January 24, 2010

Sandra Tsing Loh says: "as the breadwinner, I wish to be the husband, and hence what I’m looking for is a wife..."

"... a loyal helpmeet who keeps the home fires burning and offers uncritical emotional support when I, the gladiator, return exhausted from the arena. Who are the (actively listening!) men without money who can adapt to such a role?"

That essay is getting a lot of play over at the NYT website, and I really think there ought to be a citation to the very famous essay in the first issue of Ms. Magazine, "I Want a Wife," by Judy Brady.

66 comments:

Treacle said...

she was the wife who cheated on her husband. of course she wants a wife now so she can be the husband who cheats on his wife.

Eric said...

Oh, yeah, I so want that job. As long as she remembers I get my "me" time as soon as she gets home. And when the weekend rolls around she better not be thinking she's gonna sit at home and relax. Oooooohhhhhh no, by Saturday I'll have a list of honey-dos as long as my arm.

Oh, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays I have my pottery class, so she'll need to take care of dinner herself.

Sandra, honey, the oil light's been on for a week, but I didn't think that mattered. Now I'm at the side of the road and the car is burning. Yes, burning. Well how was I supposed to know? Well I wanted a new car anyway, so it's probably all for the best.

campy said...

Raises hand. That pretty much describes my role in my and Mrs. campy's marriage. I've been the stay at home parent since our first daughter was born in 1981.

But I have to snicker at Loh's notion that wives routinely offer uncritical emotional support.

BJM said...

Sounds like Sandra's casting around for an excuse to buy a strap-on.

lucid said...

Such silly stuff the Times publishes now. Its perspective and resonance is imited to about 5 neighborhoods in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

rhhardin said...

breadwinner

Lady comes from OE for kneader of bread.

Expat(ish) said...

Sandra, good luck with that.

Tell you what, go work for 20+ years, take 100% of all societal expectations for your kids, your spouse, your house, the cars you drive, and then call me.

Oh, yeah, and let me know how you like being the butt of every single hollywood cliche and stupid joke email around.

And when your teeth are chipped from the clinching, remember that getting them capped is a female thing and not available to you without widespread hilarity.

-XC

sydney said...

I’m looking for is a wife — a loyal helpmeet who keeps the home fires burning and offers uncritical emotional support when I, the gladiator, return exhausted from the arena.

There's the problem right there. She'll never find "a wife" if she persists in believing that staying at home is a step below working in a career. A marriage is a partnership, no matter who stays home and who works outside. The tendency to think that whoever is carrying the workload on the homefront is just an ancillary is the cause of most domestic strife. Being at home, managing the house and the kids - the family- is just as important as the work that gets done outside the house to provide financial support. You have to be able to recognize that in order to have a successful marriage.
(And that goes for partners who both work outside the home, too. They have to be willing to each commit enough time to keep the home life functioning.)

I say this not as a stay at home wife, but as a wife who has played the breadwinner role for most of my marriage while my husband saw to it that our kids were taken care of. I think of our roles as equally important.

The Crack Emcee said...

Hey Lady, i've got your first serious candidate right here!

t-man said...

The funny thing is that if a man wrote an article about his search for a wife who fulfilled STL's wish list, he would be villified.

Joe said...

"... and offers uncritical emotional support..."

Ha ha ha, he he he, ha.... Wow this woman is delusional.

She doesn't want a companion, she wants a butler. You can hire those.

knox said...

Are there any NYT lifestyle articles that couldn't be subheaded: "It's All About Meeeeeee!"

rhhardin said...

My dog expects me to do practically everything.

knox said...

She doesn't want a companion, she wants a butler.

My initial thought was the same, except "maid".

Palladian said...

She's also an NPR commentator. Can you imagine being married to an NPR commentator?

Ann Althouse said...

"Hey Lady, i've got your first serious candidate right here!"

He's wearing shorts!

blake said...

So, wait, I'm confused.

Were the housewives of yore enslaved to lesser jobs or did they actually provide an amazingly valuable service that made everyone's lives better?

Palladian said...

""Hey Lady, i've got your first serious candidate right here!"

He's wearing shorts!"

Not for long...

ironrailsironweights said...

I know the Times is desperately flailing around trying to generate sufficient revenues to pay the Louie-the-Loanshark vig on Carlos Salim's financing, but fer Chrissakes do they have to publish this sort of twaddle?

Peter

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lem said...

Me love you Loh time.

t-man said...

If Cathy Seipp had not died a few years ago, I suspect that she would not have let her friend Loh descend into the whiny, deluded person Loh has become. Seipp didn't suffer fools gladly.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
t-man said...

I'm really trying to come up with a joke to go with the line:

Tsing Loh, sweet chariot!

Maxine Weiss said...

Help! Does anyone know where I can buy an untraceable cell phone?

Beta Conservative said...

Her view of marital roles comes from 1960's sitcoms. Will her wife have to greet her at the door in heels and pearls, dinner made and the home spotless, or is uncritical emotional support enough by itself?

