Hmmm, was spanking in marriage truly commonplace in the 1800’s? These days it’s hard to imagine such a thing being commonplace , in the 21st century, with our culture being what it is. But maybe it was common…maybe before the 1800s, maybe after, and maybe around the world as well?
This photo says “it’s a wise man” who spanks his wife:
Of course we all know that American cowboys were spankers!
I think we also are pretty sure about what went on in Elizabethan times, thanks to Mr. William Shakespeare:
I’ve been reading a novel set in New Zealand in the 1880’s . It’s not a spanking novel per se, and yet…imagine what I found! This scene reads as if spanking a wife you also loved, was not such an unlikely occurrence.
After courting Lizzie for half a year, Frank asked her father Arthur for her hand in marriage. A week before the wedding he decides he had better also ask for some fatherly advice regarding the impending wedding night. His father-in-law has his own ideas about what Frank needs to know about marriage:
Frank said absently. ‘I mean… well, I was pretty young when Pa died, so I haven’t had a father for a long time. I’m really glad you’re going to be my pa now. I sort of think maybe… can I call you Pa?’
‘Well, you could wait till next week! Now, I’m only joking, don’t look so crushed. Call me Pa. I’d like you to.’
‘Thanks, Pa. You know, I’ve been thinking, maybe my pa would be telling me some things now. I sort of wondered if… if maybe you could tell me them instead?’
Arthur looked at him blankly. ‘What are you talking about, Frank? What things?’
‘Things about getting married.’ There, it was out now.
‘Ah. Right. You want some advice about marriage, do you?’
This was going well; Arthur had caught on beautifully.
‘Hmm.’ Arthur looked thoughtful. ‘Let’s sit down for a bit,’ he said when they neared a fallen log. They sat beside each other, and Arthur was silent for a few moments.
‘Now, Lizzie’s my daughter, and she’s a good girl really, but it has to be said—she’s bossy. All women like their own way, but Lizzie’s keener on it than most. I don’t know where she gets that from, I’ve never had much trouble with Edie, but it’s a fact. You’re going to have a bit of bother with her.’
‘I am?’ Frank asked in confusion. He seemed to have lost track of the conversation rather suddenly.
‘Unless you get things sorted out early on. That’s the secret, Frank—never let a woman rule you, and let her know you’re not going to allow it right from the start. If she thinks she can get away with her nonsense she’ll get worse and worse. The first time she tries it, you’ll have to come down hard on her.’
‘Ah… how do I do that?’ This wasn’t really what he needed to hear, but maybe it would be useful. It might get wearing, being told what to do all the time.
‘Now, mind, I’m not talking about being rough, Frank. I don’t want to see my daughter covered in bruises. I’d have something to say about it if she was, husband or no husband.’
‘Bruises?’ Frank echoed in alarm.
Arthur patted him on the shoulder. ‘I don’t really need to tell you that, do I, Frank? You’re not a violent man, any more than I am. No, there’s no need to be cruel just to show a woman who’s boss. One or two hidings, that’s all it should take.’
He stopped and thought for a while. ‘Though being Lizzie, it might take three or four.’
‘Are… are you saying I should hit Lizzie?’ Frank asked hesitantly, hoping he had misunderstood.
‘Not all the time, just until she gets the idea. She’s not stupid—she’s pretty smart, come to that. She’ll catch on soon enough. After that you just need to give her a look or a sharp word if she plays up, just to remind her.’
‘I don’t think I could,’ Frank admitted. ‘I mean, I’m fond of Lizzie—I don’t want to hurt her.’ That reminded him of the real reason for this discussion, but Arthur was not to be diverted just now.
‘Of course you’re fond of her—that’s why you want to do the right thing by her. It’s not natural for a woman to rule a house, Frank. You’ll only end up both being miserable if you let that happen, you mark my words.’
Arthur nodded. ‘Did you ever hear any good of a house where the woman wears the trousers? She’d make your life a misery, and you’d be a laughing-stock. It wouldn’t make her happy, either, though she might think it would. Women need a man to tell them what to do, even the bossy ones.’
Frank chewed at his lip. ‘How would I do it?’ he asked. It was hard to imagine Lizzie meekly standing still to let herself be hit. And even harder to imagine himself doing the hitting.
‘It’s important to be fair, remember that. Give her a warning the first time she plays up, then the next time you let her have it. You can use your hand…’ He stopped and studied Frank. ‘Though you’re not all that much bigger than Lizzie, are you? You might have trouble making a good job of it with just your hand. No, you’d be better to use a belt or a strap. I don’t approve of using a stick on a woman, that’s too harsh.’
Would this really be the best for Lizzie? Frank wondered. He wanted to make her happy, but…
‘Where’s the best place to do it?’
‘Bedroom, of course. It’s the only place private enough.’
‘No, I meant sort of… where on her?’
Arthur laughed. ‘On the part with the best padding, of course! Right on the backside. You’re not aiming to damage her, remember, just make her take a bit of notice of you.’
‘Hmm.’ Try as he might, Frank could not picture himself taking a belt to Lizzie. She would just tell him not to be so stupid.
‘You’ll get on just fine, Frank, as long as you start as you mean to go on. All right? Has that been any help?’
Frank could see that Arthur was ready to stand up and move away. ‘Well…’ Frank said, ‘I think so—I mean, I’m sure it has…’ *
So…are we truly kinky or just throwbacks to an age gone by? Maybe we’re just traditionalists, and I suspect there might be more of ‘us’ than anyone lets on! Shhh!
*Parkinson, Shayne (2011). Mud and Gold (Promises to Keep) (Kindle Locations 857-889). Kindle Edition.