Coffee Time – The Lost Ritual of The Ladies’ Coffee Morning And What It Was Really All About
Back in the Fifties and Sixties and even into the Seventies, most women didn’t bother with employment once they got married. They went out into the world of work, proved that they were capable of supporting themselves and then snagged themselves a husband and settled down. They became housewives.
Noble and necessary as cooking and cleaning and spitting out children was back then, it wasn’t terribly exciting. It is a job in itself after all, and bloody grinding and thankless one. So, to countermand the inevitable ennui that comes from performing thankless tasks, the ladies invented the Coffee Morning.
These Coffee Mornings tended to be on a Monday, a day which is a grinding and thankless task for most people no matter what they do. The housewives would sit around in the allotted lady’s living room and gossip and eat cakes and drink out of china coffee cups.
They weren’t drinking coffee of course. Hell no. There was gin in them there coffee cups. Gin with the tiniest splash of tonic, added to the cup like a tiny splash of respectability. They didn’t get totally hammered mind you. They just had enough to take the edge off what might otherwise be the day that finished off their will to carry on for good. Any woman who did get hammered would not be invited back, or if they were they’d be expected to actually drink coffee.
Across the nation, husbands returned home from work on Mondays expecting their wives to be a bit “washed out”. That’s just how their wives were on a Monday evening. Knackered after a day of drudgery. What their wives actually were was hung over. Later that night it would be “not tonight dear, I’ve got a headache.” So Mondays turned out a bit crappy for the husbands too.
All this subterfuge is unnecessary nowadays of course. Women are expected to work and have kids and do the housework too. Not feminism’s most illustrious victory that, I’ve always felt. So if the girls fancy a drink at the end of a long day, they damn well crack open that wine box without any sense of shame. Ok, so most of us are either tee-totalers or functioning alcoholics nowadays, male or female. But that’s got to be better than women feeling they have to drink gin out of china cups on a Monday morning.
© Copyright Michael Grimes 2013