Friday, April 24, 2009

It’s dangerous to be A PERFECT HOUSEWIFE

That's right readers, and that title could be something to consider getting tattooed on your ankle in sanskrit when you feel the need for a bit of trendy rebellion in your life. When my spunky sister-in-law Dr B gave me two magazines from 1968 for my fortieth birthday last year, I read them avidly. Unfortunately, our printer was being more troublesome than a condom in the Popemobile, and it was only after several tantrums in Officeworks and the eventual arrival of an equally-ordinary replacement printer that I could scan stuff in for your delectation.

The top story on page 2 of the November 18th, 1968 edition of the Woman's Day screamed, ‘Suzanne is Miss Australia now – THE GOLDEN GIRL FROM THE WEST.’

She was crowned by the Prime Minister, Mr John Gorton, “……who first wiped away the lipstick left on her cheek by congratulatory kisses.” Can you imagine K Rudd taking time out of his anaemic workaholia to do that?

But how's this for a bitchy slap in the face: “With clear hazel eyes, long and swinging light brown hair and a wide, lovely smile, Suzanne is attractive rather than pretty.” Miaow!

Still, she was only a deportment teacher with 'vague ambitions' to do something in Public Relations. Plus, she could console herself with the prizes she'd won: a world trip, $3000 for personal appearance fees, a car, $500 spending money and $200 worth of foundation garments. For someone declared attractive rather than pretty, maybe she needed all the triple-boned corsetry help she could get, poor lamb.

I learned from the article entitled 'It's dangerous to be a PERFECT HOUSEWIFE that “keeping the dust down, the ashtrays continually clean – even when guests are using them and the cupboards papered" can be a bit tiring when "everything has to be immaculate. But think of the stress! Particularly when there’s a husband, children and pets continually disturbing the house.” Their solution came from the husband who threatened to leave if she didn't tone her cleaning down and allow him to relax in peace "after a hard day's work." Rightly so; she should be kneeling silently on the floor with the ashtray on her back for his easy reach fer pharkssakes.

The Ponds Institute weren't pulling any punches back in the day, declaring that by twenty seven, our beauty was already in the balance. That wouldn't have been too comforting for about 99% of their readers, would it?

The woman Bob Hawke turfed out Hazel for, Blanche d’Alpuget, had her own byline and in this particular issue she said "DIAMONDS ARE FOR EVERYONE." That's right; it doesn't matter if you have short nails, stubby fingers, painted talons or pale complexions, every woman's boyfriend should be buying her a diamond. Let's hope that Bob did.

Despite being way, waaaaay over 27 at the time of reading, it is good to know that even in 1968, Modess had developed an upside-down white fishing boat-sized device to allow pretty young things to wear puffy white dresses without fear of exposing their bow-leggedness due to having to cram that watercraft in between them. The poor thing pictured here didn't dare move in case it fell out and her kneecaps shot violently outwards to Port and Starboard.

And where would any Aussie housewife have been without a few crafty suggestions?

Firstly, the Hostess Apron. Why spoil a nice dinner dress when you can protect it - and enhance your overall appearance - by whipping up one of these blue and white babies on your Singer? And no, they didn't give any explanation as to why her hair was allowed to resemble a octopus attempting to latch on to the back of her skull and suck her brains out. Maybe that was in the previous issue.

And if you're not within easy reach of a sheltered workshop or appropriate medication, you can plan for Christmas by making these nifty and useful pot stands that hang so cleverly from a wooden spoon. And then try your hand at magicking up a scone warming basket! Don't they look professional!

Other pictures that couldn't be scanned in with any decency include a fish mousse recipe in which some greyish moosh was shoved onto a plate and vaguely shaped into what looked like a crippled eel with liquorice straps for inexplicable eyes, brows and lip decorations. Margaret Fulton suggested that a milk junket would go down a treat for dessert. Failing that, it could be explained to frightened children that they were merely eating the jellied innards of the eel they'd had for the main course.

There's more on the way because even the fellas weren't overlooked in those days.....


franzy said...

*crosses fingers and whispers silently into pillow*
Please let it be vintage PlayboyPlease let it be vintage PlayboyPlease let it be vintage PlayboyPlease let it be vintage Playboy*opens one eye*
*closes one eye*

For the articles

River said...

The only thing dangerous about being a perfect housewife is that yours is the only house with clean coffee mugs and fresh loo paper at 9am, because the kids washed and dried the breakfast dishes before the walk to school while you hung a load of washing, so all the school mums came home with you for a coffee before heading home to their own dishes, washing, etc.
I remember the blue-shield modess very well. I always had to buy the "super" ones.

ashleigh said...

Please, please don't give us any snippets from Mere Male.

I'll scream, then puke, then write a diatribe if you do.

(Todays word verification: cotlee)

Kath Lockett said...

Franzy - your prayers are in vain
River - serves you right for being too organised
Ashleigh - it's's not Mere Male.....

Anonymous said...

Mere Male was in New Idea, IIRC


drb said...

LOL, you gave me as much stitches as Jeff Green.
Took me a while to figure out what is Modess.
Looking forward to the rest.
hmmmm, vintage PlayHouse, should have thought of that for Rob's or LC big 40th....
Purely for research purpose....

drb said...

oops Freudian's slip.
I mean *Playboy*.
See! I am still innocent deep down....

Word Verification: suming

money said...

I really like you posts, keep it up, you can lean about how to keep your relationship safe at

and learn the secret of making money online at