Friday, January 23, 2009

The Good Wife's Guide - Blog Edition


Bella, That Damn Expatriate recently posted a list of The Good Wife's Guide purported to have appeared in the May 13, 1955 issue of Housekeeping Monthly. There is doubt as to the actual origins of this piece that’s been faxed around and e-mailed since the early 80’s. However, I’ve seen several similar lists and even an educational short film instructing the 1950’s wife and children how to prepare properly for the arrival of the Mister after a hard day at the office. So it's real in the 1950's sense - or senslessness. Whichever

Bella tagged all wives reading her post to comment on each of the points. It took me several days to tackle this, because I've been married to the Mister for 39 years, and we've settled in to a relaxed mode of give and take. That's why we're still married.
Also, I was a woman of the eighties back in the sixties. I wasn’t a woman’s libber or a hard line activist, I just looked around and thought what the hell is going on here? Where’s the equality? Get real! Get me out of here!

Anyway, here goes:


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 get home and the prospect of a good meal is part of the warm welcome needed."

He lucked out here. I enjoyed cooking and was of the three things on plate mind. Even if one of the three things on the plate is the ketchup.


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.

I worked during 99% of my married life. I got the kids ready in the morning, dropped them of at preschool, worked a full day, picked them up again and then got home and made dinner. The 15 minutes of rest took place while I waited for the water to boil, or the oven to preheat. What’s left of my makeup, applied at 6:00 in the morning, is what he got. No touch-ups unless it was a splash of spaghetti sauce or flour on my nose. The only fresh thing in the house at dinnertime was the salad.


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.

I suppose it would be interesting if I were a little bit gay.


Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives. Run a dust cloth over the tables.

I kept a rake and a garden hose around the corner of the living room for just such an occasion.


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.


Coincidentally, it is cool right now. Although we don’t have a fireplace, I lit a fire for him all right – all that underwear I’ve been trying to convince him to replace. And those blue shorts. Gave me a lift. And some personal satisfaction too, come to think of it.

Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Encourage the children to be quiet.

Buzz off! If I didn’t do laundry in the evening sometimes, the kids would have to go to school naked. This no doubt would have affected their citizenship grades.


Be happy to see him.

I still am.


Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.

The smile was there, but I was a bit busy, thank you.

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.

I'm starting to get a headache. So I should hold off telling him the kitchen is on fire and one of the kids is missing until he's had an opportunity to outline his day for me?


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.

Give me a break!


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.

How about I just put some cotton balls in his ears.


Don't greet him with complaints and problems.

So I won’t mention that the hot water pipe in the master bath is leaking until water starts dripping on his head at the dinner table? Would that be the proper time to mention it?


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.

Stays out all night is a pretty disturbing addition to this statement. He did work afternoon and midnight shifts, so yeah, I didn’t complain except for the part where I only got to see him on weekends..


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.

The Mister and his Laz-E-Boy chair were one. I never had to suggest that. I only suggested occasionally that if he didn’t get out of the chair I was going to have to poison the warm drink I was about to dump on his head.


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

Spoken in a low and soothing voice: Poopkins, if you don’t get out of that chair in one minute and do something I am going to have to kill you.


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.
Good grief


A good wife always knows her place.

It’s with him - and on equal footing.

If you would like to take a stab at this (not at your Mister) consider yourself tagged. If you need me for anything, I'm going to take two asprins and a nap in the Mister's Laz-E-Boy

15 comments:

Tova Darling said...

This made me laugh:

"I suppose it would be interesting if I were a little bit gay."

And this made me smile:

"Be happy to see him.
I still am."

Nice work!

Hello Mary Lou said...

I loved those two answers too. I myself am a total 50's housewife but understand that it is not for everyone.

Call Me Cate said...

Fantastic responses. I do try hard to be a good wife but some of those ideas would make my head explode. No way no how.

Jeanne said...

For the four months or so that I haven't worked full-time (or more than full-time) since we've been married, I actually did a lot of that stuff. Sounds good except for the being-okay-with-him-staying-out-all-night part -- that warrants changing the locks, in my mind.

Martha said...

Ha, ha, ha, thank you for the funny, I love "the little bit gay" and your makeup line. Great post, Muse Swings, and Mister Muse Swings is very, very lucky to have you as his "Missus".

Janeen said...

Yea, I can leave comments again! That was so frustrating yesterday! This was FUNNY! I can tell you put a lot of thought into those answers! ha ha Very funny!

Ragamuffin Gal said...

OK I have to tell you ~ this post made me Laugh out loud really hard! You are a good writer and I love your sense of humor. You said it sister! and congrats on making it that many years, I hope I can!!! Blessings! Katie

Patty said...

I love this post..Most men would love it if we were a little bit gay lol..

Bella@That damn expat said...

Spoken in a low and soothing voice: Poopkins, if you don’t get out of that chair in one minute and do something I am going to have to kill you.

Hahah

Good job! And thanks for participating!

Mim said...

I love the idea of the rake in the living room.

Bibi said...

Hi! This post reminds me of a book my mother gave me when I was around 12, entitled "On Becoming a Woman." I Googled it, and of course it's out of print, but I did find another blog who came across it in a thrift store. Have a look at: http://blinkytreefrog.livejournal.com/80660.html

MuseSwings said...

I checked it out, Bibi - that's one scary book!

soulbrush said...

ooooops, i'm slipping...ha ha i may take up this tag! thanks so much for all your lovely comments about my little maggie. hugs.

steviewren said...

Things have changed a lot in the last 50 years. Some men have even changed. Good for them.

Jennifer the Daughter said...

Aww too bad I didn't have this for a book report back in "those" days of you prepping for Da to come home...belch!