The wife's guide to happy families

24th July 1998 at 01:00
Teachers of the female sex! Here's an amusing holiday-time test of your partner's deep-down and most basic beliefs about the real role of the little woman in his life; to say nothing of the subliminal turn-ons of your (male) classroom colleagues. Request his reaction to the following and prepare to be surprised.

The year is 1955. The magazine: Housekeeping Monthly. With no apology to Chaucer the article is entitled the Good Wife's Guide (to welcoming her husband home).

"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. Remember, he has just been with a lot of work-weary people.

"Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready for his return. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospect of a good meal (especially his favourite dish) is part of the welcome needed.

"Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives. Gather up schoolbooks, toys, papers etc then run a dustcloth over the tables.

"Over the cooler months of the year light a fire for him to unwind by. Catering for his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.

"Prepare the children. Take a few minutes to wash hands and faces, comb hair and change their clothes if necessary. They are little treasures and he would like to see them playing the part. Minimise all noise. At the moment of his arrival eliminate the sounds of washer, dryer or vacuum.

"Make him comfortable. Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him. Have him lean back in his chair or lie down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him. Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.

"Be a little gay (sic), and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it.

"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.

"Make the evening his. Never complain if he comes home late or goes out to dinner or other places of entertainment without you. Instead, try to understand his world of strain and pressure and his very real need to be at home and relax.

"Your goal: to ensure that your home is a place of peace, order and tranquillity where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit.

"Don't greet him with complaints and problems. Don't complain even if he stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through that day.

"Don't ask questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house and such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him. A good wife always knows her place".

The views I'm sure of the Taliban. The politically correct among us will shudder. The little treasures will hoot with mirth. And women everywhere will reach for the Chianti bottle.

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