Posted on the Squeetus Blog March 26, 2006 01:10 PM PST.
I've been read a book called Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman. In one of her essays, she writes about her experience reading a book that had belonged to her great-grandmother, The Mirror of True Womanhood, written in 1877 (by a priest--a single man...hm, interesting...). She finds some of it interesting, some of it laughable, and some plain irritating. The book's author, a Father O'Reilly, lists the prescribed virtues of a woman. Fadiman had her husband rate her on them on a 1-10 scale. I thought it was a funny idea, so I had Dean do the same for me. I should've known better. Dean will never give anything a 10 or a 0. He doesn't believe in absolutes. After seeing my scores, I had to return the favor. The numbers I gave Dean are in ():
Discrection - 4 (10)
Discipline - 9 (4)
Religious fervor - 8 (6)
Power to soothe and charm - 8 (7)
Truthfulness - 9 (5)
Thrift - 9 (6)
Avoidance of impure literature, engravings, paintings, and statuary - 6 (2)
Kindness - 8 (8)
Cheerfulness - 7 (4)
Order in the Home - his exact words were, "You try! Five." (3)
Abjuration of fashion - 4 (10)
Self-control - 7 (7)
Excellence in needlework - "Ten! Just kidding. Four." (0)
This exercise provoked some laughter as well as lively discussion.
S: Aren't I kinder than an eight?
D: No. That's where discretion comes into play.
D: I think I deserve a bit higher than a four on discipline.
S: Hm. So, how long ago did you start your unfinished book?
D: See, this is why you only got an eight on kindness.
And I guess the very fact that I'm posting this list is why I got a four on discretion.