Author Topic: Fantastic advice about being a "good" wife from back in the day  (Read 5387 times)

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Elfmama

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Re: Fantastic advice about being a "good" wife from back in the day
« Reply #45 on: December 23, 2010, 07:53:09 PM »
I would not have married and stayed a "spinster" no matter how looked down upon that status was.
An interesting side note on 'spinster'; in the Middle Ages, the suffix 'ster' indicated a job description; moreover, it indicated that the person so designated was female.  A spinner was male, a spinster female.  And we started seeing the term 'spinster' just about the time that spinning wheels were introduced.  Previously women spun thread with a drop spindle.  Drop spindles were portable; you could spin during otherwise 'idle' moments, while you waited for the soup to boil or whatever.

A spinning wheel was different.  You actually had to stand or sit by it to spin.  So it wasn't something that a busy mother could use.  It was an ideal employment, however, for an extra pair of hands, like an unmarried sister or aunt.  She could do this and bring in cash money.  In some cases, enough money to enable her to live on her own, without being dependent on a man at all!  So 'spinsters' were some of the earliest of liberated women, not ones so old or ugly that no man would have them.  :)
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CaptainObvious

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Re: Fantastic advice about being a "good" wife from back in the day
« Reply #46 on: December 23, 2010, 11:28:48 PM »
I used to have a dating manual that was from the 50's. I would love to scan it and put it up online, but I moved around so much it got misplaced over the years. I don't know if it was my aunt or my father's book when they were teenagers but it was a hoot to read when I was a teenager myself and I loved showing it to my friends. The book was called 'Boy Dates Girl' by G*a*y Head (yes that really is the author's name)

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Boy-dates-girl-Question-answer/dp/B0007FGT7Q if you don't believe me..except my copy had a yellow cover, not a red one.


I not only believe you - I have that book too!!!

MrsJWine

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Re: Fantastic advice about being a "good" wife from back in the day
« Reply #47 on: December 23, 2010, 11:32:35 PM »


I have a blog.  I hate that word.


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Germane Jackson

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Re: Fantastic advice about being a "good" wife from back in the day
« Reply #48 on: December 23, 2010, 11:54:59 PM »
I used to have a dating manual that was from the 50's. I would love to scan it and put it up online, but I moved around so much it got misplaced over the years. I don't know if it was my aunt or my father's book when they were teenagers but it was a hoot to read when I was a teenager myself and I loved showing it to my friends. The book was called 'Boy Dates Girl' by G*a*y Head (yes that really is the author's name)

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Boy-dates-girl-Question-answer/dp/B0007FGT7Q if you don't believe me..except my copy had a yellow cover, not a red one.


I not only believe you - I have that book too!!!

I loved that book, I thought it was hilarious! It had been on my grandmother's bookshelf for years with loads of other ancient books and I finally asked her if I could have it and she said I could. After thinking about it and seeing that it was published in 1955 it was most likely my aunt's because my dad was born in 1948 and she was born in 1942 so she would have been around the target age for that book. No wonder she stayed single! :D

Luci

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Re: Fantastic advice about being a "good" wife from back in the day
« Reply #49 on: December 24, 2010, 12:07:38 AM »
OK. I have another thing for my gratitude journal tonight. I was raised by people who respected education and the independence of women.

The only custom I really like from the 50's rules is that the man pays for the meal and movie. Even if the rule was that the gentleman initiates the date, the woman had lots of ways to make him do it! (Been there, done that, successfully. That was our definition of flirting.)

Thipu1

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Re: Fantastic advice about being a "good" wife from back in the day
« Reply #50 on: December 24, 2010, 02:40:54 PM »
Back in the Day, there were Ladies.

In our family she was Aunt Jane. She never married and she worked.  At the time, the fact that she worked rather than stay at home and care for her aging parents would have been a minor scandal.  However, Aunt Beth didn't have an ordinary job. 

She was a personal maid to the daughter of one of the most wealthy families in the area.  As a 'Lady's Companion' to Miss Estelle Smith, Aunt Jane was always dressed in fine style although the clothes were the things her employer wore the year or two before. 

She became the arbiter of manners and taste in a family of pig-farmers.  Before my Mother was accepted into the family she had to pass muster with Aunt Jane.

I only knew her in her later days.  Aunt Jane was in her late 70s.  She lived alone in her little cottage near the rest of the family.  She would always dress up in a hat and gloves to take out the garbage.  At family gatherings she would eat her pizza with a delicate knife and fork. 

We often did her shopping for her but we had to lie.  Aunt Jane believed that prices at the market were what they were in the 1930s.  She's give a list and a 5 dollar bill for an order that would cost at least 30 dollars.  She expected change from her 5 dollar bill and got it.  We all had to humor her.         


Elfmama

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Re: Fantastic advice about being a "good" wife from back in the day
« Reply #51 on: December 25, 2010, 01:10:50 AM »
"Should your husband suggest any of the more unusual practices be obedient and uncomplaining but register any reluctance blablabla.." It's really funny how it assumes a woman would automatically not enjoy "unusual practices"; wonder if the textbook authors would have suggested that a man do the same should his wife ask for  "unusual practices"  >:D >:D >:D >:D
(sick minded kitten me...)

