Over the Christmas holidays I made an attempt to do some baking. When my mother was alive we’d spend a week in the kitchen cooking before Christmas, but I was just her assistant and unfortunately I never really learned how to function on my own in a kitchen. I burnt the first batch of cookies I made this year and the second batch I made tasted awful. I thought that watching every episode of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations over the last couple of years would improve my cooking abilities. Obviously I was wrong. All Bourdain’s terrific show has done is make me want to travel more and eat at fabulous restaurants. Besides my dislike of cooking, I also hate cleaning. The sad truth is that l’ll never be the domestic goddess that my mother, grandmothers and great grandmothers were. This isn’t something I’m particularly proud of. It’s just fact.

If that wasn’t bad enough, I’m also a terrible party host as well as a terrible party guest. I find myself usually struck dumb at parties, which means I drink too much in an attempt to entertain myself. Board games have become popular at parties again but they bore me to tears whenever I’m forced into playing them and no matter how wild the party guests may think they are, conversations often revolve around jobs, babies, home ownership and cooking when you’re my age, which isn’t particularly bad but it can get a little tedious after  a few hours.

So why am I telling you all this? Because it explains why I enjoy Phyllis Diller’s 1966 book Housekeeping Hints so much! This funny book was a gift last year from fellow Flickr user Mjlaff and I can’t thank her enough. Since I received a brand new sparkling Epson scanner for my birthday, I thought I’d share some of Phyllis Diller’s timely wisdom with you all. If you’re planning a big party tonight to celebrate the New Year, you won’t want to miss reading some of Diller’s selected housekeeping tips and party planning tricks. Like me, Phyllis Diller shuns the Cult of Domesticity and she also has a wicked sense of humor. So without further ado, here’s some helpful party tips from one of the leading pioneers of stand-up comedy accompanied by some wonderful illustrations by artist Susan Perl.

Phyliss Diller's Housekeeping Hints

Shopping Made Easy:

– “Spot a domestic looking woman in the supermarket and copy what she’s got in her grocery cart.”

– “Don’t buy products that advertise that even a child can use them. These failures have a greater sting.”

– “Pick up a cook book at a rummage sale so you have one that looks used.”

– “Above all, don’t feel you’re lying when you use the term ‘home-baked’ if the bakery is in town.”

Phyliss Diller's Housekeeping Hints

Dial M for Messy:

– “Always have a lot of souvenirs around from far off places, even if you’ve just sent for them from a mail order house. It will give the impression of being a world traveler who hasn’t been home long enough to have thoroughly cleaned the house.”

– “Blame a lot of things – like soiled wallpaper, greasy walls, and a dirty basement – on the previous owners (or renters), even if you’ve lived there for 25 years.”

– “Do not have company when the sunlight is streaming through the windows. Everything shows up. Entertain at night or close the drapes and break the cord.”

– “No matter what anyone drops behind the couch, don’t let them retrieve it, whether it’s a wrist watch or a diamond ring. Offer to replace it. What’s money when compared to your ruined reputation?”

Phyliss Diller's Housekeeping Hints

The Hostess with the Leastest:

– “No matter what time your guests arrive, pretend they’re early, so naturally you’re not ready for them.”

– “Discuss religion and politics at your dinner party so people get into heated arguments and don’t notice what they’re eating. They may also think that the arguing caused their indigestion.”

– “Never serve meals on time. The starving eat anything.”

– “You can easily find yourself in a group of women exchanging recipes and discussing knitting patterns. The only safe way to avoid this is to drift over to a group of men. If they’re exchanging recipes and discussing knitting patterns, leave the party.”

Happy New Year!

18 thoughts on “Party Tips from Phyllis Diller

  1. Happy new year cinebeats!

    Now tell me this- I ve been trying to add your blog to my blogroll, whats the feed link

    oh and did I say happy new year?

    oh yeah, have a great 2009

  2. Happy new year Nigel! Is it just me, or do you have more than one blog? I can’t seem to keep track of you!

    The RSS Feed links for my blog are at the bottom of the Right hand column. I’m not sure which one you need but I hope that helps.

  3. yeah Kimberly, a few blogs.

