A woman's heart sees more than men's eyes.
May 18, 2010 7:12 AM   Subscribe

Never marry a woman with big feet. | A husband at home is like a flea in your ear.

Mineke Schipper collected more than 15.000 proverbs from around the world, all about women.
Her website was launched today, in collaboration with Leiden University.

(via NRC | Ewoud Sanders [dutch only])
posted by Substrata (55 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
Peggy Hill is not amused.
posted by The Card Cheat at 7:13 AM on May 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


Fascinating. Thanks!
posted by hermitosis at 7:17 AM on May 18, 2010


Never marry a woman with big feet.

I'm screwed.
posted by Pollomacho at 7:23 AM on May 18, 2010


Peggy Hill is not amused.

Size 16. And has to shop at a specialty shop in Houston. Tsk.
posted by grubi at 7:25 AM on May 18, 2010


A goat by candle-light looks like a young girl.

what
posted by jquinby at 7:26 AM on May 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


A goat by candle-light looks like a young girl.

what
Maybe a variation on "you don't look at the fireplace when you're poking the fire"?
posted by Leon at 7:27 AM on May 18, 2010


Or "At night, all cats are gray"
posted by kcds at 7:30 AM on May 18, 2010


Random proverbs:

A woman without a husband is a palm without dates.
— Arabic


One lame son is more valuable than eighteen golden daughters.
— Chinese


Most unhealthy of all is a woman's heart.
— Chinese


A dog is smarter than a woman: he does not bark against his boss.
— Russian


If a girl says no to marriage, just wait for her breasts to sag.
— Rundi

Silence is a woman’s most beautiful ornament.
— Greek


A beautiful house is an open basket; a beautiful wife, a boat to cross [the water] with. [Take neither: you will have to leave the house when you die, and your wife will take a new lover after your death.]
— Chinese


Beautiful, noble and wise, rich, healthy and faithful, all these things have their price when they are found in a woman.
— Flemish




It's utterly depressing how many of these proverbs are demeaning to women. :(
posted by zarq at 7:31 AM on May 18, 2010 [24 favorites]


I found it a bit strange that the only way to see the proverbs is through the search window. I don't want to search, I just want to see the proverbs.

I ended up searching for 'A' and 'the'.

A beautiful woman is pleasant to the eye, a smart one pleasant to the heart.
posted by eye of newt at 7:31 AM on May 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't know but I've been told, a big legged woman ain't got no soul.
posted by bondcliff at 7:32 AM on May 18, 2010 [8 favorites]


I ended up searching for 'A' and 'the'.

I used 'like" to generate a pretty good list, too.
posted by jquinby at 7:32 AM on May 18, 2010


See a broad to get dat booty yak 'em,
eg 'er down a smack 'em yak 'em!
-- Jive

posted by brandman at 7:36 AM on May 18, 2010


"Go to ‘Search’, type one of the metaphors below, and you will find all the proverbs containing the metaphor concerned."

Women have patience for terrible user interface
posted by Nelson at 7:36 AM on May 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


A dog is smarter than a woman: he does not bark against his boss.— Russian

What? That's crazy. My dog barks at me all the time, but I never bark against my boss. Oh wait, by boss, do they mean husband? Never mind.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:38 AM on May 18, 2010


I don't know but I've been told, a big legged woman ain't got no soul.

It's a conundrum because, according to Plant -- the soul of a woman was created below.

I've always wondered how these two are supposed to work in concert.
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:42 AM on May 18, 2010


I've always wondered how these two are supposed to work in concert.

Clearly: she's been bad to him, but it's coming back home to her. QED.
posted by jquinby at 7:48 AM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


A woman is to be from her house three times: when she is baptised, married and buried. (English, UK)

I think some of these might be a bit old.
posted by I_pity_the_fool at 7:48 AM on May 18, 2010


Some midwives claim they can tell by looking at a woman's feet how easy or difficult her labor will be. They claim that tall women with small feet are more likely to need c-sections, short women with big feet have easy deliveries.

(I don't have source for this, it's just something that stuck in my mind. I'm an average sized woman with large feet and yes I did have easy labors.)
posted by mareli at 7:52 AM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Marry, never a goat.
posted by pracowity at 7:53 AM on May 18, 2010


DOESN'T ANYONE REMEMBER LAUGHTER?
posted by Threeway Handshake at 7:53 AM on May 18, 2010 [5 favorites]


Some midwives claim they can tell by looking at a woman's feet how easy or difficult her labor will be.

