I have recently had the privilege of meeting Mauryne, a friend of a friend, who immediately struck me as the latina version of my grandmother; outspoken, smart, bawdy & unapologetic.
We are preparing to celebrate the marriage of two of our favorite women and decided for the bachelorette party of one that we would give her ‘advice cards’ on being a ‘good wife’ with the idea of being as ridiculously 50’s as possible.
This is Mauryne’s response which I thought warranted sharing. I think it’s important to take time periodically to remember the advice that was considered normal to give to women just 50 years ago. Not only so that we do not repeat it but also so we can understand the origins of the struggles women are left with in the wake of these distorted & oppressive teachings.
Since I’m the “Old Dog” here and from the 50’s I’ll chime in. Thank God for Gloria Steinham enlightening us 50’s girls to a new way of life with a partner.
Here are some of what I actually did, I saw my friends do, and by word or action, from society, parents, & friends I was told I must do to honor and obey my man.
A woman must get married before she is 25 or she is considered an old maid.
A woman must marry a man with enough money because she will have to be a good housewife and clean house and care for the children.
A woman must learn to cook her partner’s favorite foods and avoid cooking things he doesn’t like. Even if you like onions and he doesn’t like the smell of them cooking, do not cook onions!!!
When partner gets home from work, be bathed, make-up must be on perfectly, hair in place. Now if partner wants you to have long hair, you must obey, even if you like short hair. You must shave legs and pits and most important keep that cho-cho (va-jay-jay) ( wu-hu) absolutely clean and sweet smelling. Oh yes, be sure to douche often.
Wife must never instigate sex. That is for the man to do. And, always stay on the bottom.
Be sure to allow partner to handle all the income, even if some is yours. Ask your partner to allow you to keep 2 checks and $25 just in case you need to buy something.
If spouse does not want you to wear bright colors or short skirts (because you look good and have nice legs) you must comply. Remember partner wants to be the only one that sees your beauty. That is a compliment.
Condoms may be against your spouse’s religion so be sure to practice the rhythm method. Ask Granma Mauryne and she’ll teach you how to practice not getting pregnant.
You must allow your partner to approve of your friends. If a person calls for you, your partner knows best who you can talk to or not. Know it is only because you are loved and being protected. Also when visiting friends, if your spouse wants to go home, you must leave immediately even if you are having a lot of fun. Graciously excuse yourself.
If you like to smoke and your partner smokes too but tells you, “I’d like you to quit smoking because it isn’t lady-like”, find a barn or a shed that you can go smoke when partner isn’t around. Be sure to rinse mouth out with Listerine, chew gum and spray your hair and clothes with air freshener. Partner will never know.
You must allow your spouse to approve of your reading materials. Some may be too racy for you or have too many ideas about being an independent woman.
You must allow your spouse to make all major decisions regarding how to spend money, what kind of car to buy, how many children you can have & whether or not they can attend church, and especially the kind of home you will purchase.
The wife must cleave unto her spouse, obey her spouse and honor her spouse. If so, she shall remained married until death do they part.
Okay my dears, that’s all I can come up with for now. I know you have issues today with partners but back in the day, it was pretty awful. We don’t ever want to go there again. It took me 35 years to get out of that “Old Thinking”… and sometimes I slip.
I thought about one of my friends who used to do this kind of stuff (even though I did the same kind of crap). All her husband had to do was tap on his coffee cup and she rushed to grab the pot of coffee and would pour him a fresh cup. I was worse because all Steve had to do was look at the plate of green beans and I’d say,”Honey, would you like some more green beans?” I am ashamed to admit this but it happened. Plus, I was the one smoking behind the barn with his mother!!!!!!
And the last one. I can’t believe I’m thinking about all this…. is when my friend Helen and I ran away from our husbands in the early 80’s because they were buttholes and all we could do the whole trip was talk about what they liked and what we could buy them that they needed. Believe this my young women friends. This is all true.
Hugs to all of you. I wish I were your ages and knew what I know today. Remember what we create today– is of our own making in the future.
PITA (pain in the ass) Mauryne