Sunday, October 01, 2006

Alien Relationships Discovered on Earth!

In a shocking discovery that has psychologists everywhere buzzing, magazine archivists uncovered evidence today that shows how alien marriages once existed on Earth. According to Dr. Iluk Thruoldstuff, a male staff member with the Dismaying Story Institute, "This 1955 Housekeeping Monthly article proves that husbands and wives once interacted in ways that could only have come from outer space."

The gems of advice offered to wives by this article include:
  • Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready, on time for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs.
  • Don't complain if he's late home for dinner or even if he stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through that day.
  • Don't ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house.
"My personal favorite," Dr. Thruoldstuff offered, "is the part where a wife should 'Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes.' " The good doc has apparently given up on the idea of ever dating again.

Reaction to news of the article's discovery was swift. The American Husbands' Rights Society issued a press release calling for dramatically increased funding for NASA space exploration. Former US President Bill Clinton announced that he has long been searching for someone who can prove to him personally that this alien culture still exists. The National Organization for Women could not be reached for comment; on the one occasion this reporter was able to get through on their phone line, all that could be heard on the other end was riotous laughter.

Dear Faithful Reader,

The magazine article mentioned above is apparently a fabrication. This post debunks the article's apparent source and argues that it is, however, reflective of commonly held attitudes from the fifties and sixties. As an illustrative example, lists a number of wifely do's and don'ts from Helen B. Andelin's 1963 book Fascinating Womanhood that are chillingly similar to those from the fictitious Housekeeping Monthly feature.

We are all products of the environments in which we were raised. The next time you are tempted to be frustrated by the differences in attitudes between you and your elderly parents or grandparents, remember they grew up during a time when home economics textbooks offered vastly different messages than those delivered today.

All the best,

Do you have a relationship issue in your life? Tell me about your situation and it may be featured as a Dismaying Story. Comments can be anonymous and the identity of email respondents always remains confidential.


  1. Thanks for the enlightenment. Funny how we tend to believe rather than disbelieve when faced with something like this, especially if it's in print. I was definitely taken in! There is something to be said about generosity to one's spouse, but this might be going a wee bit too far -- though Dr Laura might think otherwise. :)

  2. Oh, I read "Fascinating Womanhood" not too long ago for the hell of it, after having it recommended to me several times as a teenager (never could find it, then), and a newly married woman. And every single one of the "ideas" mentioned above in that fictional article DOES come out of that book, if I remember correctly.

    A couple of times my hubby (sitting next to me playing x-box hockey while I read) would give me odd looks as I'd alternately howl with laughter or snort with discust. After reading him the exerpts, there were a couple of times he dared give me a "well, what's wrong with that?" (to which I responded with a "kiss my rosy-red backside"), and a few times he laughed right along with me.

    After a long day at work, I don't care how hard he's had it, I don't wanna be anywhere near his stinky feet!!! ;) And he knows that if he plans on me making dinner, he better have either a damn good excuse or be there on time. Otherwise I'll cook for me and our daughter, and he can figure something out for himself when he gets home, often a can of chili, microwaved & a bag of fritos. Hot, homemade food means showing up on time or calling in advance with a really good excuse (right now it would be "I got a moose & we're gutting it right now").

    Thanks for the chuckles, again!

  3. Dr. Andrew, firstly big congratulations on becoming Bestest Blog of the Day. I have always thought that this blog deserves recognition. You must put an enormous ammount of work into it and it is one of the few blogs that actually performs a very useful service.
    I noticed in the cutting, from the possibly spoof article, that one of the attributes that the perfect housewife is recommended to adopt is to 'be a little gay and more interesting to him'! Would you care to comment?

  4. Andrea: I agree, it definitely goes a wee bit too far.

    Kati: Several people have been fooled into thinking this article was real (and that was my guess upon seeing it initially) because of exactly what you said -- real books DID contain this type of material.

    Bazza: The term "gay" back in the 50s meant happy and fun-loving, without the connotations of sexuality it has today. Whether the folks who put together the spoof hoped we would read more into it, who's to know.

