The article is from a home economics book and doles out advice on how women should take care of their husbands.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on July 21, 2022. It has since been updated.
A page from a book published in 1950 doling out "tips to look after your husband" highlights how entrenched gender roles were in the past. The page came from a home economics book and the advice offered was sexist, detailing a woman's duty to serve her husband. Some of the advice ranged from staying quiet and greeting him with a smile to taking off his shoes and never ever complaining. The tips were categorized into 10 sections, such as "'Have dinner ready', 'Prepare yourself,' 'Clear away the clutter,' 'Prepare the children,' 'Minimize all noise,' 'Make him comfortable', 'Listen to him' and 'Make the evening his.'" It's pretty evident that every tip involves catering to the man while the woman herself must be invisible as much as possible. The man is the protagonist throughout the piece. The goal for women, as per the advice, is to "make your home a place of peace and order where your husband can renew himself in body and spirit."
Women are also encouraged to be prepared for their husband's arrival by touching up their make-up, putting a ribbon in their hair, and being "fresh looking." They are also advised to keep their home silent by unplugging the washer, drier dishwasher and/or vacuum. They are even asked to "encourage the kids to be quiet."
Not only does the book tell women what to do, but also what not to do. Some of the "don'ts" are: "Don't complain if he's late for dinner. Count this as minor compared with what he might have gone through that day." The whole theme of the article is to cater to a man who has gone to work and needs to relax at home. "Never complain if he does not take you out to dinner or to other forms of entertainment," reads one line under a section that encourages to make the man the focus of the evening once he's home.
Welcoming men home and making them feel like important beings is a theme that runs through the piece. Keeping dinner ready for a man is paramount apparently. "Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal on time. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they come home and the prospects of a good meal are part of the welcome," reads one part of the article.
The article also stresses that the woman should let the man talk first and air his worries. "You may have many things to tell him, but the moment of arrival is not the time. Let him talk first," states the article. Women are also asked to not raise their voices. They are asked to clean the house and have a chair ready for him to sit on. "Have a cool or warm drink ready for him. Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soft, soothing, and pleasant voice. Allow him to relax, unwind," the book suggests. Women are asked to listen to the man while not speaking themselves. "Try to understand his world of strain and pressure, his need to come home and relax."
Women are also ordered to be happy. "Be happy to see him," reads one line. One can only assume there must be a switch to turn on "happiness." The article continues, "Greet him with a warm smile and be glad to see him. Be a little gay and a little more interesting." Of course, being "happy-gay" would be awesome but surely not as much as being "gay-gay," especially when the quality of men on offer is as one described in the article. If it were only a choice.
The Reddit community had quite a laugh at the ridiculousness of the article. "I read this to my SO, who just got home from work, and now for everything I say he is shouting across the house, "Where is your ribbon!? Be more gay!" wrote one person.