habitee. From being an earnest advocate she
advances--or retrogrades--to the status of a plain bore. To be a common
nuisance is bad enough; to be a common scold is worse, and presently she
turns scold and goes about railing shrilly at a world that criminally
persists in thinking of other topics than the one which lies closest to
her heart and loosest on her tongue.

Than a woman who is a scold there is but one more exasperating shape of
a woman and that is the woman who, not content with being the most
contradictory, the most paradoxical, the most adorable of the Almighty's
creations--to wit, a womanly woman--tries, among men, to be a good
fellow, so-called.

But that which is ordinarily a fault may, on occasion of extraordinary
stress, become the most transcendent and the most admirable of virtues.
I think of this last war and of the share our women and the women of
other lands have played in it. No one caviled nor complained at the
one-ideaness of womankind while the world was in a welter of woe and
slaughter. Of all that they had, worth having, our women gave and gave
and gave and gave. They gave their sons and their brothers, their
husbands and their fathers, to their country; they gave of their time
and of their energies and of their talent; they gave of their wonderful
mercy and their wonderful patience, and their yet more wonderful
courage; they gave of the work of their hands and the salt of their
souls and the very blood of their hearts. For every suspected woman
slacker there were ten known men slackers--yea, ten times ten and ten to
carry.

Each day, during that war, the story of Mary Magdalene redeemed was
somewhere lived over again. Every great crisis in the war-torn lands
produced its Joan of Arc, its Florence Nightingale, its Clara Barton. To
the women fell the tasks which for the most part brought no public
recognition, no published acknowledgments of gratitude. For them,
instead of the palms of victory and the sheaves of glory, there were the
crosses of sacrifice, the thorny diadems of suffering. We cannot
conceive of men, thus circumstanced, going so far and doing so much. But
the women--

Oh, well, you know how women are!



"ISN'T THAT
JUST LIKE A MAN!"


BY
MARY ROBERTS RINEHART

Author of "Dangerous Days,"
"The Amazing Interlude," "K," etc.


NEW YORK
GEORGE H. DORAN COMPANY


COPYRIGHT, 1920, BY GEORGE H. DORAN COMPANY

COPYRIGHT, 1919, BY THE CROWELL PUBLISHING COMPANY

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA



"ISN'T THAT JUST LIKE A MAN!"


I understand that Mr. Irvin Cobb is going to write a sister article to
this, and naturally he will be as funny as only he can be. It is always
allowable, too, to be humorous about women. They don't mind, because
they are accustomed to it.

But I simply dare not risk my popularity by being funny about men. Why,
bless their hearts (Irvin will probably say of his subject, "bless their
little hearts." Odd, isn't it, how men always have big hearts and women
little ones? But we are good packers. We put a lot in 'em) I could be
terribly funny, if only women were going to read this. They'd
understand. They know all about men. They'd go up-stairs and put on a
negligee and get six baby pillows and dab a little cold cream around
their eyes and then lie down on the couch and read, and they would all
think I must have known their men-folks somewhere.

But the men would read it and cancel the order for my next book, and say
I must be a spinster, living a sort of in-bred existence. Why, I know at
least a hundred good stories about one man alone, and if I published
them he would either grow suspicious and wonder who the man is, or, get
sulky and resent bitterly being laughed at! Which is exactly like a man.
Just little things, too, like always insisting he was extremely calm at
his wedding, when the entire church saw him step off a platform and drop
seven feet into tropical foliage.

You see, women quite frequently have less wit than men, but they don't
take themselves quite so seriously; they view themselves with a certain
somewhat ironical humor. Men love a joke--on the other fellow. But your
really humorous woman loves a joke on herself. That's because women are
less conventional, of course. I can still remember the face of the
horrified gentleman I met one day on the street after luncheon, who had
unconsciously tucked the corner of his luncheon napkin into his watch
pocket along with his watch, and his burning shame when I observed that
his new fashion was probably convenient but certainly novel.

And I contrast it with the woman, prominent in the theatrical world, who
had been doing a little dusting--yes, they do, but it is never
published--before coming to lunch with me. She walked into one of the
largest of the New York hotels, hatted, veiled and sable-ed, and wearing
tied around her waist a large blue-and-white checked gingham apron.

