vrijdag 29 januari 2016

Househusbands Aren't Sexy!

I realise it's Daily Mail and stuff, but still, this article about role switching within a family and the problems it created, is interesting to say the least.

In a nutshell, the lady used to stay home with the couple's four boys, which she partly resented because she felt her work wasn't appreciated. Then her husband's business underwent bankruptcy and they decided he would stay home from now on and she'd become a breadwinner. Yet, she isn't happy about this arrangement, either. Apparently, Mr. Mom just doesn't turn her on!


In her own words:

Watching your husband transform from the director of his own company into Mr Mummy is a huge turn-off. No wonder I'm not slipping lustily into my negligee every Friday evening, at the end of a busy week.

And another gem:


I realised with horror that I'd lost a sizeable chunk of respect for that man behind the door, the one with stubble on his chin and dressed in a scruffy, old pair of tracksuit bottoms, picking two-day-old lasagne off the front of a child's jumper.

I missed the one in the freshly laundered shirt, smelling of expensive aftershave. I missed being looked after.

The solution obviously is more feminism. And hiring a nanny!

While I think being a sole carer or sole breadwinner is tough, I hope, with the help of a good nanny, we will eventually find a balance that works for us both.

The poor husband isn't that optimistic, though, and keeps complaining that his wife lost all respect for him. His final warning to other fathers:

So to all the dads out there who dream of spending more time with their children by working from home, I urge you to think again.
Just as my wife always told me, if you want an easy life, stick to the office. And sometimes, the old ways really do work best.

You can read the whole article over here:


P.S. While I appreciate DM attempts to promote traditional sex roles, I don't think undermining the role of father (office is an easy part) is quite the way to go.

dinsdag 26 januari 2016

1950s Housing Conditions

The myth of 1950s as the "Golden Age" of the family persists. Of course, comparing with the present day there were relatively few married women in the workforce, about 20% vs 60% in 2009, yet what was the reason for it? I keep hearing claims that it was due to some uncommon after-war prosperity. However, in the year 1900 only 5% of all married American women worked. Was it because in the beginning of the 20th century folks were on average much wealthier than 50 years later? How comes a lower class man could afford for his wife and kids to stay home 100 years ago but he can't now?

I have noticed that a lot of people, especially Americans are basing their ideas of the times past on Hollywood productions. I've watched my fair share of vintage movies and I've noticed one thing: they nearly always feature an upper middle class household with all the problems they face. A wealthy husband having an affair with his secretary, spoiled college-attending kids mouthing off, a bored middle aged lady of the house with her fur coats whose problem is her housekeeper left her. That's not how most families lived.

Just a week ago I was talking with somebody on this very topic. The lady was telling me about her childhood. They were a family with 6 children, the father had a small business, the mother stayed home. All 8 of them lived in a house of 80 sq.m., with a small garden. It had a living room, a master bedroom and 3 small rooms where the children slept, one was so tiny it had no windows and it was pitch dark in there in the evening. Since they were with 1 boy and 5 girls, it meant that the brother had a bedroom all to himself while the sisters had to share: 3 in one room and two in the other (the dark one).

They had no TV and they had to rent a washing machine to do their weekly washing. The house still exists, though the inside walls were broken to create bigger rooms as it's been a fashion over here for some time. These types of houses are often put on sale nowadays as a "starter" or one person homes yet they had lived there with a family of 8. Something tells me that the current rate of married women in the workforce has more to do with high demands of the modern lifestyle than with any great wealth of the previous era.

zondag 24 januari 2016

War Time Menus

Here are two menus from Libelle No.1, 5 Jan. 1940.

First, a simple menu:

Sunday: Brown soup (no idea what it could be, may be a soup with brown beans?). Roast beef. Endive. Potatoes. Pear dessert.

Monday: Cold meat (apparently the leftovers from Sunday). Cauliflower. Potatoes. Rice pudding.

Tuesday: Cauliflower soup. Pork cutlets. Stewed leeks. Potatoes.

Wednesday: Ground meat. Cabbage. Potatoes. Chocolate vla.

Thursday: Split pea soup with bone (Google says it must be translated as a knuckle bone but I'm not sure. I think they really meant the sort bone one would use to make bouillon). French toast.

Friday: Vegetarian tomato soup (it was, after all, Friday). Shrimp ragout. Potatoes  in peel.

Saturday: Hutspot with brisket. Corn starch pudding.



