Back in 1995, I began my writing journey with my “Diary of a Lesbian Housewyfe” essays. For the next several weeks, I’m going to #TBThursday with one of these essays. Let’s start the journey with The Basic Model.
My name is LA Bourgeois.
I am a Lesbian Housewyfe.
I don’t know if there is a twelve step program for this and, if there was, I don’t know if I would go.
Or, perhaps, I just created one.
I hope not.
Anyway, for those of you who don’t know what a Lesbian Housewyfe is, I am a very select group. I like to call myself the “1990’s June Cleaver.” For now I remain alone in embracing that faux ’50’s “feminine” lifestyle, but perhaps, someday, others will come out of that broom closet and join me in the joyous life of gardening, household duties, and interior design.
Let me remind you of the ever famous, ever young, ever timely television series “Leave it to Beaver.” June Cleaver was the Beaver’s mom. She wore pearls to wash the dishes and never got that wet line of soapy water across her belly. She was the perfect hostess. Her hair, always neatly coiffed, never moved. She was pristine and perfect even when she camped.
Of course, now she is camp.
The important part of this comparison is that June stayed home and so do I. Ward supported the whole family in a monetary fashion while June supported the family by taking care of their huge suburban household and managing somehow to feed three men and herself with wonderful hearty meals every evening.
Without the help of a maid.
June never drank on television, but I know she would have in real life.
I bet we could document this.
She was a “typical ’50’s housewife.”
June is now held up as a model for the rest of us as the country follows its mistaken struggle to find those more innocent times of the ’50’s (Does anyone remember “Rebel Without a Cause?”).
I am the new June.
I have rejected the idea of a conventional household.
I only wear pearls when I’m actually leaving the house, I leave the sink with watery clothes, and my hair is never fixed beyond a simple ponytail holder. I will never go camping even though it violates Lesbian Law #4: I embrace and rejoice in every small chance to revel in Mother Nature even if it means going without showers and pooping in a hole in the woods.
My family is made up of myself and my spouse. No children yet-unless you include my mother-in-law, two cats, one dog, and the dog we babysit every day. And her owner. And my mother-in-law’s boyfriend. And several of our friends who seem to live at our house. And this one college student who lived in our basement for a couple of years and now gives us Mother’s Day cards.
But no presents.
This is what comes from skipping that formal marriage thing. But I digress….
My partner supports me for the most part, while I work out of the house. Perhaps a more accurate person would say that I work in the house.
Now, I say I am a computer consultant.
I say I am a writer.
I say I am an actress.
I am not a liar. I just don’t have enough time in the day. Do you know how much time it takes to keep up a house? Perfectly? Do you know how much time I spend baking fresh bread for my household? Do you know how much time I spend gardening so we can have fresh vegetables on the table? Do you know how little time it takes them to eat all of these wonderful things? Do you know that I managed to kill a zucchini in Colorado where they grow like weeds?
Never you mind that last part.
My point is that I do tend to put the needs of others before my own. Or is that my own needs before others? Cloudiness sets in when one begins to enjoy cleaning toilets.
My boundaries have become blurred. I mean to take that job, memorize that monologue, get started on that book idea. I just don’t get around to it.
Suddenly, I am my mother. Or grandmother. Sometimes this thing skips a generation. Mom is actually a preacher, although I see the seeds of housewifery in her. Something must have sprung from that.
I have begun to value the importance of a clean house, fresh food, and new appliances. I have become ecstatic about buying a new dryer, a new blender, a new lawn mower.
In fact, we just bought the greatest lawn mower of all, the Mulchinator. Cordless and electric. It’s convenient and yet it recycles. Lesbian Law #2: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
I am a Lesbian Housewyfe. I am a June. I feel a strange rush of sexual excitement when I find a really good sale on tuna fish at Safeway that wasn’t advertised. Albacore only, of course. Lesbian Law #17: Never do anything that endangers a dolphin.
Ah yes, you may say, but even though she’s only been a lesbian for a short time (three years and counting), surely she must know the traditional role of the lesbian is a radical feminist one. What is she doing spreading this ugly “lesbian housewyfe” rumor? My only reply is Lesbian Law #1: Never underestimate the power of a Lesbian Housewyfe.
No one I live with does.
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