I didn’t expect a can-usually-be-counted-on-for-fluff article about marriage in the Sunday Styles section of the New York Times to be so damn depressing. But I suppose that’s a conclusion to be expected when one starts wondering, what’s the point of it all? Keep reading »
A woman goes through life with a number of labels that she doesn’t have any control over, either by birth or by society’s imposition. But one label she should get to choose is whether she wants to be someone’s “wife” or not. This should be a right for all of us.
A recent piece on Salon.com by soon-to-be-married author Tracy Clark-Flory about the word “wife” really pissed me off. Clark-Flory wrote about going over the language of her wedding ceremony script with her fiancé and getting to the part that says “I now pronounce you husband and wife.”
Husband? Wife? I could barely conceal my gagging sounds. He said something to the effect of, “Ew, gross.”
It makes me feel like Betty Draper, like I should be fetching his slippers and a scotch on the rocks — and remembering to get the roast bird out of the oven. (In reality, I’ve only just recently expanded my cooking repertoire beyond Kraft mac ‘n’ cheese and things you put in the microwave. He, however, will roast a chicken and make a rustic tart from scratch — all in one night.) I am a daughter, partner and friend — but a wife? I can’t help but imagine saying “I’m his wife” with heavy air quotes, a roll of the eyes or exaggerated feminine cheer.
Clark-Flory then expresses concern that the Middle English/Old English terms for “wife” and “husband” translate, roughly, to “vagina” and “householder.” It’s not that I don’t understand Clark-Flory’s discomfort with both words or their histories (although dredging up the Old English definition? really?). But I’m uneasy with how glib she was about that choice when so many people are scrambling to have the same one. Keep reading »