Women, am I right? They are just impossible to know anything about. They are mysterious and unknowable and probably shapeshifters. In fact, if you want to know one single thing about women, you have to be prepared to do some research. That’s why I decided enough was enough, and rather than simply ask a woman, I thought I’d see what kind of literature was available on the subject—specifically classic literature written mostly by men. Here’s what I found out:
1. All women are either wives, mistresses, or sea monsters, and that’s just the way it has to be.
2. Difficult women will never find love, unless it is with a brooding, Byronic sort.
3. Women who have sex out of wedlock will burst into flames.
4. If you are a woman, you must be wearing a corset, a petticoat, and stockings at all times or else, I don’t know, people will mistake you for a man I guess?
5. The best thing a woman can be is perfectly pleasant. The worst thing a woman can be is homely, according to rigid beauty standards we’ve all apparently agreed upon.
6. Women must be talented in at least twelve different areas, and if they are not they will die PENNILESS and UNLOVED.
7. However, if a woman is TOO good at something (like medicine, midwifery, or reading), she will be burned at the stake.
8. All women are called things like Jane or Mary.
9. Women who cheat on their husbands are worthy of death. Men who cheat on their wives are normal.
10. Women are inscrutable human mysteries, and the only way to tell what they are thinking is to catch them while they’re soliloquizing out loud, preferably on a balcony.
11. If you are a woman, your odds of dying of things like “being a good-hearted prostitute with tuberculosis” are about 50/50.
12. Women who die young are like roses that were plucked too soon from the garden of life (unless, of course, they were poor and not terribly attractive).
13. Women frequently bathe outdoors. They do this to attract unassuming menfolk who are so struck by the bathing woman’s beauty that it causes them (the men, that is) to have earth-shattering epiphanies about the human condition.
14. Women are either beautiful and therefore clearly marked for death, or they are ugly and just, like, really mean.
15. All women who die must return as a ghost to haunt the men who are pining for them.
16. Women who seem depressed (possibly because they have fourteen children, a philandering husband, and zero rights) are actually just insane, but that’s nothing some bed rest won’t fix.
17. Women belong in the domestic sphere. Women are just naturally betting at folding things and knowing how to sew. This is definitely true but don’t Google it or anything.