TGHP Day 5: The Midcentury Era Thinks You Suck (And So Does Your Spouse)

Today, I really didn’t housewife it up much because the lovely Johnny Rotten and I were out shopping. I finally harangued sweet talked him into going out to look for a dining room table that ISN’T a patio set reject from before we were married, and surprise of all surprises, he not only agreed to look, but we are having a Duncan!! Phyfe!! reproduction!! from 1940ish!!! dining room set!!! delivered some time within the next week.

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I guess I’m both cute and vitamin-enriched lately, because he just couldn’t resist my pleas for a real table.

So anyway, I’m 31 flavors of stoked about that, but I really didn’t do anything midcentury at all today, other than the daily tidying up that has become the norm around here. I’ll be posting photos the moment the set arrives, because YOU-GUYS-ITS-SO-PRETTY-AND-AWESOME!!!

Speaking of pretty and awesome though, did you know that you’re not? I mean, I personally think you totally are, and I mean that for each and every one of you, but the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s would beg to differ. In fact, they’ve been meaning to talk to you about a few things.

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First of all, your stocking maintenance has really been lacking lately, and you spouse can no longer admire you.

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And if you aren’t serving him breakfast in bed on your knees while he’s inexplicably dressed in a suit and tie, you’re wifing so wrong.

 

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I mean, he’s willing to be benevolent, but let’s face it, you’re pretty inept at ALL THE THINGS. Sorry to tell you, but you need to know.

 

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Your choice of coffee is so bad, you deserve to be physically assaulted.Image

Even if you’re an outstanding cook, and your choice of coffee is superb, you’d still better not get older. Your husband won’t love you any more, and understandably so.  Girl, THAT SKIN. Stop it.

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It’s not just middle aged women with middle aged skin that go unloved. If you don’t brush with the right toothpaste, 4 out of 5 dentists agree that your husband will stray.

But really, there’s one problem that’s more of a problem than the rest of your (many, many, many) problems.

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You haven’t cleaned your nether regions with Lysol, and you suck as a person. More importantly, you suck as a wife.

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No. He would not. In fact, it seems pretty clear that you disgust him in every single way he could ever think of, and even in a few ways he hadn’t thought of. Maybe you should go talk to your friends instead?

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Just kidding. You disgust them too.

 

Holy cow, you guys. I need a cookie and a hug just for reading through all of those.

My husband is standing in the way of my wifing

Johnny Rotten’s initial reaction to The Good Housewife Project was dismaying at best.

I announced that I would be getting up in the morning when he does, so that I could make him breakfast. Please note that I have made him breakfast a handful of times over the years, mostly because he was recovering from surgery and needed to have something in his stomach so he didn’t get all pukey from his medication. I’d like to say that I was doing it because I was nice and loving and caring and a Good Housewife, but I’d be painting myself to be far more nice and loving and caring and Good Housewifey than I actually am. Mostly, I did it so that he wouldn’t be hurt and vomiting, because that would be messy and smelly and very unpleasant to clean up.

Anyway, I told him that he was going to be getting breakfast every single morning for the next few weeks.

He looked at me, and a shadow of terror flickered across his face.

“But I don’t eat breakfast”, he said quietly.

“But you will! And I won’t even make it scary. I promise I won’t make you eat a pancake and sausage gelatin mold or anything!” I noticed the terror on his face, and forged ahead bravely. I know he thinks he knows what he likes and wants, but he hasn’t read the books on how a Good Housewife is supposed to please her husband, so his opinion really shouldn’t be taken as some hard and fast rule.

“Um. Yeah. Well, I like just coffee. And quiet. And, lets face it,  you’re pretty grumpy in the morning.”

“I won’t be if Im making softboiled eggs and toast triangles. It will be my pleasure to start cooking at 5 am every day, to ensure you get off to the best start possible!”

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This is not an egg. This is LOVE, simmered gently for exactly 4 minutes.

