According to The New
York Times news service, Now that women
have solidly earned their place in the work force,
many find themselves still yearning for something
men have: wives
. With both men and women
working a record-breaking number of hours, the
question has become how to accomplish what used
to be a wifes job.
I couldnt get rid of the vendor on line 1,
there was a call hanging on line 2, I was ten
minutes late for a conference call from Tokyo,
and the senior VP was tapping his foot in my
doorway. Worse, I had just spilled a four dollar
latte on my white Ralph Lauren skirt.
Just a minute!
I shouted at the SVP, Goodbye! I
screamed at the vendor, and Wait! I
demanded of the caller on 2.
You should have worn
a beige skirt to match your coffee, the SVP
snorted. See me when you calm down.
What is it! I
demanded of line 2. My husband, David, on 2, was
patient. He didnt deserve my animosity, but
he happened to be in the line of fire. Collateral
Well, the baby sitter
called, he said. Jamie fell down and
whacked his head, theres no more formula
and the smoke alarm is going off.
I screamed. I work ten-hour days, my boss
is telling me to get on a plane to Atlanta
tomorrow, and I still have to make dinner when I
get home. I havent had time to wipe my butt.
he said. Is it your period?
That did it. I threw the
telephone, which bounced back and hit me in the
knee. I need a wife, I cried, putting
my head in my hands.
That night I broke down in
tears again. What are we doing, David?
Where is this heading? At this rate, well
be toast before were forty.
he answered. I had an offer today. About my
He knew I loathed neurotic
responses that didnt answer my questions,
but hes always persisted in irritating me.
I make a seventy-five
thousand, I said, ignoring his interruption.
A third of it goes to pay the sitter. I
make the meals, I wash the dishes, I bathe the
I pay the mortgage,
he offered. Take out the garbage. Hang
pictures and unclog toilets.
Oh, he said,
his mind replaying the thread of our conversation.
Yeah. Were downsizing, and Bill
Monaghan suggested I try working from home as an
alternative to reducing workforce. Id send
in my reports. Do all my legwork on a telephone
My mouth fell open.
You could work at home? Youd help
with Jamie? Then reality slapped me on the
forehead. You cant handle being a
stay-at-home dad. Youd go crazy, kill me
with a meat tenderizer or something.
Thisd be a good experience. You could
concentrate on your job and try for that
promotion. My commission would balance out my
salary by me not having to commute. And, he
paused, a bit nonplussed, I really like to
cook, but you intimidate me cause
youre better than I am.
No, you cook, please,
I murmured. I was struck dumb. The Hallelujah
Chorus went off in my head. Freedom to have a
career and a family and home had just waltzed in
the door of my life.
We have a great child,
he continued, and we love each other
. He looked cautiously at me.
Just one thing.
Its just this.
Some women dont respect a stay-at-home
husband. Thats why I hesitate telling Bill
Ill do it. Youre a Type A personality
and Im more of a B type.
Oh, God, David, I
love you. Do you really mean youd be
Then the thought blasted me. That means
youd be my wife!
Well, he said,
scratching his ear, I can cook and clean
house and take care of Jamie, but I absolutely
refuse to wear your nightgown to bed.