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[The following is from Arnold Lunn’s Things That Have Puzzled Me, 1926.]

Nature has assigned to each sex its appropriate task and its appropriate virtue. We do not criticise men because they are more selfish and egoistic than women, and we should not criticise women because of their characteristically feminine qualities.

My friend Brown, for instance, is married to a charming wife to whom he is very much attached, and who—which is, perhaps, more surprising—is very much attached to Brown. And yet I know few men who are less just in their verdicts on women or more prone to great windy generalisations.

“I do wish women,” he remarked one day, “would not brag about their husbands to other women. I wouldn’t mind them running us down. No doubt we deserve it. The trouble begins when they start cracking up our amazing virtues in order to arouse envy and uncharitableness in the bosoms of other wives. Harry and I see a lot of each other, so Helen—that’s his wife—is always meeting mine. According to Helen, Harry is a model of all the virtues.

“And so Harry is always being held up to me as a model, which is nice for Harry but maddening for me, because I know that Harry is not all that he is represented to be. Of course, the danger is that I shall be tempted to dispute Harry’s pre-eminence as a husband with disastrous results, for neither of us would emerge with credit from a competitive examination.”

“But surely,” I replied, “this is rather an endearing trait on their parts. You seldom hear two men bragging about their respective wives, for men are by nature egoistic, and when they want to brag they usually enlarge on their own amazing virtues.”

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