Written by Jenny Isenman of The Suburban Jungle
Every once in a while you have a conversation that is so cliché so stereotypically female, a la 60 years ago, It makes you wonder if things have truly changed that much.
I had one of these conversations last night, and the sad part? It was so natural, I didn’t notice the irony until today. This was the convo as close to verbatim as I can get… seriously.
It started with someone discussing her phobia of germy sponges.
Mom 1: I totally rely on sponges. You know, when they get dirty you can nuke ‘em?
Me: I run mine in the dishwasher.
Spongephobe Mom: I never use a sponge.
AND THEN IT STARTED: A conversation taken right from the script of a 1950′s commercial.
If any man were to overhear it, he’d undoubtedly say, “Dames, they love to yap about household chores. Am I right fellas?”
The rest of my little tête-à-tête with the team moms will require proper 1950s translation.
Spongephobe Mom (to us moms, who sat with our mouths agape at the idea of not using a sponge): I don’t need a sponge. I just let my dishes soak in some hot water with JOY.
50s translation: JOY gets me “From grease to shine in half the time!”
Mom 1 (visibly shaken): What do you use… a paper towel?
50s translation: Towels can rip and tear, they’d never hold up to vigorous dishwashing.
Spongephobe Mom: Nope.
50s translation: I’m confident in the cleaning power of Joy.
Me (accusingly — like an evangelist being told about evolution): I bet you’re scraping that crud off with your nails.
50s translation: That explains why her nails look so uninviting. (Which would be said in a loud whisper to other woman at the mahjong table.)
Spongephobe Mom: Nope.
50s translation: Stop staring at my nails, gossip maven.
Me: But how do you get all the shit off?
50s translation: What about baked on caked on foods like dried cereal?
Spongephobe Mom: It even works on caked on oatmeal.
50s translation: It even works on caked on oatmeal!
Me and Mom 1 (in disbelief): NO!?
50s translation: Gasp!?
Me: But what if you sauté?
50s translation: How does it hold up to grease from deep frying?
Spongephobe Mom: No problem.
50s translation: It cuts right through the oily residue that frying can leave behind.
Me: I nonchalantly inspected her hands for cracking and chaffing.
50s translation: “I bet your manicurist isn’t pleased with the way you do your dishes.” (Snicker snicker, then I would look to other girls for nods and implied high fives.)
Spongephobe Mom: I only soak the dishes, not my hands, dumbass. (okay, in the actual conversation the dumbass was merely implied.)
50s translation: Joy leaves my hands supple and soft, and it’s emollients condition as it cleans. Then she would look at my hands sitting in a bowl of what I thought was simply water and say, “you’re soaking in it.”
Oh, Madge, you sneaky devil, you.
That evening I couldn’t help using my new “now to 50s” translation on everything.
I came home and let the kids go for a quick dip in the pool.
50s translation: I bathed my sweet children.
I put a frozen pizza in the oven.
50s translation: I whipped up a nutritious meal for the whole family.
I Allowed my hubby to make idle chit chat during the commercials of American Idol.
50s translation: I got my hubby his slippers and cigar then gently rubbed his shoulders.
I put in a load of laundry in hopes that the cleaning lady would dry and fold it in the morning.
50s translation: I washed, ironed and starched the family’s laundry.
I guess I never realized what a modern domestic goddess I truly am.