Thursday, 19 September 2013

The House Husband

Somewhere along the line of evolutionary events, women were allowed to hang up their aprons and venture out into the big bad world of business. She no longer had to classify herself as a domestic drone whose sole purpose was to put food on the table or make sure her husband's holy socks had been darned while watching her favourite day-time soapie. Don't get me wrong; managing daily chores and raising kids (and in most cases, their husbands too) is no easy feat, but in today's post-patriarchal society, career women are dedicated to being the absolute best in their field which also makes them a threat to macho-misogynists who still believe that a woman's place should be in the kitchen or bedroom only.

While some men have yet to acknowledge this prolific paradigm, there are others, just over 200 000 in fact, who are more than happy to embrace this shift in traditional gender roles, so much so that a new breed of man has emerged out of this perceived emasculation. I can hear the tightening of testicles now. A house husband?! Preposterous! It certainly has a nice ring to it, especially to a successful career woman whose dream of having it all includes a home, a hound and a handful of children, but what does it mean for traditional relationships or general gender equality? Is it just one of those growing trends that society will eventually have to accept or are there actual advantages to having a man who trades in his laptop for a dish cloth?

Meeting a real-life house husband was both awkward and exhilarating, awkward in the sense of its novelty and rarity and fascinating for the fact that somewhere out there, a man (and a woman for that matter) was one hundred percent fine with his wife being the sole breadwinner. Most of my friends would cringe at such a notion as they are either hellbent on finding their perfect equal or stuck on the notion that a man should be main provider, the hunter and certainly not the gatherer. To meet a couple as tenacious as Denny and Thomas was like watching every "porn for women" campaign spring to life.

Denny and Thomas had been married for fifteen years before they agreed to bring a baby into the world. Denny was a well-respected executive producer at a film studio and Tom was a sought-after assistant director. They met on the set of a low budget rom-com and have been happily married ever since. Tom had always known about Denny's ambition and fully supported her decisions and career objectives. She was hesitant about being a mother because she knew her career would always come first. They also knew that despite their financial well-being, neither of them wanted a stranger to raise their child which meant that certain sacrifices had to be made.

The choice was obvious. Thomas knew that taking Denny's job away from her, which paid twice as much as his would have made her unbearably miserable so he decided to become a stay-at-home-dad / husband. Of course they had the occasional char once a week like most normal people do but over time, he became a walking, talking Mr. Muscle. His duties included caring for their son, (bathing, feedings, play dates and nap time) managing the household duties such as cooking, cleaning, shopping and ironing as well as doing all the manly work such as gardening, repairs and the occasional DIY.

"But aren't you embarrassed to be with someone beneath you?" some tactless tart mumbled under her breath. "Why? Have you seen my husband?" Years of running around on set certainly had it's advantages. You could see through his Country Road tank top, Tom was ripped. He was a very attractive man who was ageing well and still managed to look after himself despite the demands of his new-found, albeit, unconventional profession.

"I know a lot of the time people think that it's un-sexy to have a man-bitch running around doing the tasks of a mother and housewife. He gets a lot of flack about it from his peers and family, and at the beginning it was tough but we spoke about it at length. We always agreed that if he needed help, we would make a plan but he has managed perfectly well so far." Was Tom every girl's wet dream or was Denny over-selling it? "To be honest, I have never been more attracted to him than I am now. Not only does my son have a parent he can constantly rely on but I have the best support system without feeling an ounce of guilt. A man that's completely on board with my selfish needs, a hot daddy that knows how to make a countertop sparkle and a quiche lorraine rise? Who's getting wood now?"              

I'm sure the Cro-Magnon man is busy rolling around in his cave somewhere, beating himself with a club grunting "what went wrong?" It's no wonder they're on the verge of extinction. This is a woman's world after all, and while the concept of house husband may not be to everybody's fancy, it certainly sounds like it has it's perks. Like most things in life it all boils down to personal choice. Are we woman enough to wear the pants without bruising his masculinity, or is he man enough to put on rubber gloves without resentment? 

When it comes to modern day relationships, I couldn't help but wonder, are house husbands the future?

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