Becklard’s Physiology; or, the Quaint Backwardness of 1850s Medicine – Part Six

Chapter 7. So, how best to choose a partner? One should choose one’s exact opposite, in temperament as well as body type. There are exceptions, of course. The opposites must complement each other, or the relationship is sure to fail. Thus, a man who is warm-hearted should avoid a cold woman, and such like. Nature helps us in this, as we look for qualities in others that we don’t have in ourselves. There is someone for everyone, he says. Which is why no one ever dies alone, right?

Becklard advises against marriage between blood relations, as it weakens the offspring. Just look at the royal families.

People with low foreheads should not marry the like, lest their children be idiots. Women should be three inches shorter than their man. Marry women with wide hips and bigger asses, as they will bear good children. He goes into extreme detail about neck lengths, and chests, and waists. Women are best if they are moderately plump, but not too much, because then they could be barren.

Blue-eyed people should marry black-eyed people, to avoid blind children. This is especially important for those suffering from consumption, as the blue-eyed are the ones that survive. However, consumptives should not marry at all if the disease is hereditary.

In short, Becklard believes that “crossing the breed” is the best way to ensure a happy married life.

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