Was it the milk and cookies fetched dutifully after sex, or the mac-and-cheese delivered on a silver platter?
After Twitter went ballistic, Glamour magazine was forced to backpedal on a remarkably retrograde piece it published last week titled 13 Little Things That Can Make a Man Fall Hard For You. Here, young women were instructed to memorize stats about their boyfriends' favourite sports teams, answer the door naked and fix them snacks post-coitus. (The story has been yanked from Glamour's website but the full list is here.)
Beyond the absurdity – one tip about handing him "a cold one as he steps out of the shower" had readers wondering if this was satire from The Onion – the piece read like a marital advice handbook beamed in from the 1950s (have dinner ready and keep your trap shut is the gist).
Sadly, such antiquated dating advice is still common fare for women's magazines like Cosmo. So why did it blow up so badly for Glamour? First, a male writer at Vice called out the ridiculous tips, saying they reduced women to desperate ring chasers and their boyfriends to "infant-men." (The tip staff writer Joel Golby found saddest was the post-sex cookoff: "Not only must you deliver an earth-trembling orgasm... but then you have to clamber out of bed and get the George Foreman on and whip up a cheese sandwich.")
Soon after, Twitter noticed and the wrath snowballed, as did the parodies: "Make him a snack after sex. For convenience, keep a chicken rotisserie next to the bed at all times," this Twitter user offered.
As helplessly old-fashioned as the piece was, the magazine's reaction was something of a milestone. Glamour staff retracted the how-to-keep-your-man-happy listicle and apologized: "What we want for you is love based on equality, not indentured servitude with date night. We're sorry for slipping off message," read the retraction. Many saw it as a learning moment: The publication was being accountable and evolving with modern women.
"There's a readiness to criticize this type of writing," said Samhita Mukhopadhyay, author of the 2011 book Outdated: Why Dating is Ruining Your Love Life, self-dubbed "an intervention to mainstream dating books."
"I don't think Glamour had a choice but to retract it or risk seeming completely obsolete," said Mukhopadhyay. "I think it's great that they pivoted and pulled it back."
So will Glamour's gaffe spell the end of "good housewife" rules? Even in 2015, Mukhopadhyay believes that's optimistic: sadly, if there wasn't a market for this type of content, women's magazines wouldn't bother with it.
"There are still people who vie for dating material that speaks to sexist understandings of romantic relationships," Mukhopadhyay said. "There's a conversation happening on the Internet but there's a good chance that some people who read this don't even know about the conversation happening online."
Which means that somewhere, some girl may be forcing a Bud on her man in the shower right now in hopes of relationship longevity: The Good Wife, 2.0.