Since it’s Valentine’s Day I suppose I should wish all of you lucky people out there with spouses and sweethearts (or both!) happy Valentine’s Day. It’s probably the right thing to do. But when you think about it, since you already have someone to wish you a happy Valentine’s Day, someone who will, no doubt, shower you with flowers, or candy, or other tokens of their affection, I’m thinking why the heck do you need me to wish you one, as well? By rights, I should be wishing those people (uh, yeah, like me) who don’t have a significant other in their lives right now Happy Valentine’s Day. We’re the ones who need the good wishes. We’re the ones who need to be remembered. Right? As far as I’m concerned, the only people who have permission to whine today are those who have a significant other in their lives and still don’t receive a Happy Valentine’s Day greeting. That’s rough.
Now that the obligatory Valentine’s Day wishes are out of the way, I want to share something that had me shaking my head and had my daughter going, “This has got to be a joke!” when I showed it to her. The object of my scorn and her shock? 'The Good Wife’s Guide', published in Housekeeping Monthly back on May 13, 1955. Yep. That’s right. Nineteen double nickels. It was part of a class discussion in a class I’m taking. And boy, is there fodder for discussion. Due to the length of the ‘good’ wife’s guide (who knew there was so much to remember?) I’ll post the ‘tips’ that are most noteworthy. Editorial comments are in red (for Valentine’s Day!)
Tip One: Have a delicious meal ready for your husband on his return. This is a way of letting him know 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 is part of the warm welcome needed. (Hello. Aren’t like most people hungry at dinner time?)
Tip Two: 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. (Oh, yeah? And she’s been with a pack of snotty-nosed, whiney kids all day. Let’s see if he looks fresh after a day with the crumb-crunching midgets!)
Tip Three: Be a little gay (I’m not touching this one) and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties (duty??) is to provide it. (Tell me the last time cooking, cleaning, laundry, and child care qualified as ‘interesting’.)
Tip Four: Clear away the clutter. Gather up schoolbooks, toys, papers, etc., and run a dustcloth over the furniture. (In my house this would be more along the lines of blazing a trail.)
Tip Five: Over the cooler months, you should prepare and light a fire for your husband 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. (Shoot me! Shoot me now!)
Tip Six: Prepare the children. Take a few minutes to wash the children’s hands and faces, 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, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer, or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet. (Talk about children should be seen and not heard. Oh, right. Only when ‘daddy’s home’. Until then, they’re free to wail like banshees. Jeesch.)
Tip Seven: Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him. (What is your will, my lord and master? -- See tip twelve.)
Tip Eight: Listen to him. Let him talk first--remember his topics of conversation are more important than yours. (What? Poopy diapers, vomit, and toilet bowl brushes don’t make for scintillating conversation?)
Tip Nine: Never complain if he comes home late, or goes out to dinner or other places of entertainment without you. Don’t complain if he’s late getting 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. (If my dh stayed out all night, what he had gone through that day would be minor compared to what he experienced when he got home!)
Tip Ten: Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low soothing, and pleasant voice. (No way. Not even with odor-eaters!)
Tip Eleven: 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. (I know. I know. The kitchen and the bedroom!!!! )
And there you have it. Housekeeping Monthly’s Good Wife’s Guide circa May, 13, 1955. My daughter thought I made this up. I replied nobody could make this kind of stuff up. Not even the dangerous divas at Killer Fiction.
Happy Valentine’s Day again! And feel free to share all those romantic gifts and loving gestures you received with us at Killer Fiction. And I promise I won’t hate you.
~Bullet Hole Bacus who is SO glad she wasn’t a woman of the fifties~