Misogyny Is Swingin’, Baby

A few evenings ago, half-heartedly listening as an online music station played in the background, a song came on that gave me a sudden wait-did-I-just-hear-what-I-think-I-heard moment. I listened as a few more stanzas confirmed that I had heard what I thought I’d heard.

I laughed and asked my wife, “Are you hearing these lyrics?”

She paused to listen. “Oh my. That’s not at all dated,” she joked.

As she considered more of the friendly advice doled out in the song, she said, “God, I really suck as a wife. I’m really sorry, sweety. I wish someone would’ve told me of these criteria before we got married.”

I gestured toward the music playing. “They’re rules in music form,” I argued. “Rules you can dance to. What more do you need?”

Swingin’, baby.

For the convenience of the newly-engaged or newlywed ladies (but really for the sanity of the men to whom they are committed, truth be told), I have laid out the lyrics below. This will not only help to remind you of your places as women, but your primary roles and functions.

For the ability to read-along, click the play button: 

Wives & Lovers
(as sung by Jack Jones, 1963)
***

Hey! Little Girl
Comb your hair, fix your makeup
Soon he will open the door
Don’t think because there’s a ring on your finger
You needn’t try anymore

“Just because there’s a ring on this finger, doesn’t mean I can’t set my own dreams and ambitions aside and cook my Roger an 8-course meal every night.”

For wives should always be lovers too
Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you
I’m warning you…

Ladies, you’ve been warned. Yeah, you’ve already used your feminine wiles to scheme a ring onto your finger, but that doesn’t mean you get to relax, loosen your belt and ride the gravy train that is your husband. Uh-uh. He is coming home from a hard day at *insert job that pays for all of your pretty things and silly whims* and the last thing he needs is to see you looking remotely human. For god’s sake, ladies, comb your hair! Fix your makeup! Being pretty is an option, try to choose it.

Day after day
There are girls at the office
And men will always be men
Don’t send him off with your hair still in curlers
You may not see him again

“Honey, you’re on speaker phone. Can you hear me? — So, remember last night when you greeted me with curlers in your hair? — Yeah, that’s right. — I’m never coming home. Turns out the girls at the office are cheap floozies and, well, I’m just a dude. — Enjoy a lifetime of loneliness, Curler Queen!”

For wives should always be lovers too
Run to his arms the moment he comes home to you
He’s almost here…

Just as you were once scheming for a man to dig your greedy claws into, so are the women that work with your husband at the offices of Hussy, Harlot and Homewrecker. These women can smell curler residue on your husband like a hound dog can an escaped convict. The moment any of them senses that your husband has veered even the slightest from marital ecstasy, these women will pounce on him. And don’t try to blame him for any resulting infidelity, not even for a second. Was it him that greeted you at the door wearing curlers? Was his makeup not applied in ample amounts? It was you! You drove him to “working late” with his secretary by not being flawless all of the time.

“Dear God, I am so sorry for not wearing pearls when my husband left for work, this morning. I promise I’ll never do it, again. If I do, I will drink boiling water and bleach for each pearl I didn’t wear. Just, please, oh vengeful male deity, let my husband come home.”

Hey! Little girl
Better wear something pretty
Something you’d wear to go to the city and
Dim all the lights, pour the wine, start the music
Time to get ready for love
Time to get ready
Time to get ready for love

It’s not important if you have a headache or if you’re suffering from crippling arthritis or even if you’re repulsed by your husband’s kink of dressing up as an adult baby, you need to aside your own selfishness and get ready for love. No questions asked. If he wanted to know how you’re feeling, he’d ask, wouldn’t he? Look pretty and worship the all-powerful phallus. That’s it.

How do we know this is good, practical advice? Wives and Lovers earned Jack Jones a Grammy for Best Male Performer of 1964. I mean, there’s a reason it was chosen by the predominantly male industry: its practicality.

Hey, little me, don’t be la-la-da-dum-dum.
Something-something-la-la.
I love this song. It has small words that even I can understand.”

————–

At this point, I should point out the big irony when we first heard this song. I don’t think the irony was even lost on the cat, it was that obvious.

I was in the kitchen cooking dinner, while my wife sat on the couch and relaxed after work. That’s right, Jack Jones, I am a proud househusband.

