Bodleian Library - How to Be a Good Lover
- Brian Donaldson
- 13 September 2012
Briefly funny but ultimately pointless 1930s self help guide
In the wake of the Bodleian Library’s How to Be a Good Wife/Husband self-help guides, along comes this repeated dip into the 1930s ‘Dos and Don’ts’ for middle-class wannabe socialites. Some advice is quite pertinent such as ‘love in a cottage is better than riches in a palace’ and ‘don’t seek your wife among your own relatives if you can possibly help it’.
But others (‘many a beautiful soul is to be found behind a somewhat plain face’ and ‘don’t attempt to kiss your lover with your hat still on your head, young man’) make you wonder whether this might not be a text uncovered by librarians at Oxford’s oldest research facility, but an almighty spoof perpetrated by some pitiful sketch show troupe of the future.
Given that we’re expected to take the tome at face value, it merely feels like the literary equivalent of lining up the most senior of the Chelsea Pensioners and laughing at them while they try to work out Twitter: funny for ten seconds but ultimately a bit of a pointless venture.