After every dress I buy for which I pay twenty-five dollars more than I am allowed, after every washday when his woolen socks come up from the laundry two inches smaller because I forgot to buy stretchers for them, and after every meal during which I ask him to please eat more vegetables because so much meat is not good for him, I suspect my husband of instantaneous and insuppressible revolt. Then I crawl to him on apologetic knees begging him please not to act like the man in Cytherea and making rash and frantic promises to sew all the buttons on all his pajamas and to rub his back for an hour if he will please not revolt just this once. But, theoretically, I believe that every happy bridegroom revolts at the altar and from then on goes revolting through life with varying degrees of violence until his final revolt against life helps him briskly to extinguish himself. Men seldom seem to realize that taking a wife and assuming the responsibility of living to an overripe old age are generally merely simultaneous and not absolutely connected. The thought in their minds of what they might have been had they never married is, in most cases, incentive enough for a revolt a week—to give a minimum estimate.
My bookshelves have recently become inhabited by numbers of charming male characters who are bent upon insidious and incomprehensible revolt. From modern fiction I have learned that even a perfect husband may leave home without a moment’s notice in search of gin or the Holy Grail, so I have turned propagandist. If I were a husband I would certainly revolt whenever my wife hurried me with my dressing so that I got wrong studs and forgot my handkerchief and then kept me waiting. I would also revolt if she refused to allow me to cook eggs in the kitchen after midnight because the servants didn’t like it. But I would never indulge in a strong silent revolt, and I would most emphatically do all my revolting at home.
1 Cytherea, 1922 novel by Joseph Hergesheimer.
First appeared in McCall’s, March 1924. One of seventeen responses to the question, including F. Scott Fitzgerald’s.