Friday, May 30, 2003

Your World Of Men Has Not Ended

A few weeks ago we picked up some cheap old comics, and among my selections was the September 1962 issue of Nurse Betsy Crane, which I thought would be interesting—I've gotten romance comics before, but never a classic nurse comic. And the comic itself was about as entertaining as I expected. What I didn't expect was the essay in the center of the book. Now, girls' comics of the era often have little text pieces on history, society, or maybe "things you can do for fun". And true, the text pieces in Charlton comics are usually extra-dumb. But I've never seen anything like the essay "Weep No More" in a comic, for girls or not! Now, from the title and quote, perhaps you have an inkling of what this little instructional guide is about. If you don't, here's the topic: "how to be a widow and what to do about it". Yes, a guide for your impending widowhood, all you young ladies out there. And since they do have a point there—this part of a young girl's education is in fact, often neglected—I bring you the salient points. (And anything in quotes is, really, a quote. Could I make those things up?)

Why you should think about this: Because the happy young bride never gives any thought to the possibility of her husband's death until it's too late. "It may come through an accident. A skidding car on a rainy day goes through a rail. Or a customary checkup by the family doctor gives shocking news. And so a young bride of not more than one year finds herself wearing black." And it's true, she undoubtably doesn't. So maybe it is a good idea to put this guide into a girls' comic, because this is the sort of thing girls of, oh, 12-14 really should be thinking about.

Here are the important things you will need to know:

First: The most important thing to keep in mind, apparently, is that "the man you loved so much is dead. Nothing can bring him back." (A nice and tactful way to approach the subject, don't you think?) "You must accept the fact that he is no longer here and make plans for a new life."

Second: Basically, it wasn't your fault.

Third: All your husband's stuff? Get rid of it, no matter what anyone says, because they are "the constant reminder of his existence, and he no longer exists." Just in case you forgot about the part where he died already.

Fourth: Whatever he left you wasn't enough. Go get a job. Maybe now you should go to college. And, "if you have sufficient funds and mental ability it might not be a bad idea to prepare for a profession." If you don't, they suggest learning to type.

Fifth: Consider your current friendships. "Act cheerful and pleasant" all the time if you want to keep any friends. But realize that you will apparently lose all friendships based on your husband's work, hobbies or associations, and all your married friends as well, because everyone knows that married women hate and fear divorcées.

Sixth: Don't let yourself be taken. "You will have to be alert and constantly on guard for a type of male known as THE WIDOW'S WOLF." This guy is basically looking for cheap sex and your savings account. Don't make false moves that will encourage these kind of men!

Seventh: Don't try to act like a teenager again, just because you're single. "The woman of 25 is mature, with different and outlooks than the girl of eighteen she was when she got married." Although, the woman of 25 has been married seven years instead of the single year they say they're addressing, so presumably she doesn't actually need this stupid guide. They also suggest that you "accept your matured self and study it carefully." What exactly that means I'm not entirely sure.

Eighth: Yes, you guessed it! "Your world of men has not ended!" Whew! Thank goodness for that, right? You can go out again, and even get married! But keep an open mind. "Your first husband was a salesman. The second might be a teacher, a taxi driver, or even a bricklayer." Keep shootin' high, girls!

And finally: Please remember that "you aren't the teen-ager any longer. You're a little wiser and perhaps bit sadder but love can come a second time." Keep in mind that "once again you have to be attractive, interesting, and appealing to a single man." But most importantly, believe that you are "morally entitled to your happiness as a married woman." And..."weep no more"!

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