Sunday, January 30, 2011

I Hope My Smile is Warm Enough ...

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!

  1. 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.

  2. 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. 

  3. 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. 

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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!

  8. 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". 

  9. 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.

  10. 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?



  1. Well done, I love it! I think my poor husband gets more 2011 housewife than he would like.

  2. For Don, I'd consider it. But no, Phil dipped with me I'm afraid. I can cook, just don't overly enjoy it and housework, blah, hate it. Very funny Miss Annie x

  3. Love it. I posted the Good Wife Guide in all its original glory (scan of a fax!) ages ago last year, but this is so clever! I'm chuckling, thanks Annie. xx

  4. "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."

    This is me. I'm not working, but as he does most of the cooking in the house. This is the best shot I have of providing a meal for all of us! I am also known for slipping off for a quick nap!

    Funny post Annie x

  5. I would never have passed muster as a wife in the fifties.... :)
    Thanks Annie

  6. Woman you are hilarious! My planning ahead involves checking it there is anything left to defrost in the freezer and then asking him to warm it when he gets home. Wife. Of. The. Year here ;)

  7. Love it Annie, take off his shoes? Ugh! How great do WE have it? If I'd been a fifties wife I'd definitely be chain smoking, addicted to bex and Valium, and probably having it off with the door to door vacuum cleaner sales man!

    Annie xxx

  8. Loved this- very funny! My husband cannot wait for me to go back to work so he can quit, so I think he's quite happy with the modern world. He also has a predilection for Brazilians, and I'm not sure they had those in 1950. ;)

  9. Oh I love the 1950s housewife rules ... they always get a laugh from me, but you've just made it funnier with your 2011 version. God, no wonder 1950s wives were depending on Mother's Little Helper. (Gin I think, don't know if they had valium back then? Poor things. My Mum STILL thinks the man is more important, and that it's dreadful if he actually has to iron his own shirt or help out with cooking and/or the kids!

  10. It's so hard being a 2011 woman, isn't it. The reality is definitely more as you described it, and yet, there is still something in us that expects at least SOME of the 1950s housewife - Look at how popular Nigella is! I feel for young men these days. At least a 1950s working husband knew what to expect - a boring, drunk housewife, trying to cover it up with fluffy goodness. Today, he's likely to get a frazzled, overwhelmed wife, who is feeling inadequate because she just can't get the Betty Draper thing happening OR alternatively, the sassy 2011 version you described above! How do you prepare a 17 year old for that - perhaps teaching him to cook is the best answer after all!

  11. :D Thanks for the laugh. Times sure have changed thank God! I would have failed the '50s rules. It is sad though that so many kids these days have no idea how to cook an actual meal. I say teach your son if he will let you, it may be the only way he gets a good meal when he is on his own.

  12. I marveled my mothers tator tots when I was a kid, now I realize they were from the frozen foods sections and sprinkled w/ seasoning salt.

    so glad we are not living in the 50's---more honest, free & the ability to pause live tv. thank Gawd!

    great post!

  13. Love it - I hope that Mr17 takes your rules as gospel and learns to cook!

    Thanks for Rewinding at the Fibro.

  14. Ha! At least your 17 year old is thinking ahead...he won't be disappointed after reading your updated guide and will be seeking cooking lessons pronto! x

  15. LOVE THIS! Im stealing your Idea and modifying it for life in the US,LOL,Thank you!


Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me x

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