As most of you know, I am married. Like all marriages, there are good things and bad things that run the course in such a relationship, but I am gonna tell you a story or two, which in some ways relate to the topic at hand as posted about previously.
On more than a few occasions, whilst hanging out with folk (generally) of the man persuasion who know both myself and Mr.E, the question is asked of me “So, how is your wife?”
Make no mistake, this is often a neutral to complementary statement towards me, and intended as a grievous insult to him. Which one, pisses me off because there is nothing wrong with being a wife, so why is it seen as possibly the worst insult in the entire world one can level against a married man, and two, when making such a statement the people making it are drawing upon the worst stereotypes they can think of in a “wife”- nagging, jealous, passive aggressive, selfish, lazy (as if those were not merely human traits and solely belonged to women/wives). Now, to be fair, true enough, Mr.E can be any or all of those things. But so can anyone. In fact, at some point in their lives, I would venture that all humans, male or female, are at least one of those things if not more.
And I wonder what it is that leads people to make those male/female things, or why it is this attitude and statement is made or taken the way it is.
The first time I heard it uttered it was kind of funny- because it was like something out of a sitcom. A group of friends had gathered for a BBQ on one particularly (insanely) hot summer afternoon. All married folk, a couple of whom had very small children- all female. I’d not really noticed it, but as it happened, myself and three of the husbands were out seeing to the meat on the grill, drinking beer, and talking sports. Mr. E (probably the more sane of the two of us at the time, it was 100+ degrees outside) was inside with the wives and kids, watching some Disney movie and sipping tea. No, he was not helping with the indoor food prep. Upon noting this, one of the men-folk, a good friend of both myself and Mr. E, hands me a beer, grins, and says “So Ren, how is the wife?”
I laughed because at that moment it was funny- as I said, like something out of a sitcom. But I did not think much of it at the time. I like grilling, I like beer, I like hot weather, and I like to talk about sports. These things were not in my mind “man things”, but at that moment I started to notice they were. Or at least in the minds of some people they were. I certainly think dealing with kids should be “parent things”, esp. on weekends. And I could not fault Mr.E (not a lover of hot weather) for wanting to be inside.
But I have heard that sentiment, been asked that question, several times since then. And while I get the intent…Mr.E is a homebody, that is just the way he is, whereas I am not….I am not sure why it being a “wife” or doing things that are “wife like” has to be derided as some ritual of manhood. Okay, so what, I like to go out with the crew and have a beer and watch sports, I like to shoot pool, go to the gun range, hit the gym, go to clubs, I have even been known to (gasp) go to a strip club. So what? I am still a woman, and why yes, a wife, and when using that word as an insult to my husband (and apparently compliment me for being so not wife like) I have to wonder…WTF are you thinking, dudes? You are insulting the whole concept of wife in front of one, thanks. Just because I might be able to beat dude X in pool or know more about the NFL than dude Y does not negate the fact that wow, I happen to be a wife. I especially wonder about this statement out of dudes whom are married…especially if I know their wives…a few of whom would kick their fucking asses into the middle of next Thursday for busting on “wives”.
And this is not to say that all wives I know are awesome. I can think of one right off the top of my head who sucks eggs straight out of the chicken. She is every bad stereotype I can think of about “wives”: Controlling, lazy, passive aggressive, arrogant, totally convinced her dear offspring walk on water and can do no wrong when they are, in truth, uncontrollable little shits. She does nothing other than sit on her ass all day while her kids run wild or other people look after them and she thinks she is just the bees knees…and god forbid her husband want to do anything- from go golfing to shoot pool- without her presence. And she talks smack about everyone. That is her life…sitting on her ass and gossiping. Suffices to say I hate this woman. But who is the wussie, the “weak one” there, her, or her husband who puts up with it?
Mr. E may have his less than charming qualities no doubt, but he ain’t that meatsack by any stretch.
But it leads me to wonder, aside from and along with the wife thing, why is every insult directed at a dudes manhood has to do with being a woman? “He is a pussy, a bitch, he throws like a girl, whines like woman?” I get that man is in some peoples head the direct opposite of woman, but is woman such a bad fucking thing that is has to be used as the gravest of all insults? I mean come on…we’re supposed to, as women, like this, and the men who hold this attitude? Dudes, are you stupid??
Smirk. I want to know if the dudes who say this shit can not only bench press their own body weight, but make Chicken Kiev, get a hysterical two year old to stop screaming, and load a clip- while keeping up on the NFL with rollers in their hair…without whining.
*There are also women who use “you are such a dude” as the same sort of insult, but that is different post.