New England Men and the Word "Love"
Welcome to the July 2010 edition of “Jud’s New England Journal,” the rather curious monthly musings of Judson Hale, editor-in-chief of Yankee Magazine, published since 1935 in Dublin, New Hampshire.
New England Men and the Word “Love”
They don’t always rest easy together …
Some summers ago, we published an article in Yankee Magazine about the dearth of sentiment, particularly in Maine men. A week or so later I received a letter from a Midwestern lady (who will remain nameless at her request) who said she felt this attitude applied to all New England men. Her husband, she said, was originally from Massachusetts, and he “nearly choked on the marriage vows being’s they contain the word ‘love’.” Here’s the ending of her letter, which I’ve saved to this day:
“ ‘You look alright’ is the highest compliment I ever get and once when I bawled (all right, so I was younger then) and said he never told me he loved me, he muttered darkly, ‘I show it in other ways,’ and went back to whittling on his woodcarving.
“There is some evidence that he may be mellowing, however. One night last winter he got out of bed to go to the bathroom and I think he must have thought I was asleep, which I almost was, being barely aware he was up, because when he came back to bed he stopped and stood for a moment, looking down at me, and then said out loud, ‘I love you!’ It startled me fully awake so’s I got up and wrote down the date and time (February 28, 1:10 AM), but I’d appreciate it if you omit to print my name and address if you print this letter, as I’d hate for his relatives back in Massachusetts to get the idea he’s become maudlin.”
Don’t worry, Mrs. X, your secret is safe with me.