Thursday, December 22, 2011
Day in the Life, Part 1
Three years back I had a post comparing short stories by John D. MacDonald and a writer pseudonymed Eosuchus (also the scientific name of an extinct crocodile).
This post was inspired by another Eosuchus story, “Beneath Her Hem” (Copyright Permian Systems 1997). There seems to be no active link to the entire story, so I can only encourage the author to republish it on his own weblog or elsewhere.
Eosuchus calls it “a litehearted fantasy of daily life in an idealized FDFS household.” But his fantasy, with its minute-by-minute account of a typical day in the life of a wife-worshipping, service-oriented househusband with a dominant breadwinner wife and two teen-age daughters bears no small resemblance to the journal jottings of many actual househusbands in wife-led marriages. Which I will show…
And these accounts, whether fictionalized or , actual diary entries, offer a clear lesson to all would-be wife worshippers (and stealth submittres), whose devotion peters out after a few hours, or days, or weeks of in-service drudgery.
“It took years of dedication to housework, child rearing and pampering without any thought of reward,” my old friend and mentor, fdhousehusband, once told me in an email. I did the chores cheerfully and enthusiastically. I convinced [my wife] that this was my life, Ii was happy in that role and I didn't want anything in return. Yet each time I failed and became lazy I felt that I took several steps backward for both of us. I was moving from one equilibrium to another and I needed to be perfect, not anything in between, not just sometimes.”
That kind of dedication is evident in the hero of Eosuchus’ tale as he goes this his daily “complex ballet” of meeting the needs and meshing with the schedules of his wife and two daughters, cleaning the house, doing laundry, shopping, cooking, preparing meals, driving the girls to and from school and after-school activities. His own Spartan needs—eating, reading headlines on the Web, working out to keep in trim, showering—are sandwiched between chores.
And, of course, we understand that, at the end of this exhausting (but instructive) narrative, it must all be done again the next day. A small sampling:
At nine thirty Elinor would take her first calls. Until then Steve would perform his secretarial role. Promptly at nine the calls began. Steve took calls while he cleaned up everyone's breakfast things and tidied up the kitchen and finished the shopping list.
When Elinor entered the office, Steve went upstairs and broke down the big bed, in which they slept as man and wife… He pulled out the sheets and dropped them in the plastic laundry hamper he now carried from room to room. He gathered underwear, socks, t-shirts, sweats, towels, shirts, pantyhose and bore it away to the basement. He sorted it and began a complex wash cycle.
Upstairs he checked on the dishwasher, emptied it and went over the kitchen with an eagle eye. Crumbs were lurking behind the counter stool. He whistled as he dusted them up and put them carefully into the garbage bin. One more careful check. Elinor might come into the kitchen at any time from about this moment on. Elinor had better not find anything at all to be critical of in the kitchen.
He went up to the bedrooms again and remade the big double bed. The girls got clean sheets twice a week and they weren't due for a change yet. He went over the bedroom carefully, with duster and damp cloth. It was time to vacuum…
The intricate, high-speed drudgery is only occasionally relieved by an erotic interlude, like this one during lunch, which, of course, he fixes for her:
She was going to sit in the kitchen and eat while she watched him work. Steve put on an apron and cleaned up the mess from making her sandwich and salad. He put some toast down for himself and filled a very small bowl with walnuts and cashews. He drank a glass of water and then did little odd jobs, cleaning around the kitchen while Elinor watched him.
"Steve, take off your shirt and pants," she said. Steve felt himself getting excited. He did as he was told, of course and put his clothes out of sight in a cupboard. Elinor ordered a very small glass of white wine from the chiller. When he brought it for her she squeezed and pinched his ass.
"I see a spot down there on the floor," she announced pointing to the tile right beside her stool. He got down on his knees to wipe the floor for her. By the time he'd finished that to her satisfaction she was pointing her foot at him for his kiss…
The long day ends with Steve “cuddling his wife and ruler as she slipped happily into sleep, served and serviced to the absolute limit of a man's ability.”
A happy ending, if I ever read one. Though this won’t be understood by those hard-boiled males who occasionally leave comments like, “You guys are hopeless wusses!” We KNOW that okay? Well, wusses maybe, but not hopeless. We live in perpetual hope. We relish the power imbalance, the daily rituals of ultra-romantic courtship where the woman is idealized and idolized. Not for everyguy, that’s fine.
