Did you happen to take that 1930s housewife test that was floating around the ‘net last year? I did. Turns out I’d make someone a fine husband. Seriously, a servile, old-school wife I am not. But many modern women do still serve their men–literally.

In “Woman, where’s my waffle: On serving food to men,” XOJane’s Jessica writes about a scene in a North Carolina Best Western:

“Carl, do you want a waffle?” a plump-cheeked woman asked her husband, who considered the buffet a mere two feet from their table. “A little of everything,” he instructed, sitting back in his chair and shaking open a copy of USA Today. His wife smiled knowingly — her Carl sure had an appetite!

Then she went dutifully to the buffet where she began to make his breakfast, dishing up Styrofoam bowls of cereal and assembling floppy sausage and egg sandwiches.

Other couples came into the dining area and diverged, the men settling their wide khaki bottoms into chairs while their wives went to the counter and poured coffees which they brought back to the table before going back up to the buffet for the main course. While the women heaped two plates with starchy breakfast foods, the husbands all sat, sipping their coffees and reading their USA Todays.

When I was a kid, my friend’s mom would dish up food for her family, hovering awkwardly in the background until everyone had finished eating. It always made me uncomfortable. I watched the women at the buffet and was both appalled and fascinated. Read more…  

Not a family gathering passes without my sister asking “Aren’t you going to fix your husband a plate?”

Me: “Um…no.”

Sister: “See, I need to teach you how to do.”

I also had a friend years back who would crow about how well she cared for her boyfriend. “I always fix his plate.”

Is this still a thing? In 2012?

It is not surprising that the Marital Rating Scale, devised in 1939 by Dr. George Crane, judges wives in great part by how well they serve: putting children to bed, keeping the house clean, putting dinner on the table, letting hubby sleep late on weekends and keeping the seams in her stockings straight while doing it. It does surprise that some of these judgements still exist seven decades and a women’s rights movement later.

I love my husband and like doing things to make him feel good and pampered. It isn’t as if I have never served the man a plate of food. (He does the same for me, because he is awesome and I am a lucky lady.) But as a wife, my only duty is to love, honor and respect my other half, and work with him for the benefit of our union and our family. My husband is my partner and the love of my life, not my liege.

What about you? Do you fix your man’s plate? How comfortable are you with the traditional role of wife?

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71 Comments

  1. When you’re with a good guy and he’s appreciative, it’s fine. When a person expects you to do things simply because you’re a woman and shows no appreciation, that’s different.

    So if a guy is doing something or has worked hard, is it really anti-feminist to fix him a plate at a picnic or something? Not to me. It shows that you’re being considerate. Hopefully he will pay you back. Maybe a massage or helping with a chore you usually do.

    I think it’s nice to do traditional things for your husband. They like that kind of stuff. A good man who deserves to be pampered will appreciate you and pay you back in some considerate way.

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    • @Work_Bored

      @H exactly!

      I just took the test lol -3 was my source lol. But I like sometimes doing the old fashion things (is it because I’m obsessed with I Love Lucy???) no but my hubby appreciates it more than any man i know. He’s truly amazing and I’m fortunate to have someone I can really trust.

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    • Boaz's Wife

      @H

      Neighbor: What in heaven’s earth is she doing up making a sandwich at this time of the morning?

      Husband: Comes in late from an out-of-town business trip and is hungry. He says 2:00am in the morning, “Baby, please make me a sandwich.”

      Wife: Looks at him with her sleeping eyes (not wanting to leave her bed and cozy blanket); but she does. His week was more strenuous than hers.

      Neighbor: Shakes her head and mumbles, “that woman is crazy” as she proceeds to her EMPTY bed.

      As a woman that is happily married, your post is very well taken. As married people, you have to do what works for your union. My husband and I have learned over the years that you can’t have outsiders (keep your business to yourself), listen to single people, and be kind (respectful) to one another. Doing small things and sacrificing is a part of mutual respect for one another. This illustration used from a sermon is explaining what it takes to have a successful marriage. It’s not about keeping score, but one kind act does piggyback off another.

      Now this is the twist to it all. When you have a good man or a good woman, there are ALWAYS other people more than willing to take your spot. You have to keep your game tight for your mate. That woman or man saying I won’t do this or do that. Trust me; the first chance they get, they will do more than fix plates. They will serve food on a tray and feed it to him/her…LOL! This is the same game the other woman or man plays to lure in or attempt to take over somebody else’s mate. They will take that extra mile. So why shouldn’t we do the same for the man or woman in our lives? As mates, we have to learn to look through the eyes of others; this will help us appreciate more of the goodness we have at home. It’s about real true love and keeping it extraordinary. For my Boaz, I don’t have time to worry about being traditional, will he do this or do that for me (I know he will), or looking weak; I’m more concerned with loving and enjoying my man. He most certainly does the same.

