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"Ah, the water's as sterile as my milkman-trusting father."
The Professor, Futurama
"I don't look like my Mommy or my Daddy. I look like the mailman."

A woman cheats on her husband with the milkman, or some other man who visits her home on a regular basis while hubby is at work. The image of the slutty milkman was very popular in older works, and persists even though in many places milk has not been delivered to people's homes in decades.

Although there were some Truth in Television incidents of this, it is less based on them than it is the general fear of a person's spouse cheating on them while they're away at work, especially if it's with someone who comes straight to the door. As few Milk Men are still around, it is more common nowadays for the wife to cheat with the mailman, plumber or pool-cleaner.

See also Pizza Boy Special Delivery for when it's just a random one-off fling with delivery guy rather than an ongoing affair.

Examples of Cheating with the Milkman include:


Advertising

  • "If wifie shuns / your fond embrace / don't shoot the iceman / feel your face / Burma Shave"

Film

  • In Big Fish, Edward describes how he had dreams which predicted the deaths of his family members just before they happened. Eventually, a dream told him his father would die. After being told this, his father became increasingly paranoid over the next few days. Then the milkman died. (It's a recycling of a pretty old joke.)
  • Pool boy? Well, Legally Blonde had a subversion of that--the guy turned out to be gay, and his employer genuinely wasn't interested in him, she just wanted some eye-candy while working on her tan (hence his skimpy "uniform").
  • In Mulholland Drive, Adam Kesher comes home to find his wife in bed with the pool boy (Bill Ray Cyrus!). To add injury to insult, the poolboy is angry that Adam interrupted their sex, and beats him up and throws him out of his own house.
  • In Chicago, one of the Merry Murderesses tells the story of her husband accusing her of cheating with the milkman, then she says "He ran into my knife ten times".
  • In What's Eating Gilbert Grape, the title character is having an affair with one of the housewives he delivers groceries to.
  • In the sci-fi comedy Real Men, when the CIA agent (James Belushi) first meets the meek insurance salesman (John Ritter) he's supposed to recruit, he looks in his fridge and immediately deduced that the salesman's wife is sleeping with the milkman. At the end of the film, the much braver salesman punches out the milkman, as he's entering the door.
  • Replace "milkman" with "window cleaner" and you have the main plot of the first Confessions film.
  • Dr. Feinstone in The Dentist finds out that his wife is cheating on him with the poolman. Results are not pretty.

Literature

  • Referenced in Number the Stars: Jewish Ellen pretends to be part of the Johansen family when the Nazis come searching for her. One of the Nazis notes her dark hair in the otherwise blonde family and sarcastically asks if they got her from the milkman.
  • The "pool boy" version of the trope is mentioned disparagingly by the narrator of The Wonder Spot when she's reading a lousy manuscript for her publishing job.
  • In Stephen King's short story, Big Wheels: A Tale of the Laundry Game (collected in the anthology Skeleton Crew) the wife of Rocky, the protagonist left him for the milkman. Even to Rocky, who is a laundry worker, and never reads anything aside from bubble gum comics, this situation has "sonorous classical overtones".

Live Action TV

  • Played with as early as the first season of Happy Days:

 Joanie: Do you have a best friend, Daddy?

Mr. Cunningham: Sure, your mother.

Joanie: Who's your best friend, Mom?

Mrs. Cunningham: The milkman.

  • In CSI (original series), Warrick finds out over the course of a case that Brass' daughter isn't his biological child.

 Brass: Let's just say the milkman did it.

  • I Love Lucy had an episode where a rumor was spread about a neighbor, Grace Foster, having an affair with the milkman while Mr. Foster is away.
  • Parodied in Strangers with Candy: Jerry's mother-in-law cheats on her husband with her meatman Stew.
  • Used by Blackadder. (He's talking about Pitt the Younger's little brother.)

 "Who is that? Pitt the toddler? Pitt the embryo? Pitt the glint in the milkman's eye?"

  • Parodied in Home Improvement, where Tim Taylor tells Al that Jill was cheating on him with their supposed milkman as an extremely lame cover story. Despite the fact that this was 1990s Detroit, and Al has seen the Taylors' refrigerator on numerous occasions, he still believed Tim.
  • Matt Parkman of Heroes suspects his wife is cheating on him with their blond, hunky water delivery man (Not without reason, she's cheated on him before). So Matt uses his mental powers to "convince" the man to take a different route.
  • In the Father Ted episode "Speed 3" Pat Mustard's stint as the Craggy Island milkman results in a lot of suspiciously hairy babies.
  • In the Married... with Children episode "At the Zoo" a girl scout wants to sell cookies to Al:

 Girl Scout: You can't tell me you're not hungry. My daddy says you eat bugs and dirt.

Al: Well, you go home and tell your daddy you have the mailman's eyes.

    • In another episode:

 Neighbor: Hey, Bundy! I had steak tonight! What are you having?

Al: If I was the mailman, I'd be having your wife!

 Narrator: Dad will be home soon. Better tell Mother she's needed in the kitchen...

Servo: ...where the postman eagerly awaits.

