Jewish World Review March 12, 2004 / 19 Adar, 5764
Women don't burp and buy like they used to
As if the war on terror and the Axis of Evil aren't enough to put
bags under your eyes, we now learn that Tupperware parties are waning for
the second consecutive year. Makes you want to hug your lettuce keeper and
never let go.
For my mother's generation, Tupperware parties were a major social
event. Ladies slipped into nylons and heels, pulled on a shirt-waist dress
and headed for a night out. Women were enthralled by the promise of plastic
- air-tight bread keepers, sleek juice pitchers and stacking measuring cups.
But it was more than the lure of plastic. It was the chance to get
out of the house, catch up on the news, and nibble on a cracker spread
with pimento cheese. Tupperware parties were the natural evolution of
quilting bees, taffy pulls and sewing circles.
For years, you could tell when a woman was married by the oldest
piece of Tupperware housed in her cupboard.
If she had a batter bowl and cake taker that were a semi-clear
plastic beginning to turn a sticky, dirty shade of gray, she was a bride of
A woman with pastel cereal bowls in green, blue, pink and yellow
was feted with bridal showers in the '60s.
A woman with flour and sugar canisters in yellow, rust or nutmeg
brown was likely wed in the late '70s.
Tupperware proved indestructible. Once pieces had done duty in the
kitchen, they were often retired to the backyard, where they lived second
lives as bulldozers in sandboxes, scoops in dirt piles, or strainers for
bugs floating in backyard pools.
Nearly every kid in the '60s made homemade ice pops courtesy of
the little Tupperware forms. If you were lucky enough to squeeze the ice
pop out from its plastic sheath in one piece, it invariably broke before
you were able to finish licking it off the wobbly plastic stick. That
summer ritual of frozen grape juice running down your arm has never been
duplicated by the likes of Ben and Jerry.
As we began edging toward the new millenium, Tupperware parties
competed with increasingly crowded calendars. Women received invitations,
complained about being too busy, moaned about the obligatory games, and
said the last thing they had time to do was watch some woman burp plastic
for the freshness seal.
Yet those same women often rushed through dinner, scrambled to get
the kids set for the night, slapped on a fresh coat of face paint and
arrived promptly at 7.
They came, they burped, they bought.
At one of the last Tupperware parties I dragged myself to, the
crowd numbered three. There was the hostess, her sister and me - which
meant I had a 50/50 chance of winning the door prize. Despite the small
numbers, the hostess sold nearly 500 dollars worth of plastic. Most women
were foregoing parties, instead placing orders at the office, the gym or
while waiting in the carpool line.
More time passed, hostesses became sales consultants and the
company expanded into cookware. Corporate headquarters even partnered with
a major retailer to reach more direct-sale customers strolling through the
Today, your chances of attending a home Tupperware party may have
decreased, but you can still buy the plastic. You can buy on-line, sitting
alone in front of your computer. You can buy at a lonely kiosk in the
center of the mall. You can buy Tupperware with small children hanging on
your legs, your lipstick worn off hours ago and not a single tidbit of
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© 2001, Lori Borgman
JWR contributor Lori Borgman is the author of , most recently, "Pass the Faith, Please" (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.) and I Was a Better Mother Before I Had Kids To comment, please click here. To visit her website click here.
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