Not used to hearing that question? You're not alone - if you don't believe me, Google 'How to be a Good Husband' and look at how much of the list is actually references to Tim Dowling's, admittedly very funny, book. Now substitute the word 'wife' and bathe in the veritable tsunami of advice.
There are some brave souls who can apparently operate without a manual...
It's easy but it's not accurate. A couple of years ago some UK papers had lots of fun among themselves reproducing a guide to being a good wife from a 1950s home economics textbook (just as an aside, this link also includes some sex advice from 1894 which will make you laugh and cry in equal measure). You know how it works - the Daily Mail decides women need a bit of a talking to (too many girls getting into university or something) and the Guardian gets all pompous while repeating the exact same story.
Think we're past all that now? Creepy advice sites like Dating For Today's Man (remember, I do the research so you don't have to) suggest otherwise - just try to look at the graphic on their 'Top 10 Signs She'll Make a Good Wife' feature and points 1 and 4 without taking a lighter to your bra. I also can't imagine Amal Clooney will be buying Chrissy Stockton a drink anytime soon after she published this little gift to coincide with the nuptials.
But luckily life is not all about rules and conditioning - we have tv! I've touched on the subject of wives in this blog before with Desperate Goodwives and a brief look at Betty Draper - this time I'm spotlighting my favourite subversive.
There are actually some great tv wives out there - there are loads of favourites websites, but from this particular list, I have to admit a fondness for/probable similarity to Lois Wilkerson and Morticia Addams. They all pale into insignificance, however, before the coolest wife of - Alicia Florrick...
Here she is in series 1, mousy little Tory wife all rabbit-in-the-headlights from his affair and look at series 6 - it's like a crossover from Game of Thrones.
One of the interesting things about The Good Wife is that it parodies itself - in the name, some of the cases examined and, memorably with a show within a show running joke - but very few spoofs of the show itself exist. Maybe everyone's afraid of legal action. It's also no 'Legal Housewives' - these women are as happy to lean out as they are to lean in which makes them far more plausible.
The name, of course, centres on Alicia but look at the other two female leads - Kalinda Sharma and Diane Lockhart - all wives, all bringing new meanings to the word good. You can even try a quiz to see which one you are and then really freak your spouse out, baseball bat optional.
So to the historical recast - let's start with the most bad-ass of them all, Kalinda. I love Kalinda: she can make a kiss look like an assault, wears clingfilm and thigh boots to the office and no one bats an eye, seems to be surrounded by some kind of force-field that not even drug lords can break and struts better than John Travolta at the start of Saturday Night Fever.
I can't quite cope with smouldery Alicia just yet so let's take a look at Diane "I want what I'm worth" Lockhart. Cancel that, she's probably sexier than the lot of them. Those amazing brooches, the killer stare, the carefully controlled voice and the completely right-wing gun-crazy nut-job of a husband - wouldn't you like to get Diane drunk and find out just how many bodies are under the porch and whether she'd secretly like Alicia to join them? Diane has to be a Queen obviously but she has to be a Queen with a twist so I'm waving my casting wand and magicking up Isabella of Castile. Isabella has lots of qualifications for the role: a secret marriage to a soldier husband; an ability to combine diplomacy and violence to break the battling factions of Spain and lay the foundations for a united country; a love of acquisition, notably the New World and a ruthless streak a mile wide - it was dear Isabella who instituted what nobody expected, the Spanish Inquisition
And so to the redoutable Mrs Florrick - so cool even the First Lady copies her style.
For the recast then? Eleanor Roosevelt. Eleanor, wife of President Franklin D. Roosevelt is credited with redefining the role of First Lady after her husband was afflicted with polio and she took a more public political role. She was a leader in both civil and women's rights and an incredibly astute manipulator of the media. She was also a badly-wronged spouse - Roosevelt was known to have had a string of mistresses, including his social secretary Lucy Mercer. I like that, in our fickle popular press, this has largely over-shadowed her husband's achievements whereas Eleanor is remembered as one of the authors of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights - a pretty good wife by anyone's standards.
I'm going to end this blog with a timely reminder to all the wives reading this - I think my limits are halfway down bottle number 2 but apparently that's a mistake I commonly make. I shall watch and learn...