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 »
Like everyone else in the country with excellent taste and a belly full of adult beverages, I very much enjoyed Beyoncé’s half-time performance at the Super Bowl on Sunday. I loved her all-woman band, particularly Bibi McGill’s spark-shooting axe. I loved the Destiny’s Child reunion. I loved that my Beyoncé half-time BINGO card included a square for “killing it,” which I ticked off within seconds of the show’s start.
And yet, my reaction to her post-halftime announcement of the upcoming “Mrs. Carter Show” tour was not to cheer her on in a post-feminist choose-your-choice fist-pump, but to huff: “Call me when Jay-Z goes on a Mr. Knowles tour.”
Why does the most powerful woman pop star in the world want, or need, to remind everyone she’s married? What does a Mrs. moniker have with her ability to sing, dance and write songs? And no, the name issue isn’t what gets me. I’m not raising a figurative eyebrow at “Carter,” I’m raising a figurative eyebrow at “Mrs.” Keep reading »
I’ve been putting off making the trip to the county clerk’s office to see about getting Patrick and I common-law married. In order for me to be enrolled on his health insurance, Patrick’s employers need some kind of governmentally sanctioned proof that we’re not just total liars. The process in Texas for proving you’re not a total liar is pretty simple: you tell the government that you’re not a total liar, sign a piece of paper, and they believe you. Suddenly, marriage!
This one little trip that I can’t seem to make is probably one of the most important things I could be doing just about now. And yet here I sit in my lacy black silk pajamas (Fancy Lady Obsessed With “Downton Abbey” So She Bought Some Nice Underthings Alert!), drinking coffee and fending off keyboard-fascinated cats instead of achieving the twofer of making my relationship more legitimate in the eyes of the government and ensuring that I have proper health coverage.
Though to be fair, I also buy extra underwear so that I can go a month without hitting the laundromat, so know that I am a world-class procrastinator of some renown. It’s not that I have apprehensions about becoming a wife.
Right? Keep reading »
Linkbait — (noun), an article written online for the sole purpose of trying to draw traffic.
You’ve heard of stay-at-home-moms — now it’s time to meet a “stay-at-home-girlfriend.” Writing on the Brooklyn-based blog Brokelyn, blogger Quiana Stokes described how she recently lost her job and is now a “stay-at-home-girlfriend” in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, playing house and having the roast ready for her boyfriend when he comes home. Feminist bloggers are abuzz with Quiana’s “stereotypically Stepfordish rules,” like picking up after her boyfriend when he gets dressed in the morning, cooking dinner every night, keeping up her hair and nails, and fixing his favorite cocktails when he comes home from a hard day’s work.
Now, I’m going to say something that might surprise you about this proto-Betty Draper: frankly, I don’t think the article is that offensive. Keep reading »
Caller: Dr. Williams, how the heck are you? My wife just came in and made me lunch after she was mowing the yard.
Walter E. Williams: “Good, good. You have her under control.”
Caller: “Absolutely, absolutely.”
Williams: “I guess you’ve learned a lot from me.”
Caller: “I’ve been listening to you for a long time. She does a lot more chores than she used to, so I appreciate that.”
Williams: “Okay! And I believe in keeping wives under control.”
Caller: “You’re a good man.”
— Radio host Walter E. Williams, who was filling in on The Rush Limbaugh Show and making us vom. [MediaMatters.org] Keep reading »
The #DearFutureWife hashtag is a scary thing in the collective unconscious that is Twitter. Who knew that making sandwiches and generously giving head are top qualifications in the marriage market?
I’ve rounded up 30 tweets from randoms on Twitter about what they’d like to tell their future wife. Some (most, actually) guys are very sweet. And some should have electronic monitoring bracelets so we know not to date their sorry asses … Keep reading »