I think I lose ten Good Wife Points right off the bat for not being married.

But I get one Good Wife point because my nail polish isn’t red. (It’s purple.) That’s about all I’m going to get, according to George W. Crane, Ph.D., M.D., and his Marital Rating Scale. The Boy seems to think I make a swell girlfriend for 2012, but it looks like I’m a lousy wife for 1939.

WIFE’S CHART

DEMERITS
1. Slow in coming to bed–delays till husband is almost asleep.

3. Fails to sew on buttons or darn socks regularly.

5. Wears red nail polish.

7. Seams in hose often crooked.
8. Goes to bed with curlers on her hair or too much face cream.
9. Puts her cold feet on husband at night to warm them.

MERITS
1. A good hostess–even to unexpected guests.

3. Can carry on an interesting conversation.

4. Can play a musical instrument, as piano, violin, etc.

6. Neat housekeeper–tidy and clean.

11. Religious–sends children to church or Sunday school and goes herself. (10)
12. Lets husband sleep late on Sunday and holidays.

I rarely have meals ready on time, because The Boy does the cooking. And I warm the hell out of my feet on his legs, because my feet are always cold and he’s a radiator. I generally dress for breakfast, because we have a roommate and I feel breakfast nudity can be rude. I do have a fairly jolly sense of humor. And I always let the dogs out to pee right before bedtime. I’m a catch.

HUSBAND’S CHART

DEMERITS

2. Reads newspaper at the table.
3. Fails to come to table promptly when meal is ready.

6. Compares wife unfavorably with his mother or other wives.
7. Publicly praises bachelor days and regrets having married.

9. Belches without apology, or blows nose at table.
10. Leaves dresser drawers open.

MERITS
1. Gives wife ample allowance or turns pay check over to her. (5)

3. Frequently compliments wife re: looks, cooking, housekeeping, etc. (5)
4. Remembers birthdays, anniversaries, etc. (5)
5. Helps wife with dishes, caring for children, scrubbing.
6. Polite and mannerly even when alone with his wife.

9. Reads newspaper, books or magazines aloud to wife.

But The Boy doesn’t off that easy. While he’s a wonderful guy (and he’s happy to read Cute Overload aloud to me–oh, those wacky little baby sloths!), he also belches without apology (and how), he snores, and he rarely compliments my cooking because, as noted above, he does the cooking. He doesn’t give me an allowance at all, ample or otherwise. I have to have my own job. I should probably just leave–but then, who would have me and my crooked stockings?

(h/t The Gloss)

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31 Responses to I think I lose ten Good Wife Points right off the bat for not being married.

  1. Jill says:

    Crap, I just painted my nails red yesterday! NOW I’M NEVER GETTING MARRIED. :-(

  2. Stephanie says:

    My husband just has to deal with the fact that I like to stay up later than he does. I work at home, and it’s easier to do that when all distractions are in bed.

    On the plus side, he does get to sleep in most Sundays and holidays. Then again, so do I. So nice having kids old enough that they’ll keep themselves busy a while in the morning when we don’t want to get up right away.

  3. Katya says:

    I saw that list a few years ago, and actually got a kick out of it (the buzzfeed image is incomplete–the scale is actually a couple pages long for each spouse). Some of them are pretty dated, some are just kind of bizarre,but as I recall, both spouses got points for good sex–wives for welcoming sexual advances, and husbands for making sure that their wives enjoyed themselves.

  4. Mo says:

    Boy, Ol’ Georgie must have had a *stroke* when the 1940s came along and red lipstick and nail polish were VERY fashionable. I would have painted my nails red just so I could flip him off in full color.

  5. Kristen J. says:

    I’m a super shitty wife but Mr. Kristen is an awesome husband. I am completely shocked by this outcome.

  6. Jennifer says:

    WTF on #9 for men–reads newspapers, books or magazines aloud to wife? Is this about sharing, or just assuming women need educating?

  7. BabyRaptor says:

    Wow.

    I’m a really, REALLY bad “wife.” Wonder why my boyfriend loves me so dearly. /snark

  8. Andie says:

    Thank you. I finally understand why my ex left me. If only I had darned his socks more.

  9. Kierra says:

    Why do the wife and kids have to go to church while the husband gets to sleep in on Sundays? Shouldn’t he be setting a good example, too?

  10. Mztress says:

    If this wasn’t written in 1939, I’d question whether it was a joke. But why on Earth did anyone fish it out of the annals of American society & post it on a website for comparison?

    Why does a husband get a demerit for snoring? Last time I checked, that was involuntary.

  11. Kristen J. says:

    Mr. Kristen just pointed out that he makes an excellent wife and I make an excellent husband. So hence forth, in order to improve my self-esteem, he will refer to me as his husband and himself as my wife.

  12. Ron O. says:

    I always close my dresser drawers completely. I win best husband!

  13. Susan says:

    This actually seems like a progressive list for 1939. Only because it recognizes that husbands have demerits.

  14. Doc Alpert says:

    My girlfriend is pretty educated but she likes it when I read to her. I guess she just likes the sound of my voice. Even though I’m self-conscious about it. I’ve had other girlfriends that liked that too, so I sort of assumed it’s a Thing. Or maybe my voice is just way more mellifluous than I ever imagined.

  15. Past my expiration date says:

    WTF on #9 for men–reads newspapers, books or magazines aloud to wife? Is this about sharing, or just assuming women need educating?

    It’s about entertaining the wife while she’s sewing on buttons and darning socks.

  16. Kristen J. says:

    I’ve had other girlfriends that liked that too, so I sort of assumed it’s a Thing.