Shouldn't they be looking somewhere else for hints?
posted by pracowity at 7:53 AM on May 18, 2010 [7 favorites]


Up in Harlem, at a table for two,
There were four of us: me, your big feet and you.
From your ankles up, I'd say you sure look sweet.
From that down, there's just too much feet.
posted by Phanx at 7:57 AM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Skimming the metaphor list for the proverbs about women makes me wonder what percentage of these are about finding a woman with positive traits vs avoiding women with negative traits.
posted by immlass at 8:04 AM on May 18, 2010


Shouldn't they be looking somewhere else for hints?

I wonder if hip width and foot size proportions are related.
posted by zarq at 8:05 AM on May 18, 2010


My stepfather - genuinely trying to be kind & helpful but with his brain stuck in the 1950s - told me when I was 15 that my very large feet wouldn't necessarily be an impediment to relationships so long as I wore shoes in "quiet colors".

I immediately went out and bought a pair of bright pink Kicker boots.
(That was the start of some very stormy years!).
posted by Jody Tresidder at 8:10 AM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's utterly depressing how many of these proverbs are demeaning to women. :(

I don't recognize this one. What country does the ":(" culture originate from?
posted by DU at 8:13 AM on May 18, 2010


A woman and her fool are soon married.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:19 AM on May 18, 2010


It's utterly depressing how many of these proverbs are demeaning to women. :(

To me it seems like some or most of what's been posted so far are basically really old jokes, the equivalent of "Take my wife, please." Not very funny, but I doubt they're especially serious, either.
posted by naju at 8:21 AM on May 18, 2010


Though I wonder if you could find 15,000 proverbs about the uselessness of men and husbands. Probably not...
posted by naju at 8:24 AM on May 18, 2010


That interface sucks worse than a man with no lips and small fingers.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:24 AM on May 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


Though I wonder if you could find 15,000 proverbs about the uselessness of men and husbands. Probably not...

I could provide you with 15,000 from my mother alone.
posted by Parasite Unseen at 8:28 AM on May 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


The HTML title of those pages contains one of the most infuriating grammatical errors: Never Marry a Women with Big Feet
posted by sanko at 8:29 AM on May 18, 2010


Never marry a woman with Big Foot.
posted by Floydd at 8:36 AM on May 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


"The wife has three great attributes: intelligence, a Swiss army knife, and charm." -- Billy Bragg
posted by kirkaracha at 8:37 AM on May 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


A husband at home is like a flea in your ear
Puttering around frantically until flooded with beer.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 8:37 AM on May 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


A good collection of proverbs should provide the ultimate source of the proverb and offer an accurate translation. I'm not convinced, though, that this collection is trustworthy.

I did a spot-check on one proverb that sounded familiar, "Woman's adornment is her decency (and not her gold)." She cites Haller, Altspanische Sprichwoerter, a 19th century work on Old Spanish proverbs. That work in turn provides the Greek and a German translation.

The Greek is accurate in Haller, but the citation is wrong: it's not in Pollux, but from Menander (Monostichoi 1.92). Furthermore, the translation is misleading: a better rendering is "A woman's adornment is her way of life (τρόπος), not her money," which has quite a different meaning and I suspect is fairly unobjectionable. The German translation (Sitte) is accurate. It's unclear to me *where* the English translation came from: did the compiler translate it herself?

So, there are two errors: the compiler of this collection did not provide the ultimate source of the proverb (and it's unclear that she knew where it came from), and she did not provide an accurate translation of either the Greek or the German. I'm dubious now as to the validity of the rest of the collection.
posted by dd42 at 8:47 AM on May 18, 2010 [8 favorites]


"A woman who knows Latin will never find a husband nor come to a good end. "

Substitute Klingon for Latin and it works for males, too.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:48 AM on May 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


Substitute Klingon for Latin and it works for males, too.

My wife and I mock you in tlhIngan.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:52 AM on May 18, 2010


"You see the highway's like a woman, soft shoulders an' dangerous curves."
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 8:52 AM on May 18, 2010


I'm tall, and I'd say I have big feet.

In rebuttal to, "Never marry a woman with big feet", I give you,

Always Marry An April Girl

Praise the spells and bless the charms,
I found April in my arms.
April golden, April cloudy,
Gracious, cruel, tender, rowdy;
April soft in flowered languor,
April cold with sudden anger,
Ever changing, ever true --
I love April, I love you.