You’d think he’d believe me. You’d think he would be enticed by softboiled eggs. You’d think. He wasn’t, and he informed me that while I was welcome to get up at an ungodly hour, it was entirely too early to listen to me swear at eggs and make death threats to the toaster.

I didn’t say another word about it, because I was too busy saying a prayer of thanks about not having to get up to make eggs know that a Good Housewife wouldn’t argue over such petty matters, and would choose to respect her husband’s wishes and speak in dulcet tones or something.

 

Housewifin’: The Rules of Engagement

As you already know, I have decided to pretend Im a productive, cheerful 50s housewife for 3 weeks instead of actually being a 10s slovenly, snarky housewife. Why? Heck, I dunno. Maybe I want to get the house cleaned well and properly. Maybe I’m looking for a challenge and/or absurdity. Maybe I’ve lost my mind.Image

If you guessed, “She’s lost her mind”, you’ve guessed right!  Please grab your winner’s spoon and stay afterwards for your era-authentic prize– a big steaming bowl of weiner mixup!

If I’m going to do this– and I so am– there have to be clearly laid out rules of engagement, no? I need to have direction and a schedule, or I seriously run the risk of reworking this task in my head until it involves nothing more than me watching Mad Men episodes while drinking old fashioneds all day in bed.

Its been a bit tough finding good information on what life was really like for post war brides. Obviously, families then were as different as families are today, so what life might have been like for your grandmother isn’t necessarily what life was like for mine. The television and advertisement portrayal of housewives of that era ought to be taken with a grain of salt too. Im sure that Leave it to Beaver had just as much in common with the average woman then as Sex and the City has to the average woman now. Grains of truth? Yes. But perhaps, even likely, not the whole truth.

Anyway, I’ve had to cobble together what I think it may have been like then, and I have had to figure out how to fit my 2014 life into that idea for a few weeks. It’s not a time machine, and it’s not perfect, but I think– hope?– that it’ll give me a good sense of the spirit of this self imposed assignment.

From what I’ve gleaned, the housewife of the 1950s:

-attempted to make her home consistently pleasant, welcoming and clean.

-attempted to make herself attractive to be around, both in physical appearance and mannerism. It seems this is was mostly for the benefit of the husband.

-was thrifty, organized and capable of a wide variety of tasks

-filled a support role in the lives of her children and husband, providing them with a stable, relaxing environment to the best of her ability.

This all sounds pretty good, and I think I could definitely stand to build new, better habits.

Im going to attempt to follow a 50s housewife schedule and meal plan as faithfully as I can, but I am not going to be spending money or permanently ridding myself of modern conveniences so that I can look or act the part more accurately. I’m totally going to make an effort to stash the yoga pants (my dear, sweet yoga pants, for whom I already pine…) and look far more presentable during the day, but I’m certainly not going to be shopping for a poodle skirt so I can look 1950s while making this effort. Likewise, Im not putting my washer and dryer up on Craigslist so I can hunt down an authentic washboard and laundry mangle. My cell phone stays with me, and it stays on, and no one will get hurt.

Im also not about to compromise my family’s health by insisting on a full 1950s menu. Good grief, have you SEEN the amount of cream of mushroom soup they put on everything? Have you? It’s the sloppy, gloppy, brown lumped definition of terrifying. I dont think any of us would feel very well at all after a sudden switch like that. So, 4-5 dishes a week will be pulled from my vintage cookbooks, but I am not going to cook up all meals from the cookbooks.

Finally, I’m aiming for that general time frame, and Im not terribly concerned about it being a little wrong. Some of my cookbooks are from the 60s, some are from the 40s, and Im definitely not going to starve because those books are a few years off. I suppose everyone is just going to have to Deal With It. To make it up to you, I’ll be posting choice recipes from my collection, and daring encouraging you to try them. You’re welcome and/or I’m sorry for that.

So yeah! This officially starts when everyone goes back to school and work, and I’m looking forward to it!

Photo: ‘You’re welcome’ and/or ‘I’m sorry’ should be said again. Did I mention yet that I’ve probably lost my mind?

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