Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Good Wife's Guide

I stumbled upon this while watching NCIS (in which a creeper trapped women underground in a bunker, dressed as a bride, with this book to learn how to meet his fantasy needs) and got a good laugh out of it... then I thought about it and realized that though this is supposedly published May 13, 1955 in a Home Economics Textbook, a fair portion if it... though modernized... is still done today. Even by me, a self proclaimed undomesticated hellcat.

  • 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 be thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they get home and the prospect of a good meal is part of the warm welcome needed.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives. Run a dustcloth over the tables.
  • During 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 to his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.
  • Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Encourage the children to be quiet.
  • Be happy to see him.
  • Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.
  • 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.
  • Don't greet him with complaints and problems.
  • Don't complain if he's late for dinner or even if he stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through at work.
  • Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or lie him down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him.
  • Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.
  • 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.
  • A good wife always knows her place. 

Original Link

Snopes also did an article on the above set of rules and determined that there is no proof that it is fact... nor is there proof that it did not happen. See that article here:

Snopes: Good Wife... Fact or Fiction?

Now, I read and reread these 'suggestions' and at first glance, thanked God that I am not a wife in the 50's and reveled at how far we have come. Then, I faltered.

I do make it a point to think during the day about what would make a good dinner, and at what time would suit both of us to eat. I do usually take a minute to make sure that I don't have anything stuck in my teeth, and fix my pony tail. I do go through and clear away clutter, specifically from around his recliner, so that A) the house SHOWS that I have been cleaning (all women know that it is possible to clean your butt off for hours on end and to the male eye, it appears nothing has changed) and B) so that he can have room to put more clutter, spread out, relax etc and C) so that my house does not become a mess... clutter tends to bother me as well. It makes me feel smothered. I like open spaces on counters, floor space, wall space etc. It gives one the illusion of not being boxed in. But I digress. I always greet him with a smile and am happy to see him when he arrives home.. not just from work, but from anywhere. I do encourage him to relax and I do not expect him to 'entertain' me. I ALWAYS attempt to understand his point of views and listen to him about his day etc.

Let's see... that's what, 8 out of the 10 things listed above? Now, do not misunderstand me, I am not opposed to doing my part to make my husband a happy man for as long as he also makes efforts to remain my husband, be a good husband, and make me happy. But it does strike me... have the modern housewives come as far as we thought? More importantly, are we unhappy with this revelation?

I can openly admit that there is a certain amount of satisfaction I get from making my husband happy... to an extent, I can even say that I am happy if I am making him happy (to an extent naturally... there are always exceptions). And even to me, a high strung filly, I find my self objecting less and less to this ideal. My goal since birth has been to be happy... if I am happy, does it matter that I am subjecting myself to a more modernized version of woman slavery? Ehhh... it seems more silly to object to happiness regardless of how small based solely on principle.

It gives one cause to wonder doesn't it? Ahhh, much like Sherlock Holmes, I love a good theory to test and a puzzle to ponder. Now I suppose I'll need a pipe... boy, wouldn't that send the 50's tabloids abuzz? The idea that my actions could not only make people of this time cringe, whisper, or roll their eyes but that I could in fact reach across decades with my tom-foolery is no less than fantastic! And that, my friends, makes me happy... you know, like a good wife.


  1. Lmao. I've seen the excerpt before. My wifely duties include vacuuming, making sure there's food in the fridge, and keeping all his clothes clean. I can give a rat's ass what the outside world thinks about it. He doesn't complain and we're a month away from being married 4 years, so I'm obviously doing something right. So who the hell cares?

  2. Touche Mrs. WASP. I agree that as long as the two of you are happy, then why should anyone in the outside world have a say in it?

    My question is: How do you feel about the advancements or lack of advancements in the role of housewives today? Also, as a modern day Scarlett O'Hara, how do you feel about fitting into a stereotype, though admittedly a slightly modernized stereotype?

    It is not a matter of how people look at your (or my) situation from the outside but rather how you feel about it looking from the inside out? Having been a long time friend of mine, you know how I feel about molds and being smashed into them. I am happy with my role... but it is an epiphany of sorts that as a current housewife, I am little more 'independent' than a housewife in the 50's. I too vacuum in high heels and pearls (as you know ;D) and drink my Earl Gray tea from a cup with a saucer and my pinky slightly raised and do so with pride. But, I do those things because I like to, not because it is mandatory for me to do so. It is a whole different matter if I am doing things because it is what society dictates...

  3. Looking from the inside out, I find that society has evolved more than we think. There are more duo working marriages, house husbands and single mothers than ever. I see them and I see myself not in black and white but full color. No gray area. Everyone is doing their own thing in their own way. I find that the stereotype only exists for those that let it. It's mostly shown more in sitcoms and reality shows that have taken the housewife, turned into a shopoholic media mogul who can't hold her own liquor let alone join in decent converstion ie Real Housewives, Basketball Wives etc. Granted this genre shows women who have money but not affluence so the stereotype while shown is muddled.

    I don't mind being thrown in the stereotype especially when deep down it really shows a woman who would lay down everything to care for her husband. Is it really all that demeaning to keep the house neat and dinner made, to have soothing conversation when he walks in tired from working making all the money that puts a roof over my head, food in my stomach and clothes on my back? I think not.

  4. In all honesty, I agree. It is not demeaning for me to love my husband and to show him that I love and appreciate him every chance I get.

    I am surprised that I have not been looking at this in full color... I am usually great at sprinkling unveiled and unbiased perspective on my opinions or at the very least not being 'stuffy'. I have never been a complete fan of black and white on most issues... More of a pink and glitter gal. I must say that I am a little disappointed in myself for not seeing this part of society in a less stiff manner sooner, or rather, not viewing it in a more panoramic view.

    I appreciate the splash of cold water... reminds me to remove my 'all about me' glasses. :D