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Clean, cook and don't nag? Thanks for the tip, but very few of us are model wives

It must be a model thing.

Former Miss Ireland and Playboy cover-girl Rosanna Davison revealed at the weekend that the secret to her happy marriage is that she cooks for Wesley, cleans up after him, leaves him alone in his "man-cave" and never ever nags him.

Years ago another Playboy cover girl shared similar advice she received from her mother on "how to keep a man happy".

"Be a maid in the living room, "a cook in the kitchen and a wench in the bedroom" is what Texan model Jerry Hall was told.

But that was long ago and far away and pre-dated all the advances that feminism has made in the home and the work-place.

Or has it? Recently the whole notion of the "surrendered wife" has been gaining popularly.

Not just amongst women who prefer to stay home and look after the kids - but even among ambitious, independent women who earn their own cash and don't need to depend on a man for anything.

Increasingly we see women in professions, in boardrooms, running companies - working with authority and confidence outside the home.

But when some of them head for home (picking up junior from the crèche on the way) they immediately fall into Stepford Wife mode.

The casserole is put in the oven, wine poured, cushions are pumped up, hair is fixed and lipstick applied - all to be ready for the arrival of the alpha-male. It's positively 1950's.

Can we blame it on our addiction to the Mad Men series or is something more insidious going on?

"Perfect wife syndrome" seems to be on the increase and while I'm very thankful that I don't suffer from it myself I have to admit that the current Mr Hunt is rather disappointed about that fact.

"But" he said rather pleadingly yesterday, "what if Rosanna is right? What if the best way to have a happy marriage is for the wife to clean and cook and not nag?"


I point out that he has just described our marriage. He insists he loads the dishwasher occasionally.

I point out that I also work and do most of the childcare. He says I nag.

And what does Rosanna say about that? She says, "Men hate to be nagged", he quotes triumphantly.

Well, tell me something I don't know. And what's more men aren't the only ones who hate being nagged. It's right up there on my list along with having to pick up a bloke's socks and put the toilet seat down.

Thankfully, I'm not married to a nagging husband - but that's because we all know such a thing doesn't exist.

Women "nag", men make "requests". Fathers don't "nag" either but mothers do. I know this because my own ten year old son informed me of that fact. His father is training him in early. Seemingly it's all part of the "post-feminist push-back".

The problem, of course, is that what men call "nagging" is usually a polite request to pick up their own socks and wet towels occasionally.


Rosanna would seem be to be in the first flush of marital bliss when dirty socks, wet towels and a smelly man-cave give rise to feelings of benevolent amusement and maternal care.

Thankfully, those of us who have been married slightly longer know that this won't last.

Wesley would be advised to learn to clean up after himself and learn how to cook a few meals because - as Rosanna said they've talked about having kids - he'll soon find that he isn't the only person who requires his wife's full-time attentions.

Finally, it's worth reminding ourselves of Jerry Hall answered her mothers' advice about the best way to keep a husband happy.

Hall stated: "I said I'd hire a cook and a maid and I'd look after the bedroom bit myself".

Now what man could argue with that?