How to Be a Good Wife and Mother, Soviet-Style, II
The course on “Motherhood and Family Relations” was taught by a woman who had been born around the year when the October Revolution took place. She was “married to the revolution”, which left her single and childless.
“As you might realize, motherhood and family relations are not really my sphere of interest,” she explained on the first day of class. “But somebody had to teach this class, and my sense of duty didn’t allow me to reject this assignment.”
She gave us all a look of intense disgust and said, through clenched teeth, “This will be hard work, but I will make good wives and mothers of you yet! Just look at yourselves! All of this make-up, and those nasty skirts. . . No man in his right mind would want to marry you!”
“Good!” a student called Anya said loudly. “Because I’m into girls.”
The professor’s face became purple but she decided to ignore Anya.
“Observe how great I look, compared to you,” the professor told us. “I haven’t applied any make-up once in my life! And I always look modest and decent. A girl’s greatest ornament is her honor! So are you ready to learn how to find a husband?”
“Yes!” students Natasha and Sveta said eagerly. They were from a small village and desperate to find a boyfriend.
“I’m not,” I said.
“Why not?” the professor asked.
“Because I’m already married, and my husband will probably not appreciate me looking for another husband at this point.”
“Well, then you need to learn how to be a mother!” the professor exclaimed. “Children are a horrrrrible burrrrrden!! If you have a baby, you will be chained to that baby for yearrrrrrs!!! It will be like being in prrrrrison!!!”
With every “r”, her voice was getting scarier and her face redder.
“Women today want to make child-rearing easier on themselves,” the professor continued. “But that is wrong! If you want to be a mother, prepare to be enslaved! There will be no diapers for you because they are evil! You should use cotton nappies and wash them by hand. Three times a day! And then iron them. On both sides!”
“On both sides?” one student asked in a terrified little voice.
“Yes! And remember that you have to boil the nappies for at least an hour! Or there will be bacteria. Bacteria everywhere! Children are nasty, dirty creatures who always make a mess.”
She kept silent for a while and added quietly, “Especially boys. Those are VERY NASTY.”
As you can probably imagine, I never went back. My colleagues, however, took motherhood classes with this professor for two semesters. At the end of the course, they had to write a 15-page essay on the evil nature of diapers and pacifiers.