Wednesday, March 05, 2008

"In the Beginning ... back in 1955 ..."

"In 1955, being the perfect wife meant dinner on the table, a pretty ribbon in your hair and a sympathetic ear for tales of your husband's very important day".

Who say ? Why, the Good Wife's Guide, of course - one of the key documents of the dark days of the 1950s, perfectly demonstrating the subservience that modern woman has escaped.

"Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you will be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking.

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.

Prepare the children. Take a few minutes to wash the children's hands and faces (if they are small), comb their hair and, if necessary, change their clothes. They are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part.

Minimise all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet.

Over 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 for his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.Don't ask him 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.

And finally, a good wife always knows her place."

As the Yorkshire Post's Sarah Freeman says :

"The 1955 guide, an unforgiving blueprint of how to look after the man of the house, achieved almost legendary status when it was published"

And Maxine Soghmanian, organiser of the Ideal Home Show (and the provider of the 'comparison survey' which lazy journos cut'n'pasted), said :

"It's amazing to see how much we have changed since the 1955 Good Wife's Guide was written."

Well, yes.

And we have changed ... not very much - given that the Good Wife's Guide was knocked up around 1990.

UPDATE - Sam Tarran reports that the Good Wife's Guide is being used now, in his state school's English AS level course, as an illustration of attitudes to women in the 1950s.


Anonymous said...

Of course if you ask anyone was there in 1955 things were not very like that.
The bloke handed over his pay packet - often unopened. The wife decided near everything.

Unknown said...

Never mind 1955, my parents were married in 1963 and my father just handed over his wage packet all his working life.

Anonymous said...

Ah, but it is fake but true, which justifies anything on the Left.

Anonymous said...

Chief Seattle would approve.

dan said...

Wildgoose, never mind 1967, my girlfriend of 10 years phones me to tell me that my wages have been deposited, and then tells me how much I am allowed to take out.

Anonymous said...

Surely this is an urban myth.

Has anyone actually seen this book?

If so, did they check the fonts? I bet it was produced using Microsoft Word.

It's simply no believable that anyone, even in 1955, could write stuff like that.

Laban said...

If you follow the link you'll see that it apparently emerged as a fax or photocopied article in the late 80s. The current version (see Wikipedia) features a 1957 magazine cover, clipped from a website set up in 1990.

Mr Grumpy said...

Very much like the 'rule of thumb' urban myth - remember?

Anonymous said...

No magazine called 'Housekeeping Monthly' has ever been published in Britain. But the title is sufficiently close to the real magazine 'Good Housekeeping' to induce a "I'm sure I've heard of it somewhere" type reaction.

The tone of the spoof piece would be unrealistic for the 1930s, never mind the 1950s.

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