Now I opine (I have stolen that word from Irvin) that under those
circumstances, or something approximating them, such as pajama trousers,
or the neglect to conceal that portion of a shirt not intended for the
public eye, almost any man of my acquaintance would have made a wild
bolt for the nearest bar, hissing like a teakettle. Note: This was
written when the word bar did not mean to forbid or to prohibit. The
gingham-apron lady merely stood up smilingly, took it off and gave it to
the waiter, who being a man returned it later wrapped to look as much
like a club sandwich as possible.

Oh, they're conventional, these men, right enough! Now and then one of
them gathers a certain amount of courage and goes without a hat to save
his hair, or wears sandals to keep his feet cool, and he is immediately
dismissed as mad. I know one very young gentleman who nearly broke up a
juvenile dance by borrowing his mother's pink silk stockings for socks
and wearing her best pink ribbon as a tie.

How many hours do you suppose were wasted by the new army practicing
salutes in front of a mirror? A good many right arms to-day, back in
"civies," have a stuttering fit whenever they approach a uniform. And I
know a number of conventional gentlemen who are suffering hours of
torment because they can't remember, out of uniform, to take off their
hats to the women they meet. War is certainly perdition, isn't it? And
numbers of times during the late unpleasantness I have seen new officers
standing outside a general's door, trying to remember the rule for
addressing a superior, and cap or no cap while not wearing side arms.

You know how a woman would do it. She would give a tilt to her hat and a
pull here and there, and then she would walk in and say:

"I know it's perfectly horrible, but I simply can't remember the
etiquette of this sort of thing. Please do tell me, General."

And the general, who has only eleven hundred things to do before eating
a bite of lunch on the top of his desk, will get up and gravely instruct
her. Which is exactly like a man, of course.

Men overdo etiquette sometimes, because of a conventional fear of
slipping up somewhere. There was a nice Red Cross major in France who
had had no instruction in military matters, and had no arrogance
whatever. So he used to salute all the privates and the M. P.'s before
they had a chance. He was usually asking the road to somewhere or other,
and they would stand staring after him thoughtfully until he was quite
out of sight.

And as a corollary to this conventionality, how wretched men are when
they are placed in false positions! Nobody likes it, of course, but a
woman can generally get out of it. Men think straighter than women, but
not so fast. I dined one night on shipboard with the captain of the
transport on which I came back from France, and there was an army
chaplain at the table. So, as chaplains frequently say grace before
meat, I put a hand on the knee of a young male member of my family
beside me and kept it there, ready for a squeeze to admonish silence.
But the chaplain did not say grace, and the man on my right suddenly
turned out to be a perfectly strange general in a state of helpless
uneasiness. I have a suspicion that not even the absolute impeccability
of my subsequent conduct convinced him that I was not a designing woman.

But, although we are discussing men, as all women know, there are really
no men at all. There are grown-up boys, and middle-aged boys, and
elderly boys, and even sometimes very old boys. But the essential
difference is simply exterior. Your man is always a boy. He grows
tidier, and he gathers up a mass of heterogeneous information, and in
the strangest possible fashion as the years go on, boards have to be put
into the dining-room table, and the shoe bill becomes something
terrible, and during some of his peregrinations he feels rather like a
comet with a tail. The dentist's bills and where to go for the summer and
do-you-think-the-nurse-is-as-careful-as-she-should-be-with-baby's-bottles
make him put on a sort of surface maturity. But it never fools his
womankind. Deep down he still believes in Santa Claus, and would like to
get up at dawn on the Fourth of July and throw a firecracker through the
cook's window.

That is the reason women are natural monogamists. They know they have to
be one-man women, because the one man is so always a boy, and has to
have so much mothering and looking after. He has to be watched for fear
his hair gets too long, and sent to the tailor's now and then for
clothes. And if someone didn't turn his old pajamas into scrub rags and
silver cloths, he would go on wearing their ragged skeletons long after
the flesh had departed hence. (What comforting rags Irvin Cobb's pajamas
must make!)

And then of course now and then he must be separated forcibly from his
old suits and shoes. The best method, as every woman knows, is to give
them to someone who is going on a long, long journey, else he will
follow and bring them back in triumph. This fondness for what is old is
a strange thing in men. It does not apply to other things--save cheese
and easy chairs and some kinds of game and drinkables. In the case of
caps, boots, and trousers it is akin to mania. It sometimes applies to
dress waistcoats and evening ties, but has one of its greatest
exacerbations (beat that word, Irvin) in the matter of dressing gowns.
If by any chance a cigarette has burned a hole in the dressing gown, it
takes on the additional interest of survival, and is always hung, hole
out, where company can see it.

