Duties of the Young Wife #5: Lookin’ Good

I’ve said it before, but it needs to be said again: the Young Wife should be slim and attractive, just as she was before getting married. Mostly, this means diet and exercise.

By “diet” I mean food quality, not quantity. Calorie counting is not necessary. Eat when you are hungry, within reason. “Quality” means what you eat, not how much. “What you eat,” is, of course, Cooking, and we talked about in the Duties of a Young Wife #3. So, there is nice overlap here. With a good diet of high-quality foods — whole single ingredient foods, with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables while de-emphasizing refined foods such as white flour, white sugar and oils — it is not hard to keep looking good without having to exercise like an Olympic trialist.

Dress should be classy and modest. It should say: “I am classy and married.” No slutwear. No yoga pants outside the yoga studio. But also, no single-girl clothes. Now you are to look like the cherry tree in midsummer, not the cherry tree in flower — even if you happen to be 19. Careerwear is a good example of “classy and modest,” but we are talking about stayathomewifewear here.

Karen Grassle’s outfits as Caroline Ingalls in the Little House on the Prairie TV show exemplify what a young married woman might have dressed like in the 1870s. Mostly, a combo of buttoned shirts and long practical skirts.

When you consider that this woman lived literally on the fringes of civilization, made all her own clothes and washed them by hand, ironed them with an iron heated in a wood fire, and did things like milking cows and chopping wood in them, it’s amazing how well people dressed back then. Yes, I know it is television (the real Caroline was not as good looking as Karen Grassle), but the clothes are about right I think.

If you stacked a hundred sluts from end to end, it still wouldn’t reach to the knees of Caroline Ingalls.

And what about her husband Charles? Wild enough to go past the edge of the known world with three little girls. Civilized enough to wear a bowtie. A man you could rely on to shoot a bear and play the violin. 100% American hardass.

But, on special occasions (the television) Caroline Ingalls knew how to dress up.

Just as a woman is responsible for a house that is not only clean and functional but also charming and beautiful, so she should attend to her own appearance in a manner that is a credit and honor to her husband, family and nation. A woman like that is worth a dozen “trophy wives.” A team of ten of today’s Hamptons trophy wives probably couldn’t split wood for one fire before breaking down into tears and divorce threats. Women like Caroline Ingalls conquered entire continents.

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Here she is, ironing her daughter’s handmade dress, while her family is so far into the wild that her house is literally a dirt hole. Women like that are like gold.

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Happily married, with children.

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