That I think is a legitimate pre-1960's attitude.  There was a very strong concept (among men and women) that there were certain things one didn't ask from a lady.  A gentleman either suppressed those urges or sought out a trained professional.
Some men *cough*yourgrandfather*cough* were surprised to find out that their new brides actually enjoyed the physical side of marriage...  Because ladies weren't supposed to do anything but lie on their backs, grit their teeth, and think of England. ;)
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aventurine

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Re: Fantastic advice about being a "good" wife from back in the day
« Reply #52 on: December 25, 2010, 02:38:24 AM »
When we first met, Lapis told me an "amusing" story about his paternal grandparents; how his grandmother would make an enormous spread every morning for breakfast.  They grew/raised their food and she would lay out a table groaning with grits, breakfast meats, biscuits, fries, and eggs done every way you could think of. 

His grandfather would come in, take one look and say, "Woman, don't you have anything here to eat?" and storm off down to the store for crackers and sardines.  The first time I heard this story, the look on my face must have been priceless.  Evidently this was told fondly as a charming tale of his crotchety old paw-paw.  I thought it was shameful and disrespectful, and I told him so.  That jerked him up short; he'd never thought of it that way before (in his defense, he was about 16 when we met). 

Later, I realized I didn't have all the information I needed to make that kind of judgment.  His grandparents had long since passed, so I inquired and got more insight into his grandparents' rel@tionship with each other and their kids.  Turned out I was right.   ::)







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Jolie_kitten

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Re: Fantastic advice about being a "good" wife from back in the day
« Reply #53 on: December 25, 2010, 04:58:38 AM »
I was reading that "don't forget that a man's pleasure is more important than a woman's" and remembered reading a blog on sexuality and sex education (google: "ask Dan and Jennifer" if interested) where in one article it said something like "a man should give a woman three orgasms during one intercourse before he considers his own pleasure, but follow this advice and you'll see it's not that hard to do.") Now I'm picturing the textbook authors reading articles from "Ask Dan and Jennifer" and consequently fainting.  ::)
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LadyClaire

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Re: Fantastic advice about being a "good" wife from back in the day
« Reply #54 on: December 27, 2010, 02:30:07 PM »
Quote
Things were different in the early 1900's. My grandmother was born in 1898, she could read and write, but didn't have much formal education because education was "wasted" on girls. Some famlies, of course, were different, but this was a prevailing attitude at the time.


That's why only my uncle went to college, even though my mother wanted to very badly. That was in the 50's. She would have been an amazing CEO.


My mother's parents wouldn't let her go to college because "it's not necessary to educate a woman". My Mom was born in 1954.

Germane Jackson

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Re: Fantastic advice about being a "good" wife from back in the day
« Reply #55 on: December 28, 2010, 01:10:00 AM »
I flunked Home Economics in Junior High. Well, I barely passed cooking and I failed sewing. If I lived back then I wonder what my family would have done with me? I still take pride in that :D


Sirius

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Re: Fantastic advice about being a "good" wife from back in the day
« Reply #56 on: December 28, 2010, 07:50:06 PM »
I do remember some advice to new wives from the 1950's that wasn't explicit, but had a lot of hints like "don't bother him with small stuff when he gets home; give him his paper and slippers and wait on him", or "change your dress and hair ribbon before he gets home, and clean up the kids" (I paraphrase).  It was the same kind of thing-HE is more important than YOU, so just be obedient and be quiet.

gui

The "fetch, female" attitude wouldn't have lasted two seconds in my home.  My parents got married in 1953, and my mother didn't subscribe to that philosophy or the "he's more important than you" philosophy.  I know why; my grandma worked just as hard as my grandpa did, and if Grandpa had expected Grandma to wait on him he'd still be waiting.  I remember one time back in the 1970s when my dad made some comment about how long my mother was taking to iron his Air Force shirt, and she handed him the shirt and the iron and said "Go for it."  An hour later he was still ironing and cussing, but he never made that mistake again.


Elfmama

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Re: Fantastic advice about being a "good" wife from back in the day
« Reply #57 on: December 28, 2010, 08:09:02 PM »
I remember one time back in the 1970s when my dad made some comment about how long my mother was taking to iron his Air Force shirt, and she handed him the shirt and the iron and said "Go for it."  An hour later he was still ironing and cussing, but he never made that mistake again.


Ah, yes, the "wash and wear" uniform shirts.   ::)  DH said "Why are you ironing it when it says right on the tag 'wash and wear'?"

I handed him one that hadn't been ironed and when he asked "What did you do to make it all wrinkled?!?!" I wanted to kill him, but contented myself with explaining that "wash and wear" does NOT equal "permaprest".  Rather forcefully, I'm afraid...
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It's true. Money can't buy happiness.  You have to turn it
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Sirius

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Re: Fantastic advice about being a "good" wife from back in the day
« Reply #58 on: December 28, 2010, 08:17:19 PM »
Mr. Sirius was smart; he bought a couple extra uniforms and took them all to the cleaners.  When he was promoted I told him, "In the interests of domestic tranquility please take your uniforms to the tailor to get the new stripes sewed on."  I did sew on one set, but that was only because he needed a shirt the next morning for a promotion ceremony, and he took me out to dinner to thank me.

Lady Snowdon

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Re: Fantastic advice about being a "good" wife from back in the day
« Reply #59 on: December 29, 2010, 03:33:53 PM »
My grandmother was told when she graduated high school, that if she wanted to continue on with her education, she'd either need to be a teacher or a nurse, since women only went into three professions: teacher, nurse or assistant.  She chose nurse, ended up getting her master's in health education and sat on the founding boards of several hospitals. 

She really wanted to be an architect or a lawyer.  While she loved her profession, she still talks sadly about how much she wanted to do something else.

When my mom graduated from college (in 1978-79), she was told (not by her parents; by friends) that, since she didn't have a serious boyfriend and/or wasn't married yet, that she was going to be a failure at life!  It still irritates me so much that even a woman's friends would do this!!