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Cardella: The New Home Economics Textbook

(Many of you have seen a purported excerpt from a 1950s Home Economics textbook meant to help prepare high school girls for marriage. Well, I’ve taken it upon myself to issue a much-needed, updated 2019 version. Here then, hot off the press, is both the old and the new version).

1—’50s Version: Have dinner ready: Let him know that you’ve been thinking about him and are concerned with his needs.

2019 Version: Make sure he’s acquainted with the Open Table app or knows the phone number for GrubHub. And don’t forget to ask, “Did you remember to pick up the Chardonnay on the way home?”

2—’50s Version: Prepare yourself: Touch up your make-up. Put a ribbon in your hair. Be interesting. His boring day may need a lift.

2019 Version: Remind him as he walks in the door that you also worked today. Tell him that if he insists on telling you about his day, he has to listen to you telling him about yours. That’ll shut him up while you find something you both agree on—like the stupid tweets from the White House that morning. Then laugh your ass off the rest of the evening.

3-’50s Version: Clear away clutter. Straighten out the house. Earnestly dust everything that doesn’t move. Your husband will feel that he has reached a haven of rest and order.

2019 Version: Don’t clear the clutter. You’ve just come home from work and haven’t even had time to defrost the frozen entrée from Trader Joe’s (you’ll have to convince him that replacing the real gnocchi with cauliflower gnocchi will help him live longer). Remind him that he has to call the cleaning woman because you’re both buried up to your eyeballs in crap.

4-’50s Version: Prepare the children. Take a few minutes to wash their hands and faces if they are small. They are little treasures, and you want them to be ready to give daddy a happy greeting as he walks through the door.

2019 Version: Maybe you shouldn’t have children. The small ones can be a pain in the ass. You can’t afford a nanny, anyway. If you have an adult offspring living with you, ask yourself, “Why???”

5—’50s Version: Minimize the noise. Make sure you don’t use the washer, dryer or vacuum when he comes home. Encourage the children to be quiet. Greet him with a warm smile and be glad to see him.

2019 Version: If he complains about you running the vacuum cleaner, remind him that he also can run the vacuum cleaner. Or maybe he should remember to pay the cleaning lady to do it. As for keeping the children quiet, a gag works quite well when all else has failed. Or refer to the previous answer about your option not to have them at all.

6-’50s Version: Some DON’TS: Don’t greet him with problems or complaints. Don’t complain if he’s late for dinner. Consider what he has, no doubt, had to deal with during his work day.

2019 Version: Tell him that if he doesn’t want to hear your problems or complaints, maybe he should try working and doing the household chores himself. If he’s habitually late for dinner, make sure you’re not home, either, when he finally arrives for dinner. Buy yourself flowers and attach a note that says, “To the hottest babe in town. Love, Charlie.”  (Hint–you don’t have to know a “Charlie”).

7–’50sVersion: Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in his favorite chair. Have a cocktail ready for him. Offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soft, soothing voice. Allow him to relax and unwind.

2019 Version: Dinner is in the microwave, so relax yourself. Kick your shoes off. Listen to Sinatra’s SONGS FOR SWINGIN’ LOVERS. Smile as you sip your GREY GOOSE and tonic. Offer him one. Unless he’s late again. If he is, fling one of your shoes at him (make sure you placed them within easy reach). Let him marvel at your accuracy.  

8—’50s Version: Listen to him: You may have a dozen things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first.

2019 Version: You likely are tired of listening to him. Your gagged children are making weird sounds in the hallway closet. Wear ear muffs; your husband might even get the hint. If not, gag him, too, so you can get a word in edgewise. If you’ve had more than one cocktail, you may feel like dancing with him. THE TIME OF OUR LIVES from DIRTY DANCING is appropriate. That may negate the need to gag him or listen to him talk about his crappy job. Removing the gag from the kids’ mouths is optional.

9—’50s Version: Make the evening his: Never complain if he does not take you out to dinner. Try to understand his world of stress and pressure. He needs to be home and relax.

2019 Version: Make sure he knows that if he never takes you out, he should consider his sex life over. Then change into your “going out” clothes.

10—’50s Version: Try to make your home a place of peace and order where your husband can relax. Make his comfort your goal.

2019 Version: Burn your 1950s Home Economics textbook. And maybe your husband’s dinner.

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