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September 12, 2007

No More TV

Given my intention to work in the fantastically low-paying field of not-for-profit liberal journalism, I've always harbored the secret hope that my eventual mate will be much, much richer than I am. Maybe a sexy i-banker looking to salve her social conscience? In any case, I've no real way to relate to guys who collapse in terror at the idea of their spouse out-earning them. As Rebecca Traister explains, this may mean I have to give up on watching television for the near future.

Update: Via Matt, this article on relationships where the wife out-earns the husband is chilling. On the bright side, apparently your wife won't start seeing you as an emasculated child if you're a published writer with bylines to your name, so I'm golden.

September 12, 2007 | Permalink

Comments

Look, I was hoping for the same when my wife finished her doctoral work in psychology. A dream world of male domesticity, cooking, cleaning, reading, writing and child raising... Sadly the riches have not yet panned out.

I for one am going to push her to get into TV! Maybe she could supplant Dr. Phil (oh please God let it be). LOL

Posted by: Michael Tedesco | Sep 12, 2007 11:00:16 AM

remunitively speaking, that is

[it seems like it SHOULD have a 'num'[ber] somewhere in it, doesn't it?]

Posted by: has_te | Sep 12, 2007 11:21:51 AM

A dream world of male domesticity, cooking, cleaning, reading, writing and child raising... Sadly the riches have not yet panned out.

You had a pretty bad typo in there, but I fixed it.

Actually, it is a pretty good deal. Obviously I get some reading in and some writing, even if it's mostly snarky comments on blogs.

Before you encourage your wife to supplant Dr. Phil, you should find out if he was just as irritating before Oprah and his own show as he is now, or if being on TV is what did it.

Posted by: Stephen | Sep 12, 2007 11:25:20 AM

I read that article. Creepy (and I was looking forward to the Christopher Titus joint...).

Speaking as a panty-waist liberal male, isn't it *interesting* that, regardless of how "whipped" some guys now feel, that these shows are blithely unaware of the fact that 90% or so of actual women will still never get withing sniffing distance of that kind of power, in their own lives.

Is this just an attempt to cash in on some wish-fulfillment for the average female? Or, a way for them to feel superior to those powerful-but-still-unfulfilled she-men?

Posted by: Captain Goto | Sep 12, 2007 11:32:26 AM

Do you mean "remunerative"?

Posted by: mala propism | Sep 12, 2007 11:35:58 AM

Why not a sexy corporate lawyer who does pro bono poverty lawyering on the side? That way you'll get a rich hottie who also is actively engaged, at least for a couple of hours a month, in putting her social conscience into action.

Posted by: A Suggestion | Sep 12, 2007 11:40:20 AM

I dated a sexy i-banker, but all she ever talked about was how to monetize things. That got old.

(sample size of 1, yaddda yadda)

Posted by: anynymous | Sep 12, 2007 12:25:04 PM

Maybe you younger folks have it figured out better, but in my generation (early 40's), I've always had the distinct impression that while many high-achieving women say they want men who could cheerfully assume a domestic role, they don't actually respect such men. It's not just men who have the ideal of a strong male provider deeply ingrained within them. Some of the politically correct bromides don't play out so well when implemented in real life. Trust me on this, fellas.

Posted by: jbd | Sep 12, 2007 1:58:02 PM

As a BigLaw associate married to a writer who works out of our apartment and pulls more than his weight on the domestic/childrearing side of the marriage, it works great.

Posted by: LizardBreath | Sep 12, 2007 2:23:50 PM

Speaking as a panty-waist liberal male, isn't it *interesting* that, regardless of how "whipped" some guys now feel, that these shows are blithely unaware of the fact that 90% or so of actual women will still never get withing sniffing distance of that kind of power, in their own lives.

Of course, the same can be said of every interesting character ever, of any gender in any medium.

Posted by: Mark | Sep 12, 2007 2:24:20 PM

I dated a sexy i-banker, but all she ever talked about was how to monetize things. That got old.

(sample size of 1, yaddda yadda)

I have several friends in i-banking and finance. That's all they talk, about, too. I casually mentioned an interest in living for London and the first question from them wasn't "why?" or "what will you do there?" but "have you considered the tax ramifications for your 401k?"

For real.

I've always had the distinct impression that while many high-achieving women say they want men who could cheerfully assume a domestic role, they don't actually respect such men.

Still true enough.

Posted by: Andrew | Sep 12, 2007 2:26:46 PM

From the New York article:

"In the last year of their marriage, she earned $270,000 while he brought in $16,000."

Yikes. A kid working at McDonald's brings more money to the household.

Posted by: Matt | Sep 12, 2007 3:10:44 PM

The interesting thing is the class dynamic (OK, predictable enough in New York magazine). We should have acres of data on this from all the places in the world- from Flint to Glasgow to Lorraine to Novosibirsk- in which ultra-manly heavy industry went pop and was replaced, in varying degrees, with service industries. Part-time labor cooking or selling got the women, and the man stayed home, within the limits of local disability pay policies, to drink themselves to death. "Postindutrial Tyneside" (Tyneside= Newcastle in England), a book that caught it perfectly, tried to be optimistic but was all about the conversion from shipyards to shopping malls. It could also have been called "dysfunctionally feminized Tyneside").