  5. One of my college friends had something like that posted on her bulletin board and we all thought it was a real howler. I've seen old books with that sort of advice in it, but it sure wasn't modeled in my house. Not that my parents don't take care of one another, of course, but that approach to marriage wouldn't suit either one of them. It wouldn't suit my brother and his wife and, honestly, I doubt it would have suited my grandparents. My grandmothers were proud of their homemaking skills but they drew the line at foot massaging and turning a blind eye when Mr. Man came home late--if they were going to cook it, he'd better be there to eat it.

    I think the Fifties Myth is pretty funny, really. I read the NYT House and Home sections and wonder on what planet all those people live that their worry-du-jour is that the nanny might be feeding their kids junk food. Nanny? What? And yet 40 years from now somebody will undoubtedly be using it as proof that society has gone to Hell in a handbasket.

  6. I laughed through the beginning of this. Was wondering, if as a female, I could get a ticket to that alien planet for equal treatment.

    I think despite the recent evolution of male-female relationships (that some of us have not successfully navigated) that something is evident in a man's genes causing him to want to conquer and control everything in his "territory." I'm not sure that an equal relationship is really possible.

    Or Andrew, is this socially constructed or environmental? Do we give the physical difference in the sexes too much power? Not enough?

    When I think that in my grandmother's lifetime women were only just allowed to vote, I am stunned. Once, women were not allowed to be in the medical field. Rarely did they go to college.

    I remember the control that men have exerted over generations of women in my family - I am stunned. Earlier generations did not have much option to be free of that control or even abuse because of the setup of society.

    I think back on my working life and the things that I tolerated (or didn't tolerate) in a "man's" world. Even now I have some prime examples.

    Oh, how complicated are our male, female relationships.

  7. I am cracking up here! Last summer I bought a book, circa 1917 called "A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband" by Louise Bennett Weaver. Inside is an inscription that reads:
    "To every other little bride
    who has a "Bob" to please
    and says she's tried and tried and tried
    to cook with skill and ease,
    and can't - we offer here as guide
    Bettina's recipes!

    To her whose "Bob" is prone to wear
    a sad and hungry look
    because the maid he thought so fair
    is - well - she just can't cook!
    to her we say:do not dispair;
    just try Bettina's Book!"

    These days we'd probably tell Bob to "stick it" and take us out to dinner!

    Times they are a changin!

  8. Sad thing is, being a Southern gal, a more mild version of this is still expected of many of us gals here. My mom taught me to be that way, and I have seen gals trying to be that perfect for Hubby. It also ads pressure to the Hubby because he has to be the "breadwinner" and "Mr Fix It." Money can be a big stressor for the Man and he has not one he can talk to about it. Not all men are good at fixing things. Such a double edged sword needs to be sheathed!

  9. Call me nuts, but I like the article. My husband does too. In fact - don't lie, a woman who does this is indeed a "dream woman" for most men.

    However, as a once independant working gal I will say that when efforts such as these go appreciated and reciprocated - it works out well.

    Unfortunately, in many a case this doesn't happen.

  10. You might like this funny article that gives married woman the advice "Give Little, Give Seldom, and above all, Give Grudgingly"

  11. Anonymous6:46 PM

    Funny, I've massaged the Mister's feet sometimes - and he's massaged mine as well. Sometimes dinner has to wait a bit if he's delayed, or if I'm delayed. We also tend to change out of dirty work clothes before dinner because it's respectful to the other person we're dining with. The Mister frequently puffs up a pillow for me before I sit on the sofa, and I've actually been known to hang up his clothes for him when he wasn't able to do it.

    Maybe it's because it's mutual, instead of "the wife" doing it all, that it works for us - because our marriage is based on mutual respect and concern for each other. I can't imagine living with the attitude that someone can eat canned chili if they're home late, or feeling myself above helping a tired person off with their shoes and referring to their feet as "stinky".

    No wonder so many people get divorced these days.

  12. I agree with anon.Marriage or rather the success of it is all about mutual respect.