23 May 2010

A World of No

As far as 50s days go, yesterday, Day 6 of the 50s Housewife Experiment, didn't feel all that different from our usual Saturdays. While the guides don't specify, I figure the 50s housewife was able to take things down a notch over the weekend. We slept in, ate leftovers (much needed to clear out some space in the fridge, but I'm afraid that means there aren't any fun food pictures) and I tidied. We also tackled the boxes of miscellaneous "stuff" that I had been shoving in the den. Some went to our storage locker, some went to Goodwill and the rest was put away properly. Ah, that felt good! Clearly the 50s housewife thing is sinking in if that's what I think an awesome Saturday entails.

There were, however, a few low points in the day.

Patrick received a cruel lesson in 50s serving sizes when I only made him ONE bacon sandwich for breakfast. "This is a snack," he grumbled.

It was made worse when I revealed one of my favourite finds at the grocery store: glass bottles of Coca-Cola in the original 50s size. At 237 mL (8 oz) each, Patrick thought they were cute until I informed him he could only have one a day and not the entire six-pack in one go. "This is a *shot* of Coke. I could guzzle it without taking a breath!" he exclaimed as I swooned.

Despite having abused and tortured him so, he very kindly offered to clear some dishes. Little did I know it would bring me such pain. When I went looking for a bowl later that day and couldn't find it, I looked in the one place that had been off limits to me.

I don't know how long I stood and stared at my open dishwasher, but it had to have been at least five minutes. My lip may have trembled. And then, so sadly and so slowly while a violin surely played somewhere in the distance, I took the dirty dishes out of the dishwasher so that I could hand wash them. Oh, what a cruel 50s world I live in.

Speaking of which, I was flipping through my magazines and kept finding all these vague ads referring to "the most intimate of marriage issues." I was intrigued until I finally read between the lines and all the strange innuendos ("Have you let your daintiness fall to the wayside?" Um, what?) and finally realized theses ads were for something called "vaginal suppositories." In other words: douche. The most intimate of marriage issues is apparently a vag that doesn't smell like a garden of rainbows and unicorns. Neat.

Then I found the worst offender. Even though the ad starts out awful ("Maybe YOU are to blame"), it gets much, much, much worse when you recognize the product being advertised.

Holy Smurfette, Mother of Smurfs - LYSOL. They used to Lysol their crotches! And here I thought Massengill with its vinegar and herbs salad dressing formula was sick. Ugh. I just imagine poor 50s housewife scrubbing the toilet with the cleaner in hand - "One for you ..." *squirt* "And one for me ..." *squirt*. And all to mask her shame and please the real pussy, her husband. Like he smells like roses (or pine scent or lemon fresh or new car or what-have-you).

So, in case it wasn't obvious, this will be yet another thing I'll take a pass on when it comes to 50s housewife living - and if someone has a problem with that, it will be menus like the one below for the rest of the week (from the Searchlight Recipe Book):

10 comments:

dinah34 3:18 pm, May 24, 2010  

when exactly was the dishwasher invented?

could you not pretend that you were a wealthy family and that the dishwasher was your maid?

Jen 9:34 am, May 25, 2010  

The dishwasher was definitely around then, but those who had one often had a small portable one. I don't think a built-in was very common at all. Seeing as I've lived in places since moving to Toronto that didn't have a dishwasher, not having one wasn't going to be a super big deal ... or so I thought! Ha.

Anonymous,  10:24 am, May 25, 2010  

Lysol? That's disturbing!

Susan Being Snippy 9:31 am, June 01, 2010  

another late comment...
So do you bathe or shower everyday? the 50's housewife did not, she may have had a bath once a week. I don't think the use of products such as lysol was common, but I do know that my mother did a daily wash, at the kitchen sink, armpits, between her legs and sometimes her feet -- we often put vinegar in our bath water - my father never bathed at home, his workplace had dressing rooms and showers - he worked in a factory bakery.

Jen 2:53 pm, June 01, 2010  

Agreed - Lysol is / was totally disturbing.

I am loving your insights, Susan! My guides actually stressed that a daily shower or bath was necessary - but both made a point that the morning shower / bath needed to be colder, short and for a quick cleansing and "wake-up". One book (the Searchlight Homemaking Guide) even suggested an evening "wind-down" bath, particularly if one had trouble getting to sleep.

It does, however, also talk about water scarcity and / or being crunched for time and went into detail on how to take a "towel bath" (sounds similar to what you remember your mother doing!). They also describe taking a long weekly "health and beauty bath" with salts and oils.

I wouldn't be surprised if skipping baths and showers became more the norm once wives became mothers. I know my friends who have young ones at home NOW aren't always able to indulge in "bathroom time" as they did before!

Katie Gregg 9:26 am, October 28, 2010  

Random, I know, but is the title of this post a OMWF reference???? Cause if it is, I think I may be in love with you...

Anonymous,  12:59 am, April 23, 2012  

Glad to hear someone else noticed the whole 'Lysol as a douche' concept! I too experienced curiosity and then shock when noticing the solution to the 'mysterious marital problems' in my 1950s magazine collection.

Anita Elder 3:48 pm, December 14, 2012  

I watched something on TV recently...can't remember what...but the woman was using Lysol as a douche to help prevent pregnancy.

Kate,  3:26 pm, December 17, 2012  

^It was Boardwalk Empire. The Irish girlfriend. I was thinking the same thing.

DiggityDawn,  9:36 pm, February 04, 2013  

I just found your blog & I'm loving every bit of it, especially your 1950's HW experiment! I'm definitely a new fan! : )

When I had my first baby, my mom told me about the horrors she went through when she had my older sister in 1957. She said that while still in the hospital, that she got an infection ('down there') & they had her soak in Lysol. She said it not only burned & hurt like crazy, but that it made the infection worse. Having just come home from the hospital with a delivery that was a nightmare, I cringed everywhere, including 'you-know-where'! (Sorry to be so 'vivid'(?) ). She told me they used Lysol for everything back then. Glad we don't have to resort to that nowadays!

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Need words? I'm a Toronto-based freelance writer who injects great ones into blogs, websites, magazines, ads and more. So many services, one lovely Jen (with one 'n').

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