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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  • S.O.B

    So let me get this straight, if I’m able to do things for myself as a woman I’m having a “manly mindset”. So when my mom raised me to be a self-sufficient adult that could take care of myself that was foolishness on her part? When a woman is looking for love she should automatically stop doing things on her own? As soon as she is with a man she should go into auto default “woman” role mode. Got it.

    A woman can’t take a man. And if he leaves because I didn’t let him carry the groceries that day then good riddance. Sorry

    I don’t even understand it. My mind…blown. Just so over women policing other women. If what you and your significant other are doing works in your relationship then I commend you. I wish nothing but the best. My issue is the other women telling/preaching what other women need to be doing for their man. If the author doesn’t fix a plate of food for her man SO WHAT!

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    • Introverted Leo

      Exactly. The idea that a woman who does things on her own and for herself is manly is ridiculous.

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    • minna k.

      LOL. Silliness.

      I think men that can’t truly provide in a complete and “traditional” sense need to have a seat, especially when it comes to obtaining the kind of on demand traditional perks of being a “man”. Perhaps they need to asses whether or not they are fulfilling their end of that social contract.

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  • 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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  • http://www.whattamisaid.com Tami (Writer)

    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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  • 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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