Courtesy of commenter mendozatorres, a quote from Mary Haweis, authoress, who sounds spookily prescient about our current state of marriage as she reminds her readers that marriage sans concessions is a boon for women and a raw deal for men.
Alas, when people complain of men not marrying (even they who are able), they forget how little women offer in exchange for all they get by marriage. Girls are so seldom taught to be of any use whatever to a man that I am only astonished at the numbers of men who do marry! [ed: we all are, mary.] Many girls do not even try to be agreeable to look at, much less to live with. They forget how numerous they are, and the small absolute need men have of wives; but, nevertheless, men do still marry, and would oftener marry could they find mates – women who are either helpful to them, or amusing, or pleasing to their eye.
–The Art of Beauty by Mary Eliza Haweis, published in 1878.
I wonder what the prime fertility years sex ratio was in 1878?
Mary Eliza Haweis is a friend of the Chateau. She understands — more nobly, she admits — that men must necessarily sacrifice to marry, while women enjoy lavish gains and the fulfillment of lifelong dreams when they marry. This inherent marital risk bias favoring women implies that the institution should be structured to supply men with some up front guarantees of return on investment or indulgences to fulfill, at least occasionally, their own male-specific romantic prerogatives.
Not surprisingly, Mary looks to be a fairly attractive woman by the standards of her time. It’s not quite an ironclad rule, but the way to bet is that attractive women are likelier than homely women to have familiarity with the basic truths governing the behavior of the sexes. After all, what kind of woman will be more in need of soothing platitudes to make it through the day without pondering the existential release of the razor blade poised lengthwise?