Nothing surpasses old movies and television commercials as a means of illustrating just how things have changed in a relatively short time in the modern era.
At least that would be the case for us Baby Boomers, who witnessed the transitition in female icons from Betty Crocker to Ronda Rousey.
One popular commercial pitch of that earlier time was this one for a toilet cleanser:
“Gee, hon, bathroom bowl sure needs cleaning!” the chipper TV commercial husband yells to his wife, who, amazingly, doesn’t reply she’s about to fix him so he’ll never need a bathroom again.
That always got me, even those many years ago, as it seemed like such an open invitation for a great response:
“Well, gee, honey, I was hoping the mailman would take care of it after you’ve gone to work.”
Or, “Sure thing, hon, where’s your toothbrush?”
Today, something like that would never happen for a couple of reasons, the first of which is the husband would discover just how far his wife had advanced in her kickboxing class.
The second would be that today’s homes have multiple bathrooms, one of which is specifically assigned to the adult male.
This is the one that, over time, becomes more of a biology experiment than a restroom, and from which the male is likely to emerge someday screaming, “It’s alive. It’s alive!”
Or at least that’s what’s been suggested to me.
Other politically incorrect commercials from that era include one with the husband asking, as he peers into the refrigerator, “Honey, when was the last time you baked a cake?”
She answers, “Last week,” suggesting that either her husband has been stuck in the bathroom for the past seven days or has the memory of a goldfish.
“Let’s see,” she would reply in my preferred response, “I’m not sure, but I think it coincided with the last time you weren’t an idiot, which would have been … never.”
My favorite outdated expression of all time, however, came from an old movie, even though it did enjoy a renaissance in the late 1990s beginning with a Saturday Night Live skit.
That would be the “Go make me a sandwich” line as uttered by a man to a woman.
That couldn’t happen today. I know, because I tried it once, albeit much more politely and more as a joke than anything else.
“I’m hungry,” I said as we watched this particular movie one evening. How about you make me a sandwich, please?”
“Sure,” she said, causing me to raise my eyebrows in surprise. But then she added,“I hope you won’t mind that it’ll come in suppository form.”
Ah yes, the modern era. Say goodbye, Betty Crocker, and hello, Ronda.