I will admit right up front that, when Tatiana said there was something over at her blog I would like, and I found this, my very first thought was to title this post something like "Tatiana Finds Kleinheider’s Master Plan!" But then I see that Kleinheider has gone and pissed off the Tennessee Guerilla Woman. And so I thought maybe it wouldn’t be nice for me to add to his discomfort. Still, there’s a lesson in there. I’m not going to spell it out for you, but I am going to laugh about it.
I saw this before Mrs. Wigglebottom and I struck out for our morning walk and our whole walk, it just made me really sad and angry. I’ve got some questions:
1. Who wrote this article? Was Housekeeping Monthly staffed by women or men? Because if men wrote this, it pisses me off, but I give them props for their ingenuity at trying to insure a cushy life of ease for their fellow men. But if women wrote this, if women who worked all day actually had the gall to lie to other women about how hard a life the people with "real" jobs have and how those people need to be coddled when they get home, fuck them.
I am not a stay-at-home mom. Obviously. But I do have some nephews that my brother has left me in charge of occasionally and I have babysat and from that, I have extrapolated that there’s nothing about my job that is as difficult as spending all day alone with small children.
Really, 1950s wife, unless your husband is a police officer or emergency room doctor, your husband’s job is not as stressful as yours. No one might die if your husband goes into his office after lunch and takes a nap.
The worst part is that it’s 1955; if that wife didn’t have a job outside the house fifteen years ago, her sisters or mom did. But let’s all pretend like women never worked outside the home and so life out there is a big mysterious question answered by lies about how hard it is.
2. I’m struck, also, by how shitty a life this must have been for the husbands whose wives tried to adhere to it. It seems to me that, as nice as it would be to have someone take care of me from the second I walked in the door until the second I left it again, some of this shit would make me awfully lonely.
"Don’t complain if he’s late home for dinner or even if he stays out all night."
"Don’t ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity."
"Have dinner 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."
"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."
Do you see what I’m saying? I have some experience with married men and the thing that strikes me about them is that they like to talk. They answer questions. If they’ve done something for a reason, they like to explain the reasoning behind what they’ve done. Unless they are abusive assholes, they want to hear about your problems and they want to help fix them, if they can. In other words, they aren’t mysterious. They’re just people.
And nothing about this set-up is geared towards either the husband or the wife really acknowledging the humanity of the other.
Shoot, gentlemen, think how, whenever we have the discussion about how I can’t understand why y’all would rather be needed than wanted and you all chime in with how ‘want’ can fade or change its mind, but being needed feels permanent to you.
Now think of that home life. What is that husband needed for?
The whole point of that life is to give the husband the illusion that the household runs just fine without him. No wonder he stays out all night. And even him staying out all night can’t provoke the human response he must be so desperate for, because his wife has been told to never bother him about that stuff.
That version of married life is great for abusive assholes–because it’s far easier to treat someone like shit when they’re trying very hard to keep their basic humanity hidden from you for fear of running you off.
But for real people? Who want very much to love each other and be there for each other? That kind of life would have to be hard and lonely as hell–a marriage where neither needs the other as a person.