    I find it very relaxing. But I find Mr. Kristen’s voice very pleasant to listen to. Which is fortunate since we are rarely quiet.

  17. Lucy says:

    I found the full test somewhere else online and my boyfriend and I just filled it out. He got a 94 and I got a 37. Basically he’d have been an exemplary husband in 1939 and I would have been, to use his words, one of Kate Beaton’s velocipediennes, which makes me wonder about his grasp of history. I think it was all the swearing and cooking in pajamas and lack of religion, all of which he says he likes. At the end of each survey, Dr. Crane says that he interviewed like 600 men and women each in order to develop these scale items, he didn’t just make them up arbitrarily. I actually find that really funny because while the demerits for men are things that I think *most* women (or people in general) might agree are unappealing (e.g. snoring, belching, being filthy when there’s no excuse, etc.), the demerits for women are ODDLY SPECIFIC. (Like “wears pajamas instead of a nightgown.”)

  18. DouglasG says:

    Ms Kristen @11 – I like that. I suppose it is traditionally wifely behaviour to boost a husband’s self-esteem. You play golf, and I think you’ve mentioned that you swear a fair amount.

    I was occasionally told in my youth that I had the makings of a good wife, but it was always said with a sneer. When it turned out that I couldn’t stand straight-chasers, that ruled out becoming a man’s wife for me, and I wasn’t sufficiently versatile to become a woman’s. But good for Mr Kristen.

    And, to tie things up neatly, wasn’t there an article a few years ago about how one of the major Evangelical or Fundamentalist groups had expanded their anti-gay rhetoric to include with same-sex couples opposite-sex couples who had basically (if not officially) switched roles? So you and Mr Kristen get to boost your self-esteem and frost a few E/F cupcakes at the same time – a double win.

  19. Kristen J. says:

    And, to tie things up neatly, wasn’t there an article a few years ago about how one of the major Evangelical or Fundamentalist groups had expanded their anti-gay rhetoric to include with same-sex couples opposite-sex couples who had basically (if not officially) switched roles? So you and Mr Kristen get to boost your self-esteem and frost a few E/F cupcakes at the same time – a double win.

    Ha! I completely forgot about that. Mr. Kristen and I laughed hysterically at that. Some Evangelical sects still have a thing about interracial dating. So, we’re pissing them off in multiple levels.

  20. SeteSois says:

    Seconding Tierra, why doesn’t the husband go to church on a Sunday morning?
    I’ve heard of this sort of thing before but I don’t get how it works if he’s supposed to be the patriarch and ‘head of the family’ and all that…

  21. Natalie says:

    I wear black nail polish… I wonder how many demerits that gets me?

  22. Shoshie says:

    Mr. Shoshie and I both read to each other. It works really well because we both love reading and we get to enjoy a book together. It also works well on road trips.

  23. Angie unduplicated says:

    This was during the Depression, so clothing repairs and darning socks makes a certain amount of sense. My ex-mama-in-law, though, taught my ex to do that stuff himself. Red nail polish, PJ’s and gowns were Depression luxuries, why wear anything at all to bed?
    On the debit side, I read until late in the night and woke him up laughing, and he bitched at night, then stole my book and read it himself the next night.
    I’ll take single blessedness in 2012.

  24. Katya says:

    WTF on #9 for men–reads newspapers, books or magazines aloud to wife? Is this about sharing, or just assuming women need educating?

    I imagined it was about including her, rather than just vanishing into a book or paper while she darned socks and sewed on buttons. Sounds kind of companionable to me, actually. It might have made her work more interesting, and it does assume that women would be interested in these things. It was actually pretty common in the Victorian era for one person, to read to a bunch of family or friends, usually women, as they embroidered or knitted or whatever. Like a communal book on tape.

    At the end of each survey, Dr. Crane says that he interviewed like 600 men and women each in order to develop these scale items, he didn’t just make them up arbitrarily. I actually find that really funny because while the demerits for men are things that I think *most* women (or people in general) might agree are unappealing (e.g. snoring, belching, being filthy when there’s no excuse, etc.), the demerits for women are ODDLY SPECIFIC. (Like “wears pajamas instead of a nightgown.”)

    I loved that, too. Like a majority of these 600 men all agreed that red nail polish and pajamas were a bad thing–seems bizarre, but what do I know about men in the 1930s? Maybe those things had some extra cultural significance we’ve lost.

  25. Nell says:

    Demerits for leaving dresser drawers open but none for leaving the toilet seat up?

    Or would even suggesting such a thing have offended 1939 sensibilities?

  26. Manju says:

    #10 on the “Merits” side indicates he might be more progressive than you Feminists are willing to admit.

  27. Manju says:

    Another thing, George has a PH.D and an MD for God’s sake. This is science!

    Next thing you know, you guys will be complaining about Scientology. Jeez.

  28. librarygoose says:

    #10 on the “Merits” side indicates he might be more progressive than you Feminists are willing to admit.

    Is that a gay joke or some joke about conversation that I don’t understand?

  29. DonnaL says:

    I assume it’s a gay joke.

  30. librarygoose says:

    I was hoping for the latter, so instead of bigoted and unfunny I could settle for just unfunny.

  31. Manju says:

    I was hoping for the latter, so instead of bigoted and unfunny I could settle for just unfunny.

    It was a gay joke, but not a joke on gays.

    The target was George, making him appear wiser than he possibly could be. Ditto for #27.

    Maybe it reads ambiguously because I’m writing as if I’m scolding feminists?

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