What men don’t like about women (1945)

I heard about this ridiculous book when the Table of Contents was making the rounds online, listing out all the things men don’t like about women. This is basically a field guide for misogynists. I’m not sure what went wrong in Thomas D. Horton’s life to make him hate women so much, but he’s clearly got an inferiority complex. Most of the gripes come from encountering women at work, either as bosses or secretaries. “Women bosses take unusual pleasure in humiliating the men who must take orders from them. They will make them work after hours, completely redo certain jobs, pick up pieces of paper under and about their desks, run petty errands, itemize an office expenditure of twenty-eight cents, explain why they were four minutes late five days before and so on.”

He complains that women are either too serious or not serious at all, a vein he continues throughout the book. His ideal woman seems to be one that sits prettily with her mouth shut and never asks for anything.

Apparently he encountered some women bosses that demanded sex in return for doing business with her. Horton says that the salesman “has to go to bed with them, but he is not allowed to pay for sex. He is the one who is being paid in the form of orders. He resents his humiliation, but he can’t do anything about it.” Of course he finds female prostitutes to be quite charming, and can’t wrap his head around how this would look from their angle.  His love of prostitutes (of the female variety) is quite clear and there’s a whole chapter on how great they are, how fair, giving a man what he pays for, sometimes with a little extra thrown in. “A prostitute above the twenty-five cents level… will never pry into a man’s private affairs…”

He hated the bosses but said it was “a miracle that employers do not murder more secretaries” due to their incompetence and ill manners. For god’s sake, women, what are you doing keeping sanitary pads in your desks? “Have they no sense of decency? Imagine what a howl women would raise if men kept their jock-straps in the upper drawers of their desks for all to see or in the community medicine chest.”

Women are always nattering on about this and that, but god forbid they have an opinion about a book, a theater production, or an article they’ve read. “Who in recorded human history ever heard a woman say anything intelligent about a theatrical performance? If anyone has, the probabilities are that the woman in the case stole her remarks from a man or a press release.” Don’t get him started on women writers, either. “There is a profound justice in the fact that the fountainhead of all the literary unintelligibilities of the last forty years is a woman, Gertrude Stein.”

Well what about fun-loving women, then? Women drunks, perhaps? “Women drunkards are far more disgusting physically than men drunkards. Their mascara runs, their lipstick cakes or becomes too moist, their eyes glisten with pitiful timidity, their waists become splotched with liquor and food stains, their hair runs over their foreheads, and so on. They use language that even a drunken man hesitates to use. They become, in short, mere animals. And on top of it all they steal all your handkerchiefs, seldom returning them.”

First he complains about women wasting money on fancy restaurants, etc., but once they are engaged, women become too miserly. Ah, but what does she dream about? “As any man will tell you, she dreams about the following: oil burners, refrigerators, lawns, fountains in the garden, town cars, charge accounts in fifty expensive stores, a box in the diamond horseshoe of the Metropolitan Opera House, diamond tiaras, ruby and emerald bracelets, Miami in the winter, the Pocono Mountains in the summer, ocean cruises, Hollywood, eating on side-walk cafes in the summer in New York (even when the air is dusty), a dozen maids, two dozen butlers, a French telephone in every room (especially the bathroom), five dollar handkerchiefs, Kolinsky coats….” He is inexhaustible in his list of petty things women dream of.