Anupama writes a letter to her 18-years old daughter. Read what she has to say.
As a 21st century man, how do you treat the women in your life? A reminder to tell you what your wife is NOT.
We have published Part 1 (What your mother is NOT) and Part 2 (What your sister is NOT) in this series earlier. Here is Part 3 in this series.
Dear Man, no matter what you have learnt growing up, please note :
Your wife is NOT your caretaker / nurse / mind-reader. Don’t play an attention-seeker with your cold/headache/minor illnesses. Nor expect her to always know your mind without you having to elaborate.
Your wife is NOT your anchor/support system if you are not the same to her.
Your wife is NOT your employee / secretary / slave / servant / assistant / subordinate / attendant / bearer : You cannot order her. You can request her. Use the word ‘please’ liberally. Watch the tone of your voice when you ask her something : are you ordering her and bossing her around? You cannot demand answers from her for everything. She does not stand answerable to you for most choices of her life. Don’t expect her to wait upon you when you return home from her : do not order her to get you water / tea / coffee as you take of your shoes. Her sleep timing may not match with yours : don’t expect her to be up before you. Offer to change the curtains, do the laundry, change the bedspread, sun the mattresses, mow the lawn, polish the metal decor in the drawing room, scrub with washroom tiles. Get the hang of the process called ‘running a house’ and stop being a paying guest.
Your wife is NOT your waitress. Do not arrive into the dining room and sit at the dining table, waiting to be served. Lay the crockery/cutlery, pour the water in the glasses, toss the salad, check the salt/pepper cellars, get the light correct, ask your wife is anything is required to be taken out from the refrigerator/heated in the microwave, carry some of the food out from the kitchen. Sit down together. Do not start eating alone! Wait for everybody to settle down and the food to be on every plate, before you take you first morsel in. Eat slowly and with her : don’t gobble down and burp and leave her eating alone. Pick up not only your plate/spoon/glass, but also participate in clearing off the dining table, stacking the leftovers away, arranging back the dining table chairs.
Your wife is NOT your cook. Please bother to find out where the kitchen is! Go grocery and green-grocery shopping for/with her. Learn to recognize the vegetables and distinguish a fresh one from a stale one. Alternate doing the dishes. Clean up / maintain / arrange the kitchen with her every weekend. Offer to clean the fridge / toaster / microwave / grinder / cupboard. Understand the nutritional value of each eatable : this goes a long way in enhancing the male longevity, which is at least 5 years less than the average female longevity. Cooking is not difficult : it involves simple things like soaking, cutting, peeling, boiling, steaming, frying, roasting, microwaving. Food is a basic need : be self-reliant in the kitchen even when your wife is around. That room is not her exclusive department.
Your wife is NOT your housekeeper / cleaner / washerwoman / home decorator : do your own laundry. Don’t expect your wife to pick up your used socks from the floor and take them to the laundry, please! If you dirty any place (table/floor/carpet/lawn), clean up and don’t expect her to do the damage-control. Picking up the broom/mop will not reduce your sperm count. Throw the trash out regularly.
Your wife is NOT your ‘property’ / possession / purchased ‘product’ / trophy / decorative piece / style statement / pet. She has a life of her own. She need not take your ‘permission’ to go for a kitty party / spa. Do not comment on her choice of clothes/accessories : she has a brain to choose what she wants to wear, and experience to decide what is most comfortable for her. Do not ask her to dress up and show her off before others. Giving her gifts and diamonds may not make her happy (stop stereotyping) : she maybe just needing respect from you.
Your wife is NOT your sidekick / appendage / shadow. Don’t assume her life will be exactly the same as yours. If you plan to switch jobs, do not expect her to pack her bags and follow you by default. You alone cannot decide what you both will do.
Your wife is NOT your ‘Mrs’. She is ‘Ms’ since the day she was born.
Your wife is NOT your student. Don’t lecture her about what she ought to do and what not to to : she is intelligent enough to judge that for herself.
Your wife is NOT your lineage-holder / gene-propagator.
She is NOT your children’s mother. She is her own children’s mother.
Your wife is NOT your public relations officer / manager. She need not gel with your side of the family if she does not want to. Nor does she need to entertain your friends with samosa/pakora, when you are not doing the same for her friends’ get-together. Do not expect her to mix with the wives of your friends : hello! they are complete strangers to each other with nothing in common! She need not like your mother/father and it is Okay! She has not married anybody else additionally other than you. She need not be sociable just because she is a woman. Do not invite your friends without informing her, and then expecting her to toss up a gourmet meal to entertain them! Don’t expect her to be a mediator if you have a tiff with your relatives.
