Monday, August 8, 2016

I Could Totally Be a 1950's Housewife

Every once in a while something particularly delightful comes my way via the internet.  Yesterday was one of those days, where a website revived a 1955 article from Housekeeping Monthly magazine titled "The Good Wife's Guide."

I can't imagine reading this article and ever taking it seriously.  I can't imagine Derek ever expecting any of these things of me.  Every time I go back and read it, I think, "No...NO.  Surely not.  Surely no one ever read this and thought, Hmm, that sounds reasonable, or Something to aspire to!"  And maybe it's the raging optimist in me, but I have to think that most 1950's housewives found this equally ridiculous.  I know women who were housewives in the 50's, and I'm having trouble imagining them swallowing this garbage.

I feel like if anyone ever put these kind of expectations on me- including myself- I'd end up as some kind of insane cross between Passive Aggressive Wife, Murderous Wife, and It's Torture Tuesday! Wife, and the list put into practice would look, well, something like this.

1. Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready, on time for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs.
Have dinner ready.  Make it a seven-course meal every night.  Insist he take huge helpings of each food.  Heap second and third portions on his plate.  When he begins to look sick and says he can't eat anymore, ask why he doesn't love you.  Cry.

2. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal (especially his favorite dish) is part of the warm welcome needed.
Make his favorite dish for supper.  Every night.  For weeks on end.  When he carefully, politely asks if you'd possibly like to have something else for supper sometime, ask why he doesn't love you.  Cry.

3. Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you’ll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your makeup, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people.

4. Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it.
This is how I interpret being "a little gay and a little more interesting."  Definitely wouldn't scare him.

5. Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives. Gather up schoolbooks, toys, paper, etc. and then run a dust cloth over the tables.

6. Over the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering for his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.

7. Prepare the children. Take a few minutes to wash the children’s hands and faces (if they are small), comb their hair and, if necessary, change their clothes.
Like this?

8. Children are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part. Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet.
"Try to encourage the children to be quiet."  But what if I'm out of duct tape?  What then, Housekeeping Monthly?

9. Be happy to see him. Free him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him. Listen to him.

10. You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first — remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours.
Still out of duct tape, and besides, that stuff hurts when it's time to take it off!  I have sensitive skin, Housekeeping Monthly.

11. Make the evening his. Never complain if he comes home late or goes out to dinner, or other places of entertainment without you. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his very real need to be at home and relax.
Wait, if he has a "very real need to be at home and relax" then why is he going out to dinner or other places of entertainment without me?  Whoopsy, there I go thinking again!

12. Your goal: Try to make sure your home is a place of peace, order and tranquility where you husband can renew himself in body and spirit.
Too late, we already have kids.

13. Don’t greet him with complaints and problems.
Got it.

14. Don’t complain if he’s late home for dinner or even if he stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through that day.
Raise your hand if you're familiar with this movie and can tell me why it's a reasonable response to #14.

15. Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or have him lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him.
I thought waterboarding was illegal now?

16. Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.

17. Don’t ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment of integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him.
I'm pretty sure this is how you end up married to a grand wizard of the KKK.

18. A good wife always knows her place.


  1. Most of that list isn't bad :)

    P.S. Internet, I need somewhere to sleep tonight

  2. I know some women who may have followed some of those, but definitely not your Grandma VS! My mother in law was a saint though.

  3. Thank you for the laugh out loud! If you hadn't made it funny, steam would have been coming out of my ears (and not just so I could steam-clean my head for my husband's benefit). I cringe when I consider the women who had to live this way. I'm sure there are some who still do.


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