Ladies, imagine this scenario: it’s lunchtime at the office. You and some female coworkers are gathered around the wobbly table in the break room. One of you comes up with the idea to get together after work for a drink and a bite to eat. Immediately, one of the gals in the group pulls out her cell phone. “Alright, let me ask the boss.”
Another: “Gotta check with the man in charge.”
Still another: “I don’t know if my husband will let me, but I’ll ask. [Giggles] You know, the boss runs a tight ship.”
You probably haven’t witnessed this scene. American women would never publicly (or privately) refer to their husbands as “the boss,” but follow me into this absurd hypothetical anyway.
So what’s wrong with this situation, other than its utter lack of realism?
Is it that these women are checking in with their spouses? Is it their reflex to consult with their husbands before making this decision? No, of course not. If they’re going to be coming home from work late, they ought to speak with their husbands first.
Alright, then what’s the problem?
“Boss.” The man “in charge.” He’s my “boss.” Not only would you be disgusted by these words, you’d likely assume that the women who said them must be married to abusive, demanding tyrants. Their language choice would make them seem pitiful and their husbands seem despicable. Right?
Well, then maybe you can understand my repulsion when this precise spectacle unfolds among men across the country, millions of times a day. Men often use the “boss” label when referencing their wives. I realize this is sometimes said in partial jest. Sometimes it’s meant ironically. Usually it’s a weak attempt at male bonding. “My wife bosses me around and runs the house, I bet yours is the same way. Let’s commiserate with one another.” But it should stop. Some of you veteran married dudes might not realize it, but younger guys are taking this “my wife is the boss” schtick to heart. And that’s not a good thing for anyone, least of all the women they’re marrying.
Recently a guy, around my age, came up to me when I was waiting in line at a burger joint in town. He had read my stay at home mom post and wanted to express agreement with the sentiments I articulated.
Instead he expressed agreement with sentiments I definitely did not articulate: “My wife stays at home. And, yeah, she sounds like your wife; she’s definitely the boss.”
No, dude, my wife is not my boss. I love her. She’s an incredibly strong woman. But she’s not my boss. Most importantly, she wouldn’t WANT to be my boss. She wanted to marry a man, not a henpecked hireling. I gave my life to her. We fused our souls together in the sacred act of matrimony. I’d take a bullet for my bride. I’d die to protect her. I give everything I have and everything I am to her. Everything I do right, I do for her, and my children, and God before all.
But she isn’t my boss. She doesn’t dictate to me. I’m not a cow, and she’s not a cattle driver. She counts on me to lead the family, and I hope to never fail in that duty. If I go around belittling myself and degrading my spouse by pathetically stammering about how she bosses me around all day, I have failed. I’ve failed as a man and a leader.
Maybe I’ve already failed in this regard. A few days ago, on my radio show, we were discussing the Sam Adams “Utopias” beer. It’s a gold-plated jug of brew; they release it once a year and sell it in limited quantities for 150 dollars a pop. Of course, I wouldn’t really spend 150 dollars on a bottle of alcohol, but it was fun to talk about. We joked on the air about how I could best convince my wife to consent to plunking down over a hundred bucks on a thing of booze. I never called her my boss, nor did I imply it. But that night I received emails from men giving me serious tips on how to lie to my wife the next time I want to do something that she won’t “allow.”
I wouldn’t lie to her. I wouldn’t sneak around her like a skulking school boy. If I want something, I’ll tell her. I consult with her before making many decisions — both major and minor — but she doesn’t make “rules” for me like I’m her son. If those guys had a different impression based on a short conversation about expensive beer, I regret it. And I apologize.
The culture encourages men to assume a submissive posture and shrink away from the challenges of being the captains of their ships.
Many men are happy to comply. They can sit on the couch, let their wives carry the burden, and pat themselves on the back for having the courage to live by such egalitarian principles.
But I don’t blame the culture for the scarcity of male leadership. I don’t blame feminism for it, either. We love to point the finger at existential boogeymen to explain our own failure to lead, but these are lame excuses. Feminism can do what it wants. The culture can carry on with itself. In my family, I will lead. This can irritate you. This can offend you. This can injure your progressive sensibilities. I don’t care. My wife doesn’t care. We’ll raise children who won’t care. I believe that men have a duty to lead, and I believe that there are many, many women who agree with me.
Notice: I’m not saying that the man should be the boss. Being a leader doesn’t mean being a “boss.” But I don’t need to spend time dispelling the notion that men ought to be the boss, because, as we’ve covered, that notion doesn’t really exist.
Last week I got a Facebook message from a lady who wanted me to write a post addressing the Christian husbands and fathers that stay home on Sundays, forcing their wives to take the kids to church alone. She told me about her own prize catch; he wakes up at around 11 AM to play video games, meanwhile she brings their two sons to church. Something tells me this is the sort of guy who would call his wife “the boss.” After all, she is the boss — and something else tells me she’d love it if she didn’t have to be. I’m betting she wouldn’t feel at all insulted if her spouse woke up early next Sunday, put on some church clothes, got the kids dressed, and said, “honey, I want to take the lead.” I could be wrong, of course. I don’t know this woman. But I’m guessing she’d be overjoyed if hubby dropped the video game controller and picked up the Cross of Leadership.
We’re told by the Modern Enlightened that men should never be encouraged to “man up.” Such a statement encourages dreaded “gender stereotypes.” It makes men feel like they can’t be feminine, and women feel as though they shouldn’t be masculine. And who is to say what constitutes femininity and masculinity, anyway? No, let men be people, and women be people, and let the differences between them be nothing more than anatomical and cosmetic.
Yet, most straight single men, no matter how progressive, still venture into the world looking for a woman. And most straight single women, no matter how liberated, still desire a man. It’s quite rare that either looks to find just a “human” of any variety. No, they specifically want a woman, or they specifically want a man. And what is it about the other sex that draws them? I suppose we’re meant to believe it’s the other’s genitalia and nothing more. But we all know this to be a lie. We all do. No matter how many gender studies classes we’ve taken.
There is something about a man that appeals to a woman; something that complements her and completes her. There is something about a woman that appeals to a man; something that complements him and completes him. I think that a man who leads and protects is a man who acts on the masculine qualities which a woman seeks. This is a very scandalous statement nowadays, although our ancestors would likely yawn at it for being so painfully obvious.
But the obvious is lost on a world without common sense.
So, fellas, your wife is not your boss. Or if she is, she shouldn’t be. And, if I may be so bold, I doubt very much that she wants to be.
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