I am like one of those elaborate utility tools. You know the ones. They have umpteen different knife blades, a screwdriver, a bottle opener, a corkscrew, a saw (like something that tiny would ever be useful on anything thicker than a toothpick), a nail file, and an itty, bitty pair of scissors.
I’m useful to have around, but my husband doesn’t call upon my many skills and talents all at once. He parses them out begrudgingly to suit his needs.
The model of a perfect spouse I am the nail file. I am expected to keep myself trim and in shape. My clothes and makeup are always impeccable. My nails are done only in muted pastels, nothing garish or cheap. My hair is coiffed in the latest style appropriate for the wife of someone of my husband’s status.
When he is entertaining, I am the corkscrew. The quintessential hostess, I prepare gourmet cuisine, pairing it with the perfect wine, while plating the meals with grace and style. My table is a work of art. He has closed many lucrative deals between courses of my dinners, even as his client grabs a handful of my ass. I’m expected to plaster a beatific smile on my face and keep serving dinner.
my housewife skills are represented as a pair of scissors. No dust or dirt anywhere, Floors mopped and polished to a dazzling shine and rugs vacuumed. No soiled footprints are allowed. No cushion out-of-place, no lamp shade askew, no unpleasure odors, no hint of disarray. Clothes are cleaned, pressed and hung in their proper places. Any loose buttons secured without delay. A shirt forgotten in the dryer is punishable by two-days of stony silence.
My ability to provide a tranquil sleeping environment plays out with the saw. Sawing wood, snoring? Sleep disorders, apnea, insomnia – all those bothersome nuisances my husband endures, I must temper so he can have at least a semblance of a good night’s sleep. Should I fall short of his demands, it means nightmares for me.
A rapier wit, a cutting remark, a sharp retort… my blade. I must be able to compete in a spirited debate, carrying my half of an erudite conversation by keeping up with current events and news. I must also fall on that sword, never presuming to best him with a keener mind.
I am a Swiss Army wife, lying forgotten in a drawer until one of my many personas is required.