The second one is for those more fortunate in life:

Sunday:  Vegetable soup. Beefsteak. Endive. Potatoes.

Monday: Pork chop. Savoy cabbage. Potatoes. Zwieback with berry juice.

Tuesday: Fried bacon. Himmel und Erde. Mini pancakes.

Wednesday: Ground meat. Cabbage. Potatoes. Chocolate vla. (yeah, it's exactly the same)

Thursday: Potato soup. Rice with currants.

Friday: Milk soup. Herring. Potatoes in peel.

Saturday: Sauerkraut dish.


I actually don't see that much difference between the two, and it's obvious that during the first war winter folks had to scrimp and save to feed their families. Yet many women were home!

donderdag 21 januari 2016

How It Should Be

Advice on hospitality and manners from the year 1940.

If you are giving a dinner, you present a drink to every guest who arrives. The dinner should begin strictly on time as folks will probably have hunger. So you don't have to wait for someone who is late, unless this someone is the chief person for whom the dinner is given. That's why it's an offence against propriety to be late for dinner!

If there are some circumstances which prevent you from coming on time, you should in all cases give a phone call to the hostess. When you finally arrive, you apologise to her, quietly take your place and pretend that nothing happened.

Aperitifs should never be presented in the same room with the dinner table. (Rather difficult to follow this rule in modern houses without a special reception room for visitors).

A good guest first greets the lady of the house and talks to her. Then he addresses others. He shouldn't try to monopolise the attention of the hostess since there are other guests, as well. The hostess herself should be available to greet her visitors. It's also her task to introduce those who don't know each other. Normally you first introduce the gentleman to the lady, unless he is much older or a famous individual. In other cases you introduce people of lower social status to those of higher status first.

When introducing people always use Mr, Mrs, or Miss. By young people we name their Christian name and surname, the same manner of introduction is also possible in informal company.

If you have a maid to serve the drinks (who doesn't?), it makes it easier for the hostess to give more attention to her guests. If you only have a kitchen maid, then it's more passing for the host to do it as presenting drinks (and cigarets) is more of a man's job. One should have a special table for the beverages and the glasses. The half-full glasses are then placed on a special tray and the maid will go around offering them to people. You can thus choose what you wish. (It's still normally done at parties when you have a catering by). However, if the host has to do it, he will first  ask his guests what they are wishing to drink.

If the dinner is given for a big group there should be a special buffet (in the same room) where one can order his aperitif and the maid will serve it. The hostess in the meanwhile should try to bring everyone into a positive mood, thusly she shouldn't all the time disappear in the kitchen or even show that she cares at all!

Then the meal begins. Gentlemen accompany ladies to the dinner table. Not just any ladies, mind you, but those who were shown to them as their table company. Everybody sits down and the dinner begins....

(to be continued...) 

According to the article in Libelle No. 1 from 5 Jan 1940, translation mine.


zaterdag 16 januari 2016

Modesty And Social Cohesion

Most articles about modesty are written from a religious point of view, with Bible quotes and such and try to persuade women to dress and behave modestly in order not to cause their Christian brothers to stumble and lust after them. Feminists have a field day with these arguments and triumphantly proclaim both that it proves without doubt that religion holds women down and that it's up to men to learn to control their behaviour.

It's certainly true that men should in any case  be able to exercise self-control, however, while it's entirely possible to learn men not to harass women it's next to impossible to teach them not to notice attractive women, especially if they are young and scantily dressed. It's a simple biological fact that men get excited when they are around attractive women. It has something to do with the whole sexual reproduction stuff.

Here I want to pause and point out, especially in the light of certain events in Germany and other European countries, that modesty doesn't mean walking around wearing a black tent or never ever venturing outside without a male chaperone. European countries have never practiced total segregation of sexes and our women have always been free to go around their business, participate in market activities and such, without fear of being abused in a broad daylight which can't be said about  some other cultures whose representatives run around causing all these problems.

However, the traditional modesty standards in Europe were much higher than what we are witnessing now and instead of talking how it harms men, I'd like to discuss how immodesty harms society as a whole by erasing social cohesion.

Simply put, Northern European culture promoted the cooperation within the tribe and competition without, which proved to be a very successful model. Nowadays, we are encouraged to be cooperative towards outsiders (pathological altruism), but extremely competitive with those of the same blood.


While easy divorce and turning a blind eye to infidelities encourages mate poaching, the general immodesty of the West makes every woman after a certain age feel inadequate compared to the beauty standard promoted by the society. Women have always competed with each other for male attention but the old standards of decency put some limits upon how far one could go.

