Here’s How I Pretend To Be a Good Wife


Collin has a big day today, the big day that’s at the center of nightly-night-terrors ultra-high stress level as of late.  So yesterday, I tried my damndest to be a Good Wife.  This is embarrassing, not only because far too much of my efforts to be a Good Wife are wrapped up in traditional gender role domesticity bullshit, but also because, I pretty much routinely fail at all of my Wifely Missions.  The unavoidable conclusion: I am not a very good wife.

  • Step 1 whenever I want to be on Collin’s good side is to clean up the house.  A clean house instantly brightens his mood, and having his notoriously-messy wife be the one who cleaned it gives him even more peace of mind.  So yesterday I set out to CLEAN HOUSE.  I got about as far as emptying and reloading the dishwasher.  And I tried, but I doubt I loaded this dishwasher to Collin’s exacting specifications.  I tried to avoid bringing it up yesterday.
  • I made a nice dinner of falafel and tabbouleh.  This is probably my greatest accomplishment as a Good Wife yesterday, because the meal went over very well.  But here are the caveats: 1) I mostly made it because I was craving falafel and the restaurant where I tried to get some for lunch is inexplicably closed on Tuesdays (THIS IS AMERICA! Restaurants are only allowed to be closed on Sundays and Mondays, and the former only when the restaurant is Chick-Fil-A).  2) I totally made both of these dishes out of overpriced box mixes from the “International” aisle of Giant Eagle.  I am a pretty good cook, but only when it comes to foods that were popularized in the United States at least 30 years before I was born.  My meatloaf can bring a vegetarian to her knees, but fuck me if I’m going to buy a freaking bag of bulgar and infuse it with various aromatics.  That sounds like something that would require a trip to Whole Foods, and that I can’t abide.
  • I also cleaned up after dinner.  I even wiped down the stovetop. I never do that! I’m such a bum.
  • I tried to massage Collin’s sore calves, but I got distracted by texting and then my hands were sore.
  • There was a standing offer of oral sex on the table, but Collin didn’t take it because he’s one of those crazies whose libido is inversely proportional to his stress level.
  • I bailed on celebratory drinks with a fellow-underemployed friend who got an interview so I could continue soothing Collin.  I hate doing that not only because it makes me feel like a bad friend, but specifically because I think it is bad karma for my career.  But Collin’s hands were shaking and I didn’t want to leave him.
  • I tried to provide televisual distraction.  The West Wing was not cutting it, partially because we’re in the “ain’t life a bummer sometimes?” depths of Season 3.  I suggested turning to our old stress relief standby South Park, but I couldn’t remember which episodes on Netflix are funny, so I forced Collin to summarize them all.  “Death Camp of Tolerance” was the most appropriate for our purposes.  Which I guess means it is the most inappropriate with regards to general society.
  • I forced Collin to go to bed when he started to pass out on the couch in the middle of “My Future Self ‘n’ Me.” “But I want to see Cartman’s future self!” he whined.  “You’ll see him in your dreams.”
  • I tucked Collin in, even though the sheets were all tangled up and on the floor (oh, late summer, you bewilder us with your fickle temperatures).  “I like when you do everything I ask you to,” he said.  “No you don’t, because I only do that when you’re really stressed out.” I thought.

What makes you try to step up your Wife Game?  Are you any better at it, or at least less disturbingly antifeminist, than I am?


  1. I feel like I’m a failure of a wife. My husband however is a fantastic wife to me (speaking strictly in a 1050s version of wife). He does laundry and makes me dinner and he brings me snacks. How did I get so lucky?

    The whole time before we got married I was worried I would be a terrible wife, and it turns out I kind of am. But I didn’t need to worry about it because my husband is a better “wife” than me.

    Also, super weird my husbands name is Collin too! You don’t find that many of them with two “ll”s!

    • Mine too! Well, he’s not my husband yet, but… Maybe Collins with two Ls are the best man-wives – I am basically not allowed in the kitchen.

  2. It’s not disturbingly anti-feminist so long as he does nice things for you when you’re super-stressed as well. Wishing him luck with whatever is causing said stress.

