Trove Tuesday: Those pesky buttons
This is nothing at all to do with my family history. But I came across the following housewifes’s lament while searching for an article for Trove Tuesday. I love the line that says ” anyone would think the marriage vows said love honour and obey – and sew on his buttons“. How times have changed!
SHOULD HUSBANDS SEW THEM ON?
By a Wife.
It is astonishing how easily men have worked the great button bluff on women. No matter how emancipated a wife may be, she is always seized with a feeling of guilt when her husband reproaches her with the fact that a missing button on his garments has not been replaced, although it has been off for ages—so he says. It is ten to one that the thing has only just come off, but men always say the contrary because they know that it puts women at a disadvantage.
There is another funny thing about buttons, too. A husband will put up with all sorts of inconveniences if the circumstances warrant it. In times of illness or emergency he will help with the housework, eat scratch meals and suffer considerable neglect, with out making a murmur. But let a single, wretched button come off his coat and if it is not replaced within an hour or two of it’s disappearance, he is the worst-used man alive.
Every time a wife’s duty is discussed or written about, it seems to me, the matter of sewing on buttons is mentioned. When an approaching marriage is discussed, the odds are that somebody will comment on the bride groom’s happy prospects of leaving his comfortable “digs” for the joys of a home where he will have a wife to look after him —and sew on his buttons. Anyone would think that the marriage vow read ‘‘love, honor and obey, and sew on his buttons.”
No woman minds sewing on buttons, whose absence comes to light during the weekly mending, but why should she be expected to be perpetually on the look-out for a defaulter among the thousand-and-one buttons with which man chooses to cover his attire. Curiously enough, too, a man seems to choose the most inconvenient moments for announcing the fact that he is a button short.
Women have freed themselves from the obligation of knitting socks for their husbands. It is time that they also freed themselves from the tyranny of the odd button. Why cannot, men sew on their own buttons? There is nothing difficult about the operation, as there is in darning and mending, and every work basket contains buttons and threaded needles. It would encourage men to sew on buttons at the right time — when they come off.
As it is, a man generally waits until the button has been lost, especially if it is of an unusual pattern. Men are like that! If men object to this proposition, let them find a substitute for buttons. Women manage very well without them. If it were not for men the button-makers would be in a bad way. A man dressed for the street may easily have as many as three dozen buttons on his outer garments alone. Surely “bachelor buttons” can be further improved to cover every use. It is pretty certain that if the button burden were removed from women’s shoulders, something would soon be done in the matter.