-Ogden Nash

Also, I've been married 21 years come this June, and I've had two C-sections. Make of that what you will.

Bring it on.
posted by misha at 9:15 AM on May 18, 2010 [4 favorites]


And this one made me smile:

She who offers a half-cooked meal is better than she who offers her buttocks.
— Rwanda
posted by misha at 9:16 AM on May 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Perhaps Mr. Plant feels that, differently from small-legged women, a big-legged woman ain't got no soul that was created below. That would imply some amount of inherent evilness in women of the small-legged variety. But there is no question he seems to feel that lipedema and an immortal soul are incompatible.

I am curious as to his thoughts on engaging in aquatics with women inflicted with genu varum....
posted by umberto at 9:21 AM on May 18, 2010


I am curious as to his thoughts on engaging in aquatics with women inflicted with genu varum....

Not sure about that, but as to citrus, we know that the way she squeezed his lemon made him wanna fall right out of bed. Was the lemon squeezer big or small-legged? Perplexing.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:55 AM on May 18, 2010


A boy having gone to Lhasa has nothing to say; a girl having gone to fetch water has much to say.

While that particular one amused me, zarq's right: a lot of these are the aged equivalent of "Women suck, AMIRITE?"
posted by jocelmeow at 10:20 AM on May 18, 2010


Never marry a woman with big feet

In Soviet Russia, clitoris finds you!
posted by CynicalKnight at 10:56 AM on May 18, 2010


A woman, as her breasts hang down, so even her brain hangs down.

Oh SNAP.
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:11 AM on May 18, 2010


It's utterly depressing how many of these proverbs are demeaning to women. :(

I'm afraid this hasn't changed (link: MeFi comment about the number of facebook groups about "bitches"), though some of these are depressing (along with their explanations - example: "Now the marriage is going to begin," as the neglected wife said when she was flogged with thorns. [Even ill treatment is better than utter neglect.]

On this, the first related post is sadly fitting: Bob Barker shows us what the 1970s were like.

It would be interesting to know the gender of the (most common) repeater of these.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:28 AM on May 18, 2010


Hm. I checked out the source of the Mongolian proverbs:
Geyvandov, Eduard Aratyunovich. Ženščina v poslovicach i pogovorkach narodov mira. Moskva 1995

And well, it's not a Mongolian source. Were these proverbs translated from Mongolian -> Russian -> English? If so, the translation could have been mangled which would matter quite a bit for proverbs.

Also, a Mongolian source of proverbs could not be found?
posted by soupy at 11:31 AM on May 18, 2010


Women. Can't live with 'em, pass the beer nuts.
– Norm Peterson
posted by Kabanos at 12:01 PM on May 18, 2010


It's utterly depressing how many of these proverbs are demeaning to women.

It's utterly depressing how many people don't understand thousands of years of human existence. But you don't have to go back one thousand years, you only have to go back 30 years.

My grandmother is much, much stronger than you.
posted by i_have_a_computer at 2:02 PM on May 18, 2010


"Bitches ain't shit but hoes and tricks."
–USA
posted by JackarypQQ at 2:09 PM on May 18, 2010


My grandmother is much, much stronger than you.

I'm pretty sure I could take her in a cage match.
posted by zarq at 2:11 PM on May 18, 2010


A woman without a husband is a palm without dates.
A man without a woman has a date with his palm.
posted by Abiezer at 6:13 PM on May 18, 2010 [14 favorites]


You'd like to think that, zarq, but if my great-grandma Dorothy was still around, she would END YOU in a cage match. Also, her daughter-in-law, my other grandma, once pinned some teenage asshole who was hassling my (6 year old?) uncle against a tree by his neck and threatened him. She was only 21 or so at the time, if I've got my timeline correct.

Cops came looking for her and (or so my Grandma Dorothy later told me) she told them if they didn't stop hassling her kid, she'd do it again. This was in the late 50s/early 60s, and she was about 5' 4", tops. My father claims it never happened, but I'm sticking with Grandma's story.

Don't fuck with a German-Irish mother. Ever.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 7:22 AM on May 19, 2010


You'd like to think that, zarq,

Heh. That was just my jokey response to what I felt was a non-sequitur comment. :D

Don't fuck with a German-Irish mother. Ever.

Good for her!! :)
posted by zarq at 9:14 AM on May 19, 2010


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