Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Housewife redux

Dear Fellow Human Beings,

The difficult economic climate has taken a bite out of my freelance writing career. Therefore, I've decided to dig my heels down hard into my secondary career of Housewife. In order to do so with Born-Again enthusiasm, I'm enlisting some new lifestyle guidelines:

Outerwear. My first inclination was to don a MuuMuu, but now I'm thinking old school is best and to go with the classic housecoat. The authentic housecoat was a cotton affair with either buttons or (better yet) metal snaps up the front. It usually had a nondescript floral or paisley pattern.

Since you can't go to Penney's and buy an honest-to-God housecoat anymore, I'll have to find a really old one at a yard sale or second hand store. That's okay. A frayed and faded housecoat garners serious Street Cred.

Footwear. Simple: men's mid-calf white athletic socks and slippers.

Hair. Curlers are good, although I've never used them. No time to start like the present. I wonder if you can still get those big plastic numbers in pastel colors. I could crank up my whole miserable head and cover the terrifying behemoth with one of those filmy hairnets. But I wouldn't call it a hairnet, I'd call it a scarf. Imagine me in the discount grocery with my hairnet and housecoat and socks--a domestic Medusa. I'd be at once mythical and real. How beautiful is that?

Accessories. First you've got the obligatory coffee cup (stained and chipped with a picture of a cartoon reindeer on it--probably a Bunco boobie prize) that you drag around everywhere and that contains crappy home-brewed coffee (Chock Full o' Nuts). To really complete the scene, you'd need a cigarette--maybe an Eve Menthol 120 (although I'm not taking this that far; I already quit once goddamnit). You've got to have a snotty balled up old Kleenex in the pocket of your housecoat at all times (standard), and if you have one or two shoved in the sleeve of your housecoat (advanced), that's even better.

Cultural Manifestations. A good Housewife should watch all the daytime soaps (Days of Our Lives, One Life to Live, General Hospital) and should concern herself largely with menstruation. (Which sanitary products are economical and efficacious? Is one's spouse exhibiting appropriate sensitivity during the ordeal?) Being well versed in both topics is mandatory during important telephone discussions with other Housewives.

Miscellaneous. This will be a big change for me, but I think lipstick is in order. Housewives should always, always wear lipstick.

* * *


james2285 said...

i think the look will rock the house and neighborhood. Post a pic when you are done.

Anonymous said...

You've just described my mother circa 1965, 'cept for a very minor adjustment in nomenclature. Housecoat = "Duster".

But hey she must not of been all bad. I mean look how I turned out. Ahahahahahaha!


Craig Hughes said...

Ahhh. Ruby Romaine before donning her classic wardrobe.

Earl Tesch said...

As a house-husband, I am appalled at your insensitivity. Why, just the other day I was playing my old VHS of 'Santa Barbara' and pining for a nice late model pair of ovaries when my neighbor, Marge, showed up at the door with some Rice Krispies treats and she says, "Have you seen the newest winged feminine hygiene product?" and I says, "Sure have. Looks more aerodynamical."

I won't bore you with more details, but you get the picture. This is my life and you, Ms. O'Brien, are stereotyping. Not cool.

Aside to Ms. O'Brien: In a bi-partisan spirit, you can substitute Bill O'Really, Nancy Reagan and Tom Selleck.

cmcmahon said...

Love it, Erin.

deangc said...

Housewives should always, always wear lipstick.

And a good Housewife should be able to deposit a ring of that lipstick well down on a piece of suggestive fruit, say a banana. While holding a cup of coffee in one hand and a cigarette in the other.

Mr. L said...

I think we still have some "dusters" that belonged to my mother-in-law packed away in the basement somewhere, if you're looking for a donation.

I eagerly await the "sometimes I don't feel fresh" blog.... LOL.

BEAST said...

If you going really hard core the housecoat should be skanky nylon with a pattern of such intensity it would make your eyes bleed the curlers should be encased in a bandana that clashes horribly with the housecoat .
Dusters should be discarded underwear . There is better comedy value in this if they are XXL sizes.

Once known as The Badger said...

I think high heels would really bring the look together!

glittergirl said...

that is a great description of the "classic" cleveland area housewife circa the 70's.

i think when some writer looks back 30 years from now they'll talk about the housecoat being replaced with sweatpants and new balance shoes. instead of cigarettes, ladies now clutch cell phones every waking moment, and instead of soap operas, they have facebook quizzes. and of course starbucks is the beverage of choice.

the one thing i really don't miss is the wadded up old kleenex in the pockets and up the sleeve. blech!

Glass Houses said...

The plastic rollers are great, but if you want to be serious about this, you really ought to get the crappy foam ones (still only a dollar at Drug Mart). Bonus if you have 2 or more different colors in at the same time.

The problem with the plastic ones is that they actually do their job. The foam ones will give you that nice frizzy look you want.

philbilly said...

"Chock Full o' Nuts is that Heavenly Coffee."

This ancient TV jingle plays in my head every morning as I nuke the java.

That's right, "baristas", I nuke it,I drink it and I like it.

A statistically significant sampling of said snot in balled up kleenex must be from your progeny.

Re: The Badger;
Ditto on the high heels.

Erin O'Brien said...


I'll call dinner "supper" and Every. Single. Recipe. will spring from a can of Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup.

I think I'm starting to get the hang of this.

Anonymous said...

"What are y'all doin for supper?"

"We're goin over to Mama 'nems."

People will think you moved to Ohio from Kentucky.


Mojito Libre said...

Wow, Glittergirl hit the nail on the head. Where have I seen that incarnation of the modern day housewife?? Hmmmm, I wonder.....

Ken Houghton said...

"Housewives should always, always wear lipstick."

It would be rude of me to ask, "on which set of lips?," so I won't. But remeber that there IS a reason for the success of all those Suburban Intrigue novels of the same time period.

Anonymous said...

For the ultimate accessory:

Ya take that nekkid looking goat at the end of the table there, and git him all dolled up in a dingy wifebeater with a couple little holes and a big ol' stain on the belly (and he WILL have a belly, after all them creamy soup casseroles).

Next, add a pair of oil-stained dark blue work pants and the trashed pair of leather scuffs he got for Christmas 15 years ago. He will wear this getup all weekend and he will not shave, either.

Since you drank all the chock fulla nuts (better coffee a millionaire's money can't buy) by the time he gets up, you serve him a cuppa Maxwell house instant fixed with hot tap water. His breakfast will feature some form of greasy, nitrate-laden meat product. He likes this.

After breakfast, a smooch on the cheek (be sure to wipe the lipstick off him with your wadded up snotrag) and he's off to wrench on the lawnmower with his barbeque tongs.

domestic bliss.


Divana said...

I love you Erin! Love you so much!

This week I read something that was quite moving, to me, at least, and it was "Everything you really want is just right outside your comfort zone." This quote speaks volumes to me.

Love you!! xo

Lord Basil said...

Please don't talk about tampons. Children may find this.

Erin O'Brien said...

Dear Lord,

Thank you for those bloody monthly reminders of my filthy original sin.

Kirk Jusko said...

John Hughes' recent passing reminds me that the funniest scene in MR. MOM (which Hughes scripted) is the one where an embarrased Michael Keaton, shopping for his wife, tries to buy a box of Kotex without anyone noticing.