From Charles Harper, Revolted Woman: Past, Present, and to Come
In Germany, during mediaeval times, domestic differences were settled by judicial duels between man and wife, and a regular code for their proper conduct was observed. 'The woman must be so prepared,' so the instructions run, 'that a sleeve of her chemise extend a small ell beyond her hand like a little sack: there indeed is put a stone weighing iii pounds; and she has nothing else but her chemise, and that is bound together between the legs with a lace. Then the man makes himself ready in the pit over against his wife. He is buried therein up to the girdle, and one hand is bound at the elbow to the side.'
The images of the conjugal duelists come from Hans Talhoffer's Fechtbuch
, 1467 (plates 242-250). [Via Wondermark
While it might be fairly common for couples to get a divorce in the United States these days, it's certainly not easy. There are questions of support, custody issues if there are children involved, and bitter arguments over who gets to keep what; all of which can drag a divorce into months of stress. But what is it like in other cultures and in other times? In centuries past, in China, a divorce could be granted for any number of reasons, so long as the bride's family agreed to take her back. Aborigine women in Australia can convince their husbands to grant a divorce but if that's not working, then all they need to do is elope with someone else. The ancient Athenians and modern-day Eskimos share an extremely simple divorce process - live separately as though they were never married. In the UK, a man tired of his wife could slip a halter around her neck, lead her into town to the cattle market, and sell her to the highest bidder. Japan had a much more advanced view, however. Marriage was not sacred and divorce was not immoral - it was merely a mismatch between families. Women's dowrys were returned in the hopes of encouraging re-marriage. You can read more on Purple Slinky
, and on Hope's Blog
, and in this review.
I might have mentioned it before, but I'm planning on getting married this summer. To that end, I've been browsing the web, looking for stories about wedding related disasters, hoping to learn from the mistakes of others. Just this evening I found a bit of advice that had not occurred to me - think about what your new name will be, especially if you are considering whether or not to hyphenate. And here's why.
Now that the coffee tastes better and hubby will drink it, wifey can add the poison this idiot so richly deserves.
In 1947, a gal named Barbara Ehrhart chose to create her wedding dress out of turkey feathers.
The guests tossed more feathers instead of rice.
More pix here, courtesy of LIFE.
[From Good Housekeeping
for December 1949.]
"Subliminal" is not the precise word I want here. Not when the coded message is in big red letters.
"Subtextual?" "Off-topic?" "Suggestive?"
In any case, promoting the maxim "husbands beat wives" in a women's magazine was one way of keeping the girls in line, I guess.
Just a few days ago, a newly wed couple from Poland had an argument shortly after cutting the cake at their wedding reception and left the party to seek an annulment. Could this be the shortest marriage on record? Perhaps. I suppose it will depend on how quickly an annulment is granted... if they even qualify for one. But at least this couple is in good company. Robin Givens
ended her marriage to Svetozar Marinkovic (who?) on the same day. Did he need a green card or something? Zsa Zsa Gabor's
marriage to Felipe De Alba was a twenty-four hour deal, ruled illegitmate because Zsa Zsa was still technically married to Michael O’Hara. This will teach you all to double-check that the ink on your divorce papers is actually dry. Britney Spears
taught us that you can get divorced in Las Vegas as quickly as you can get married, when she ended her fifty-five hour marriage to Jason Alexander. And who could forget Drew Barrymore's
short-lived marriage (28 days) to Jeremy Thomas? You can read about the Polish couple here.
Aren't you glad to see that the sacred institution of marriage is being taken so seriously?