Ramblings of a henpecked husband? A comment.

Henpecked husband left a comment on this post – ‘Marriages are sold to Indian women in a glossy cover…?‘  My response in red.

Warning: Long post.

How would you respond to the Henpecked husband?

Henpecked husband: Just have a few observations/ comments on your articles. Nothing to disregard you personally, but a few counter arguments to the age old tirade about the great sacrifices only women have to make in a family life.

IHM – In Patriarchy generally lives of younger men are also controlled by their families. Shravan Kumar and Ram are seen as role models for male children. Sons are seen as budhape ka sahara and kuldeepak, so young Indian men in traditional families are not allowed to choose who and when they marry and what careers they choose, they are also expected to put their parents and siblings before their spouse and children – so you are right, it’s not just women who are expected to sacrifice.

Henpecked husband: When I look around myself, I find a majority of women married to working class professionals would no longer be working. They either quit sometime after marriage or once they had a baby and then never went back. While some of them might actually be out of work due to family pressure, for a lot of them, getting a few degrees and holding on to a job before marriage was mainly to land a well-educated husband with a “good earning potential”. They are out of work because they want to. They would have an army of maids taking care of every household chore right from washing utensils to cooking to taking care of babies to even taking out clothes from a washing machine and hanging them out to dry. The biggest tragedy in the life of such a woman would be if any of the maids fails to turn up for a day or two and she needs to do even a single household chore herself.

IHM – Why do we have such situations?

Most married women seem to want to work even if they have to commute long distances, are not paid as well, and have to be responsible for managing baby care and housework along with their careers, and  and even when they are likely to be blamed if they take their careers ‘too seriously’.

So the lack of interest in having a career/job could be because traditionally women’s career have not been taken seriously. Traditionally we have seen it as fair, that when men’s marriages are arranged a prospective wife’s ability to be supportive in case the husband’s career requires socializing, relocating, or requires the wife to start afresh in her career (often missing better opportunities); or requires her to give up career opportunities for child care or elder care or husband’s career.  I think it is easy to understand a hesitation in starting again or starting late, when the children have grown up. And yet many women do still try and many seem to discover abilities they (or their families) were not aware they had.

I know of women who found it frustrating that they had to ask their husbands for money for spending on interests that the husbands found frivolous (say, jewellery, clothes, outings, bags, shoes). Nobody thought they should have the right to earn so they could spend on these interests, it was taken for granted that they would have and raise children and manage house hold with or without domestic help (that depended on the husband’s income and inclination). Once these women started working, they found earning their own money was empowering, but they also regretted having missed productive years doing something (housekeeping and child rearing) that still left them dependent.

Many other women who never enjoyed being homemakers, didn’t have the pressure/necessity to earn a living like men do, and if they had felt the same need to be self reliant, they would have made happier and more satisfied and more productive citizens, because they would have been doing what they have aptitude for, and not fitting into roles chosen for them by Patriarchy.  One also sees successful women dealing with unhappy husbands who feel insecure because the wife no longer needs their financial support or because she is earning more than them. These husbands who married either non earning women or women who were expected to be content with part time jobs or jobs that never became serious, successful passions find it difficult to accept their roles change from main-providers to equal-partners. But it seems unfair to make women (or men) choose between peace at home and a career they love.

In many families, non earning women struggle to prove their usefulness. Their insecurity makes them take pride in adult family members’ dependance on them for finding a misplaced pair of socks, taking their medicines on time etc

Henpecked husband: The man would come home after 10-12 hours of office work and commute in a crazy traffic and the woman would be all ready to rip him into pieces – “My friend’s husband got her a new necklace for 2 lakhs. When was the last time you got me one?

IHM – Women are raised to believe that  their careers are not as important because once they are married, their husbands would ‘take care’ of them. Jewelery is also often seen as security for women, specially when couples do not plan family savings together. If both the partners are involved in planning their finances, a woman would know whether or not a necklace worth two lakhs is a good investment.

Henpecked husband: Your mother called and said she is coming over for a week. I can’t bear the sight of her.

IHM – I think everybody should have a have a say in who visits them, if there is a problem, it should be dealt with. Or else the wife should be allowed to deal with the issue the way she deems fit. Once relationships become two-sided, everybody will make an effort to either be fair/respectful/polite/pleasant or accept that they just don’t click.

