So today I was just sitting here at home, worrying about what kind of cupcakes to bake for my book club Tuesday night, when I logged onto Facebook and saw that one of my friends had attended a Housewife Party last night. Have any of you faithful blog followers heard of these? It’s not like a Tupperware party or playing Bridge with the other gals or whatever. It’s a party where a bunch of arrogant yupsters dress up in the most gaudy housewife garb they can, get drunk, and act like Peg Bundy. Of course none of these people are actually housewives. And these are also the same people that say they couldn’t find any meaning in their lives were they to just be married and have kids.
As I sat here in my leopard printed stretchie pants, looking through these photographs, I have to admit that I was somewhat hurt. This isn’t the first time a friend has attended one of these. And now I’m just wondering if these people can really be called “friends” when they are so arrogant and judgmental.
But the way a housewife dresses isn’t just what makes her a loser; an underbelly of society in these people’s eyes. In my experience there are really five main features of a housewife that make her such a waste of space, a drain on the world’s resources – at least in the minds of the anti-housewives.
Reason #1 Housewives Are Losers: We Dress For Comfort
Yes, the first is about the way we dress. 9 days out of 10, we dress for comfort. So that does mean we often dress ala Peg Bundy. Stretch pants. Comfy tops. Sweaters. Just yesterday I bought myself some leopard printed stretch pants and they are probably the most comfortable pair of pants I own. My favorite outfit is just that – stretchie pants with a dress or tunic and a cardigan sweater. Or we go with yoga pants.
Do you know why we dress for comfort though, rather than cuteness (and, by the way, most of the time we look cute in our comfort)? Because we aren’t sitting at a desk all day. We aren’t processing on a computer or sitting in comfortable meeting room chairs. We aren’t spending our lunch hours in fancy restaurants – we don’t even get lunch hours. Wearing uncomfortable heels for 12 hours of vacuuming, folding laundry, and corralling the children would hurt.
Reason #2 Housewives Are Losers: We Are Immersed in Contemporary Culture
I don’t mean that we’re cool and hip and we dress like yupsters, riding our bikes tandem around Coachella while listening to the musical stylings of Pitchfork on our iPods and shit. I mean that we are more aware of what is going on in contemporary culture on the whole because we’re home for it 24/7.
We listen to AM radio and watch talk shows during the day. We read the news and we read books that are new and popular, because we have the time to. We join book clubs. This morning I realized that my own intellectualism has been debased a little bit because I was reading an article on the Google News Aggregate about Snookie giving birth to her devil spawn early this morning. But then I realized that at least I’m reading, which is more than I can say for a lot of people I know with successful careers. Some of them haven’t cracked a book, magazine, or newspaper since college, and don’t plan on it. It’s a personal choice that everyone has to make for themselves, but I see the added awareness of the world and contemporary culture a plus.
If anything, it gives us more to talk about at a party, other than the most annoying dinner party conversation ever: how our jobs are going.
Reason #3 Housewives Are Losers: We Are Meaningless Realists
Perhaps the most glaring thing about housewives is that we are realists. We are in the real world. We don’t have any pie-in-the-sky dreams of saving the world with our two-bit jobs as a secretaries at the local power plant. We don’t have any idealism that we will cure cancer or stop global warming or end world hunger. It isn’t to say that these notions are bad things to have, in fact the world needs people with these notions to work at least a little bit closer to them; it’s just to say that as housewives we keep our lives and those of us around us in a little bit of perspective.
What this means, though, is that people sometimes call our realism “negativity.” “Oh, you can make a change; you can make a difference!” Sure, I can recycle or raise money for a cause or go out and vote for every election, but realistically speaking there is only so much one person can do. If people want to have an idealism; want to stay away from realistic negativity, that is fine. But just because someone has a job and a vague sense of meaning in their lives does not mean they are the next Steve Jobs or Neil Armstrong; and most importantly it does not mean that our jobs as housewives are unimportant and meaningless either.
Reason #4 Housewives Are Losers: We Worry All the Time
As I mentioned before, I was worrying about baking cupcakes for my book club on Tuesday night. The reason why I was worrying was actually just because it’s been so hot out lately that running the oven is not something I particularly feel like doing. But you see, as housewives we over think and worry about everything.
Sometimes my former self – the young woman in graduate school on her way to a Ph.D. in philosophy and successful teaching career – rears her ugly head and says to me “is this all you have to worry about? Jesus, get a life!” But then I start to think about why I worry about things like cupcakes, vacuuming, cleaning the toilets, what to make for dinner, and so on: because they are a part of my job as wife and mother. Not to sound corny or anything, but I place as much importance and value on my job as any other person in the adult world. Now not all housewives worry about everything that I do, but I can say with certainty that the majority of us do. This makes it even more hurtful for someone to say a housewife doesn’t have a care in the world. Because while your care in the world may be an 8 to 5 kind of care, a housewive’s is 24/7.
Reason #5 Housewives Are Losers: We’re Online A Lot
… but are also clueless technologically.
As a housewife – especially one with kids – life can be a little bit isolating. We don’t get to go to a central location with other human beings every day. Sometimes we have play dates or extra-curriculars, but a lot of the time we have is spent alone. So we go online and interact with blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
On the flip side, we aren’t necessarily equipped with work-sponsored laptops, Blackberries, and other new technologies. While we understand Facebook and how to do our blogs (those of us that have one, that is), we don’t necessarily understand all the other social media and equipment that is out there now. And you won’t often find housewives checking their email while out to lunch with friends, or standing in a group of people completely oblivious to each other because they are too absorbed by their smartphones.
What I always find to be ridiculous, though, is when people judge a housewife because she spends time online every day; simply because those that do that are the same people that can’t go an entire meal without checking their work email. That can’t have a conversation without interrupting it for a phone call or a text message. How are these things any different from each other?
So you can see, I don’t actually believe that housewives are losers. I am one, why would I? Okay, sometimes I believe I am a loser, but that’s more my former self rearing her ugly head again. I guess the real point is that before judging what another person does, we should all consider that there may be meaning and value in it, and that everyone defines that for themselves. And for God’s sakes, if anyone invites you to a Housewife Party – graciously decline. They’re just rude and arrogant.