February 21, 2024 | Rome, Italy

La moglie perfetta

By |2018-03-21T18:43:52+01:00March 20th, 2011|Lifestyle Archive|

subscribe to what some might consider annoying online mailing lists. Admittedly, half of them are just that. Then again, much of what flows into my inbox deserves a big laugh.

The other day, a subject header caught my eye. It read, “Essere una moglie perfetta? Ora si può!” (“Be the perfect wife? Now you can be!”). Gag me with a spoon. Seriously? Remind me again what year we’re in?

The header made me feel like I’d entered a time warp that took me back to the pie-making, happy housewife period. Then again, I live in Italy, where women brought up with traditional values still exist to please their husbands.

Back to the article. Though the topic was silly (I can’t imagine men reading about being a “perfect husband” in STUFF or Maxim), the idea itself seemed to me subjective.

Does the “perfect wife” (or partner) even exist under one definition? What’s good for one partner might not be good for the other, right?

Two things troubled me. First, that someone went through the trouble to write the article (meaning there’s an audience for it); second, that someone would actually take it seriously as an instruction manual.

The springboard for the story was a Milan workshop for brides-to-be and new brides intended to teach the fine art of being that perfect dame. Methinks this is a smart way for the brains behind the “workshops” to make some dough, and a stupid way for women to waste their money. But okay.

It apparently begins with a cooking course. Because, according to the article, you wouldn’t want your suocera (mother-in-law) to outfox you in the kitchen. Ouch. Then you’re taught how to set a table, how to clean silverware, iron a shirt, make a bed, and straighten out the living room.

For some reason no mention is made about what women should do with their husband’s dispersed dirty underwear and socks. The writer also fails to mention how future brides should troubleshoot their men into putting the toilet seat down, not to mention flushing the toilet. Surely, this would have fallen under the “domestic duties” part of the story. Must have been edited out.

It only gets better. The next subject is the importance of maintaining your beauty quotient for your husband to appreciate. This includes teaching neo-brides on quick-fix-upper hairstyles and makeup. Finally, there are tips about keeping your man. Plenty of them.

At this point you’re probably wondering about the brains behind the workshop. It’s a wedding registry called Gallina Matta, or Crazy Chicken. How very fitting.

Now I’m awaiting the men’s workshop. You, too, can be the perfect husband! Course work includes a cooking lesson (no pizza-ordering allowed); how to iron and re-hem a skirt; etiquette class regarding limits on watching calcio (and hogging the TV); and, finally, instruction on how to turn that beer belly into a perfect six-pack!

About the Author:

Nicole Arriaga wrote features and a column ("Bella Figura") between 2004 and 2012.