Thursday, December 07, 2006

this woman knows her chosen "place"

Ok, once upon a time, I thought it would have been neat to live in the 50's. I've always been a fan of the music of the era. I love the whole look of the fashionable poodle skirt, the saddle shoes, and bobby socks. Maybe even a scarf in hair. I can just picture myself, sitting on a tall stool at a soda fountain, either a tall cherry fountain coke or root beer float in hand. Ahhhh heaven. I'll admit to finding many a bartender cute, so I'm sure the classic "soda jerk" would have been potentially problematic for me. My friends who accompanied me on many a run to Bourbon there for a while know what I'm talking about here - haha.

I even still have this lovely piece of nostalgic attire in my closet from back in the third grade -- a purple felt poodle skirt handmade by my mom, which I've sported on many occassions, from school talent shows, brownie/girl scout lip syncs, to Halloween in college.

I never think though about all of the other cultural things that would be so different from the progressive times of today. Last week I was having lunch with my boss's boss to talk about several work-related things and, oddly enough, the topic of dual-career households and the increasing importance or interest by the female in their career. It was ironic that today WT sent me the below article from the May 13, 1955 issue of Good Housekeeping. Wow.

Now, granted I do realize that if we were living in 1955, very likely my thoughts, opinions, and expectations would be very different than they are now. I would like to think that I would still be as independent, free-thinking, and ambitious as I am today regardless of what decade I were to be placed in, but I'm sure LJ in any other decade would not necessarily be the subtly opinionated one you find writing to you now about the horror of the below comments. Maybe it's the tone they take in the following... or maybe it's just the assumption of what's the correct role for males and the correct role for females that bother me.

I've often been told from my taste in music to some of my personality traits that I'm an old soul. I wonder if I'm losing a bit of that? I'm truly Southern. You meet me, and I think people pick up on some of that Southern-ness that you never really lose. I've never taken to cursing. I've never smoked in my life. I pride myself on always looking presentable, and not for other people, but for me.

But there are certain Southern "rules" that I don't abide by. Perhaps those who are 100% by the book Southern would view me as one who's strayed from the pack in some ways. I don't believe a girl should have to be asked out by a guy. If I want to ask someone out, I will. And, I have. I don't believe in certain timeframes to wait before returning phone calls. I don't do the whole cool and disinterested thing. I'm not a game player. I do own a copy of "The Rules", but more for amusement and to see where I see myself differing from the standards they're laying out.

So I definitely don't see myself in the 50's female role... not the Stepford Wife mold, that's for sure. My lack of skills in the culinary arts would likely be exhibit A. Below I've inserted the full and exact text from the article...

  • 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. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal (especially his favourite dish) is part of the warm welcome needed.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives.
  • Gather up schoolbooks, toys, paper etc. and then run a dustcloth over the tables.
  • 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.
  • Prepare the children. Take a few minutes to wash the children's hands and faces (if they are small), comb their hair and, if neccessary, 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 the noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Try to encourage the children to be quiet.
  • Be happy to see him.
  • Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.
  • 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.
  • Make the evening his. Never complain if he comes home late or goes out to dinner, or other places of entertainment without you. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his very real need to be at home and relax.
  • Your goal: Try to make sure your home is a place of peace, order and tranquility where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit.
  • Don't greet him with complaints and problems.
  • Don't complain if he's late home for dinner or even if he stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through that day.
  • Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or have him lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him.
  • Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.
  • Don't ask him questions about his actions or question his judgement 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.
  • A good wife always knows her place.

Well, this single girl knows her place. Hah. I was telling my boss's boss at lunch that I'm thankful that I've passed that window where there was such pressure post-college to settle down with that person you were seeing at that point in time and, in many cases, shelve dreams and ambitions that would potentially conflict with theirs. I'm to the point of knowing and appreciating that my career and my dreams are equally as valuable... and I'm proud of that personality trait that I was kind of uncertain about at the time. At the time I didn't know the specifics of where I wanted to go specifically with my career, but I knew it wasn't to go back to MS/AL and that it wasn't to be the "trailing spouse". I think many females think being too open about what they think on these types of things will scare guys away. As harsh and direct as it might sound, it is what I think... and if that scares someone, then they just aren't meant to jive with my perspective. Period.

As a side note, thinking about this decade has made me really want a root beer float. How wrong is that for this early in the morning? Pretty darn wrong, I'd say.


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