    I left the bloody italiana one behind a while back as I wanted to start writing for myself- so I got one where I could serialise a synopsis and write some contextual stuff but I found that I got a bias towards italian films so I ve got another now to write about my fav director- which is fulci. Both I try to juggle like some err juggler.

    A few people have said they have trouble adding you to their blogrolls cos the new blogger blogroll thingy pulls from an rss feed, but your homepage link dont work for that. I dont get how this works but I managed to google something to get it working on my other blog and can’t find it now and the new blogger tool doesnt let me edit to see what the link was i found. While I have your attention did you get the email i sent you- cos some guy is subtitling all the 60s fulci’s that have never been subbed (except 3 he doesnt have) all the subtitles are here-

    and I sent you a while back an email telling where you can get the movies. His subtitling work is top notch too.

    Have a good year Kimberly and I ll see if I can get the rss link working.

  4. Thanks for Fulci tip, Nigel! I’m way behind on answering emails due to the holidays, etc.

    I’m looking forward to your Fulci blog since I love his films.

    I’m not sure how RSS links work on Blogger myself but I know that a few other Blogger users like Neil at Bleeding Tree have managed to add mine without any problems.

  5. Funny tips and great illustrations!

    I’m fairly domestic, which has gradually happened since college for reasons I’m not entirely sure of. I’m a terrible housekeeper, but I love to cook, can food, and garden. I’m sure I could bore you w/stories about owning a home now. 😉

    BTW thanks for the Xmas card and the dvd! I still haven’t watched the last one you sent, but with my boyfriend no longer working a second job, I will be able to watch more movies.

    Happy New Year!

  6. Glad you liked it AR! Is gardening considered a domestic activity? Obviously I’m clueless. Since I’ve lived in apartments most of my life I’ve never had the opportunity to test my green thumb, but I have managed to kill every house plant that I’ve bought.

    Thanks for your card and gift! I hope you enjoy the movie and last but not least, happy new year!! 🙂

  7. makes mental note to be busy next time Kimberly sends out party invites…

    I’m not bad at making small talk at parties, but I do understand what you’re saying – I find when I’m with men my age I sometimes tune out if they are discussing renovations, car repairs or hockey. I just never found an interest in the first two and my sports following days have been left behind over the last 5 years or so. Uh, I will talk about babies/kids though – I will blather about my child if given the chance (hopefully I know when to shut up though…).

    “These failures have a greater sting.”

    That’s funny…And oh-so-true.

    All the best in 2009 Kimberly.

  8. Hey Kimberly. Very cool. I love Phyllis Diller. I wish you all the best in 2009. I’ve really enjoyed checking out and commenting on your blog. Take care. Happy New Year! Cheers!

  9. Happy New Year everyone!

    Bob – Glad you enjoyed the post. I couldn’t resist sharing it since I think Diller’s book is really funny. Hopefully people didn’t take it all that seriously. 😉

    Keith – Thanks! I appreciate all the comments. I’m glad Diller has other fans out there.

    Jessica – Thanks for stopping by Jessica! I’m glad you enjoy the eye-candy here. Now that I have a scanner, you can expect a lot more in 2009.

    Michael – Thanks a lot. I’ve enjoyed corresponding with you about Japanese film this year, Michael!

    Rick – Cheers!

  10. I stopped attempting to host parties sometime around Junior High. As far as being a guest, I hate going to parties, but I feel bad knowing about parties I’m not invited to.

    Anyways, Kimberly, you have a standing invitation to watch any damn movie you want in my collection and sip on warm sake or the beverage of your choice. Conversation is optional.

  11. Wow, somehow this post slipped past me at the time, so busy was I with not partying in the new year, I guess.

    For the record, no one ask me what feed I used. I found one, it worked, I was happy, I moved on to filling my brain with other things and that one slipped off into the distance.

    I completely agree with Peter on this one. If I catch wind of a party happening early on, I’m struck moronic with ambivalence over whether I’d rather be invited and then have to either decline or go, neither of which is entirely appealing, or not be invited and feel that there is some good reason why I’m being shunned.

    I hope your new year is going well.

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