Cheating with the Milkman
"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, as has more households having both spouses possess jobs outside the home for most of the day.
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 milkmen are still working, it is more common nowadays for the wife to cheat with the mailman, plumber or pool-cleaner. One that dates from an earlier period is the iceman (the person who delivered ice door-to-door, mostly for use in old-fashioned iceboxes
A variant is for this to be the reveal of a Who's Your Daddy?
plot. If this relationship produces a child who clearly does not resemble the wife's legal husband it's a case of Chocolate Baby
See also Cuckold
and Pizza Boy Special Delivery
for when it's just a random one-off fling with a delivery guy rather than an ongoing affair.
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- "If wifie shuns / your fond embrace / don't shoot the iceman / feel your face / Burma Shave"
- Invoked in "Liquid Plumr" commercials: two plumbers show up at the house (one with a pipe-snake, and another with a liquid unclogger), speaking in seductive voices... and they literally unclog the woman's pipes.
Films — Live-Action
- 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 has a subversion of that — the guy turns 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 Dr., Adam Kesher comes home to find his wife in bed with the pool boy (Billy 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 deduces 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.
- Replace "milkman" with "plumber's mate" and you have the main plot of the first Adventures of... film.
- Dr. Feinstone in The Dentist finds out that his wife is cheating on him with the poolman. Results are not pretty.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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".
- In the Better Than Life sequence in Red Dwarf: Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers; Rimmer's so screwed up that his "perfect woman" is someone who hates him and has a relationship with the pool boy.
- Poet Wendy Cope wrote a villanelle called "Reading Scheme", in which kids from the Dick and Jane books observe that "The milkman likes Mummy. She likes them all." Then comes Daddy and his shotgun...
- The anvilicious and conservative Mexican novel Juventud en Extásis plays this trope for drama in the part in which the protagonist's mother tells him about their past: When he was newborn baby and his father was away on a trip she started an affair with an electric appliance repairman. Later she divorced the protagonist's father and married the repairman, who turned out to be an alcoholic, wife-beating child abuser.
- 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 has 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 in Blackadder. He's talking about Pitt the Younger's little brother:
Blackadder: 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.
- 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 Scrubs part of the Hilariously Abusive Childhood of Elliot, Elliot's mom sexes up her pool boys. A lot.
- Married... with Children
- In the 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!
- Mystery Science Theater 3000 riffed on this trope for the 1950s short film, "A Date with your Family:"
Narrator: Dad will be home soon. Better tell Mother she's needed in the kitchen...
Servo: ...where the postman eagerly awaits.
- Referenced in an episode of Good Eats, of all things. Alton is talking about pasteurization of milk, referring to "the time when we got milk from guys in white suits who went door-to-door"; he opens the door and the milkman turns around... with a handful of flowers. As soon as he sees who he's dealing with, he says "Mister Brown...", hands AB the milk, and beats a hasty retreat.
- 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.
- 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.
- Parodied in a Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch, in which a woman (Carol Cleveland) entices the milkman (Michael Palin) upstairs... and then locks him up in a room containing several other milkmen, two of whom have long white beards and one of whom is a skeleton.
- One episode of Midsomer Murders has the delivery boy for a produce store offer... additional services. John Barnaby's wife, on learning about it, expresses disappointment that she only got vegetables.
- Heavily implied in Victorious with Mrs. Vega cheating on her husband with his partner. It's more for laughs than anything.
- In Red Dwarf, Arnold Rimmer turned out to be the son of the family's dim-witted gardener.
- 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.
- As seen on a Blunt Card.
- In the Barats And Bereta short Milkman vs. Mailman, somebody wins their Felony Misdemeanor rivalry.
- In the webcomic Pokemon X, it's implied that Brendan gets his hair from Mailman Joe, and that Norman was oblivious to the affair even when his wife invited Mailman Joe to the birth.
- A rare gender flipped example in Better Days when Elizabeth comes home early one day and finds her husband sleeping with the head of their homeowner's association. To make it worse, they were trying to have a baby, which, as she drunkenly rants to a friend later, explains why she hasn't been able to get pregnant yet since he's clearly been using it all up on the other woman.
- 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.
- The episode "Insecurity" on South Park modernizes this trope with the UPS delivery driver, followed by home security system installers, while frequently alluding to the old milkman story.
- Heavily implied in the Futurama episode "A Clockwork Origin." Professor Farnsworth cleanses the water on a barren planet, and says it's "as sterile as my milkman-trusting father."
- Implied as a gay relationship in The Simpsons, with this one-off like from Moe: "Ah, my physical pain is gone! Now I can focus on my criplling emotional pain. Oh daddy why, why wouldn't you ever hug me! You hugged the mailman!"
- The original Love Interest to the main character of City Hunters dumps him because she's been dating her personal trainer and liked him more.
- 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".
- In Spain, the equivalent of the milkman joke is about el butanero, the man that delivers liquified gas in a metal cylinder◊. 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 and stoves are replacing natural gas (plus many places retaining gas heat and stoves are getting gas lines, obviating the need for cylinders).
- 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.
- George Lucas wife Marcia cheated on him with the contractor who was installing the windows at Skywalker Ranch. When George found out, he promptly had all the windows replaced.