  3. Robin, I am sure you know this ?
    It makes me laugh to what point it is ridiculous.
    I don’t think you ‘re a bad wife, you have other strenghts.
    All the best of good luck and energy to Collin and whatever it is he is trying to (will hopefully) get.
    I love to cook , I really enjoy it, and we both like a clean house but I have to say the boy is tidier than I am and his mess threshold is lower than mine, so sometimes I feel like being in the couch , and he starts with cleaning urges and then I feel like I am not such a good wife. He says it doesn’t make sense, it is ok if I stay an rest, shouldn’t feel guilty, but it is like all that 1950s old fashioned ideas are embedded in our brain…. as feminist as we might think we are it is like we still want to succeed at all of that and more…. Luckily it is not really like that. As in we are together in taking care of everything and of each other…

  4. You wife-ing style is about the same as mine. “I made cookies (because I wanted some cookies)!” “Look, I did your laundry (but I don’t really feel like folding it, so I’ve just been restarting the dryer for the last couple of hours)!” “Maybe you should lay down and take a nap (because I want to watch Teen Mom without interruptions.)”

  5. Last night I went to bed smacking my lips with self-satisfaction. “I am the world’s best fiancée,” I thought to myself as I fell asleep alone.

    My dude has been struggling with a potentially mountainous career move, struggling mostly because it would move us halfway across the country and mean the end of what he sees as his post-college slacker days (even though he’s had a full-time, salaried job since graduating). I’ve been trying incredibly hard to get him to do what he has to do without nagging, and last night I knew that he wanted to go out with friends while I was tired, still getting over a cold, and needed to wake up early for work. I went out with them for an hour and a half, and then I told him to stay out while I went home and was a grown-up. I took care of the dogs, went to bed, and meanwhile he got to blow off steam and be silly.

    The part that makes me the world’s best fiancée is that I was not even slightly passive-aggressive or upset about his needs versus my needs. We both got taken care of and I got to feel like I was being supportive by basically doing nothing.

    As long as it doesn’t take any more effort than that, I think I’ve got this “good wife” thing in the bag…

  6. “There was a standing offer of oral sex on the table”

    You made me laugh out loud with this one, which is terrible because I’m at work and i’m sure my boss was all like, “work related emails DO NOT make you laugh out loud and clearly you are wasting time!”

    I am terrible at being a “good wife.” Just yesterday I was telling my friend that my marriage works because my husband is an amazing husband who brings me coffee in the morning when I am a grumpy monster, makes dinner when I neglect food for crafting, walks the dog, MY dog that he adopted when marrying me, and makes plans with our families cause they’re higher on his priority list than mine. Thank god one of us is good at this whole marriage thing. Yikes!

  7. I had to stop reading to tell you that we have Giant Eagle too! Also, I am a huge dork.

  8. Awesome post. And no need to feel anti-feminist about those things you do that make you a “good wife” — all those things would make a guy a good husband, too.

    My husband and I are a pretty gendered/traditional/stereotypical couple in that I do all the cooking (because I enjoy it and am a bit precious about what we eat, while he would just as soon eat frozen pizza every night) and he does pretty much all of the home and yard maintenance. We can’t help it — we’re just good at different things and so our division of labor makes sense for us. As for cleaning, we split it evenly, which is to say neither one of us cleans very much at all, but at least we both admit we have a problem.

  9. Great post. I usually up my Wife Game randomly, without any warning or prompting and make up for two weeks of a lack of cleaning/cooking/motivation within one like 6 hour frenzy. I don’t mind it, but then I have a tendency to whine to my husband about how awesome I did and isn’t he going to get me flowerrsssss??? (what’s funny is that I kind of hate getting flowers, and don’t actually want them, but just the recognition maybe?).
    Anyway, I am still laughing over Jamie’s comment. Hilarious, and so, so, true, especially restarting the dryer! and Teen Mom in peace. Yep.

  10. face is wide at the temples and hairline, narrowing to a small delicate chin.

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