We should have acres of data...but all we have are public health data, and some stuff about industrial reconversion. Nothing to do with class, I suppose!

Posted by: ScottfromMI | Sep 12, 2007 3:18:03 PM

I liked the New York article; I think Barbara Corcoran (shudder) has it right - when the tables are turned, you need to think about what that means. I don't think most of us, men or women, quite know what to do when these roles of who's primary breadwinner and such reverse. It's uncharted territory, and in order to navigate it, you need, I think, to actually think about what it means. I'm more fascinated by the women who realize that they really are in a role traditionally held by a man, and realizing, as they hadn't, that there is something different to being in that position. A number of the women in the article seemed to want to return to the old role. That's why I'm impressed with Corcoran - she's fine with her success, and fine with being in the primary breadwinner role. That, it seems to me is what men who feel comfortable not being in the primary role probably need to look for.

Then again, what do I know - I think much of this is different for gays. :)

Posted by: weboy | Sep 12, 2007 3:40:29 PM

Oh, the existential angst of being obscenely wealthy. How horrible it must be.

Posted by: George Tenet Fangirl | Sep 12, 2007 3:42:51 PM

So, these people are whores, self-conscious morons, and terrible parents.

If you think a husbands entire function in your relationship is to give you money, you're a whore.

If you stay in a relationship with someone who demeans you when you could leave them and collect allimony/child support, you're a god damned moron. You've been the kids primary care giver for how long?

If one parent is doing so well one of them can afford to stay home, then one of you probably should. Despising your husband for doing so when you are not willing to do so yourself, you're putting your selfish greed ahead of your children. Selfishness is what generally makes one a bad parent.

Captain gogo, 99.9% of all people will never see any measurable level of power. It's hard to care about elite women being denied equality with elite men, when those same opportunities are for more likely to be denied due to race or class.

Posted by: soullite | Sep 12, 2007 3:58:29 PM

I posted my comment before I saw the link to the New York article, which was excellent and honest and matches my personal experience as a hardworking and reasonably successful former husband of an even more hardworking and successful wife. Here's the truth: There are exceptions, but in general relations between well-educated and upwardly mobile men and women in this country are a mess. There's plenty of blame to go around, but many ambitious women simply have contradictory and impossible expectations. They want a liberated man who respects and accommodates their career drive. But they're irresistably attracted to alpha males, and don't respect betas. They also usually want a family. Well, guess what? You can't have two careers going gangbusters, a family, and a marriage that works. Try it. You'll fail. Do you think any man could make "Anna" from the New York article happy?

Posted by: jbd | Sep 12, 2007 4:10:53 PM

You have proven that there is some choice in poverty. Choice not to go to school, choice not to learn a trade, and in your case, choice to choose a profession that you absolutely know will not make you a good living.

Posted by: El Viajero | Sep 12, 2007 4:13:45 PM

Again, I'm living this one, and it works just dandy. Not everyone gets bent out of shape over who makes more money.

Posted by: LizardBreath | Sep 12, 2007 4:15:09 PM

LizardBreath, if it's working out for you and your spouse, I congratulate you and wish you all the best. My point is that it isn't working for many couples, which was also the point of the article. I felt relief to see the issue discussed--and a certain shock of recognition.

Posted by: jbd | Sep 12, 2007 4:46:53 PM

Sure. Just wanted to point out that the 'problem' here is at the dueling anecdotes level, and it's probably best dealt with by attempting to neither be a jerk oneself nor marry one, rather than worrying too much beforehand about how the finances are going to work out.

Posted by: LizardBreath | Sep 12, 2007 5:08:31 PM

it's probably best dealt with by attempting to neither be a jerk oneself nor marry one, rather than worrying too much beforehand about how the finances are going to work out

Exactly. "Horrible people have horrible relationships" wouldn't work nearly as well as a hook for a magazine piece, but it's a better reflection of what's going on in those marriages than the money stuff.

There have been years when my wife made a bit more than I did and years when I made a bit more than she did. Neither is a problem. We both claim that we'd be more than happy to take care of the home front full time while the other worked, but we're probably both wrong about that.

Posted by: DaveL | Sep 12, 2007 5:43:36 PM

I'm living this one, too, only I'm the one who earns significantly more than my husband. And you know what? It doesn't affect our relationship. He's a wonderful guy who'd give the coat off his back to anyone who needed it. He's greatly admired by his coworkers at his demanding (but low-paying) job. And, because I make good money, he can enjoy doing the things he likes (like traveling, golfing, etc). I don't begrudge him that. I do, however, envy him sometimes. He's sure got a great wife...

Posted by: askog | Sep 12, 2007 5:45:58 PM

That article was incredibly annoying. Some self-awareness, humility and mutual respect would go a long way for those couples.

Posted by: Megan | Sep 12, 2007 7:20:14 PM

...you want this from New Yorkers, Megan (especially ones in New York magazine? That's asking a lot. :)

Posted by: weboy | Sep 12, 2007 8:07:32 PM

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