Despite years of feminism, women still seek resources through men, which is true both for homemakers and working women. A high-earning husband is an asset which gives a career woman an option of quitting or going part-time should she choose so. And sexual attractiveness is hardly a disadvantage when it comes to hiring and promotions if you have to deal with men which is often a case in business world and politics.

Feminists always talk about sisterhood but in fact, have for years promoted behaviours which destroy the trust in society and make women viciously turn against each other at the slightest provocation (just look at all the hatred and contempt towards housewives). The results which we all see around us, prove that the rules in the Scriptures were not arbitrary. In fact, they are needed for a society to survive and strive. The same is, of course, true concerning divorce and adultery.

I wish all the aspie atheists ranting about how they hate religion while the society is disintegrating right in front of their eyes would finally put two and two together, before it is too late.

vrijdag 15 januari 2016

dinsdag 12 januari 2016

In Other News...

...from the first week of January 1940:

Swedish family wearing traditional clothes






Swedish princesses





and their mother





stay fit!





our guys in uniform





more of our guys in uniform together with patriotic gals



winter sport d-i-y fashions






English nurses taking tea





Next vintage installment will discuss war times menus. Stay tuned!



maandag 11 januari 2016

The Reasons For Divorce

Through the years I have seen divorce destroying families of friends and relatives, sometimes from close by. Just yesterday I heard about another marriage biting the dust. Yet the way people talk about such things is as if nothing of value was really lost, sort of "yes, it's not how it should be, but, after all, he was so difficult to live with." It often changes rapidly when their own child or sibling has become the victim of cruel abandonment, which is really what divorce is all about.

Now, since I'm not of a Catholic persuasion, I don't view marriage as a sacrament, but more like a contract which could be dissolved in some cases. The traditional reasons for fault-based divorce are abuse, abandonment, adultery and addiction, and I'd add to those an able-bodied husband willfully refusing to provide an income (which is a form of financial abandonment), and a spouse denying the other one marital rights without a good reason,e.g. health (an abandonment of the marriage bed).

 Even if there is a reason there should be some waiting period before the marriage is officially dissolved (the spouses could be separated during this period, especially in the case of abuse), as it still is in countries like Germany (they used to have a waiting period of one year in the mid-2000s though I'm not sure if feminists haven't abolished it since, as they have been trying).

However, discovering after 20+ years of living together that you aren't really in love, or have never been happy, or some other bogus stuff along these lines is not really a reason and it will never be. As I have mentioned in one of my previous posts, even in pre-Christian times Germanic tribes considered oath-breaking (and that's what you do when you break your wedding vows and leave) one of the most despicable crimes worthy of the worst torments of Hell, while nowadays we are taught just to shrug our shoulders and move on.

Imagine if we talked about murder in the same way: "Well, I do believe murder is kinda bad, but you know that neighbour was really such a pain in the neck. He never parked his car properly and once I even saw him kicking his dog. If that wasn't abuse, I don't know what is. And, after all he was killed in humane manner and didn't really suffer much, so I can't really blame the person who did it. We are all human, you know and the Bible says something about 'judge not' ". Does it throw chills down your spine yet? Well, the society which not only condones, but positively encourages and cheers divorce and adultery, can very well legalise murder soon.

Conservatives in the USA and other countries have been fighting a losing battle against SSM but usually turn a blind eye to the topic of divorce, which is an example of shameful cowardice as ever was.

That said, the best way to avoid a divorce is to invest time and effort into cultivating a good relationship. After an initial period of romantic love, something else ideally should be growing, something more akin to companionship and even friendship, though it's important not to forget that even as you get older, you spouse is still your romantic partner and not just a walking ATM/ the mother of your children or a buddy.

Never take your spouse and marriage for granted, and if necessary, fight for it. It's well worth it.

zaterdag 9 januari 2016

Lunch Ideas: American Waffles






Originally they were suggested for breakfast, but I prefer light breakfasts. The recipe is a modified version of the one in that wonderful cooking book I've written about, Recipes for Comfort by Gooseberry Patch.

You will need:

1c flour
2tsp baking powder
1tsp salt
2 eggs
200g creme fraiche
milk

In a bowl, combine dry ingredients, add cream and eggs, mix together. Add enough milk to create the pancake consistency batter. Cook in waffle iron according to instructions. Makes 8:




Since there is absolutely no sugar added, you will need a sweetener. We used powder sugar and raspberry jam.