I feel a whole new wardrobe coming on.

Theo Boehm said...
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Eric said...

Still, a return to a life more like the 1950s, with one breadwinner and one homemaker, is an unreasonable expectation.

Why is that? I could easily afford the standard of living my single-breadwinner parents enjoyed if I married someone who didn't want to work. Is the second SUV and daily trip to Starbucks worth what we gave up as a society?

Mark said...

Is it just me or did the New York Times cease being worth reading after Abe Rosenthal left?

Greg Toombs said...

a helpmeet who ... offers uncritical emotional support

Where are these helpmeets of which she speaks. I am unfamiliar...

Palladian said...

"I used to think she was hilarious, but, like Keillor, she has gotten more and more unfunny."

Keillor was funny? I guess I'm too young to remember.

Tsing-Loh's NPR commentaries were tolerable, in that I never felt compelled to turn off the radio.

Unlike I did when I heard the phlegmmy, insufferable voice of Dan Schorr.

Mark said...

She doesn't want a wife, she wants a little bitch.

I say this from the perspective of a Full-Time Dad.

juniorfruit said...

ancient wisdom: A man needs a maid. n. young.

Paul said...

What this bitch wants and what she needs are two different things not even remotely related.

Ann Althouse said...

Keep in mind that if you have a second worker, there is taxable income, but if one spouse does nonearning work for the household, it can save money. The saved money, depending on the tax rate for the first earner, could be worth almost twice as much as any additional earned money that person could make by working. Figure it all out, taxes, savings in transportation, clothing, child care, restaurant meals.

Calculate it all out on paper. The value of the second spouse working, especially if there are children, may be minimal or even nonexistent, even before you take into account all the nonmonetary benefits -- having someone always there to take care of household needs, to nurture children, and to support the working spouse.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Synova said...

"She doesn't want a companion, she wants a butler. You can hire those."

*sigh* a butler.

Or was that Scott Baio.

Alex said...

She wants a stay-at-home bartender. Massive face-palm moment.

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jason said...

Millionaire Next Door: Best Personal Finance Book Ever.

Yes, you can still do it one one income if you have your priorities in order.

True story: Some omega-type uber-herb loser with two beautiful children looked me in the eye and told me he couldn't afford life insurance to protect them because his wife had Boca Raton syndrome and spent too much money on shoes and shit.

WTF????

I recommended the book to him, along with "Stop Acting Rich," also by Tom Stanley, and skedaddled.

I wish I could recommend growing a pair of balls to him, too.

Peter V. Bella said...

Will the Sixties ever end?

somefeller said...

But once someone, woman or man, steps off the professional career track, they're done in this economy as a viable wage-earner ever again.

I'm not sure that's completely true anymore. I've seen examples of women (never men -- sorry, most men are still judged by what they do for a living, including by other men) who have taken off a few years to stay home with the children who have come back to do well in the employment world. Yes, some doors are closed, and they may not be able to get back in line for partnership at a big law firm or the CEO's chair at a large corporation, but there are many other good things one can do with one's professional life. Also, I think it's a generational thing, in which people under 40 are actually more likely to support this sort of thing, because they aren't as tied to the idea that women have something to prove in the workforce and therefore have to stay on the gerbil wheel forever (again, not so sure that's true for men). Admittedly, the length of time outside the workforce does affect one's re-entry trajectory, however.

Palladian said...
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Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Theo Boehm said...
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Palladian said...

As Christ said, Theo, the seventies will always be with you. Or something like that.

Titus said...

Palladian give me a big hug. You know I love you. You are the best.

Ann Althouse said...

Could Titus and Palladian please both stop talking about each other so I don't have to delete stuff?

Titus said...

Thank you Althouse

somefeller said...

Yeah, from what I've seen baby boomer women took a big hit if they stayed home with the kids, and this issue still varies from profession to profession. I picked the big law firm example on purpose. You can do the mommy track and still have a great career as an in-house, government or small-firm attorney. But Biglaw partnership? Forget it, even now. Though that's a lifestyle I'm not sure most people would want anyway (including me).

As far as generational issues, it's interesting, the support for stay-at-home moms isn't tied to ideology. While more traditionalist people have always supported that, it cuts across cultural boundaries among younger people. When my wife decided to stay at home with our daughter, a very left-wing female lawyer friend said she thought that was great, and an anti-corporate, "the market is not our god" statement. Funny how that goes.

Beta Conservative said...

That makes two marriages consummated via this site.

Congratulations! Where do we send the gifts?

Palladian said...

I'm sorry Althouse, but as I said in another thread, I survived being gay in a rural high school by defending myself and giving back as hard as I got it from bullies. I'm not going to sit back and allow myself to be insulted continually without responding in kind. "Titus" has the advantage of knowing who I am and what I look like. Yet you allow him to protect himself through anonymity. I was perfectly happy not to respond to him, until he started leaving multiple posts insulting me in threads where I was trying to have a conversation.

