Becklard’s Physiology, or the Quaint Backwardness of 1850s Medicine, Part Ten

Chapter 12. Be yourself when courting, lest you deceive and marry someone not suited to you at all. Be determined, and fight for the woman if you must; however, make sure she actually cares about you in kind, so that your actions may not be in vain. Do not be cavalier, unless the woman in question is an incorrigible flirt.

Bashfulness is also a detriment to courting. It, many times, may be mistaken for cowardice, and in old bachelors of middle age, it’s nearly curmudgeonly.

No man should stop himself from making love to any woman, even though he is not good-looking and she is. Women (the ones that count, anyway) are not that shallow.

As for proposing, be neither too hasty nor too lingering; three months’ courtship is an adequate enough time to become acquainted. Don’t even rehearse, as you will forget everything in the moment. Trust to nature, and you will be just fine.

Stringing a woman along? You should be ashamed of yourself, especially for wasting her time. She has every right to call you out.

No one is ever happy single. There is only one excuse for not getting married, and that is having some hereditary condition.

Becklard believes love at first sight is real, and a mysterious meeting of minds and souls. It doesn’t always work, but if it is reciprocated, many times it lasts. Of course, be cautious, as the woman may not be what she seems (that is to say, virtuous).

Gentlemen, do not lose hope, for the remedies for lovesickness are many. A change of climate, low diet, and cathartics and blood-letting. Avoid warm bedclothes and exciting books, as well as intoxicating drinks, not matter how much you may want to drown your sorrows.

When all else fails, focus your attentions on another. Even if your heart isn’t in it, woo, woo, and woo some more. Didn’t the doctor advise a little while ago to be honest? Yes, he did, but sometimes, desperate times drive men to suicide, so isn’t this the better alternative?

Dr. Becklard doesn’t have much to say to women on these points, as they can only be receptive of, and responsive to, and possessed by, another. The best the ladies can do is look their best, and, if you need assistance with that, he’s got you covered in a future chapter.

To sum up, first love is always worthy; always be truthful; perseverance wins the day; and above all, if you’re two to three years over puberty, get married, for there is no such thing as “single blessedness.”


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