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    • Boaz's Wife

      @H

      Neighbor: What in heaven’s earth is she doing up making a sandwich at this time of the morning?

      Husband: Comes in late from an out-of-town business trip and is hungry. He says 2:00am in the morning, “Baby, please make me a sandwich.”

      Wife: Looks at him with her sleeping eyes (not wanting to leave her bed and cozy blanket); but she does. His week was more strenuous than hers.

      Neighbor: Shakes her head and mumbles, “that woman is crazy” as she proceeds to her EMPTY bed.

      As a woman that is happily married, your post is very well taken. As married people, you have to do what works for your union. My husband and I have learned over the years that you can’t have outsiders (keep your business to yourself), listen to single people, and be kind (respectful) to one another. Doing small things and sacrificing is a part of mutual respect for one another. This illustration used from a sermon is explaining what it takes to have a successful marriage. It’s not about keeping score, but one kind act does piggyback off another.

      Now this is the twist to it all. When you have a good man or a good woman, there are ALWAYS other people more than willing to take your spot. You have to keep your game tight for your mate. That woman or man saying I won’t do this or do that. Trust me; the first chance they get, they will do more than fix plates. They will serve food on a tray and feed it to him/her…LOL! This is the same game the other woman or man plays to lure in or attempt to take over somebody else’s mate. They will take that extra mile. So why shouldn’t we do the same for the man or woman in our lives? As mates, we have to learn to look through the eyes of others; this will help us appreciate more of the goodness we have at home. It’s about real true love and keeping it extraordinary. For my Boaz, I don’t have time to worry about being traditional, will he do this or do that for me (I know he will), or looking weak; I’m more concerned with loving and enjoying my man. He most certainly does the same.

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  2. Mamareese

    To clarify my Manly Mindstate comment earlier. It is the ladies that are like yeah well I do everything a man does so what. Ok I do everything a man does in the real world too….but at the end of the day I am still a lady. And I enjoy having womanly wiles. So a man being a gentleman and doing the things a man should do is appericaited in todays world. Cause truth be told alot of brothers don’t even measure up to any man from past generates that would break their back for their families. I’m not saying you don’t love your man if you don’t fix a plate. What I’m saying is I’ve been on both sides of a good and bad relationship so when I have a brother that is on his grown man “ish” I recognize these traits and what’s worth presuing or holding on to. Don’t make this more than what it is. Bottom line good treatment begets good treatment.

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  3. Ultimately, I think all this talk about what a REAL man or woman does does a disservice to everyone involved. Want on earth is a “manly mind state?” Responsible adults, no matter their gender, take care of their loved ones and treat them with respect. If they are married, they make their union a priority.

    Now, how all this love and respect and responsibility takes shape is up to the couple involved. For some, it may be through traditional displays. Some other folks may turn that on its head. The main goal is that both partners are happy and healthy and productive. That is something each couple has to navigate.

    In my view, my husband is not just “a man” who wants and needs some stereotypical laundry list of things from me. He is my friend and a unique individual. He views me the same way and that’s one of many reasons why I love him.

    We have got to stop with this Harveyesque playbook for relationships that reduces everyone to a set of rigid (and silly) traits, based on gender.

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    • Introverted Leo

      Ms. Winfrey Harris, you always come back with a very sensible comment. The ‘real woman/man’ talk is annoying as heck to me. I also find it nauseating when people try to come with the, ‘women who don’t do this or that for a man is insecure and/or too independent’. I am so sick of society telling women that they must conform to what men like if they want a relationship.

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  4. Andi-a

    Unfortunately so late on this article, but I had to google “should a woman fix a man’s plate” today and yeah clutch came up first in the listings. Someone on facebook gave this little story about overhearing a young woman say whe was never fixing a mans plate then she continued on to congratulate herself on being reared right knowing her audience would applaud or “like” that. I’ve heard this from my dad’s side of the family everytime I join them on the holidays. My dad who I love so much did not raise me, he was an alcoholic all my growing years. My aunts and uncles who never once called I would call them out of pressure to say Hi just would expect me to know to fix my dad’s plate, and his takeaway plate. No explanation whatsoever, heck how am I supposed to know how much of what and why in the hell am I even ……?

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