Full many a gentleman, returning from the wars, has found that his
heart's treasures have gone to rummage sales, and--you know the story of
the man who bought his dress suit back for thirty-five cents.

I am personally acquainted with a man who owns a number of pairs of
bedroom slippers, nice leather ones, velvet ones, felt ones. They sit in
a long row in his closet, and sit and sit. And when that man prepares
for his final cigarette at night--and to drop asleep and burn another
hole in his dressing gown, or in the chintz chair cover, or the carpet,
as Providence may will it--he wears on his feet a pair of red knitted
bedroom slippers with cords that tie around the top and dangle and trip
him up. Long years ago they stretched, and they have been stretching
ever since, until now each one resembles an afghan.

Will he give them up? He will not.

There is something feline about a man's love for old, familiar things. I
know that it is a popular misconception to compare women with cats and
men with dogs. But the analogy is clearly the other way.

Just run over the cat's predominant characteristic and check them off:
The cat is a night wanderer. The cat loves familiar places, and the
hearthside. (And, oddly enough, the cat's love of the hearthside doesn't
interfere with his night wanderings!) The cat can hide under the suavest
exterior in the world principles that would make a kitten blush if it
had any place for a blush. The cat is greedy as to helpless things. And
heavens, how the cat likes to be petted and generally approved! It likes
love, but not all the time. And it likes to choose the people it
consorts with. It is a predatory creature, also, and likes to be neat
and tidy, while it sticks to its old trousers with a love that passeth
understanding--there, I've slipped up, but you know what I mean.

Now women are like dogs, really. They love like dogs, a little
insistently. And they like to fetch and carry, and come back wistfully
after hard words, and learn rather easily to carry a basket. And after
three years or so of marriage they learn to enjoy the bones of
conversation and sometimes even to go to the mat with them. (Oh, Irvin,
I know that's dreadful!) Really, the only resemblance between men and
dogs is that they both rather run to feet in early life.

This fondness for old clothes and old chairs and familiar places is
something women find hard to understand. Yet it is simple enough. It is
compounded of comfort and loyalty.

Men are curiously loyal. They are loyal to ancient hats and disreputable
old friends and to some women. But they are always loyal to each other.

This, I maintain, is the sole reason for alluding to them as the
stronger and superior sex. They are stronger. They are superior. They
are as strong as a trades union, only more so. They stand together
against the rest of the world. Women do not. They have no impulse toward
solidarity. They fight a sort of guerilla warfare, each sniping from
behind her own tree. They are the greatest example of the weakness of
unorganized force in the world.

But this male trades union is not due to affection. It is two-fold. It
is a survival from the days when men united for defense. Women didn't
unite. They didn't need to, and they couldn't have, anyhow. When the
cave man went away to fight or to do the family marketing, he used to
roll a large bowlder against the entrance to his stone mansion, and thus
discouraged afternoon callers of the feminine sex who would otherwise
have dropped in for a cup of tea. Then he took away the rope ladder and
cut off the telephone, and went away with a heart at peace to join the
other males.

They would do it now, if they could.

But the real reason for their sex solidarity is their terrible
alikeness. They understand each other. Knowing their own weaknesses,
they know the other fellow's. So they stand by each other, sometimes out
of sympathy, and occasionally out of fear. You see, it is not only a
trades union, it is a mutual benefit society. Its only constitution is
the male Golden Rule--"You stick by me and I'll stick by you." "We men
must stick together."

I'll confess that with a good many women it is, "You stick me and I'll
stick you."

But that solidarity, primarily offensive and defensive, has also an
element in it that women seldom understand, and almost always resent.
Not very many years ago a play ran in New York without a woman in the
cast or connected with the story. There is one running very successfully
now in Paris. Both were written by men, naturally. Women cannot conceive
of the drama of life without women in it. But men can.

The plain truth is that normal women need men all the time, but that
normal men need women only a part of the time. They like to have them to
go back to, but they do not need them in sight, or even within telephone
call. There are some hours of every day when you could repeat a man's
wife's name to him through a megaphone, and he would have to come a long
ways back, from golf or pool or the ticker or the stock news, to
remember who she is.

When a man gets up a golf foursome he wants four men. When a woman does
it, she wants three.

