The Case of the ‘Man who sued his wife for being ugly’ from the Perspective of a History Fanatic


A STORY HAS BEEN GOING VIRAL RECENTLY about a man (Jian Feng) who successfully sued his wife for having an ‘incredibly ugly’ baby. At first, he accused his wife of cheating [because, according to his logic, ‘beautiful’ parents does a ‘beautiful’ child make], but the wife admitted that she’d spent over $100,000 in plastic surgery. The husband therefore claimed that she got him to marry her under ‘false pretence’.

This court case reminded me of something from history: women & cosmetics in 18th century England…


In 1770, men’s fear of being tricked into marriage by means of cosmetics was so real that a law was introduced in Parliament (subsequently defeated) to ‘protect men from being beguiled into marriage by false adornments.’ This act demanded: that women of whatever age, rank, or profession, whether virgins, maids, or widows who shall seduce or betray into matrimony, by scents, paints, cosmetic washes, artificial teeth, false hair, shall incur the penalty of the law as against witchcraft and that marriage shall stand null and void.

I’m not saying that the issues surrounding the Jian Feng-case and the 1770 Act are one and the same, but they parallel in interesting ways: women altering their appearance to meet a cultural standard of beauty, and men outraged at their wives for their ‘counterfeit vizard’ / ‘false pretence’ and taking the legal system to a whole new level of ridiculousness.

Is history repeating itself in one way or another?

This is food for thought. Enjoy the meal, my dears.

Current Writing Music:

To quickly update readers about TRC’s progress, I’ve FINALLY finished the rough rewrite SAMSUNGof the story and have printed out the first-quarter of the manuscript. I’m so glad I now have a hard-copy version of the MS, as I find it really difficult to concentrate on the story when reading it off my laptop screen. So, I’m sorry trees, but I decided – what the heck – I’ll waste paper by printing each round of major revisions. BUT, I promise trees, I’ll make up for wasting lots of papers by reusing/recycling all that I print out ❤

And HERE is the story of my first querying (trying to get published) experience in 2009.

Chapter 13 Deadline

My Goal is to send chapter 13 of TRC to my editor (Val) by Sunday before 1PM. If I don’t accomplish this, I’m going to slap myself on the face. 

These days, I’m slacking off too much. Whenever I sit in front of my laptop, ready to start revising, I end up surfing the net or replying to emails. This is very bad. So today, after work, I bought myself coffee and opened Microsoft Word, determined to revise Chapter 13 and send it over to Val before midnight. My eyes were puffy and my nose itchy due to my allergies, but I continued to work on it, until my brain would no longer function. So I’m putting it off until tomorrow until my brain clears up a bit. Oddly enough, I feel fine when blogging…

What I’m most stressed about right now is the last four chapters of TRC. It broaches on the subject of poverty in 19th century London which I don’t know too much of. M.M.Bennetts recommended a few books to me: The Regency Underworld by Donald A. Low, London in the Nineteenth Century by Jerry White, and The Roads to Waterloo by Gregor Dallas.  I’ve read a bit of The Regency Underworld already, so I know I’ll be able to find it in the library again, but I’m not too sure about the other two. Hopefully the library has it. Now, the main reason as to why I’m so stressed out by the last four chapters is that it’s what will determine whether the reader will either hate/forget or love my book. I’ve always believed that no matter how dull a book might be, if it ends with a bang, it tends to leave a good impression. So…ugh…I need these four chapters to stand out a lot. But as it is, with the outline I made for it, it’s so mediocre (though better than the original draft!). I’m confident about the final chapter (Hint: Brothel, Amanda, Lucas), but not it’s predecing four, is what I mean. Where is my muse! Where has my inspiration gone! Come back to me…..I think, once I have these four down pat, my next revision of TRC will be so much more smooth.

Sunday, April 26, 9:42 a.m.: Mission accomplished! I woke up early, the gloomy day inspired me, and I was able to revise Chapter 13 (fixing up what grammars and typos I encoutered, rewriting two dialogues, rewriting a few narrations) and just sent it to Val via email.