Monday, December 7, 2009

[JessFinds] Subversive Domesticity

I have a very strong fascination with the stereotype of the 1950's housewife. The articles in mid-century magazines. The photos. The clothing! The 3 inch heels with an apron! I have this polarized urge to mock it and embrace it at the same time.

I am not the worlds worst housekeeper but I might be the second or third worst. I hate laundry and dishes and upkeep. I do love home decor, organizing and being a mom. My main contribution to my marriage is my endless ability to fill out forms, which is good because someone has to do it.

I have been a WHAM for a few years (work-at-home-mom). This is different than a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom) in that it means I have the added stress of keeping clients happy as well as my household. Note: This generally means nobody gets really happy. They only get moderately happy. And they better not complain.

I guess right now I am a combo WHAM and SAHM as I don't have a steady income because I am self employed. I am still bringing in outside income. It is a fine line. I often joke that I need a 1950's Housewife but this stems from a desire for a chef, a housekeeper and a nanny.

In reality, many of those perfect moms were doped up on Miltown and "tranqued" in to domesticity. Not too different than all of us with our Xanex and Klonopin.  Mommies little helper.  It makes sense. Nobody can raise children in 3 inch heels unless they are incapable of feeling pain. Gliding through life with a smile and vacant eyes...

Occasionally I hear a great story about someone doing something completely awesome and subversive during her stint as a 1950s' housewife and it makes me clap my hands with glee. Why is that? No idea. I just love the seedy underbelly of anything wholesome. Torrid affairs, pill popping, flirtations that go to far, being socially shunned for one transgression or another. A gal I knew in college had a grandmother who decided to keep two full households. She had her husband and their children in one home. Her friend died,  and she took on her friend's husband and their children and ALL that entailed. Saucy. I bet that made Thanksgiving interesting.

It seems like most of my generation has embraced that life is a tad messy and you need to just muck through it the best you can, trying not to overtly hurt anyone in the process. Nothing is all that black/white.

But, I know a lot of women my age who are yearning for that idea of simplicity. Having clear cut roles, domesticated arts and general "loveliness." Maybe this is a backlash to all the ugliness we see in the world, a sort of "retreat and regroup" response. Circling the wagons around hearth and home.

Me? I just want the 1950's world of cocktail parties and flirtations. I can wear the 3 inch heels while seated. I look good in cherry red lipstick with a Sidecar, a Tom Collins or a Gimlet in one hand. Plus, I have a great apron and an affinity for full skirts...