There, I’ve admitted it out loud in written form (so not really out loud, per se) for the world to hear/read. I work from home, while my wife commutes half an hour each way. The majority of the dusting, vacuuming, dishwashing, etc. is done by me. And the thing is, Mr. Jones, I’m happy to do it. To be home all day and leave chores for my wife to do after working all day would make me both an ass and a hole. Maybe it’s not a “traditional” marriage, but it is a happy one. I don’t even see it as what my mother terms “gender reversal”. To me, it’s just fair and isn’t marriage about being equal partners?

So, maybe I’m just the unfortunate result of being raised predominantly by women, of having dated a feminist and womens’ studies major. Maybe I am not the definition of manliness that most subscribe to. If anything, I just like to think of myself as an adult.

When I lived alone, I also was able to clean and feed myself, shop for my own clothing. I was capable of not living in a room overcome by empty pizza boxes and crushed beer cans. When I got married, it wasn’t with the intention of having someone care for me, as though my personal growth had been retarded at adolescence. I did it to be with someone I could be a partner with.

“I love being single and 22. Burp! Nobody hasslin’ me to stand up out of my own filth. Nuh-uh.”

I suppose I’ve just never understood that mentality where the competency of an adult male to take an interest in himself or his surroundings somehow defines him one of two ways: gay or henpecked. The perpetual man-child, always decked out in a t-shirt and a flannel, the one portrayed in endless television shows and movies, shouldn’t be seen with a shrug and a “Well, that’s how men are. They need a mother.” Because, if you believe that, if you take that at face value as truth, then you should also believe the following line of equal or greater BS:

Day after day
There are girls at the office
And men will always be men
Don’t send him off with your hair still in curlers
You may not see him again

“Wait a minute,” my wife said. “Why don’t you greet me in heels and pearls? I work hard, dammit.”

“I suck as a wife. On the plus side, I never greet you in curlers. So, yay me!”

“And that’s why I always come home,” she said sweetly. “Now finish my dinner, woman!”

“If I do these dishes, my wife says I can golf with the fellas on Sunday. And she’ll take my masulinity out of her purse and let me use it for a whole day.”

Categories: Smartass | Tags: , , , , , , | 39 Comments

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39 thoughts on “Misogyny Is Swingin’, Baby

  1. You forgot we men-child(ren) also wear hoodies. Now make me a chicken pot pie and let me watch my stories (which may or may not be from Tyler Perry.)

    Please?

  2. I’ve been around long enough to remember that song when it first came out in 1963. My sister played the piano and I recall that my grandmother, who loved Jack Jones — think bland, clean cut, white guy, bought my sister the sheet music. The sixties, as you know, was a tumultuous decade especially when one considers how it started with the Kennedy presidency, the Don Draper/Mad Men outlook and how it ended — people are rioting over the war in Vietnam, and there are several important social turning points — black pride, gay pride and the women’s movement. It was a pivotal decade that was instrumental in getting us to where we are today socially. It makes me feel really good that a modern guy like you can hear that almost 50-year-old song and find it so offensive he’s prompted to vent about it. I think both you and this post rocks.

  3. And I’ll be single forever.
    On another note, do you have a twin?

    • Good news is that I am working on a cloning project with you in mind. Hopefully twin me will have better vision, not my father’s chin and sound better on the phone. I’ll keep you posted on how the cellular division is coming along.

  4. Now that I’m home myself, Mr. Weebles reminded me that I can no longer use work as an excuse for not cooking dinner and keeping the house spotless, all while wearing pearls, heels and full makeup. He has a point. The poor guy suffered for all these years, now I really need to woman up. I’m so ashamed of myself.

  5. I say “yes!” to househusbands. Brilliant post.

  6. Calahan,
    This is Freshly Pressable. I feel the secret voodoo genies coming your way so close the windows and lock the doors. Or don’t. Either way this is an awesome post.

    • I’ll be totally honest, I had no idea what Freshly Pressed even was until Le Clown had a piece about it. As far as my post being awesome, thanks!

  7. “Being pretty is an option, try to choose it.”

    I laughed out loud.

    A man that cooks is a prize!

