Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Good Wife - Sheesh

A friend sent me a website rhapsodizing about the good old days, the early 50's mostly, before I was born, and the mid-50's when I was born.

Included was this:
The type is small I know, so I'll take the time to type it out. Then, I'd love it if you shared your response with me. (Curious? While some of the suggestions I consider common courtesy for husband, wife, or child, I found myself shocked by a lot of it. And then I was happy the women's movement arrived when I did to save from me a life that would have made me suicidal. Cassie said, "Well, that was obviously written by a man." I might add, a narcissistic, possibly cheating man.)

Okay, here we go:
The Good Wife's Guide

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. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal (especially his favourite dish) is part of the warm welcome needed. [So far so good.]

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

3. 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. [Duty? Be a little MORE interesting?]

4. Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives. [Oh, yes, the king doth approach.]

5. Gather up schoolbooks, toys, paper etc. and then run a dustcloth over the tables. [Dust the freakin' tables? Everyday?]

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. [Immense personal satisfaction. Don't light a fire because you and the children might enjoy it, wait for his royal highness, then find your satisfaction in catering to him.]

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. They 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. [Little treasures playing their parts? No wonder my generation is messed up.]

8. Be happy to see him. [If you have to be advised to do this, there are serious problems that food, fire, and a ribbon won't help.]

9. Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him. [Huh? How does one do this? Show sincerity in your desire to please him? Are we to fake a smile and fake sincerely desiring to please him because if we sincerely desire to please him this whole step is redundant? Ah, this explains a LOT.]

10. Listen to him. 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. [Grrr.....yeah, sure, any topics I bring up such as personal business, the children's needs, the car blew up on I-5 but I only broke my pelvis, and 'by the way, I may be pregnant again' are not as important as his 'manly' topics.]

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. [Is this mutual? Can the wife ditch the dude? I mean, she has a world of stress and pressure - a bunch of kids, er, um treasures - he can't even deal with and a mother-in-law from the underworld.]

12. Your goal: Try to make sure your home is a place of peace, order, and tranquility where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit. [This is a good one, I applaud this, but not just for the man, for everyone who enters the home; family, friend, neighbor, invited stranger.]

13. Don't greet him with complaints and problems. [Another good one. It's a common courtesy we can all share with one another to respect the tired among us.]

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. [Holy smokes. Yeah, leave the lady to stay on her shift of caregiving for the kids, answering the phone, dealing with the same stuff she's been faced with all day, and now explaining to the kids and whomever why he's out and she's subbing for him. Huh uh.]

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. [Frankly, I was nervous about where this was gonna go. But then I remembered, it was the 50's and people just didn't talk about that.]

16. Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice. [Hmm. Same thing one does for a crabby baby.]

17. Don't ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or 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. [Yes, it really says that!]

18. A good wife always knows her place. [Firmly under the sole of her husband's royal shoe.]
Thank God the times changed!


tshsmom said...

I read this a few months ago and laughed myself silly. Your comments are exactly the same as mine.

14 and 17 blew my mind! C'mon, I've NEVER known a woman who would put up with that crap! A woman who would follow this advice must have "Doormat" printed on her forehead.

My Grandma was a farm wife and worked as a team with my Grandpa. She would've laughed herself silly over this article, and she was raising kids in the '20s and '30s!

Hannah said...

So after a long day of slaving around the house and kids, the house has to be immaculate, the children looking like silent manicured dolls, your makeup and hair has to be perfect, dinner made and you can't complain about it?!

Yeah-Thank God for feminism!

Cherie said...

Tshs: I know what you mean about the grandparents. Mine were all hard workers, too, and the wife was every bit as important as the husband in getting the day's work done. No time for primping and pampering. Good grief. I'm wondering how long this mindset was in play and if it was result of the conveniences - electric washer/dryers, ranges, toasters, coffee pots, canned and frozen foods - becoming accessible and affordable. Did the men think they ran/cooked themselves? That women - raising children, shopping for clothes, groceries, etc., making meals, sewing and mending, gardening, canning, defrosting those old freezers, washing, IRONING (which I HATE, it's hot and tedious and takes forever if you iron as much stuff as my mom used to iron, including sheets and pillow cases), and so much more - had little to do all day and what they did ought to be done in a dress and heels? And lipstick? And with a fresh face and a loving smile? And often no car so they walked to the stores, schools, etc.?

Anyway, I'm glad them days are gone! No more Stepford Wives.

Cherie said...

Hannah: Ridiculous, isn't it. And yeah, Thank God!

tshsmom said...

I think you and I were lucky to have better role models than the women who succumbed to the Stepford Wife Syndrome.

LOL about the ironing! When SME was in high school, 100% cotton clothing was the rage. I told her she'd better learn to iron, because I wasn't doing it. ;)

Sandy said...

I couldn't even get through this without the temper flaring. My Gosh! No wonder why we're all screwy!

Anonymous said...

Laughed out loud - I remembered the Othello days when I helped build our little temporary house, cleared sagebrush and helped plow etc etc. besides taking care of the house. Thank goodness UF didn't expect all the other. However - some of the things mentioned I followed almost to the letter and guess it works cause the 15th will be our 64th Anniv. Love - AJ

cecily said...

I remember blogging this one ages back, but my comments are nowhere near as good as yours! The funny (or not so funny thing) is that Frank really likes the house tidy and sometimes I do have to run around and pick up before he comes home. Other times I just leave it and put up with the heaviness... hey, we both work so if he's home before me could he do a few things I'd like while we're at it?!

And the 'don't worry if they don't come home' thing reminds me of 'mad men'. Have you seen it? Set in the 50s, I've only watched it once or twice, but I think it raises the lid on what they did when they stayed out all night while the wives pretended everything was good!

Cherie said...

Tshs: About the ironing - yep, I told the kids the same thing. I will not be a slave to an article of clothing.

Sandy: You and I - so similar!!

AJ: Precisely! You have always been a hard worker - ribbons, or no. And yes, you do testify that a doting wife is a treasure. I know you didn't do the things you did out of duty, though. You did them out of love. And you continue to inspire.

Cecily: All the while I read this Guide and made my comments I was thinking about women with jobs outside of the home and wondering if there was a Good Husband's Guide. I know you and I could come up with a doozy of one. Ha!

And, yes, I've seen Mad Men - and I agree. Raises the lid.

thebookbaglady said...

Your editorials cracked me up!! I'm so thankful that Bill's take on life has been, 'When I'm at work you're at work, too.' I've talked to some women whose husbands did expect the house to be picked up when they came home from work. For crying out loud--those guys need to spend several days at home with young kids and see if they can keep the ends tied.

Thanks for sharing. SOoooo glad times have changed.

joysong said...

What I want to know is where is "The Good Husband's Guide?" I wholeheartedly agree with you, Cherie...THANK GOD times have changed!! :o)