Are These Wives Warped?

Are These Wives Warped?

Time Warp Wives Love '30s, '40s and '50s.

Meet the "Time Warp Wives" -- three British gals who live like it's 1930, 1940 and 1950.

I want those clothes! But not that life.

The Daily Mail interviewed Joanne, age 35, who owns some fabulous 1950s get-ups -- but she also doesn't leave the house without lipstick on and won't put gas in the car because it's "so unladylike." She's happy in her apron, stirring up homemade jam and baking cakes for her husband Kevin in their 1950s-style kitchen. Joanne attributes their uber-retro lifestyle to disgust at high-speed society:

"It may sound silly, but living like this really does make me happier - as though I'm existing in one of those old-fashioned TV shows where everything is always wonderful. My despair at the modern world is one of the reasons why we haven't had children."

Adds 34-year-old Debbie, whose home is "a shrine to the '40s":

"I think I have a far happier marriage than many other people I meet, because we have strict demarcations in our roles. I do all the cleaning, ironing, washing and cooking, and Martin puts up shelves and looks after the car. He's the breadwinner and I create a lovely -- and loving -- environment for him."

I know it isn't a popular point-of-view to just shrug and say "eh, different strokes for different folks" in the face of couples who choose to live by laughably outdated gender stereotypes. There is, after all, a reason Generation X and Y are completely different. Sure, Joanne, Debbie and Diane may be deluding themselves. But I believe lots of women would surely feel privileged to stay home every day to cook and sew. Are these mid-century "Time Warp Wives" really all that extreme?

The Daily Mail piece reminds me of an article I wrote for Bitch magazine about women who liked to be disciplined by their husbands because it brings boundaries and a sense of orderliness to their lives. (Unfortunately, the article can't be found online, but here's a blog post at Pandagon about my article!) It's called domestic discipline and lots of folks would think a woman's crazy to willingly be punished by her man -- but quite a few couples say it works for them!

But why the '30s, '40s and '50s? Come on, that's missing the best part of the 20th century (until the crash of '29, that is): the Roaring '20s. Maybe I'm just projecting my Zelda Fitzgerald crush, but I think being a '20s wife -- a flapper! -- would be the cat's meow!