Perhaps you’ve seen the recently-coined term “wife bonus” being passed around like a joint at a Grateful Dead concert. That’s because Wednesday Martin’s piece in the New York Times took us on an exploration of the culture of married women who live in the Upper East Side, those “Poor Little Rich Women” who receive huge monetary bonuses from their husbands each year, simply for performing their wifely duties to their husbands’ satisfaction.

A wife bonus is an extravagance that most of us can’t begin to fathom and mock those women, many of us do. They’re getting paid for being the trophy wives of wealthy men—for earning their keep, because they are kept women.

Despite all of their riches, their place in high society, and all the perceived glamour that entails, I do not envy them. Whether they admit it to themselves or not, their husbands hold all of the power in the relationship and these women are completely dependent upon them. I wonder how many of them live in fear of being replaced by a newer model if they’re unable to get their spoiled brats into highly-coveted, private academies. What happens if the roasted pheasant is undercooked for a dinner party that the wife was required to plan for her husband and the company bigwigs he has to impress? Or worse—it’s time for that same billion-dollar corporation’s annual soiree but the trophy wife ate a piece of bread and gained five pounds. Would her fat ass be required to stay home, lest she appear in public as a shameful embarrassment to her husband?

Would he take one look at her grotesquely misshapen figure, mark it in his ledger, and dock her pay accordingly? 

How many of these “bonuses” are contingent upon the happiness of the husband in the marital bed? One renegade queef and they can forget about those Manolo Blahniks they’ve been lusting after. A chronic yeast infection that leaves a pussy unfuckable for days at a time could be grounds for divorce because the neglect of such “wifely duties” is a breach of contract. That sort of business arrangement sounds way too fucking stressful, if you ask me.

I’m wearing the same pair of Sketchers D’Lites that I’ve owned for five years instead of the latest pair of ankle-breaking Louboutins, but Ms. Martin’s piece has made me even more grateful for the relationship I have with my own husband.

I have a solid partnership with the man I married. He supports me as much as I support him. My husband can be the biggest pain in my ass but I return that favor in kind whenever the opportunity presents itself. Through everything—and I do mean everything— we are there for each other, always.  

In our relationship, we are equals. I own full responsibility for the housework, that much is true, but it’s only because I am fussy and there is no one else in the world who will ever do the work to meet my impossible standards. I accept that. It’s my “job,” just as it is my husband’s job to act as Keeper Of All Things Electronic and Killer Of Creepy Crawlies That Freak Me The Fuck Out. It’s all about balance. We are a team.

Whenever I need to escape for a little while, my husband is more than happy to watch me drive away because, as he says, I “bust my ass around here” and I “deserve it.” 

You know what? I absolutely do. I suppose that means I’m earning my keep, right?

Wife bonuses don’t necessarily have to be the hard currency kind. I’ve personally found that the best ones come in the form of an uninterrupted nap or your favorite fast food treat being delivered to your desk unexpectedly. They are a warm embrace when you’ve had a stressful day or a motivating kick in the ass when you need it the most. I don’t know about you, but I’d choose the love and emotional support from the man I married over a wad of money any day of the week. It’s a good thing, too, because I didn’t marry a fucking Rockefeller.

Author

A lover of lapsang souchong tea, unnaturally-colored hair, and Oxford commas, Alison’s stories are written with a signature blend of humor and brutal honesty. She often jokes that she became a writer so she could speak to the masses without actually having to TALK to them face to face, but words are indeed her greatest strength. She revels in weaving them together to tell an entertaining story, rouse laughter, offer reassurance, provide sympathy, or just to give the world a piece of her mind.

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