  • Referenced in Good Eats, where Alton opens the door for the milkman, who has a bouquet in his hand. He quickly ditches it when he sees he's speaking to Mister Brown and leaves in a hurry; Alton doesn't seem to catch on.
  • There's an episode of Tales from the Darkside called "The Milkman Cometh", in it a man hears that their neighborhood's milkman is a deformed freak that no one's ever seen, but apparently will grant any wish that you write down and leave with your empty bottles. This trope comes into play when the guy wishes that his wife will finally have a son. The milkman obliges in the most direct manner possible. Cue Squick.
  • Used more than once on Maury by men who claim they're not the baby's father. It's almost always disproven.
  • One Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch has a milkman greeted at the door by a beautiful, lingerie-clad woman who beckons him in and up the stairs to what the milkman expects to be a lovenest, only to have her lock him inside and him realize the room was instead full of milkmen, some of whom had been there a really long time.
  • In one episode of Brazilian sitcom Sai De Baixo, Magda Antibes was recalling childhood memories and the way she was describing a man made her mother realize she was talking about the milkman. When told about this, Magda mentioned remembering the milkman visiting whenever her father was absent.
  • El Chavo Del Ocho: Doña Florinda tried to pass a store-bought cake as one she baked by herself. When La Chillindrina decided to tell Professor Jirafales about it, she just told him Doña Florinda was tricking him and that she could ask the baker for confirmation. Professor Jirafales interpreted it another way.

Theatre

  • In The Iceman Cometh this joke is repeatedly referenced, but with an iceman instead of a milkman. A few examples:

 Rocky: Yeah, some kidder! Remember how he woiks up dat gag about his wife, when he's cockeyed, cryin' over her picture and den springin' it on yuh all of a sudden dat he left her in de hay wid de iceman?

....

Chuck: And I tells her I'm off de stuff for life. Den she beefs we won't be married a month before I'll trow it in her face she was a tart. "Jees, Baby," I tells her. "Why should I? What de hell yuh tink I tink I'm marryin', a voigin? Why should I kick as long as yuh lay off it and don't do no cheatin' wid de iceman or nobody?"

....

Cora: Aw, yuh shouldn't make dat iceman crack, Rocky. It's aw right for him to kid about it but--I notice Hickey ain't pulled dat old iceman gag dis time. (excitedly) D'yuh suppose dat he did catch his wife cheatin'? I don't mean wid no iceman, but wid some guy.

  • Referenced in the "Cellblock Tango" from Chicago:

 [My husband] says, "You been screwin' the milkman?" He kept on screamin', "You've been screwin' the milkman!" And then he ran into my knife. He ran into my knife ten times.

  • In Street Scene, Mrs. Maurrant's affair with Sankey, the collector for the milk company, is a frequent subject of their neighbors' gossip. One hot day, Mr. Maurrant comes home unexpectedly early, catches them together and shoots them both.

Video Games

  • There exists a porn game where you play the milkman, swiving the women on your route.

Web Original

Western Animation

  • Implied in the Classic Disney Short "Father's Day Off". Goofy is taking his wife's place for the day, so when the milkman comes, he absent-mindedly gives Goof a kiss on the lips. The same thing happens with the grocery guy, and the laundry guy.


Other

  • On The Album of the Soundtrack of the Trailer of the Film of Monty Python and The Holy Grail, a logician complains about various logical errors in the film, following multiple tangents to a rant about his wife's affair with the milkman.
  • Let us not forget the joke about the theoretical invention of a chip inserted in the brains of all men that allow them to feel the pain of childbirth. It ends with a dead milkman.
  • It's not rare for tactless people to suggest that children who don't resemble either of their parents are results of "visits with the milkman".
  • Old joke: The man who owns the town drug store notices that the milkman is buying condoms from him every day. Confused, he orders his stockboy to follow him to see what he's up to. The stockboy comes back howling with laughter.

 Owner: "What's so funny? Where'd he go?"

Stockboy: "Your house."

  • Then there's the schoolyard-esque taunt, "I'd be your father, but the mailman beat me up the stairs."
  • Comedian Gary Gulman has a routine where he complains about how every time someone finds out that he's the only tall guy in his family, they say, "How tall is the milkman?" -- to which he points out that milkmen don't even exist in most places any more, and lists other defunct professionals his mother might have had an affair with, such as the the chimney sweep and the town crier.

  "... And the muffin man. Do you know the muffin man?"

  • In Spain the equivalent of the milkman joke is about el butanero - the man that delivers liquified gas in a metal cylinder[1]. Those cylinders are quite heavy, and since the guy is expected to carry and deliver them in person (even if the house is on the top floor of a building with no elevator) it's understandable why he's de facto considered to be taller, stronger and manlier than any other professional. It's also quickly becoming a Dead Horse Trope now, as electric heating is replacing natural gas.
  • Another joke--a man hears his daughter says her prayers "Bless Mommy, bless Daddy and goodbye Grandma." The next day, Grandma dies. Another day she includes "Goodbye Grandpa" and sure enough, he dies too. Then one day she says "Goodbye Daddy," and the next day the man goes to work terrified, being super-cautious all day. He gets home fine and his wife says "You wouldn't believe the day I had--the milkman dropped dead right on our doorstep!" (Alternatively, the body could still be there when the man arrives.)
  • Some application of this trope led to the name of the punk rock band The Dead Milkmen.
  • According to the "canon" of The Church of the SubGenius, J.R. "Bob" Dobbs' father was either Xinucha-Chi-Xan M. Dobbs or an itinerant mailman.
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