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The Fifti23 - incompetent helpmeet or actively hostile to...

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The Fifties Entertainment: Few people entertained outside of the home, even for business. It was common for a businessman to invite clients into his home, and it was part of his wife's job to ensure that the house, the food, and she herself were all perfect for the occasion. (The kids would usually be fobbed off on relatives for the evening.) The first guest was usually the man's boss, who would bring his wife if he were married (many bosses were older and widowed); if the couple passed muster, they would eventually be expected to host dinner parties for the husband's clients and other employees. If the boss wasn't satisfied with his employee's hospitality, however, the husband's career prospects could be seriously affected. This was very much a middle-class event; it was rare that blue-collar workers would be expected to host the boss (or anyone else, for that matter). An unmarried man could host such events at a restaurant without anyone raising an eyebrow, but a married man doing so was a clear sign that the wife was either an
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Unformatted text preview: incompetent helpmeet or actively hostile to the needs of her husband's career. But a single man would be unlikely to climb the corporate ladder, as people would quietly wonder just why he wasn't married . The widower was given much more latitude, of course, but he ran the risk of the boss's wife deciding to play matchmaker. • Family get-togethers were similar to those we have today, except that people (comparatively speaking) spent much less money on even the most important holidays. Huge, multi-generational family gatherings were also less common simply because people didn't live as long then; many kids in the Fifties didn't have any living grandparents. To have four living grandparents was vanishingly uncommon. • The cross-country car vacations that every Fifties movie shows were common — but most families only went on a real vacation every few years. They simply couldn't afford to do so every year....
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