My So-called Life: Useless Housewives - unite in disarray


In response to Channel 4's
Desperate Housewives, and all that glamour and those white picket fences, I would like to introduce Useless Housewives, an exciting organisation founded by myself for the good of womankind, which operates under the slogan: "Nature abhors a vacuum, and so do we."

In response to Channel 4's Desperate Housewives, and all that glamour and those white picket fences, I would like to introduce Useless Housewives, an exciting organisation founded by myself for the good of womankind, which operates under the slogan: "Nature abhors a vacuum, and so do we." Nature, I strongly suspect, also abhors a Dyson. No, we at Useless Housewives cannot be entirely sure about this, as nature is rubbish at returning calls, but a funky red cylinder and no-loss of suction after 78 years isn't going to swing it, frankly.

As Life President of Useless Housewives, as voted for by all the founding membership, I would like to invite you to join this group, which may or may not get its own show on Channel 4 depending, perhaps, on whether it will accept witness appeal boards for sexual assaults at 4am rather than white picket fences, which it should do really, as they are much the same thing.

To become a member, please read this form, sign and return at your earliest possible convenience or at least after you've lost it, found it, lost it and found it again at the bottom of the fruit bowl under the bad orange and furry thing that may be a baby koala for the top of a pencil but, then again, might have once been a plum. Here you are:

Article 1 As a fully paid-up member of the Useless Housewife movement, I can honestly say I have tried and tried to be a good housewife with a particular interest in housework at its highest level, along with clever storage solutions and the possibilities offered by both Ajax and Viakal, but I just don't get it. Sweep, sweep, sweep and then SOMEONE MAKES CRUMBS! Put it away, put it away, put it away, and then SOMEONE TAKES IT OUT! In fact, as whatever I do will promptly be dirtied, laid to waste or eaten, I've decided not to dirty my hands with it, although not my kitchen floor, which is very dirty indeed. I believe that housework gets you just about nowhere. Housework is up there with going up a down escalator. Just because I'm a Useless Housewife, it doesn't mean I can't think in all directions. Generally, we believe that time is much better spent watching Celebrity Big Brother and wondering when Ms Greer is going to bring out her own "Love Germaine X" lingerie range.

Article 2 I will simply accept there is a blue plastic maraca in my underwear drawer, as well as an A-Z, as to question such things will lead to madness.

Article 3 I promise never to go right to the bottom of the laundry basket because, from what I've glimpsed, it is a really , really scary place and, for all I know, Lord Lucan lives down there along with Pam Ayres who, let's face it, hasn't been seen for a long time. And, if surprised, she can snap quite badly, it is said. Just because she writes silly poems it doesn't mean she doesn't have a dark side.

Article 4 I vow to keep the following items at the back of at least one kitchen cupboard: a tin of golden syrup with the lid half-cocked (treacle is acceptable, so long as it's revoltingly sticky and covered in fluff and lentils); a pot of hundreds and thousands; several bottles of food colouring (all green); a variety of those mad pickles and chutneys that seemed like a good idea at the time (quince relish, anyone?); any number of exotic herbal teas with tempting names such as Mango Carnival and Tropical Fiesta but which all taste like stagnant old pond. Cleaning out the kitchen cupboards is a good idea but, alas, I'm simply much too busy multi-tasking in front of Big Brother with a bag of Kettle chips. By the way, Useless Housewives do not think that wondering what John McCririck is like in bed is necessarily time better spent. We do have some standards... We even leave the bedroom windows open a bit to freshen bedding so that it never has to be changed. We accept the advice of our wise Life President who says never, ever change a duvet cover. You can be lost in there for days.

Article 5 I will support anyone who throws a real frog with rigor mortis into the toy box in the belief that it is plastic. This is an easy mistake. A frog with rigor mortis splays out its little limbs in a very Early Learning Centre kind of way. I will not hold it against this person, unlike the cleaner, who screamed and then never came back. I accept that, as a Useless Housewife, cleaners will fire me all the time. To retain them, I will have to overpay them a lot and give them Louis Vuitton for Christmas. Still, I accept they will fire me anyway.

Article 6 I'm so fed up with being 19 years on the ironing that I'm going to bury it at the bottom of the garden. I will hope that, come spring, it won't burst forth into a creased bush with no sharp pleats down the front and a thirst for de-ionised water. I will try not to bury it in the same place as the pet goldfish, whose bowl was used as an ashtray but who died of natural causes.

Article 7 I wonder why our Life President, who has so selflessly devoted herself to the good of womankind and plummeting sales of Mr Sheen, wasn't mentioned in the new year's honours list. It sure beats me.

Article 8 I will spend more than £100 at Waitrose and then discover I seem to have nothing for supper. I will then ask myself: "How's that work, then?" I will also promise never to serve my family foods that have yet to reach their sell-by-date, as the absence of any bad bacteria will almost certainly lead to diarrhoea and vomiting.

Article 9 I will not stage a coup against the Life President, who has much to teach us about life, and not washing up roasting trays there and then, but hiding them in the oven, and then setting them on fire next time you turn the oven on. There is nothing our Life President doesn't know about blackened cookware. (Soak, soak, soak, and then throw away when no one is looking).

Article 10 I accept that missing socks will always be a mystery, but agree that Pam Ayres could well be eating them. She appears the type.

I agree to abide by the terms and conditions of Useless Housewives.


(Automatic membership for anyone who has tried to defrost a chicken in the bath. Or has made a cake and forgotten an ingredient, like the sugar.)

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