Your wife is NOT your blame-sharer. She will not guard you for your mistakes. She will not say ‘Sorry’on your behalf.
Your wife is NOT your memory card / reminding officer / alarm clock. Don’t ask her to remind you of your appointments : she has her own appointments to remember. Do not depend on her to remind you of the birthdays / anniversaries from your side of the family : she has own relatives! She will not remind you to cut your nails, trim your hair, shave, etc. Neither will she give up her sleep to wake you up for an early morning appointment : you need to keep your own alarm clock and also be careful not to disturb her in her sleep that early.
Your wife is NOT your treasurer / accountant / storekeeper. Don’t dump the salary in her hands on the first day of the month to run the house with it. Take up the responsibility of running the household (this is not the Caveman age when males are required only for security!) Check the stores and plan the grocery trip. Discuss and pencil down the dates for paying the bills. Check the supply of the kitchen and toilet consumables and stock up without having her to remind you to.
Your wife is NOT your doormat / punching bag / last resort. If you are in a crabby mood, ask her for time alone and unwind. Don’t return to home and start throwing around things in anger or shouting at her to vent your frustration : if you had a bad day at work, how is she at fault? She is not the cushion which will absorb the shocks from the world which you are not being adult enough to handle.
Your wife is NOT your entertainer / free prostitute : Never jump on her for sex. A bud becomes a flower by blooming, not tearing apart. Focus on the heart-to-heart connection. Understand her mind, feel for her, bond emotionally with her.
Your wife is NOT your parents’ new daughter. She is her own parent’s daughter. She is not obligated to your parents in any which way. Ask your parents to respect her privacy and liberty, and not have any ‘bahu-type’ expectations.
Your wife is NOT your dream-fulfiller. She has her own dreams. She need not sacrifice her own goals to accelerate yours.
Published earlier here.
Image source: what your wife is not by Shutterstock.
Professor at Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur.
I love your series! Thank you so much for writing them. I just feel sad that whenever any woman talks about such issues, there immediately pop up people in the comments saying ‘The same applies to women too’ or ‘Many women don’t treat men nicely’ etc. Do these people fail to realize that it is NOT the same thing? That there is a very real power imbalance at work which makes it much more harmful to be a woman in many parts of the world than a man? Just as a child screaming at an adult is not the same as an adult screaming at a child. Those who are not in power have a lot more to lose when speaking out, let alone actually fighting for their rights.
No, men and women are not equally oppressed no matter how much you wish it be so. A system that legitimizes the abuse and degradation of women is not the same as ‘Women are bad to men too!’.
Thumbs up Shilpa.You nailed it. Nobdy visualize the imbalance though we agree men too suffer,still it’s negigible amount compared to women.
Very aptly put . These are the ideas with which most Indian males are brought up with .
This is the best list I have read in a long time. Great effort to include all the points. It inspires confidence.
Very well put.
kindly tell me then what your wife is
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I must say, when I read this my initial reaction was to anger because I took it too personally. Slowly, it changed as I took a more generic perspective and it indeed is true. This is the mentality of most Indian men who, despite being in the modern era revert back to archaic and chauvinistic mindsets. I guess the brutal honesty and hard-hitting realities must be written in this manner for it to penetrate into the people’s minds. Good article.
Hats off to you for this good piece of writing. Almost all the points have been added here. However, I find lots of men now a days marriying working women to get financial benefits. I know lots of men in my county who manages their wives bank account, they take away their wives salaries and they believe that they have 100% rights on their wives salary or property. Those husbands don’t allow their wives to make simple decision on what to do with their own hard earned money. Still some men believe that dowry is their rights since they are benefiting the women by marrieng her. So requesting these points to be considered too!
do you have any counselor to recommend? My husband is well educated and working with MNC but his mentality is same as mentioned above. I am a working woman and I hardly get time time for myself at the same time I am expected to all things for him cus i am a gal and I am a WIFE.
What Your Mother Is NOT [How To Be A 21st Century Man Part-1]
A Hardworking Man Is Supporting His Family, A Hardworking Woman? Abandoning It!
What Your Sister Is NOT [How To Be A 21st Century Man Part-2]
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