It is this ability to be happy without her that a woman never
understands. Her lack of understanding of it causes a good bit of
unhappiness, too. Men are gregarious; they like to be together. But
women gauge them by their own needs, and form dark surmises about these
harmless meetings, which are as innocuous and often as interesting as
the purely companionable huddlings of sheep in pasture.

Women play bridge together to fill in the time until the five-thirty is
due. Men play bridge because they like to beat the other fellow.

Mind you, I am not saying there are not strong and fine affections among
women. If it comes to that, there is often deeper devotion, perhaps,
than among men. But I am saying that women do not care for women as a
sex, as men care for men. Men will die to save other men. Women will
sacrifice themselves ruthlessly for children, but not for other women.
Queer, isn't it?

Yet not so queer. Women want marriage and a home. They should. And there
are more women than men. Even before the war there was, in Europe and
America, an extra sixth woman for every five men, and the sixth woman
brings competition. She bulls the market, and makes feminine sex
solidarity impossible. And, of course, added to that is the woman who
requires three or four men to make her happy, one to marry and support
her, and one to take her to the theater and to luncheon at Delmonico's,
and generally fetch and carry for her, and one to remember her as she
was at nineteen and remain a bachelor and have a selfish, delightful
life, while blaming her. This makes masculine stock still higher, and as
there are always buyers on a rising market, competition among
women--purely unconscious competition--flourishes.

So men hang together, and women don't. And men are the stronger sex
because they are fewer!

Obviously the cure is the elimination of that sixth woman, preferably by
euthanasia. (Look this up, Irvin. It's a good one.) That sixth woman
ought to go. She has made men sought and not seekers. She ruins dinner
parties and is the vampire of the moving pictures. And after living a
respectable life for years she either goes on living a respectable life,
and stays with her sister's children while the family goes on a motor
tour, or takes to serving high-balls instead of afternoon tea, while
wearing a teagown of some passionate shade.

It is just possible that suffrage will bring women together. It is just
possible that male opposition has in it this subconscious fear, that
their superiority is thus threatened. They don't really want equality,
you know. They love to patronize us a bit, bless them; and to tell us
to run along and not bother our little heads about things that don't
concern us. And, of course, politics has been their own private
maneuvering ground, and--I have made it clear, I think, that they don't
always want us--here we are, about to drill on it ourselves, perhaps
drilling a mite better than they do in some formations, and standing
right on their own field and telling them the mistakes they've made, and
not to take themselves too hard and that the whole game is a lot easier
than they have always pretended it was.

They don't like it, really, a lot of them. Their solidarity is
threatened. Their superiority, and another sanctuary, as closed to women
as a monastery, or a club, is invaded. No place to go but home.

Yet I have a sneaking sympathy for them. They were so terribly happy
running things, and fighting wars, and coming back at night to throw
their conversational bones around the table. It is rather awful to think
of them coming home now and having some little woman say:

"Certainly we are not going to the movies. Don't you know there is a
ward caucus to-night?"

There is a curious situation in the economic world, too. Business has
been the man's field ever since Cain and Abel went into the stock and
farming combine, with one of them raising grain for the other's cows,
and taking beef in exchange. And the novelty is gone. But there's a
truism here: Men play harder than they work; women work harder than they
play.

Women in business bring to it the freshness of novelty, and work at
their maximum as a sex. Men, being always boys, work _under_ their
maximum. (Loud screams here. But think it over! How about shaking dice
at the club after lunch, and wandering back to the office at three P.M.
to sign the mail? How about golf? I'll wager I work more hours a day
than you, Irvin!)

The plain truth is that if more men put their whole hearts into business
during business hours, there would be no question of competition. As I
have said, they think straighter than women, although more slowly. They
have more physical strength. They don't have sick headaches--unless they
deserve them. But they are vaguely resentful when some little woman, who
has washed the children and sent them off to school and straightened her
house and set out a cold lunch, comes into the office at nine o'clock
and works in circles all around them.

But there is another angle to this "woman in the business world" idea
that puzzles women. Not long ago a clever woman whose husband does not
resent her working, since his home and children are well looked after,
said to me:

"I've always been interested in what he had to say of his day at the
office, but he doesn't seem to care at all about _my_ day. He seems so
awfully self-engrossed."

