I picked up a vintage British book right before our wedding called “101 Things For The Housewife To Do.” I’m not a housewife in the traditional sense because I have a paying job (and zero talent or interest), but according to this book, I’m really not a wartime housewife from 1949.
I bought the book because the blurb made me laugh so loud, a mirthless grinch reading Ayn Rand actually shushed me in the bookstore. (Dear Grinch: Please stick to your unromantic dinners for one, kthanks.)
The back said:
“If you can learn to lift your ribs right out of your waist, and to let them expand outwards…you will soon develop that “upward buoyant poise” which is the secret of grace and which would bring less drudgery and more joy to the daily dusting, bedmaking, picture straightening, and all the dozens of things which go towards making your home beautiful.”
From this, I made some judgment calls about the British housewives of 1949:
-Rib removal = no big deal. These bitches were hardcore. Go ahead and blood-eagle yourself in the name of grace and dusting.
-Housewives have considered housework a drag since the beginning of Time, or at least the 1940’s.
-“Upward buoyant poise” seems like an unnecessarily high bar for cleaning out toilets.
-Bedmaking? (That’s not really a judgment, I just don’t know what it entails since I have a duvet.)
-Apparently pictures went askew at an alarming rate back then.
In 1949, this book was basically the internet for women. Instead of online advice from Martha or the FlyLady, they sat down, lit what I assume was a hundred candles, and educated themselves on wifing a household.
Husband: You know they had electricity back in the 1940’s, right?
Me: Shut up.