The nightly phone call from my father, who was at work, to my mother always ended the same. “Yes”, my mother would say, “I did my sit-ups, I love you too.”.
In my mind my mother always sounded exasperated by nightly question, but maybe that’s just how I felt about it. Even thought I had contempt for my father checking up on my mother, the idea of a woman looking a certain way for her husband stuck.
That’s why I chose the “Watch your weight” advice from the How To Keep Your Husband hankie for my quilt, because it goes deep with me and I know it does with a lot of other women too.
It’s also one of the reasons I love Lizzo’s song Soulmate, where she says:
“They used to say to get a man, you had to know how to look
They used to say to keep a man, you had to know how to cook
But I’m solo in Soho, sippin’ Soju in Malibu
It’s a me, myself kinda attitude
‘Cause I’m my own soulmate…”
Lizzo, who is 31 years old, is obviously familiar with the 1950’s dynamic represented in the “How To Keep Your Husband” hankie. And she speaks to it with words and an attitude that makes me want to sing and dance along with her.