How `The Good Wife’s Guide’ has changed from ’50s to the present |

How `The Good Wife’s Guide’ has changed from ’50s to the present

Heidi Rice

There was a stunned silence for a moment on the other end of the phone before Marianne broke out into peals of laughter.”NOOOOOO,” she said unbelievingly, between giggles. “That can’t be real! You’re making it all up!””Nope,” I reassured her. “I swear I’m not. It says right here that this ran in the May 13, 1955, issue of `Housekeeping Monthly.’ Apparently, that’s the way it was back then. …”I was reading her an article that was sent to me by a friend, titled “The Good Wife’s Guide.” The information was obviously meant to advise women on how to be a “good wife” and ways to prepare for their husband when he came home from work.The article offers helpful hints such as:-“Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready on time for his return.”-“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 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.”-“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.”-“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 the day.”Marianne was absolutely appalled.”I’d take the ribbon out of my hair, wrap it around his neck and pull it until he turned BLUE if he didn’t come home all night,” she threatened. “THAT’LL put him in a tranquil state!”But obviously times change … and so do the rules. …The Good Wife’s Guide to the ’60s:-Have a hit of acid waiting for him when he comes through the door – he is weary from protesting all day long.-Softly hum “Leaving On A Jet Plane” or “If I Had A Hammer” as he relaxes and the drugs begin to take effect. …-Untie the bandanna around his forehead and comb out his long, scraggly braids. Take off his love beads which may have gotten tangled in his long, scraggly beard.The Good Wife’s Guide to the ’70s:-Make sure the disco ball in the living room is clean and free of dust.-Have him lie down and undo the top button of his Angel Flight pants which are so tight that there is a good chance he can no longer have children. Don’t worry about the top buttons on his polyester shirt – they are already undone to his navel. …-Clean and polish his multiple gold chain necklaces so they shimmer when he struts around to the sounds of “Saturday Night Fever.”The Good Wife’s Guide to the ’80s:-When he enters the house, let him find you in tights and leg warmers furiously dancing around the floor while chanting, “She’s a MANIAC … MANIAC!”-Shout “OmiGOD! Like, you’re TOTALLY HOME!” to show him that you are glad to see him.-Be entertaining and interesting. Crank up Madonna’s “Like A Virgin” and roll around on the floor in your wedding dress …The Good Wife’s Guide to the ’90s:-In a loving voice, inform him that from now on, the family will no longer eat anything that has a “face” and serve him a scrumptious dinner of tofu and organic brown rice.-Relay all the details of your self-help group therapy session.-Tell him you’d rather do aerobics than have intimate contact. The Good Wife’s Guide to 2000:-Every time he attempts to tell you about his day, answer your cell phone. … Remind him that you work, TOO, and that your job is much bigger than his. …-Declare that all correspondence between the two of you would be more efficiently done via e-mail.-Tell him to get his own damn dinner.New Castle resident Heidi Rice’s column appears every Friday in the Post Independent. Visit her website at

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