Henpecked husband: Your son fell and hurt himself. You need to take him to a doctor. Do you even care for your family? We are out of groceries. Didn’t I tell you to get groceries on your way home when I called you for the 10th time today?

IHM – Are these issues valid? Does the couple feel that the wife can’t take care of these things as efficiently as the husband can? Is she mobile? Does she feel insecure?

Also, traditionally, dependence has been romanticized. Women in particular are encouraged to prove they just can’t manage/live without their spouse. So it is common to hear of men who can only drink tea made by the wife, or wives who can’t pass their day, choose their wardrobe, decide what to watch/read etc without first consulting with their husbands.

Henpecked husband: By the way, why didn’t you pick up when I called you for the 15th time? Oh, you are the only one who is busy with client calls and still what do you even make?”

IHM – Sounds bored and/or insecure. One sees such unhappy wives in many Indian movies, does she feel she is not a priority in his life?

Also, everybody should have their own  interests, social life, self reliance, money and life, even married couples.

Henpecked husband: Honestly, in my experience of looking around at families of working class professionals, I find the above to be a much more frequent scenario than the one you described in your article. A few days back, we were out on a team lunch and a 27ish female in my team was talking about her ongoing prospecting. She’s about 5’2″ and must be weighing about 65, if not more. She was conveying how scandalized she was when a few prospects asked her if she would consider losing some weight. In her online profile, one of the chief criteria for a suitable spouse reads “Must be earning at least 15 LPA” (her own confession). A poor soul asked her about her salary and how much her savings were. And in her own words – “I couldn’t believe myself. How can someone be so cheap? I felt like hitting him right there”. Just to put the torture to an end, one of us asked her what she wanted her spouse to be like. “Well, I really love Salman Khan. But obviously the guy has to be tall, handsome and rich”. I guess this is the guy she would so kindly “settle” for.

IHM – Most Indian women, even today, are raised to see career and financial self reliance as an option and Getting Married and Staying Married as the only goal in their life. I think this will change in the coming years and then women will look for Partners not Providers in their spouses, many women then will be able to take their careers seriously and many would be fine with their partners choosing to work from home or being home makers while they (the women)  focus on their careers. Men too would see that there is more to a life partner than skin color, weight, obedience, chastity, cooking skills, a flexible career, dowry etc.

Henpecked husband: What really bothers me about most women is how naturally they want to be treated as royalty and are fully convinced they deserve that, just because they are females and so kindly agreed to marry that loser who btw, has to be earning at least 15 LPA. But I guess it’s not only within a marriage. We had gone to watch a play in a large group sometime back and decided to catch some dinner post that. We were discussing venues and one of my female friends suggested a pretty expensive place. Most of us hadn’t been there/ hadn’t heard of it so everyone agreed to try it out. The female btw, is extremely articulate especially when it comes to women rights and how women are the better gender. We arrived and ordered. An hour later, she got a call from a friend she was meeting later that night and told everyone she got to go. I had to leave a bit early too. So we quickly ordered main course while others gorged on starters. It was a motley group having many I had met for the first time. I guessed my share should come around 400-500, so I just caught hold of a guy I had been talking to and paid him 500 towards my share. The female got up pretty elegantly not bothering about such trivialities and asked me if I could drop her off in an auto to her friend’s place. It was the other side of town but it was the gentlemanly thing to do. We rode 10 kms in the opposite direction after which she got off, said a quick thanks and took off. It was below her stature to even “offer” to pay for herself.

IHM – Chivalry should be replaced with basic courtesy which should be extended to all, women, men and children. It is okay to remind everybody to pay for their order, unless one has invited them. It’s also okay to politely ask them to pay if they don’t do so on their own.

Henpecked husband: We have so often heard about all the great things each woman does in a family as a mother, wife, sister, daughter, sister-in-law and so on. My obvious question to this is that aren’t there counterpart roles for males in each of these relations? He also fulfills all his duties as a father, husband, brother, son and brother-in-law. Anyone who has even been torn b/w his mother and wife in nothing more than a “power struggle” to make him cater to her whims surely understands what I am saying. But here we have all these soap operas portraying a female marrying as the greatest sacrifice in human history. What about the male who bears a 24*7 nagging of a wife who would simply never be happy whatever he might do?