Let me tell you, these waffles are delicious!



vrijdag 8 januari 2016

Housewives Aren't Narrow-Minded

The widely spread idea nowadays is that while career women are all walking prodigies, a typical homemaker can't talk about anything but dirty diapers and laundry.

The truth is, as usual, quite different. A housewife, especially one without small children at home, has much more free time to pursue creative hobbies, read books, study foreign languages, and in general, keep herself informed about what's going on in the world, especially in the age of broadband internet.

I'm not trying to attack working women. There may be different reasons why they choose to work and they certainly can be knowledgeable in their own field, but the simple truth is that when you work 40+ hours a week, then come home and have to do your housekeeping/attend to children and spouse, there is really very little time left for anything else.

It all may sound fun in your twenties, when your energy levels are high and you can spend the whole night entertaining and in the morning go to work as if nothing happened,  but when you hit mid-thirties, it all starts to change rather dramatically. Women working full time kills all the social life in the neighbourhood and destroys the family circle since there is no one during the daytime to drop for a tea visit and everybody is too tired in the evenings for socialising.


A homemaker wife often carries a burden of responsibilities since it's assumed by others that she has the time to volunteer at church and school and  busy working women certainly don't mind when a nice neighbour lady invites their children to come over for a  meal and provides a listening ear, yet instead of gratitude one often encounters criticism and even  contempt for "someone too dumb to hold a job".

Of course, by behaving in this manner, people like that don't demonstrate any real superiority, but only a total lack of class.

A homemaker wife also largely frees her husband from attending to domestic duties, which in turn allows him more free time to to pursue his own interests and to  keep informed about the political and society matters. Someone told me that perhaps the whole idea behind making everyone work full time was to turn people into mindless drones easily manipulated by the elites, who are too tired in the evening to open a newspaper and think about something else but every day drudgery.

I'm not into conspiracy theories myself, so I leave it to you to decide whether it can be true, however, the point I'm trying to make stands: an average housewife doesn't have to be any more unintelligent than an average working woman. We live in the West. We all go to school, and many women attend college. Choosing to stay home doesn't turn their brains into jelly any more than holding a job automatically turns everyone into a genius. 

In the current year it all comes down to a personal choice, which, I am told, is sacred and should be respected. That's all.

donderdag 7 januari 2016

woensdag 6 januari 2016

So What Would You Wear?

What were you supposed to wear as the middle class lady in the war winter of 1940?

Here are some suggestions from France for the month January:












Don't forget to buy a new hat during a seasonal sale:







According to the description, the one above is especially practical:)









For those less fortunate there are D-I-Y ideas in the form of sewing patterns:









Except for the outlandish hats, I'd say the suggested daily wear for ladies was rather simple, and yet distinctly feminine. What do you think?


zondag 3 januari 2016

A New Beginning

First of all, best wishes to all my readers!

I haven't forgotten about my historical research project from last year, but since the magazines I was reviewing were from spring and summer months, it seemed a bit strange to post about Easter and Midsummer Eve in November. The good news is that I have more vintage stuff at home, including vintage Libelle issues from 1940, starting with January 5.

Besides recipes, articles about fashions, knitting patrons and advice on how to take care of your house plants, it deals with more serious things, as you may well expect. Anything to do with politics is studiously avoided, though, but war is looming in the background. The editorial urges women to be like a sun in those dark times, and to meet the dangers with smile upon their lips.

The lady author reminds her readers that not only the inner qualities such as self-sacrifice are important, but that the outside matters, too. If you want to support your men who have to fight, pretend that nothing is wrong, she suggests. Conceal your tears, put on some make-up and nice clothes and try to cheer up those around you.

She goes so far as to state that a woman has a duty to look her best, to be the jewel of her surroundings and to create a warm, cheerful atmosphere wherever she goes.

While our circumstances are luckily not so dire, sometimes when you read the news it's difficult to stay cheerful, so this advice is not so dated as one would believe. The world keeps promoting "strong independent womyn" whose chief achievements seem to be throwing tantrums whenever they don't get their way and slutting it up with scores of men. They'd probably scoff at the idea that women have any duties to their men, let alone the duty of looking her best and smiling, and yet those women who had lived through the war were a real life example of strong women.

Cursing like a sailor doesn't make you stronger. Controlling your emotions and smiling through your tears does. So may be, it's a good idea to make a New Year's resolution about trying to always look and behave your best?