Now, as promised, here are some non–fictional “days in the life”:
Fdhousehusband, previously mentioned, kept a running journal of his domestic activities on various websites. You can select any excerpt at random to see the kind of nonstop dedication he summoned to maintain his high level of service. In the following paragraphs, his wife had just assigned him to put on a dinner party for her and several business associates:
The problem with planning and executing an important dinner party is that the day-to-day requirements of serving my wife don't disappear. Two days ago, I awoke and scurried downstairs to do my morning chores. I fetched the paper, emptied the dishwasher, prepared the coffee for my wife and served her breakfast when she came downstairs. I then ran upstairs to make the bed, got breakfast for the girls [he also had two teen-aged daughters at this time] and saw them off to school.
Because Mistress's car was in the shop, I would need to drive her to work and pick her up afterward. Normally, I love being her little chauffeur, but with time tight this week, I needed every second to prepare for the dinner party on Saturday. Nonetheless, I waited dutifully while she prepared herself for work. Although the time seemed to be evaporating before my eyes, I held my tongue.
After I dropped Her off at work, I realized that I needed at least two full days to clean and cook for the party…
[Later] After we arrived home, my wife went to relax in her favorite chair and watch the election returns while I went to prepare dinner. Donning my apron, I quickly sauteed the sausage and chicken and put them into the jambalaya mix to cook. I set the table and knelt in front of my wife. I removed her pumps and massaged her feet through her pantyhose as he watched the television...
Having exchanged many emails and message board posts with Fd in previous years, I can confidently attest that the foregoing is no fabrication. Rather it is a pretty “Day in the Life” for him. The man went the extra mile and then some for his beloved wife—and still does, I am sure, though he has withdrawn his blog and has not posted under that name for several years now.
I cannot similarly vouch for the following wife-led “Day in the Life” account, taken from the book, Empress Arises by Ivy and Bobbi Rigger, originally, but no longer available through Lulu.com:
At five-thirty, Robert (Bobbi) gets up while Ivy stays in bed for a few more minutes snooze... He slips on a light robe and heads for the kitchen.
There, he checks to make sure everything is ready. The coffee is brewing. Breakfast fixings are ready. Ivy likes a single poached egg in the morning, and a slice of toast. It’ll be ready when she comes to the table.
He made her lunch the night before but now he checks to make certain it is prepared properly. She likes to take a sandwich rather than eat out for her lunches. It gives her more time to work at her desk.
Then, Bobbi checks the time. He still has a few minutes. So he sits down at the kitchen table for a preparatory cup of coffee before the day. At ten till six, Bobbi gets busy. He stands and begins boiling the egg. He also pours a cup of coffee and takes it to Ivy Ann where she is just now waking up. He speaks softly, “It’s almost six, Lady mine.” She stirs and slowly sits up in the bed. He gives her the coffee. She takes it and mumbles, “Christ…”
He smiles and heads back to the kitchen… He sets the table and waits until he hears the shower go on. Then he starts boiling the egg.
When she comes dressed to the table a few minutes later, everything is set. The egg waits for her, as does a glass of fresh orange juice. She sits and he pours her coffee. She thanks him. He stands attentively. She sips the juice and, after a second, nods. He slides into the chair across from her.
He smiles and sits quietly, only speaking when she speaks to him, or when he feels that a well formed question or comment will show he is paying attention…
She may also give a few quick instructions for the day. “Remember to put those checks in the bank,” she says. “And. the car needs an oil change." He nods at each instruction. Then, she pauses, thinks for a bit and adds, “Oh, and for your special treat, I have some underwear that needs to be hand washed."
After her breakfast, she rises. It’s time for her to leave. She wants to be in the office at seven thirty. While she brushes her teeth and makes a few last minute changes to her hair, he collects her brief case and stands waiting for her by the door. She appears shortly after that. She looks him up and down then taps her foot once. He drops instantly to his knees, leans forward to grovel before her, and put his head on the top of her shoe.
They wait for a long moment. Finally, she raises the toe of her shoe. He rolls back up to his knees, but remains kneeling. She pets his head and says, “Good boy.” He stays on the floor, with his eyes down and not looking at her until she leaves.
When he hears her car door close, he stands and begins his day...
As soon as she is out of the house, he quickly fixes himself a light breakfast and then gets to work. First, he washes the dishes and straightens up the kitchen. Then, he hurriedly does any outstanding housework that needs to be done. He vacuums the front room, makes the bed, puts a load of laundry in the washer, and so on…
Then, the “special treat.” He finds the underwear she mentioned. She has left them in a separate hamper in the bedroom. There are red panties, black panties, and white cotton panties. These he takes to the downstairs laundry sink and carefully, lovingly washes by hand…
And, because I particularly enjoy and collect these recitations, I’m going to offer several more in a follow-up posting. Stay tuned.
End of Part One.