THE DRESS OF THE MISTRESS should always be adapted to her circumstances, and be varied with different occasions. Thus, at breakfast she should be attired in a very neat and simple manner, wearing no ornaments...it would be well to exchange it before the time for receiving visitors, if the mistress be in the habit of doing so....in changing the dress, jewellery and ornaments are not to be worn until the full dress for dinner is assumed.
As I write this post while wearing my £6 pink sparkly and furry 'dressing gown,' I think to my morning/afternoon schedule now and just a month ago, when I still was working as a copywriter in a small ad agency.
6:50 AM Rise from bed, tired no matter what time I went to sleep.
6:55 - 7:30 AM Gather foodstuffs, quick shower, change, feed rabbits.
7:30 - 8:00 AM Commute to work listening to horrible pop music on radio which I loved.
8:00 - 5:00 PM Spend time at work, doing work, or thinking about work.
10:15 AM Rise from bed, groggy and in a state of confusion as to which country I am in currently.
10:30 AM Breakfast.
10:45 - 12:00 PM Noodle around on Internet or read in bed.
12:00 PM Lunch
12:15 - 1:00 PM More noodling.
1:00 PM Shower, then maybe going outside.
4:00 PM Return home, if I left, and start on various household tasks.
I am currently living what some might alternately call a life of leisure or a level of hell. It feels like both sometimes. In both timelines, I am really not accomplishing anything during the day. In the first, I am making money, for sure. But in the second, I am living relatively cost-free, my only obligations really to myself until it is time to do the dishes and vacuum. I can sleep all day, read all day, go for a walk all day. I am also trading interaction with people, companionship and conversation for this freedom.
The part that bothers me the most is here I am in this foreign-enough country and I'm not really doing anything. Of course, living and being on holiday are two different things. Granted, I have not been here long. I do plan on taking a solo trip to Exeter soon, and engage in other activities, but it's so terribly easy to just be lazy.
I assumed when I came that I would have all this free time to keep up my personal beauty regiment. What else would I do after all? But even this has been lacking. I type with overgrown, chipped fingernails and an unmade face. I do make it a special point to make myself up to the nines when my husband and I go out, whether it be to visit family, have drinks with some of his work-mates, or just catch the closing deals at the supermarket. I take some modicum of pride in appearing cute, pretty, even sexy by his side. I know this isn't an abnormal feeling. I suppose when you are not planning on going anywhere, or doing anything, that day, what is the use?
It makes me think of commercial images of fifties wives, all glammed up in heels and a shirtdress to do the baking and cleaning. What an image for women of the time to live up to!
I have just finished reading Marilyn Yalom's A History of the Wife. Fascinating insight into one of the world's oldest, and most marginalized, career paths.