The truth probably is that they are both self-engrossed, but women can
dissemble and men cannot. It is another proof of their invincible
boyishness, this total inability to pretend interest. Even the averagest
man is no hypocrite. He tries it sometimes, and fails pitifully. The
successful male dissembler is generally a crook. But the most honest
woman in the world is often driven to pretense, although she may call it
_savoir faire_. She pretends, because pretense is the oil that
lubricates society. Have you ever seen a man when some neighbors who are
unpopular drop in for an evening call? After they are gone, his wife
says:

"I do wish you wouldn't bite the Andersons when they come in, Joe!"

"Bite them! I was civil, wasn't I?"

"Well, you can call it that."

He is ready to examine the window locks, but he turns and surveys her,
and he is honestly puzzled.

"What I can't make out," he says, "is how you can fall all over yourself
to those people, when you know you detest them. Thank heavens, I'm no
hypocrite."

Then he locks the windows and stalks up-stairs, and the hypocrite of
the family smiles a little to herself. Because she knows that without
her there would be no society and no neighborhood calls, and that
honesty can be a vice, and hypocrisy a virtue.

I know a vestryman of a church who sometimes plays bridge on Saturday
nights for money. What he loses doesn't matter, but what he wins his
wife is supposed to put on the plate the next morning. One Saturday
night he gave her a large bill, and the next morning she placed a neatly
folded green-back on the collection plate as he held it out to her. He
stood in the aisle and eyed the bill with suspicion. Then he
deliberately unfolded it, and held out the plate to her again.

"Come over, Mazie," he said.

And Mazie came over with the balance.

You know what a woman would have done. She would have marked the bill
with her eye, and later on while waiting at the rear for the chair
offertory to end, she would have investigated. Then on the way home she
would have said:

"I had a good notion to stand right there, Charlie Smith, and show you
up. I wish I had." But the point is that she wouldn't have.

There is no moral whatever to this brief tale.

But perhaps it is in love that men and women differ most vitally. Now
Nature, being extremely wise, gives the man in love the wisdom of the
serpent and the wile of the dove (which is a most alluring bird in its
love-making). A man in love brings to it all his intelligence. And men
like being in love.

Being in love is not so happy for a woman. She becomes emotional and
difficult, is either on the heights or in the depths. And the reason for
this is simple; love is a complex to a woman. She has to contend with
natural and acquired inhibitions. She both desires love and fears it.

The primitive woman ran away from her lover, but like Lot's wife, she
looked back. I am inclined to think, however, that primitive woman
looked back rather harder than she ran. Be that as it may, women to-day
both desire love and fear it.

If men fear it, they successfully hide their cowardice.

It is in their methods of making love that men cease to be alike. Up to
that point they are very similar; they all think that, having purchased
an automobile, they must vindicate their judgment by insisting upon its
virtues, and a great many of them will spend as much money fixing over
last year's car as would almost buy a new one; they always think they
drive carefully, but that the fellow in the other car is either a road
hog or a lunatic who shouldn't have a license; they are mostly rather
moody before breakfast, although there is an obnoxious type that sings
in the cold shower; they are all rather given to the practice of
bringing gifts to their wives when they have done something they
shouldn't; and they all have a tendency to excuse their occasional
delinquencies by the argument that they never made anybody unhappy, and
their weaknesses by the fact that God made them men.

But it is in love that they are at their best, from the point of view of
the one woman most interested. And it is in their love methods that they
show the greatest variations from type. Certain things of course they
all do, buy new neckties, write letters which they read years later with
amazement and consternation; keep a photograph in a drawer of the desk
at the office, where the stenographer finds it and says to the office
boy: "Can you beat that? And not even pretty!" carry boxes of candy
around, hoping they look like cigars; and lie awake nights wondering
what she can see in him, and wondering if she is awake too.

They are very dear and very humble and sheepish and self-conscious when
they are in love, curious mixtures of determination and vacillation;
about eighty per cent, however, being determination. But they lose for
once their sex solidarity, and play the game every man for himself.
Roughly speaking (although who can speak roughly of them then? Or at any
time?) they divide into three types of lovers. There are men who are all
three, at different times of course. But these three classes of lovers
have one thing in common. They want to do their own hunting. It gives
them a sense of power to think they have won out by sheer strength and
will.

