Speaking of Wilde Wisdom, I found a few other quotes I feel like sharing just because why not.
Remember back in high school when people would whine that they shouldn’t have to read all this old stuff because it’s not applicable to them today? So untrue. Here’s another line from An Ideal Husband that clearly demonstrates that politics haven’t changed significantly in about 100 years.
Lady Basildon: I don’t know how the unfortunate men in the House stand these long debates.
Lord Goring: By never listening… You see, it is a very dangerous thing to listen. If one listens, one may be convinced; and a man who allows himself to be convinced by an argument is a thoroughly unreasonable person.
Now, have you ever heard of the Pearl Type? This is a type of young lady whose jewelry consists mostly of a string of pearls as a necklace and a pair of pearl studs (or short dangly) in her ears. Why pearls, one may wonder? Well, it turns out that pearl-wearers have had the same reputation for about a hundred years. Here’s this line from An Ideal Husband:
“…I am thoroughly sick of pearls. They make one look so plain, so good, and so intellectual.”
There ya go: the Pearl Type. Pretty, but in a very modest way; intelligent, but not flamboyantly; due to being oh-so-very good.
Clearly, Wilde has some insight into even the most aidel bais yaakov maidel.
Now, as for why he ought to be read in yeshivos: here is some advice provided by a couple of women discussing the ideal husband (but in A Woman of No Importance):
Mrs. Allonby: He should never run down other pretty women – that would show that he has no taste, or make one suspect that he has too much. No; he should be very nice about them all, but say that somehow they don’t attract him….If we ask him a question about anything he should give us an answer all about ourselves. He should invariably praise us for whatever qualities he knows we haven’t got. But he should be pitiless, quite pitiless, in reproaching us for the virtues that we have never dreamed of possessing…
…he should always be ready to have a perfectly terrible scene whenever we want one and to become miserable, absolutely miserable, at a moment’s notice… he should be perfectly broken-hearted…[and] allowed to admit that he has been entirely in the wrong, and … it becomes woman’s duty to forgive, [so] one can do it all over again from the beginning, with variations.
And finally, here’s one last one to remind you to give your mother a hug before you leave after Pesach:
“…and boys are careless often, and without thinking give pain, and we always fancy that when they come to a man’s estate and know us better they will repay us. But it is not so. The world draws them from our side, and they make friends with whom they are happier than they are with us, and have amusements from which we are barred, and interests that are not ours; and they are unjust to us often, for when they find life bitter, they blame us for it, and when they find it sweet we do not taste its sweetness with them…”