A lot has changed over the past 60 years, not least the relationship dynamic between men and women, and wht is expected of each. It’s not until we get a glimpse into the past that we see how much things really have changed.
An extract from a 1950s Home Economics Book recently went viral on the internet, due to its advice given to wives on the subject of doting on their husbands.
Back then, it was pretty much unheard of for the wife to have a career and for hubby to stay at home, so therefore it assumed that every domestic chore was down to wifey.
So, what’s first on the list? Have dinner ready, of course.
“Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal on time”, it reads. “This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs,” the extract reads.
“Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospects of a good meal are part of the warm welcome needed.”
While this might be true – I mean, who doesn’t like food being made for them – it certainly wouldn’t go down well in today’s PC climate!
It’s not just the food and the housework that need taking care of, mind you. According to this extract, you need to make sure that you look just as pretty as the house does.
“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. His boring day may need a lift,” another piece of advice read.
Other advice included ‘preparing the children’ to ‘play the part of little treasures’ by washing their faces and combing their hair and ‘minimizing all the noise’ – including the vacuum, dishwasher and washer. It really was another world, wasn’t it?
Women were also encouraged to make their husbands as comfortable as possible, by having them ‘lean back in a comfortable chair’ and preparing a ‘cool or warm drink ready for him.’
Oh, and good wives are seen, not heard, apparently: “Speak in a low, soft, soothing and pleasant voice,” it says. Allow him to relax – unwind,’ the advice reads.
Of course, for every list of ‘do’, there has to be a corresponding ‘don’t’, and the book certainly has those. Absolute don’ts included greeting husbands with ‘problems or complaints’ – especially if they are late for dinner.
‘Count this as minor compared with what he might have gone through that day,’ the book reads.
The wives were also told to ‘let him talk first’ regardless of whether they had things to say and to ‘make the evening his’ and ‘try to understand his need to come home and relax.’ Can you imagine the reaction if someone said that now!
As you can imagine, the list amused and outraged a whole bunch of people who shared it online.
“I’m trying to figure out who this is more patronizing towards; women for being expected to do all this on top of their extensive list of things to do, or men for needing to receive this treatment following the average day at work,” one man wrote.
However, there were also those who didn’t see a problem with a marriage like this, as long as there is mutual respect:
“I remember my mum doing all these things growing up. And dad treated her like a queen also. The respect for each other was enormous. Best marriage I have ever seen” a woman added.
One thing’s for sure – things sure have changed a lot since the 1950s. What do you think of the book, folks? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!