The truth about this is that no man ever won a woman who was actually
difficult to get, and found it worth the effort afterwards. What real
man ever liked kissing a girl who didn't want to be kissed? Love has got
to be mutual. Your lover is frequently more interested in being loved
than in loving. And the trump cards are always the woman's. These
grown-up boys of ours are shy and self-depreciatory in love, and they
run like deer when they think they are not wanted. So the woman has to
play a double game, and gets blamed for guile when it is only wisdom.
Her instinct is to run, partly because she is afraid of love and partly
because she has to appear to be pursued. But she has to limp a bit, and
sit down and look back rather wistfully, and in the end of course she
goes lame entirely and is overtaken.

This is the same instinct which makes the pheasant hen feign a broken
wing.

There is a wonderful type of woman, however, who goes as straight to the
man she loves as a homing pigeon to its loft.

Taking, then, the three classes of men in the throes of the disease of
love, we have the following symptoms, diagnosis and prognosis.

First. The average lover. Temperature remains normal, with slight rise
in the evenings. Continues to attend to business. Feeling of uneasiness
if called by endearing names over office 'phone. Regular diet, but
smokes rather too much. Anxiety strongly marked as to how his income
will cover a house and garage in the country, adding the cost of his
commutation ticket, and shows tendency to look rather wistfully into toy
shop-windows before Christmas.

Diagnosis: Normal love.

Prognosis: Probably permanent condition.[1]

Second. The fearful lover. Temperature inclined to be sub-normal at
times. Physical type, a hulking brute of a man, liking small women, only
he feels coarse and rather gross when with them. He is the physical type
generally attributed to the cave man, but this is an error. (See cave
man, later.) His timidity is not physical but mental, and is referable
by the Freud theory to his early youth, when he was taught that big,
overgrown boys did not tease kittens, but put them in their pockets and
carried them home. Has the kitten obsession still. Is six months getting
up enough courage to squeeze a five-and-a-half hand, and then crushes it
to death. Reads poetry, and is very early for all appointments. Appetite
small. Does not sleep. In small communities shows occasional
semi-paralysis on the curb after Sunday evening service, and lets a
fellow half his size see her home. (See cave man, later.) Is always in
love, but not with the same woman. Is easily hurt, and walks it off on
Sunday afternoons. Telephones with gentle persistence, and prefers the
movies to the theater because they are dark. This type sometimes loses
its gentleness after marriage, and always has an ideal woman in mind.
Some one who walks like Pauline Frederick and smiles like Mary
Pickford.[2]

Diagnosis: Normal love, with idealistic complications.

Prognosis: Condition less permanent than in case A, as less essentially
monogamous. Should be careful not to carry the search for the ideal to
excess.

Third. The cave man. Temperature normally high, with dangerous rises.
Physique rather under-sized, with prominent Adam's apple. Is attracted
by large women, whom he dominates. Is assured, violent and jealous.
Appetite fastidious. Takes sleeping powders during course of disease and
uses telephone frequently to find out if the object of his affections is
lunching with another man. Is extremely possessive as to women, and has
had in early years a strong desire to take the other fellow's girl away
from him. Is pugnacious and intelligent, but has moments of great
tenderness and charm. Shows his worst side to the neighbors and breathes
freely after nine o'clock P.M., when no one has come to call.[3]

Diagnosis: Normal love, with jealousy.

Prognosis: A large family of daughters.

A great many women believe that they can change men by marrying them.
This is a mistake. Women make it because they themselves are pliable,
but the male is firmly fixed at the age of six years, and remains
fundamentally the same thereafter. The only way to make a husband over
according to one's ideas then would be to adopt him at an early age, say
four. But who really wants to change them? Where would be the interest
in marriage? To tell the truth, we like their weaknesses. It gives women
that entirely private conviction they have that John would make an utter
mess of things if they were not around.

Men know better how to live than women. The average man gets more out of
life than the average woman. He compounds his days, if he be a healthy,
normal individual, of work and play, and his play generally takes the
form of fresh air and exercise. He has, frequently, more real charity
than his womankind, and by charity I mean an understanding of human
weakness and a tolerance of frailty. He may dislike his neighbors
heartily, and snub them in prosperity, but in trouble he is quick with
practical assistance. And although often tactless, for tact and extreme
honesty are incompatible, he is usually kind. There is often a selfish
purpose behind his altruism, his broad charitable organizations. But to
individual cases of distress he is generous, unselfish, and sacrificing.

In politics he is individually honest, as a rule, but collectively
corrupt. And this strange and disheartening fact is due to lethargy. He
is politically indolent, so he allows the few to rule, and this few is
too frequently in political life for what it can get and not what it can
give. Sins of omission may be grave sins.

