If you thought I was a navel-gazer before, check out this post! I think I can see my spine!
During this round of the 50s housewife experiment, my blog was picked up by a feed or two and the experiments (both the original and the latest one) were mentioned on a few websites, some with much larger audiences than mine ... like here and here and here and here and here and here. Please – take a look! The rest of this post makes much more sense with that bit of context.
Getting the increased traffic was both exciting and terrifying. Knowing more eyeballs were watching added some pressure to "perform" – but that wasn’t what made my stomach feel achy – it was
the Ring of Plenty all the unfiltered opinions, many none too complimentary, about me, Patrick and this very goofy "experiment."
If you’re going to share parts of yourself online, you have to expect criticism. I completely do. If I get to enjoy the nice things people say (and there have been some very nice things – thank you!!!), I have to expect some not-so-nice things will be said as well. It’s sometimes easier said than done, but both Patrick and I have pretty thick skins, a sense of humour about ourselves and a certain amount of openness to actually consider the validity behind the critiques. In fact, some of the comments were actually quite witty, and I love wit regardless of which side of the argument it falls.
The bulk of the conversations that I linked to above happened over a week ago, which means for most people, those threads are about as buried and forgotten as sweet Mark Linn-Baker’s career (I’ll save you the effort of clicking and / or Googling: He was Cousin Larry in Perfect Strangers).
But even though I realize that no one cares anymore, I’d like to clarify a few points brought up in some of the comments on those websites. After all, a *slobber ... drool* publisher could one day stumble onto this, and I’d hate to miss out on the opportunity to frankly explain what this book-worthy blog is all about and who this Jen But Never Jenn person really is.
A smart and classy woman would take the high road and continue along as if unaware of anything that's been said of her; a post like this is probably a bad idea. But it should come as no surprise to regular readers: I am not a smart and classy woman. So here’s the deal:
- When I’m not being a publicity-seeking attention whore, I like to keep my husband, Patrick, in a small but comfortable cage in the den. I’ve decorated it with masculine tastes in mind – a brown, corduroy beanbag chair, a few jaunty denim throw pillows, and a neon Budweiser sign to act as a night light. By storing my husband in this setting for the majority of the year, I’m able to establish a control to which I can compare my highly scientific experiment results against.
- I don’t consult with Patrick about whether I’m going to do a bizarre lifestyle project that impacts him in nearly every way nor does he get any say over the fact that I’ll be sharing it all on the friendly Internet. I’ll tell you what I tell him: It does what Jen demands of him or else it gets the hose again.
- During our “normal” life together, Patrick never gets alone time. Even when in his cage, I force my presence on him. There’s no need to be courteous of my husband’s feelings because he doesn’t *have* any. Remember, I married a Patrick, not a Patricia.
- The 50s housewife experiment brought nothing but misery to our home. We never laughed or smiled or had any sort of fun doing it. We actually had to pay actors to come by and pretend to be our friends (casting the role of "Baby Charlotte" introduced us to the world of the stage mom - now that was an education). Any references to positive feelings we had were fictionalized as to make me appear more bankable in the eyes of advertisers, publishers, Hollywood producers and Oprah.
- I fully intend to demand a divorce if Patrick doesn’t immediately start liking capers.
- Magazines, television and books from the 1950s are completely accurate reflections of what life was like then, just like magazines, television and books today completely capture modern life. Sometimes, I swear Cosmopolitan is just a reprint of my diary (especially the parts about always being on the look-out for new sex positions)!
- Two weeks of living by advice from the 1950s has made me an expert in what life was realistically like for every woman in that era ever. Perhaps I should have explained: Before starting my 50s housewife experiment, I went through that spinning time-space travel machine from Contact. What may have seemed like two weeks for you, was actually a lifetime for me. It's true, just ask Jodie Foster.
- I’ve submitted the contents of my blog to several medical and academic journals. The breakthrough research I conducted fetched such solid factual results that I think I actually have a shot at winning a Nobel Prize in a number of different science categories. The Nobel Prize in Literature is obviously in the bag.
- I see your point – taking on the tasks that 1950s housewives did is just like writing a giddy blog about being a slave or living in a concentration camp. Frankly, I'm amazed they don't sell aprons that have "Arbeit macht frei" embroidered on them. When I passed that observation along to friends whose relatives perished in horrifying ways in said camps, it was applause all around. "What a sensitive, thoughtful and rational comparison," they remarked.
- You should never explore subject matter that interests you in a fun or unusual way - and that goes double-true for professional writers who usually spend their day working on ad copy and manuals. That would be very, very silly and the world demands we act serious all the time about everything. Also: I should get a real job. And perhaps have some children.
- I hope to convince the world that women shouldn't have a choice about how they live their lives. I yearn for and demand a return to a time when women were pressured to have one kind of career, regardless of their personal interests, aspirations or skills.
- I want to be spanked - hard and often. The problem is, I just don't know how to tell my husband directly, so I'm hoping these round-about, public posts about JELL-O molds and radish roses will hopefully clue him in.
- The 1950s was the greatest decade ever. It didn’t matter if you were a woman or black or gay or socialist or an immigrant or suffering from a mental illness – the 1950s was an era where everyone was happy, experienced equality and could eat apple pie without abandon (it had no calories back then!).
- Feminism isn’t about choice – it’s about wearing pants – and I *hate* pants.
- If I lived in the 1950s, I wouldn't miss very much ... well, maybe my favourite TV shows - Two and Half Men, Big Bang Theory, and Sex and the City re-runs. At least I'd have Big Bopper tunes to keep a smile on my face.
- All technology is evil. iPhones, microwaves and horseless carriages will eat your soul.
- If you don’t like something about a particular era, you should disregard *everything* from that time. All advice, tips and values should be considered as backward and worthless as a slam dunk contest in the WNBA.
- Organ meat is highly underrated.
- If a group of people were pressured into homemaking and weren’t happy with that path, it therefore means that *all* people must have hated being a homemaker. Anyone who chooses to be a housewife today is either misguided or simple, and will one day turn into a less hot version of Unhappy Betty Draper - the only difference being that they'll never even have known the joys of a Don Draper dicking.
Har. And that is what the kids call "overkill."
Now, a true lesson? Life is better when you don't take yourself so seriously. The next time someone has something negative or peculiar to say about you, pull up a picture of yourself on MS Paint and go to town creating a visual representation of yourself that matches their perception. It's good old-timey fun. Even grapefruit baskets can get in on the action!
I want to thank the people who "got" the blog as I intended it and said so here or elsewhere. It's a bit scary to wade into a sea of snark and your comments were like little buoys that lit up the page and my day. I discovered quite a few of your own fun blogs in the process (like this one and this one and this one and this one) and they are now a part of my daily spin around the web. Heart, heart, heart. NOW WE ARE SO HAPPY, WE DO THE DANCE OF JOY!
And those of you who had a totally different perspective? You're a-ok, too. Like I said, some of your comments were genuinely entertaining to read and, as I just discovered, respond to. I also thank you for taking the time to speak your mind, even if I might totally disagree with it. Opinions are fun (and plentiful!).
Just a reminder - you still have chance to enter my two draws to win vintage cookbooks. One ends on November 11th and the other ends on November 15th! Even critical comments qualify - I hold no grudges (for real, I'm pretty much a grudge-free zone)!
Also - have you supported our friend Dave in his quest to raise $ for prostate cancer? Because unlike me and the entire contents of this post, what he's doing actually matters!
Keep smiling, Internet!