    You’re pretty lucky you dated feminists/women’s studies majors. ;-)

    • I am lucky. Otherwise, I would never have learned that, when introduced to a woman, referring to them as “Hey, you. The broad with the knockers” is considered impolite.

  8. This post rocks. You rock. I’m just a girl, so I’m not sure if my opinion counts, though.

  9. I would never have expected a publication that calls itself Barely Legal Oriental Gals to take such a firm stance against not only misogyny but also traditional gender roles.

    Seriously, this was well-written, and a good point. Regarding the 1963 song about Being a Righteous Wifey, I think a lot of old songs tended to be that way. One which springs to mind (and to my thinking, this is a lot more forgivable) is from “The Wreck of the Old ’97” (there are many good versions, but I like Johnny Cash’s live version), where the singer warns, “Now all you ladies you’d better take a warning from this time on and learn/ not to speak harsh words to your true loving husband; he might leave you and never return.” (In fairness, the line refers to the pain a person would feel if the last time they spoke to their spouse, they bickered).

    Obviously, what makes these notions sexist is the idea that the woman is responsible for “keeping everything” nice in the marriage. However, I think it’s a GREAT idea for BOTH partners to do that. Yes, you’re not trying to find a mate any more, but that doesn’t mean you should let yourself go. Have enough respect for your husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, horse (okay–the horse doesn’t care) to keep yourself reasonably attractive.

    I find that I do MORE around the house now that I’m married and have kids. I actually don’t think there’s anything wrong with being a man-boy for a while. We live so much longer than we used to. My twenties were irresponsibly spent, and I’d have it no other way. I never wanted to wake up one day and say “Oh crap, I forgot to take drugs and be an idiot!” Now that I’m married with three young boys, I see my life very differently. But if a young man has the opportunity and is so inclined (and most importantly–does not have children!), let him be a bum. There’s plenty of time to be a man later.

    • It’s the dads and husbands that never grow out of the bum mentality because they don’t want to let go of their imaginary freedom and risk their fantasy league friends goofing on them for being emotionally castrated, those are the ones I look at with a shaking head. Maybe I’m too judgmental, I dunno. I just don’t think any kid should outgrow their parent in the responsibility dept. The fact that you are taking on the role of dad with an obvious relish is awesome. I love to hear of dads who actually enjoy their role.

      Side note – I was a very boring twenty-something when compared to most. I’ve certainly been roommates with those people, but just never one of them.

      • I always like to hear that, too. I think when you start producing offspring, it’s time to be a man, whether you’re 16 or 60. I am living proof that a child can grow up without a dad, that’s not the way to grow up if it can be helped (mine couldn’t; my father was never given the chance to be either a deadbeat or a stand-up guy).
        I particularly admire single dads (it should go without saying my respect for single moms; the person who had the most influence on the man I would one day become was in fact a single mom), because they are superhuman. How my wife manages to wrangle 3 boys 5 and under on a daily basis astounds me. After eight hours I’m fetal and weeping.

    • @Smaktakula: Great reply. The mores of the Fifties regarding keeping a marriage alive relied on the woman doing her best to entice her husband to stay/buy her a new apron and his only responsibility was to make sure she never found out about him and his secretary :-) You guys must miss those times!

  10. Feckin’ brilliant post! I love you. It’s official.

    • Well, now that it’s official, I really going to need to have a long talk with my wife.

      Thanks for the compliment! I enjoy them to no end.

  11. In our house, I do most of the cooking, she usually takes out the trash.
    And if I ever strayed with one of the girls at the office, I’m pretty sure she’d see to it that was the last mistake I ever made.

    I will play her this song so she can see what she’s been doing wrong.
    Wish me luck…

    • calahan

      Don’t just play her the song. No, you need to strap her in a chair, tape headphones over her ear and play it incessantly until she loses all hope and starts to believe the message, a la Manchurian Candidate.

      • El Guapo

        Ok. but if I don’t comment within two weeks of your next post, Please send the coroner to the local park, and have them look for me in any “new and suspicious looking mounds”.

        • I see what you’re saying, but I don’t know if that would be fair to everyone else who may have recently dug a suspicious mound. If there is a specific mound to unearth, then that’s fine, but to just dig up everyone else’s willy-nilly seems disrespectful.

  12. Oh how far we have come.

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