In 1971 the great feminist writer Judy Brady wrote an essay entitled "I Want a Wife." I was directed to this reading after a conversation with my writing instructor, and realized that it needed some updating. So, here is my version:
“I Want a Wife” (the 2014 version)
I belong to that classification of people known as ex-wives. I was a wife. And, not altogether incidentally, I am a single mother. Not too long ago a female friend of mine appeared on the scene fresh from a recent divorce. She had one child, who is, of course, shared with her ex-husband. Although they are supposed to have equal time with the child, she typically has the child more often so that he can work and provide for the child. She is not looking for another husband.
As I thought about her while I was washing dishes one evening, it suddenly occurred to me that I, too, did not want another husband, but a wife. Why do I want a wife? I have gone back to school so that I can be economically independent, support myself, and if need be, support those dependent upon me. I have gone back to school so I can upgrade my line of work someday. In the meantime, I want a wife who has already received at least an undergraduate degree and can continue to work and send me to school. I want a wife who can provide stimulating conversation and understand all the things that interest me. And while I am going to school, I want a wife to take care of my children. I want a wife to have advanced far enough along in her own career that when we have children, she has earned paid maternity leave. And I want a wife who is willing to work up until the time her water breaks; and, after delivering our children, will arrange daycare for our children and promptly return to work so she can contribute financially to our household. I want a wife who is a doctor or dentist, someone of importance with intelligence, but who is also my secretary since I am not able to make appointments for our children on my own and be expected to keep them.
I want a wife who will breastfeed our children. And when she returns to work, will return equipped with a breast pump and pads in case her breasts leak all over her nice work clothes. I want a wife who, once our children can eat solid food, will either grow or buy only the freshest organic produce then spend hours preparing it and mashing it so that our children will have a healthy start in life. I want a wife who will wash our children’s clothes, mend or replace them when necessary, and keep up with our children’s aggressive growth spurts by sifting through our children’s clothes and sorting piles for Goodwill.
I want a wife who has done all the research on the best school systems for our children, and who will go to all the school interviews for both of us, since I will be too busy. I want a wife who will be involved in the PTA, be a room mother, or volunteer driver for school field trips. I want a wife who will take responsibility for additional schooling for our children should they need additional attention, and shuttle them to all extracurricular activities. I want a wife who has a job that pays as well, or almost as well as mine, but offers her the flexibility to do all the above.
I want a wife who will arrange for all play dates, and make friends with all the other children’s parents. I want a wife who will be responsible for all birthday party duties involving our children, whether it be for our children’s party or a classmate’s. I want a wife who will be responsible for gift-giving, party details and invites, and thank you notes as well as chaperoning and hosting.
I want a wife who will take care of my physical and emotional needs. I want a wife who is prepared to deal with my ex-wife and be a step-mom, because I will be too busy to deal with either of these things on my own. I want a wife who will keep my house clean. I want a wife who will teach my children how to do laundry and pick up after themselves, and if she cannot teach them, I want a wife who will pick up after them and do their laundry, as well as mine. I want a wife who is a good cook and a good meal planner. I want a wife who will do all the grocery shopping, prepare the meals, and have the meals on the table at the same time every night, preferably after our children’s homework is done, and before I get home from school. I want a wife who will follow this exact same schedule every day, even when I finish school and go to work and my personal schedule changes. And it must change as I need a change of scenery.
I want a wife who will not complain about the lack of love or attention I give her. I want a wife who will not complain if I choose to spend time with my friends instead of her, or if I choose to take a trip without her. My life is stressful, and sometimes I just need to get away.
I want a wife who is sensitive to my sexual needs, a wife who takes good care of herself physically and emotionally. I want a wife who is willing to do whatever it takes to keep my interest whether it be to alter her weight or have a surgical procedure. I want a wife who makes sure that I am satisfied and can keep up with my demands and fantasies, even if they seem like something more suited for adult cinema. I want a wife who understands that if she cannot fulfill these demands, that I am entitled to search elsewhere to have these demands met. I want a wife who does not demand the same attentiveness from me. I want a wife who is loyal. I want a wife who will not question or be suspicious about emails, text messages, or anything else having to do with someone else and social media as I do not have time for jealousy in my life.
If, by chance, I find another person more suitable as a wife than the wife I already have, I want the freedom to upgrade my wife to a newer model. Naturally, I will expect a fresh, new life; my wife and I will split the responsibilities of the children, but it will be equal time and no different than what our responsibilities were while we were married.
My God, who wouldn't want a wife?
(To read the original essay by Judy click here: http://www.columbia.edu/~sss31/rainbow/wife.html)