Tyrades! by Danny Tyree
“No wife of mine will ever have to work outside the home if she doesn’t want to.”
I uttered that cocky, naïve declaration five years before meeting my wife and 11 years before getting married.
Cold, hard reality forced us both to bring in paychecks and juggle household duties. (Well, we weren’t always home. Sometimes we spied on the rich folks as they enjoyed the decadence of ramen noodles and milk crate furniture.)
Today many couples are crunching the numbers and finding ways to survive with a single breadwinner and the “tradwife” philosophy.
In case you haven’t seen it trending on social media, tradwives (“traditional wives”) are a subculture of housewives who believe in clear gender roles, the importance of homemaking and admiration (if not subservience) for their husbands.
It’s true: not everyone is geared to handle the competitiveness of a two-income family. “Let me unload on you about what a jerk my boss and all the other commuters were today!!” “No, let me unload on you about what a jerk my boss and all the other commuters were today!!!” “Hey, let’s both unload on the cop who is at the door with the president of the homeowners’ association…”
I suspect lots of men with a decent income are intrigued by the idea of a tradwife, but many women either pity tradwives or feel threatened. (“Look out! She’s got a rug beater and she knows how to use it!”)
Tradwives take flak from women who have no desire for a husband or children. They also face denigration by women who feel driven to maintain both a high-powered career and a family.
As for the latter, I realize many women still cling to the idea of “having it all,” but the world captured in the old Enjoli perfume commercial no longer exists (if it ever did). No, now the jingle would be “I can bring home the plant-based bacon…fry it up in a pan on a non-gas stove…and never let you forget that you’re a man, unless that’s something you’d like to forget. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”
There’s nothing wrong with trying the tradwife lifestyle, as long as a woman enters into it with both eyes wide open. Exception: if the wife gushes, “John says it’s okay to enter into it with both eyes wide open as long as I remove any skanky eyeshadow from my eyelids, fetch his pipe and slippers and cluck like a chicken,” she needs to grab the two-point-five children and skedaddle.
A lot of tradwives on social media proudly display clothing and decorations reminiscent of a 1950s issue of “Ladies’ Home Journal.” Nothing wrong with the old-timey theme unless it’s carried to extremes and provokes the sort of anxiety the tradwife lifestyle is supposed to eliminate. (“What if William brings Nikita Khrushchev to dinner? Does pot roast go with borscht? Will I be able to get the scuff marks out if he pounds his shoe on the dining room table?”)
If a woman feels fulfilled homeschooling her children, keeping the windows spotless, raising a garden and cooking from scratch, more power to her. Just as long as she doesn’t rely too heavily on heirloom cookbooks such as “The Lard Is My Shepherd” or “You Call That A Salt Shaker? This Is A Salt Shaker!”
Else, she might abruptly become a tradwidow movement influencer.
Copyright 2023 Danny Tyree, distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.
Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at [email protected] and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.”