You all know my mom, right? She’s very chill. Once my brother and sister had an egg fight in the kitchen—yes, an actual fight involving throwing eggs at each other, and she just sat calmly in the kitchen with her cigarette in hand and when they were done, she said “Okay, you can clean that up now,” and they did. She was the perfect 70s mother, very different from the hovering mothers of today (i.e; me). I try to match her insouciance but it is not easy.
There’s one thing that got her goat, though. If you wanted to get her into a headbanging rage, all you had to do was start singing softly, “Hey, Little Girl, comb your hair, fix your makeup. . .”
This Burt Bacharach and Hal David classic has a catchy tune and a jazzy vibe. It has been recorded by many famous vocal artists, including Frank Sinatra (though I think this Jack Jones version has the perfect smarminess.). The basic theme of the song is a warning to your basic housewife that even though you have that ring on your finger, there’s no excuse to be a schlumpadinka because there are hotties in the office and men are dogs, so watch out or pretty soon you’ll be living in an apartment with your six kids in a bad part of town where your only dating prospects will be 50 year old men who live with their mothers and guys who take you out to the bar on their motorcycles, while he and 20-something are living it up in your home—YOUR home, with the built in pool and the new washer and dryer in burnt orange! He’ll be feeling like a new man and you’ll be feeling like an old woman with those six children that you had TOGETHER, until your stomach feels like a stretched out sack. And somehow after a full day of “Mommymommymommymommymommy, wipe my hiney,” picking up Monopoly pieces, floor waxing, listening to hideous chldren’s television show, cooking and the eight million other crises and dramas that children can whip up oh so quickly, you’re supposed to be ready to make it an Aviance Night.
(Please do not miss this classic.)
Okay, I hate this song, too. Especially, “I’m Warning You.” How about a little appreciation for the SAHM. How about, rein it in, Men will be Men. Behave.
On. The. Other. Hand. Even though the way this sentiment is expressed is truly reprehensible, there is one little way there’s something true to it. And my sly mother knew all about it. It’s true that “Wives should be lovers, too.” And so should husbands. Sending Him off with curlers in your hair is well—I don’t know, back in the day they had to wear curlers at night I guess. So when you’re trying to make 6 baloney sandwiches and make everyone eggs and bacon before the schoolbus appears, it’s not so easy to get your game face on before Mr. Breadwinner takes off for that glossy tower full of sex kittens where he spends his days. However, my personal feeling about what “sexiness” means in a longterm relationship is less about how you dress up than about how you look at your spouse. How you speak of him or her when you’re at a party. The in-jokes you share. The experiences you build together. When you do the tiny considerate things you know they’d love—bring home the tiny oranges he adores, make a phone call she wouldn’t want to. And the way you touch. Not just the um, end result of the Aviance Night, but the sitting close together, the smelling of her hair, the silly butterfly kisses, the hand on the arm, the protective hug.
Yesterday was my parents’ anniversary. Though my father is dead, a part of him lives in me: how much he loved my mother. But how she treated him with respect, kindness, tolerance, and playfulness, as well. Wives and husbands—they should be lovers. But if anybody wants to whine about how his wife doesn’t wear as much makeup as the 22-year-old secretary, he can, as my mom would say, “go $&*@#)($*&!@) himself with a *@)#$(*#)*$)*.”
Oooh, Bonus! Extremely amusing article in the Huffington Post that agrees with me!
Writing prompt: Okay, you heard the song. Thoughts?