Ornamental Hubbies Have Gone Out of Fashion – The Lad Who Has the Call To-day Is He Who Knows How to Prepare a Dainty Breakfast to Be Served to Milady in Bed.
By Gregory Clark, February 12, 1921.
The technical school, it is said, is about to institute a course in domestic science for young house-husbands.
In the last couple of years a very considerable demand has arisen for some sort of instruction for young men in light housekeeping, such as preparing dainty breakfasts, knocking out omelettes, tastefully arranging tea trays, and the like.
For in the most advanced feminine circles of younger Toronto the first requisite in a good husband is not his good looks, nor, indeed, how much money he makes; but whether he is handy at preparing a dainty meal on a tray to be consumed in bed.
And it is with regret that I must bring credence to this astonishing rumor.
When Jack married Ysobel six months ago, no one was more confounded than I. Jack is an amiable fellow, of course. But he is a shabby, moth-eaten little fellow, with a pet dog sort of an expression – perky, you know, but tame. And as for his other qualifications for marrying the magnificent Ysobel, the debonnaire, the almost boyish Ysobel, well, he is one of those bond salesmen who spend a busy day between the five soda fountains of Yonge street.
His income, as far as any of us ever knew, is equal to four sodas and one chocolate-egg1 per diem,
But he married Ysobel. And there they live, in their sporty apartment, amid a bliss that is the envy of all their friends, an ill-mated but preposterously happy couple.
What was the attraction Jack possessed? He tried to intimate to me that it was his war record that turned the trick. But I knew that Ysobel had been pursued by D. S. O.2‘s in her day, and Jack had not even the M. C.3
Only last week I made the amazing discovery.
I was passing Jack’s apartment house about ten in the morning, and decided to call and see if he would walk down town with me.
I rang his apartment bell, and Jack himself answered the door.
Jack, not yet shaven and partly dressed, with a print apron tied under his arms.
“Come in, old bean!” he cried, with a false joviality. He was blushing through his stubble.
He led me into the sitting room and sat down with me in an awkward silence.
“Thought I’d call to see if you are walking down,” I said.
“I’m hardly ready,” replied Jack.
“I’ll wait,” said I, cheerfully, with the cunning of a wolf on the scent.
And just at that moment, the sleepy, muffled voice of Ysobel rose from behind the bedroom door:
“Jack, Jack! What are you doing? When do I get my breakfast?”
It was out. The secret was mine. Before I left with Jack, Ysobel, magnificent and drowsy in her kimono, had spilled all the beans to me.
“Why, Jack is the dandiest house-husband imaginable,” she said. “His breakfasts are delicious and endless in their variety. And on Sundays he can cook a dinner and serve a tea that would knock your eye out!”
There lay his charm.
Since last week I have made great progress in this discovery. By dropping unexpectedly on all my young married friends, at odd hours of the day. I have found that almost without exception the husbands of the past couple of years are house-husbands, qualified in all the lighter domestic arts from washing celery to basting a roast of beef.
Is this the beginning of the revolt of women? Thus quietly and secretly are they inserting the thin end of the wedge of domestic equality?
Possibly the war had something to do with it. All these young fellows overseas, saying “Yes, sir,” and “No, sir,” for four years, clicking to everybody. And when they got home habit got the better of them, and they weren’t happy unless they were clicking to somebody. So they click to their wives.
It is a widespread and dangerous thing. Where will it end? I know one young fellow whose mother-in- law, who lives with him and his wife, informed him that the reason she supported his suit for her daughter’s hand was that all her life she had yearned to have a son-in-law who would get her her breakfast in bed. And he had looked promising to her!
It is a conspiracy, that’s what it is. We men should get together. Anyway, I purpose this article to serve as notice to certain parties who shall be nameless that in future they need not expect me to get their breakfasts for them except on Sundays and statutory holidays.
Editor’s Notes: Yes, this story is pretty sexist, but still highlights the confusion over changing roles after World War One and the “flapper” women.