On Thursday night Mr 17 asked me the following question:
"Mum, how old were you when you learnt to cook?"
I had to think about it for a while and eventually replied that I started learning at school in Home Science classes and then learnt more after I left home. My mother was a dreadful cook, hence why I didn't learn at home. Dreadful I say, dreadful. You have no idea. No, really, you don't.
I asked him why he was interested.
His reply "Well I like to eat good food and I'm worried I will never find a girlfriend or a wife who will be able to cook it for me. No one I know has any idea how to cook. I hate eating things out of a packet or a jar and that is all my friends know how to cook. I'm worried I'm going to have to do all the cooking!"
I was totally amused that as a 17 year old this was something that occupied his thoughts. It got me wondering about the roles of men and women and how they have evolved over the years. Things are definitely different now, but is the role of the woman as the carer and the role of the man as the provider something that is innately within us all no matter how much things change?
I found some 1950's Housewife Rules and thought it might be interesting to modify for the modern women, because whilst I am a caring type of person, Betty Draper I'm most certainly not!
- 1950 - 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.
2011 - Leave work, remember you haven't taken anything out of the freezer, stop at the local IGA, pick up a hot chook and a premade coleslaw, race home throw it on the bench and tell him to dish up dinner for the kids while you go to the bedroom to get changed. While there you lie on the bed for ten minutes and catch a nanna nap. He'll be so busy with the kids he won't think to come and find you.
- 1950 - 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.
2011 - Now that you've taken your 10 minutes to nap, change into comfy shorts and floppy t'shirt, minus bra and remove all traces of makeup from face. The last thing you want after a day at work is to look remotely "doable", because fending off unwanted advances is far too tiring. When you finally come out looking pale from your sleep, feign a headache and you may earn some additional rest time.
- 1950 - 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.
2011 - I am not even going to amend this one. If he wants you to be a "little gay" so you will be more interesting, it's quite clear he shouldn't be in a heterosexual relationship and you might want to start thinking about a divorce.
- 1950 - 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.
2011 - It's freaking cold, you arrive home and get narky because he has been home for some time and hasn't bothered to put the heater on. Wear a neck to ground nightie with socks and trackie dacks underneath and remind him that this attire "will not" be coming off when you retire to the bedroom later this evening.
- 1950 - Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.
2011 - When you arrive home, greet him with a forced smile, accompanied by a "what have you been doing since you've been home? The kids aren't bathed and dinner isn't on. Do I have to do everything around here?" Be sincere in your ab-domination of him, you need to be sure he understands just what is required for next time.
- 1950 - 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.
2011 - Don't give him time to talk. Tell him all the things you have had to deal with today. If you like you can bring up some old stuff that he needs to be reminded of, because it doesn't hurt to rehash old stuff. Let him say something every now and then, even if it is just to give you some additional fuel to keep going. Remember your topics of conversation are far more important than his.
- 1950 - 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.
2011 - Don't complain out loud if he's late for dinner or even stays out all night. Give him the silent treatment and withdraw all forms of physical contact for an indefinite period. Leave him home with the kids every night for the next week while you go out and seek comfort with your girlfriends. What he might go through at work is nothing compared to the next month he's going to get at home!
- 1950 - Make him a cool or a warm drink, arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.
2011 - Throw him a beer as you make yourself a Mojito. Lie down on the comfortable lounge and request a foot massage. Speak in a low, soothing, pleasant voice as you convince him to cook dinner while you "recharge".
- 1950 - 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
2011 - Don't question his judgement when he presents you with a new vacuum cleaner for your 40th birthday when you have been clearly hinting at a diamond bracelet for the last 9 months. Remember, your birthday comes before his so when his rolls around and when you present him with a $300 voucher at the poshest Day Spa in your city it is all in the order of fairness.
- 1950 - A good wife always knows her place.
2011 - A good wife always knows her place - even after a big night out with the girls drinking many Mojitos and dancing up a storm. She will always find her way back home, to her place, just in time for her good husband to hold back her hair so she can throw up in the toilet.
What do you think? Would your husband prefer to be living in the 1950's? Does he fancy himself as a bit of a Don Draper wannabe?