Don’ts for Wives

It’s 9:00 a.m. on a Saturday
and I do not have to work
so here I sit, smoking cigs and s**t,
and fig’ring what duties to shirk…
(apologies to Simon and Garfunkel)

So, what can I do instead of getting out my steamshovel and clearing away all the crap currently filling my apartment? I promised myself I wouldn’t knit anything until at least the living room and spare room were done…

I know – I could read. That’s educational, anyway.

This should be fun. Let’s have a look:

From the intro:

Art is a hard mistress, and there is no art quite so hard as being a wife.


Damn tootin’!

Moving along to the main text:

Don’t worry about little faults in your husband which merely amused you in your lover. If they were not important then, they are not important now…

Faults? Hmm… such as bugging me to comb my hair all the time? Wanting to be given a medal for washing the dishes? Never throwing out an empty toilet paper roll? who says those aren’t important?!?!?

…besides, how about yours?


Mine?!? My faults? I don’t have any faults!!


Hmm… on second thought… hey, how do you like my loud hawaiian-style elephant shirt, anyway?


Scored it in Thrift Villa in Parkdale some time back for $5! Not really something a housewife in 1913 would have worn, though, I guess…

But I digress. Back to my reading.

Don’t live on top of a spiritual mountain. Try to be “a creature/not too bright and good/for human nature’s daily food”.

What?!? That doesn’t even rhyme? What the hell is this supposed to mean? I’m confused. But then I don’t live on top of a spiritual mountain, so I guess I don’t have to worry about it.

Let him be as messy as he likes in his own home…

Sure… that is, until I get tired of it and throw away all of his “important paperwork” that he keeps hoarding (junk mail, old newspapers, etc.) later today.

Don’t spend half the morning in bed because “there is not enough to get up for”. The day is not long enough to do all of the things you might do if you liked.

Oh – such as cleaning up after your husband?!


Anyway, the only reason I sleep in half the morning is that I’m suffering from a bit of the Tenant Advocate cheer the night before. But I guess that wasn’t the housewifely done thing in 1913, either. Good thing the list of tips doesn’t say: “Go out with the Tenant Advocates for several beer and Irish nachos every Friday after work.” I don’t think I could stick to that one.

Don’t greet him at the door with a catalogue of the dreadful crimes committed by servants during the day.

No fear of that. This is the only servant in the house:

Or is that “helpmeet”?

(Don’t feel too sorry for me, though. I think I may have mentioned before that I don’t even know how to operate this iron…and I’ve never quite mastered putting up the ironing board, either. Anyway, substitute “clients” or “boss” [in past!] for “servants” and that is probably a tip I could learn from.)


Don’t object to your husband getting a motor-bicycle; merely insist that he shall buy a sidecar for you at the same time.

Hmm – I wonder how JJ would look in a sidecar? What do you think?


JJ – King of the Household.

Don’t buy expensive food, and have it ruined in the cooking. If your cook isn’t up to French dishes, be satisfied with English ones cooked to perfection.

Well, since I had to let the cook go, the Husband will just have to content himself with this:

At least it fits the “not too expensive” category!

Don’t permit yourself for a single instant that nothing is more annoying to a tired man that the sight of half-finished laundry work. The remotest hint in your home of a “washing day” is like a red rag to a bull.

Bull, indeed. Two answers for that guy:
(a) do it yourself, then; or
(b) drop it off at the Wash n Fold!

Anyway, I think I’ve read enough. Time to get off my lazy @$$ and clean the damn house. I guess I’ve learned something from the book, eh?

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