Yet he is individually honest in politics, and in most things, and that,
partly at least, is because, pretty much overlaid with worldliness, he
has a deep religious conviction. But he has a terrible fear of letting
anyone know he has it. Indeed, he is shamefaced about all his emotions.
He would sooner wear two odd shoes than weep at a funeral.

Really, this article could run on forever. There's that particularly
manlike attitude of accusing women of slavishly following the fashions!
Funny, isn't it, when you think about it? Do you think a man would wear
a striped tie with a morning coat when his haberdasher says others are
wearing plain gray? Or a straw hat before the fifteenth of May? Have
you ever watched the mental struggle between a dinner suit and evening
clothes? Do you suppose that women, realizing that the costume they wore
was the ugliest ever devised, would continue wearing it because everyone
else did? And then look at men's trousers and derby hats!

It is men who are the slaves, double chained, of fashion. The only
comfortable innovation in men's clothes made in a century was when some
brave spirit originated the shirtwaist man. Women saw its comfort,
adopted and retained the shirtwaist. But the leaders of male fashion
dictated that comfort was bad form, and on went all the coats again.
Irvin Cobb is undoubtedly going to say that it is just like a woman to
wear no flannels in winter, and silk hose, and generally go about half
clad. But men are as over-dressed in summer as women are under-dressed
in winter.

But in spite of this slavish following of fashion, men are really more
rational than women. They have the same mental processes. For that
reason they understand each other. Like the village fool who found the
lost horse by thinking where he would go if he were a horse, a man knows
what another man will do by fancying himself in the same circumstances.
And women are called designing because they have fathomed this
fundamental simplicity of the male! A woman's emotions and her
sensations and her thoughts are all complexes. She doesn't know herself
what she is going to do, and is frequently more astounded than anyone
else at what she does do. It's a lot harder being a woman than a man.

So--women know men better than men know women, and are rather like the
little boy's definition of a friend: "A friend is a feller who knows all
about you, and likes you anyhow."

We do like them, dreadfully. Sometimes women have sighed and wondered
what the house would be like without overcoats thrown about in the hall,
and every closet full of beloved old ragged clothes and shoes, and cigar
ashes over things, and wild cries for the ancient hat they gave the
gardener last week to weed in. But quite recently the women of this
country and a lot of other countries have found out what even temporary
absence means. A house without a man in it is as nice and tidy and
peaceful and attractive and cheerful as a grave in a cemetery. It is as
pleasant as Mark Twain's celebrated combination of rheumatism and St.
Vitus dance, and as empty as a penny-in-the-slot chocolate machine in a
railway station.

Not so very long ago there was a drawing in one of the magazines. It
showed a row of faces, men with hooked noses, with cauliflower ears,
with dish-faces, and flat faces, with smallpox scars, with hare lips.
And underneath it said: "Never mind, every one of them is somebody's
darling."

Women don't really care how their men look. But they want to look up to
them--which is a reason I haven't given before for their sex
superiority. It is really forced on them! And they want them kind and
even a bit patronizing. Also they want them _well_, because a sick man
can come the closest thing in the world to biting the hand that feeds
him. And loyal, of course, and not too tidy--and to be hungry at meals.
And not to be too bitter about going out in the evenings.

And the one thing they do not want is to have their men know how well
they understand them. It is one of their pet little-boy conceits, this
being misunderstood. It has survived from the time of that early
punishment when each and every one of them contemplated running off and
going to sea. Most of them still contemplate that running off. They
visualize great spaces, and freedom, and tropic isles, and--well, you
know. "Where there ain't no Ten Commandments and a man can raise a
thirst." (You know, Irvin!)

Yes, they contemplate it every now and then, and then they go home, and
put on a fresh collar for dinner, and examine the vegetable garden, and
take the children out in the machine for a few minutes' fresh air, and
have a pillow fight in the nursery, and--forget the other thing.

Which is exactly like a man.


  [1] Will probably forget small attentions to his wife after marriage.

  [2] Will always remember small attentions to his wife after marriage,
      especially when conscience troubles him.

  [3] Receives constant attention from his family after marriage.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "'Oh, Well, You Know How Women Are!' AND 'Isn't That Just Like a Man!' - 'Oh, Well, You Know How Women Are!' by Cobb; and 'Isn't - That Just Like a Man!' by Rinehart" ***

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