then again, maybe not
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February 22, 2006

Wait, a wife is not a slave?

Via The News Blog, two stories about men with "high" expectations of their wives. The first, on The Smoking Gun is a remarkable, if difficult to read document. At first it's rather funny, something I could see writing with humor. Until you get the details that the guy who wrote it wasn't being funny at all. In fact, he's charged with kidnapping his wife and and child pornography. Charming.

Then there's this asshole Dr. Phil. I mean, there's this asshole on Dr. Phil. Ahem. He says:

My wife is desperately in need of wife lessons,” says Grant. “I do have high
expectations and standards, and I expect them to be met. I think every guy would
like their wife to be a Stepford Wife.”
Mmhmm. She says:

“Grant treats me like I’m stupid. The pressure to be the wife Grant wants is
overwhelming. It crushes me when Grant says that he’s not satisfied. I work very
hard all day long not to be mediocre. My biggest fear for our marriage is that
I’m never going to be good enough. I think your husband is supposed to think
you’re great. And I don’t have a husband who thinks I’m great,” she says, her
eyes filling with tears.

How romantic. They returned to the show later because she "still needs wife lessons." This time Dr. Phil lets others share their thoughts on this marriage. Some guy says:

Dr. Phil asks James, "You say he's living in a total fantasy, why?"

"Absolutely, because I've never known any woman to ever accept criticism
from a man very well. At all. I think when you start criticizing, you just start
on a downhill slope, and it's not going to get any better for you."
He's supposed to be the voice of reason, by the way. In case you couldn't tell from his first comments. Next up:

Dr. Phil turns to Amy, "And you think she's just not doing her job?"

"Exactly. I think that what happens a lot of times in marriages is you
come to an agreement of one person staying at home and one person taking on that
responsibility, then the stay-at-home person, whether it's the mom or the dad,
gets into the situation, realizes it's a lot harder than what they expected, and
then doesn't want to be held accountable for their choices of being responsible
in that role," says Amy.

Hmm, yes. This woman is clearly just annoyed because she's not keeping up with her required duties. Speaking of which… what are those duties in this house?

I counted 75, I thought," corrects Grant, and the audience reacts negatively.
"But those are just things I thought that a wife in general would need to know,
not pointed directly at Kelly, but just in general. A wife staying at home ought
to be able to handle those things."

"And that list was not complete and it did not include motherly duties," Kelly points out.

"Yeah, this didn't have to do with childcare," Dr. Phil agrees as he reads from the list. "This was just organizing closets; organizing hallway closet; keep the car
clean; grocery shopping; cook efficiently; use the oven; use the stove; get rid
of the stuff you don't use or need; sew; mend; wash; load and use the washing
machine properly; basic routine maintenance on washer, dryer, oven, dishwasher,
fridge, freezer, toaster; decorate windows; weekly and monthly cleaning;
positioning of furniture; organize videos and DVDs; organize CDs; organize the
linen; stock the linen; sanitize the bathrooms; cook Mexican food — so, that's
just in general, wives in general need to cook enchiladas — dirty clothes
hamper; get country dance lessons, Latin dance lessons, hip-hop dance lessons;
and do preventative maintenance relating to common household items." Dr. Phil
asks Grant, "Are you a hip-hop dancer?"

"I thought it would be something fun to do," says Grant.
And again, that doesn't include taking care of the kids. Whew. I live alone and I don't do half of this shit. Decorate windows? Organize CDs?

Here's the real problem. Not only does this shithead expect his wife to do all of the above things to his specifications, he also expects her to do them in a french maid outfit and be ready for hot hot sex. I'm not sure how you can be amorous after a 35 hour jam-packed day, but maybe that's just because I'm single.

This piece really struck me not juist because this guy is a huge tool, but because I didn't really think people acted like this. I'm terrifired of getting married. Of sharing my entire life with another person. But it never occurred to me that this person might expect me to be all things at once. The things that bugged me is everyone on the show kept talking about what it means to be "a good wife." But being a wife isn't a job. There are no requirements. Seems to me that being a good wife or a good husband should be about your relationship, not a list of tasks.




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