Clearly I’m a bad wife. And so are most of the women I know - that is, if you take notice of the article titled ‘The Good Wife’s Guide’ which featured in the May 1955 edition of Housekeeping Monthly.
Let me recite some of what was required of a ‘good wife’ back in the ‘good old days’, although I'm thinking there’s not much good in these days if you’re a woman!
The text read as follows and my answers (and I would suggest the answers of most women) are in in brackets.
Have dinner ready (Ok can do that…just. It may be burnt and cold but it will be ready. Most nights, or at least a couple per week. Okay let's say 1 night a week dinner is 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 (no chance).
Most men are hungry when they get home and the prospect of a good meal is part of the warm welcome needed (whatever)
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 (is this a joke?)
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 (how about shouting…does that count to counteract boredom?)
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 (don’t own one - sorry)
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 (and then put your own head in the fire)
Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Encourage the children to be quiet (in other words smother them….it’s the only way I’d get my kids to be quiet)
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 struggling with this one…)
Don't greet him with complaints and problems (what else is there to talk about?)
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 (stay out all night??? What’s a bit of infidelity between friends…)
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 (try not to spike it)
Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice (so this means the shouting is out?)
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 (I’m about to vomit)
A good wife always knows her place (ok, I have just vomited….)
So here’s the challenge. Could any woman today rise to the challenge and complete at least 5 of the above duties for a period of one week? I dare you?!