Outrageous love advice from retro agony aunts


1st Jan 2015 Humour

Outrageous love advice from retro agony aunts

These unbelievable examples of vintage agony aunt advice will make you grateful to live in the 21st Century.

Agony aunts have been doling out life advice for centuries... 

Teenagers and adults alike have relied on agony aunts as the unofficial guardians of society's morals, and to get us out of some sticky situations.

Looking back at these marriage and dating wisdoms, have left us wondering whether we should really be relying on these so-called gurus.


Always do the washing up

Housewife doing the washing up

Writing to an agony aunt in the 1920s, one unfortunate housewife questioned whether it was wrong that she had asked her husband to help with the washing up.

The housewife in question was sternly told that she was; "as wicked as a criminal". Clearly she had "tricked the poor man into marriage", and was failing in her wifely duties.


Look pretty at all times

Housewife applying makeup

In 1929, one troubled young wife wrote to Modern Woman magazine for guidance. Her husband, who was exasperated because the housekeeper had spoken while serving dinner, refused to say a word during the meal.

The agony aunt was firm in her response and insisted that it was a "man's right to silence during dinner”. His wife shouldn’t have dreamt of interrupting.

Moreover, she claimed it was usually the wife’s fault if her husband ignored her, as she probably hadn't made enough effort with her appearance. From now on she was advised to ensure she was "dressed and pretty" to greet him on his arrival home from work.


Boys will be boys

Cheating husband

Writing to American agony aunt Dear Abby in the 1950s, a mature lady complained that her 73-year-old husband was still chasing women. She desperately wanted to stop his flirting, which had begun to affect their marriage.

Dear Abby's response was brief and to the point when she told the writer, "Don’t worry. My dog has been chasing cars for years, but if he ever caught one, he wouldn’t know what to do with it."


Cheer up and do the housework

Hanging out washing

In 1936, Woman's Own’s agony aunt Mrs Eyles received a letter from a sad housewife. She explained that she often felt depressed doing the housework while her husband was at work.

Mrs Eyles advised the writer to "cheer up" because "we all get that feeling sometimes, my dear". She urged her to "get into a better routine" in order to complete the housework more quickly, or to try doing something different, like "washing a carpet", to alleviate her boredom.


Forget infidelity


The indomitable Mrs Eyles also wrote to a young lady whose boyfriend was taking other girls out to dances behind her back. Eyles explained that the girlfriend was making a "very grave mistake" in complaining.

She added, "It doesn't matter, my dear, so long as he makes no secret of his preference for you."


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