The Good Wife’s Guide

goodwifeHousekeeping Monthly. May 13, 1955. The Good Wife’s Guide.

I’m sure you’ve all read it at some point and had it e-mailed to you. It’s pretty much a guide for wives and mothers on how to please their man. As I read through the archaic, misogynistic suggestion list I was equal parts amused, bewildered and — most importantly — thankful for the much needed blog fodder.

But that’s how life was back then for a lot of people. And while I know a few people who still follow these traditional gender roles, I think this is pretty unrealistic for most of us. So while husbands in the 1950s could expect these things, I thought I’d make the 2009 version of the Good Wife’s Guide. First I’ll list the 1950s version, followed by my version. And remember, these original suggestions were really published in a magazine.

1955 — 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 get home and the prospect of a good meal is part of the warm welcome needed.

2009 — Whoever gets home first makes dinner. We’ve planned ahead, grab that frozen chicken that’s in the freezer. Better yet, grab some KFC. This is a way of letting him know that you have no ambition to cook because he’d rather have take-out anyways. Most men are hungry when they get home and most women tell them if they want a delicious home-cooked meal they better do it themselves.

1955 — 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.

2009 — Guys, prepare yourselves. Take 15 minutes of alone time in your car after work before going home to the madhouse so you’ll be refreshed when you arrive. Forget about her touching up her make-up or putting a ribbon in her hair. The baby grabbed the make up and hid it months ago and the cats are playing with the ribbon. If she doesn’t have some sort of vomit on her it’s been a win.

1955 — 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.

2009 — Don’t expect her to entertain you or listen to how tough you had it at work. Either she’s a stay at home mom and dealt with screaming demons all day, or she was at work herself. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide him with a kick in the ass and tell him to stop feeling sorry for himself and change a diaper.

1955 — Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives. Run a dustcloth over the tables.

2009 — Clear a path through the clutter so the two of you will at least be able to locate each other through the mess. And what the fuck is a dustcloth?!?

1955 — During 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 to his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.

2009 — You should definitely start a fire, just in case he pisses you off and you feel like shoving him into the flames. If husbands come home and expect to kick their feet up by a nice cozy fire while the kids are running around screaming and flinging their own poo at each other, he’s going to need to escape to a safe haven before he is assassinated to your immense personal satisfaction.

1955 — Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Encourage the children to be quiet.

2009 — Minimize all noise so you can trick him into thinking no one’s home. At the time of his arrival, sprint out the door while tossing the kids his way along with a note about the clothes that need to be washed and dried, and the floors that need vacuuming. Be sure to feed the kids straight sugar before you ambush him.

1955 — Be happy to see him.

2009 — hahahahahaha!!!!!!

1955 — Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.


1955 — 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.

2009 — Listen to me fellow husbands. You may have a dozen things on your mind that you want to tell her, but the moment of your arrival is not the time. Take care of her and the kids first. Remember, your family is more important than bitching about your day at work.

1955 — Don’t greet him with complaints and problems.

2009 — Actually, I like this one. Let’s keep it.

1955 — Don’t complain is he’s late for dinner or even if he stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through at work.

2009 — If you are late for dinner or stay out all night without calling, forget about not complaining. Start worrying about finding a new place to live. Count that as a minor punishment compared to her going all Hulk on you and using your testicles as a punching bag.

1955 — Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or lie him 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.

2009 — If he tries to come home from work and not help out with the kids, it’s going to be the electric chair he gets laid down in. That cool drink might be his last. If you’re trying to talk to each other you’ll have to scream as loud as possible, because you’re each taking care of a kid, they’re both screaming and Barney is blaring on the TV, not to mention the two barking dogs.

1955 — Don’t ask him questions 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. A good wife always knows her place.

2009 — Guys, don’t ask her any questions or question her judgment. Even if we’re right and she’s wrong, it’s still our fault. Remember, she may let us think we have a say but she is Queen of the house and if we get out of line she will use her power to unfairly punish us with a lack of sex and an abundance of attitude. You stand no chance against her because a good wife always knows her place.

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18 thoughts on “The Good Wife’s Guide

  1. I get caught some where between these two schools of thought. I was basically raised by my grandmother who made Donna Reed look like a grade A slacker.

    I try to keep in mind that this was written during a time when the baby was spending the day in a lead paint covered crib while mommy did all the housework in a gin haze. Perspective.

  2. One of my grandfather’s favorite lines was to say how he split the housework evenly with my grandmother. Something to the effect of “you cook, I eat. I make a mess, you clean up.” Somehow I think you’d need Gil Grissom and the CSI unit to find the remains of modern man if he tried to pull this crap today. Excellent post!

  3. Funny post!

    1955 – Gays getting electric shock therapy

    2009 – Getting married and having a family

    Boy we sure have come a long way 😀

  4. I have to share this with my husband. I don’t know that he reads any blogs but I’m sure he’d enjoy yours. I laughed out loud. I especially like #4 about clutter. I do have to work on number 10 though… And as for the last one, you said it my friend!

  5. Good post. My life feels the exact opposite of 1955. I don’t mind helping her out though because watching the baby is much harder than what I do anyway.

  6. What happened to 1955, I think I my have liked that better. .

    :: runs away fast before his wife or any other mother reads this ::


  7. I showed my wife the original version and she told me that she’s like a wife like that. I’ll she her this one and see what she says.

  8. That was fantastic! My most fun read of the day so far! The 1950’s one never gets to old to laugh at and the updated version is pure comedic gold. 2 thunbs up!

  9. Considering that I’m in the wife role of the 1950’s version I’m screwed. While I don’t go quite as far as it insists, I still try to be pretty damn close, but that’s just what I grew up with and is in no way expected by my wife.

  10. What the bloody hell happened in here?!?!?

    ROTFLMAO!!!!! You lost me at ebony soul pole LMAO!!!!!!!!!

  11. I don’ know about the rest of you wimps. but it’s still like 1955 in my house.

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