Saturday, May 17, 2008

Window into marriage in the 1930s

This "marital rating scale" from 1939 is amazing in all sorts of ways.

Some surprising excerpts:

The man gets points for "consulting wife about business affairs", turning over the "whole paycheck" to her, and helping with housework and childcare. He gets 20 points for making sure his wife has an orgasm whenever they have sex. He gets "demerits" for not getting dressed on Sundays, and for "writing on the tablecloth with a pencil." (Is pen better? And was this really a common problem?)

The woman gets demerits for wearing red nail polish, "wearing pajamas while cooking", failing to wash the top of the milk bottle before opening it, walking around the house in stockinged feet, and "taking dope".

She gets points for being able to "carry on an interesting conversation" (good little wifey), "keeping snacks in the refrigerator for late night eating", and being "jolly and gay".

Then there's the complaints that I've still heard people making today:

  • Calls, "Where is the - " without looking for it first. (Man)
  • Leaves dresser drawers open. (Man)
  • Squeezes toothpaste from the top. (Man)
  • Puts cold feet on husband at night to warm them. (Woman)


Queen of West Procrastination said...

I just took the test: 20 - Very Poor (Failure). I totally put my cold feet on the back of his legs on a daily basis. Also, I cook breakfast in my pyjamas, and am frequently unwilling to cook breakfast.

Now I'm going to take the husband one as Mr. QWP.

I saw a page from this on the site Jezebel and was curious about how badly I'd fail the exam. Huzzah! (I kept getting lots of good wife points, but then I had a zillion demerits.)

ScienceGirl said...

Thanks for sharing the link - Hubby and I had great fun with this one :)

Marjorie said...

I'm ashamed to say that I do all of the last four. I'm well known for periodically tearing through the house shrieking, "where's my brush?" before I've even tried looking for it where it usually is, i.e., the bathroom.

Thanks for the link!


Badaunt said...

I do not need to take the test to find out that I am a totally unsuitable wife. (But it's ok, because I married a totally unsuitable husband who didn't WANT a wife. But I needed a visa.)

But regarding the toothpaste thing: Years ago I used to complain on a regular basis to my two male flatmates because they were always leaving the top off the toothpaste as well as squeezing it from the middle. It drove me mad.

Then they were both away for a while, and I discovered that IT WAS STILL HAPPENING. That was an illuminating moment, but I'm still puzzled. Why, every time I complained, had they apologized?