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“If Were Married”—Sandra Dee

Although I am not engaged, and not even going steady, I am at the age where I can’t help thinking what life would be like if I were married. And I’ve come to some pretty definite conclusions.

First of all, I’d go right on working!

I know this sounds like a contradiction to what I’ve said before. A number of times when I was asked about my future, I stated emphatically that once I was married, I would settle down and forget about my career to devote all my time to my husband and my family.

Frankly, this was before I realized how much I enjoyed my work, and how much it meant to me!

Not that I intend to neglect my obligations as a wife. But I will try to have my cake and eat it too, as the saying goes, if at all possible.

If I were married, my husband would be the absolute boss of the family. This is based on the relationship between my mother and step-father, Eugene Douvan. Maybe because he was older, maybe because he’d traveled so much more, or maybe because this is just the way he was; we respected his knowledge and listened to his advice. He was very kind—yet his word was absolute rule in our house. And it worked out beautifully.

I remember one Friday afternoon when he came home from the office about 5:30. Almost casually, during dinner, he suggested that mother and I spend our after-dinner hours packing.

Mother looked up at him in surprise. “Where are we going this time, Eugene?”

“We’re flying to Cuba tomorrow morning at 7:00,” he announced matter-of-factly.

“But what am I going to do about clothes?” Mom came back.

“And what about me?” I added. “Half the stuff I have is at the cleaners right now.”

It didn’t disturb him a bit. “You pack whatever you have, and if you are short anything, we will buy it in Havana.”

Sure enough, the next morning at 7:00, we left for New York’s International Airport, and Cuba. 

This was not an isolated case. Once he gave us barely an hour to get ready for a boat trip to New England. Many times we didn’t even have that much time to prepare for a weekend jaunt. We never argued. And that’s exactly the way I want it to be when I’m married.

I realize, of course, that there will be complications because of my career. So what I just said will depend on my availability. But my work will be the only thing that might stand in the way of any sudden departure.

Although I want my husband to make all major decisions concerning our lives, such as where we ought to live, whether or not to go out at night, what kind of vacation to take, there’s one prerogative I’ll insist on: to keep my old friends.

It’s rare enough to have close friends in the first place. I certainly wouldn’t want to give up the ones I have.

And it can happen. It did happen to a friend of mine who Was married a few months ago.

Her husband is quite a bit older than she is, and from an entirely different background. His people and her people somehow didn’t mix, and from the very beginning he made it quite clear that she would have to adjust herself to him. She had to entertain his friends two and three times a week, without being able to see hers at all.

She agreed to it reluctantly. It soon became a sore point in their marriage. I have a feeling that it may develop into one of the reasons as to why it won’t work out. I don’t think any husband has the right to demand this kind of sacrifice.

At the same time, I know of one sacrifice I would not ask of my husband—to put on an apron and be domesticated. If he would like to come in the kitchen and fix something, or barbecue, or do anything else that he wants to do out of his own free will, fine. But I would no more demand it of him anymore than he should expect me to nail up a garage door or fix a leaky water faucet.

I don’t even like to keep house! I like cooking, as long as I can make what I choose, but I don’t like to clean up the mess I make in the kitchen—but I do, reluctantly.

Like last Christmas, when I fixed a goose. Mom said it was the best she’s ever eaten. On the other hand, a couple of weeks later, our maid was off, and Mom and I were too tired to go out. She had a headache and asked if I would mind fixing up something for dinner.

I figured a meat loaf would be the easiest dish. It, didn’t turn out too badly, which is more than I can say for the sauce. No matter what I added, it remained sticky. I finally opened a can of peaches and poured it over the meat loaf. It was an original idea—but not very satisfying. I’m not sure that a husband will be as understanding about it as my mom.

However, I feel certain that I would make a very good mother, because I love children. And believe me, I’ve been up against some pretty despairing situations with my nephew Sergei, with whom I baby sat the last time I went to New York.

Sergei is four. As his aunt, I can truthfully say he is a lovable little monster. Ten teenaged delinquents would he easier to handle than he.

Right now he worships Zorro. He mimics him, in his own way, whenever he has a chance. And I want to tell you the result can be quite disastrous.

While I was looking at television, believing that Sergei was busy with his coloring book, I suddenly heard a funny slicing noise. For a while I ignored it, but then became suspicious and rushed into the living room, where I found my little nephew carving up the furniture with a knife. “I’m Zorro,” he screeched at the top of his voice.

“You’re a naughty little boy,” I said angrily. “Now promise you won’t do that again?”

Sergei promised with tears in his eyes, and my heart melted.

His mother was hardly pleased, to say the least, when she found her home in a state of semi-destruction. But she did forgive him, knowing her own son!

Anyway, the experience did not discourage me from sitting with Sergei again.

This time he substituted a Roman Warrior’s shield for Zorro’s sword. Unfortunately, there weren’t any in the house. He promptly rectified that.

It was about 6:00 at night when the first telephone call came through. One of the neighbors complained that the lid of her garbage can was missing.

“So what can I do about it?” I asked.

There was a moment’s silence before she said, “My husband saw Sergei take it.”

“Sergei!” I cried out. “What would he do with a lid?”

“I don’t know,” she said. “But you’d better check.”

No sooner had I hung up when another neighbor called. Her report was identical, and so were two more reports before I left the receiver off the hook to check with my nephew. I finally located him in the basement. Sure enough, there he was playing the “Great Warrior” with not just one lid of a garbage can, but 20! I was so mad I gave him a spanking.

So what did he do? Instead of crying, he looked at me with his great big eyes and whispered, “Are you happy now, Aunt Sandra?”

I don’t know where he learned it, but it was too much for me. I burst out laughing, and he joined in. Yet, when his mother asked me to baby sit a third time, I readily agreed. In fact, I’ve been babysitting for a lot of friends in Los Angeles.

As a good daughter-in-law, I would do all I could for my husband’s family, just as I would expect him to do his best for my mother.

I would make a point of asking his mother for advice on what he likes to eat: she might also be able to brief me on some of his other likes and dislikes, which would make it easier for our marriage.

If I were married, I’m afraid I would be ghastly with a budget. My husband would simply have to take it over himself, or do what I am doing right now—get a business manager to handle the money for us. It would really be one of the major problems in our marriage.

Several times I have tried to live on a certain amount. It never worked. Once, when my business manager insisted he would quit if I didn’t listen to him, I let him go. It was not very smart and now we have a manager again.

To be honest, I think I inherited this tendency from my mother.

While my mother was out one day, I spilled some fruit juice on the bedroom carpet. It made me feel so bad that I wanted to make up for it somehow. So I went to a Beverly Hills store to buy her a little something. The little something turned out to be a string of pearls.

Or take the time we first came to Hollywood, when I wanted a car so badly. I was too young to drive. Mom didn’t have a license, either.

One day we passed a car agency and saw a beautiful convertible. “Let’s buy it,” I suggested.

Mom looked doubtful, “We shouldn’t.”

“I know we shouldn’t,” I agreed.

She couldn’t suppress a smile. “Okay,” she said, “Let’s”. And so we bought it.

That sort of thing could ruin a marriage.

At least my husband could always be sure of one thing—that I will try to look well at all times.

I feel it terribly important for a girl to always be attractive to her husband. If she isn’t, it could be the end of a happy marriage. And the one thing I’d want more than anything else, if I were married, is to make my husband happy.





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