One thing I've always appreciated about you Althouse is that you don't allow people to intimidate and try to silence you through insults and lies. You fight back. I was doing the same. Am I to be silent and take the repulsive insults as a condition of commenting here? As I said, I'm not going to sit back and take it from someone who has demonstrated time and again that they wish to be destructive and who hides behind anonymity as a defense. Long ago I asked "Titus" to leave me alone and everything would be fine. He refused to honor my request.

At any rate, I apologize to everyone here for this silly, pointless interruption. I would rather refrain from commenting than continue to be disruptive.

Ann Althouse said...

Palladian, I deleted a lot of Titus. I tried to get all the insults against you. I made it even. I just want it to be over now.

Palladian said...

"Palladian, I deleted a lot of Titus. I tried to get all the insults against you. I made it even. I just want it to be over now."

That makes both of us. I deleted all of my posts related to this nonsense. It's too stupid to allow it to screw things up for everyone else.

Don't bother deleting his stuff. It speaks volumes about his character.

Again, my apologies.

Titus said...

Althouse and Palladian I am sorry.

I am sorry I disrupted the conversation here and I am sorry for insulting Palladian. Please accept my apology.

I am actually not a bad person Palladian. Hell, we had a couple of good email conversations outside of Althouse.

Again, I am sorry.

ironrailsironweights said...

Apropos of, well, nothing, here's the percentage of married respondents by race who report having performed oral sex on their spouses within the past few weeks:

Male on female
Whites 65.2
Blacks 62.9
Hispanics 66.3
American Indians 50.0
Asians 50.0


Female on male
Whites 63.6
Blacks 57.7
Hispanics 54.7
American Indians 78.0
Asians 55.8

Source: University of Michigan Couples Survey.

Peter

Kirk Parker said...

I'll bet husband #1 is breathing a great sigh of relief right about now.

Theo,

"when my wife was earning a tolerable income as a senior editor at Houghton-Mifflin"

Do they even have those kind of positions any more? Sounds like your wife made a great move!

(Goes and pulls book of the shelf, checks publisher.) Oh, OK. Legacy of Ashes is from Anchor Books/Random House, so maybe it's just those guys that have dispensed with editors! (Don't get me wrong, this was a very interesting book, but absolutely w/o question no editor ever gave it so much as a single glance.)

reader_iam said...

"Uncritical emotional support"?

Hell, I didn't get that from my mommy, ever, even when I was a wee little tot. Therefore, I knew never to expect that from other people--and, eventually, to start thinking it's totally unreasonable of others to expect that of me.

I may not be the ideal wife, but I've never expected that of my husband. And, to his credit, my husband has always understood why he can't expect that of me.

A pity, really.

virgil xenophon said...

Theo,

Totally agree with you about Sandra, as I've followed her career pretty much as you evidently have. I'm a BI (Coastal, that is) ex-military and ret PhD trust-fund pre-baby-boomer gen. (war baby cohort, born 1944) ) who lives in New Orleans and Marina del Rey, so I've caught her act a few times over the years as well as enjoyed a great deal of her earlier writings. (My wife the Nurse [of 37 yrs] is of a more practical mein, so her appreciation of Sandra is, suffice it to say, somewhat less.)

I also agree with both you and Ann A. about the mommy track and it's tax consequences--as well as the consequences of getting off the professional
track--which I did only because I had enough capital (read family money ala Don Trump--only hardly on his scale) to piddle in real estate on my own while my wife flies all over the country as a travel nurse in between LSU football season in Baton Rouge thru Mardis Gras--then out to the coast for the summer. Though we are both professionals with advanced degrees, and thanks to an inheritance more fortunate than most, we both nevertheless have risked not only our home, but our mental and physical health and have worked like dogs when we were first married to get where we are--we even went thru Chapter 13 once before we emerged on the other side on a positive note, all the while caring for, educating, and providing for mostly non-reimbursable medical expenses for a disabled child, so sympathy for the likes of Sandra is not high in our household.

ricpic said...

Interesting that Loh admits that femininity is incompatible with breadwinner status. This inescapable conclusion based on her own words - "as the breadwinner, I wish to be the husband" - would be denied, vehemently, should she be confronted with it. But then isn't a proud disdain for reality the hallmark of feminism?

Pogo said...

She's looking for a "helpmeet"?

I think they stopped production on those back in the 1650s.

Good luck, though.

Might try under "indentured servants"; Middle Easterners in the US still find that term useful.

Theo Boehm said...
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Theo Boehm said...
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Palladian said...

"...she's become a whiney, deluded person. But, the world is full of them, some of whom still manage to be funny."

Why thank you!

RR Ryan said...

t-I was thinking exactly the same thing. Cathy Seipp, being a friend, would have nipped this nonsense in the bud.

reader_iam said...

I miss Cathy Siepp (didn't know her, but was a fan of her blog).

wv: surge

SO not kidding: that's the wv. SO perfect, too.