IHM – I think women who talk about all the sacrifices that they make for their families are those who were given little choice in making these ‘sacrifices’, including in who they marry. Young Indian men are also under pressure to provide caring daughters in law for their parents, and while they may not get to choose who they marry, they are expected to ensure the wife is respectful, subservient, dutiful and obedient to their families – it’s seen as a sign of their manliness and good values that they do not show much obvious affection to her (while she is expected to constantly prove her devotion by obeying, fasting, praying, ‘adjusting’, serving hot meals, eating last etc). Unlike women, men do not need to relocate and also have their family’s support in ensuring their life partner puts the in law’s happiness before her own happiness – since the man’s happiness is connected to the wife’s happiness, this is a ‘sacrifice’ pampered and valued Indian sons are expected to make.

Henpecked husband: After the grind of a grueling week, someone simply wants to laze around on a weekend. Hell No. The wife only has about a 100 pairs of shoes and she has worn them all once each. She obviously can’t wear them again as people would point fingers at her. So she simply needs to buy more. And don’t forget she doesn’t have enough clothes. Ever. And the curtains no longer match the ambiance of the drawing room though she picked them up herself a few weeks back. But did she? Maybe it was your fault that you didn’t take her to the right shop or she picked them under pressure because you were whining after 6 hours spent picking curtains on a weekend.

IHM – Once again, it helps tremendously to have one’s own circle of friends, some hobbies, interests, career, money – basically a life of one’s own. Marriage does not mean Bollywood-style ‘do jism ek jaan’ or one soul and two bodies.

Henpecked husband: Dowry is something we all learn growing up as a social leprosy. I have a simple doubt here. The moment a woman marries, she is entitled to at least 50% of everything the guy owns. Even all his paternal property that he hasn’t really earned himself.

IHM – Legally a woman is not entitled to what her husband inherits, and traditionally she was not entitled to anything her parents owned either, even the dowry belonged to the in laws, her jewelery (stree dhan) was mostly handed over to the in laws and if she was separated or widowed, she was generally left penniless.

Most of the work women do is not paid labor – like cooking, working in the fields, going through pregnancies and labor, bearing and rearing male heirs for the husband’s family; even when they do earn, the income is handed over to the spouse or his family (even today).  Also the kind of careers women are allowed to choose also depends on the spouse’s family, they are brought up with the sole aim of becoming good daughters in law – their careers, clothing, eating habits, education etc are all chosen keeping in mind the approval of future in laws. Their self reliance or happiness is not seen as a priority, their Getting and Staying Married is, so if 50% of marital joint earnings is seen as wife’s right, I wonder if it is really unfair...

Henpecked husband: And why exactly is that? Because she made the greatest sacrifice in human history by agreeing to marry the loser your see in the mirror? Obviously when you talk about parent’s selling organs or taking up debt they can’t pay to meet dowry demands, it’s an evil. But what about cases where a woman acts as if she deserves everything in the world just by virtue of marrying you and agreeing to stay with you while the man has “fun” at his job. For how many of us, is a job a holiday on the beach for God’s sake? And such well-educated, empowered and awakened women are scandalized if someone were to suggest dowry, for them to work, do any household chores, lose the 20 extra kilos they have on them or adjust for a week with her mother-in-law. That would be against women rights and the progression of womankind, I am sure. It would be the male chauvinistic pig dragging them back by centuries after so much of struggle, pain and suffering.

IHM – Why is a suggestion of dowry not wrong? If a man or a woman have to be paid to to marry someone, should they still be marrying them? Suggesting a woman works is wrong if the rest of the responsibilities are not shared, or if she is not permitted to grow in her career or to choose what work she does.Or if she is expected to give up the work when it inconveniences the spouse.

Instead of suggesting a man or a woman adjusts with their mothers in law, maybe the spouse could ensure the reasons for reluctance to ‘adjust’ are dealt with.

Asking someone to lose weight as a condition to marry? What happens if the weight is gained again?

I am also not sure if it is a good idea to agree to marry a woman/man only if she is willing to earn, or bear children etc. What if there is some reason for not being able to do either?

Do you know in China and Thailand it’s the man (or his family) who pay dowry to the bride’s family? Also in Saudi Arabia and Fiji and I am sure in many other places. Dowry is not a payment for a woman’s upkeep, though today in India it’s seen by some parents of brides as a bribe or ransom to keep the in-laws from ill-treating their daughters.

If a traditional Indian family were to pay for everything a daughter in law is expected to do,  like relocate to their place; give up her independence, her name, her freedom to dress comfortably, her family, friends and support system, her right to nutrition and rest; provide elder care, heirs, nursing, child care, sex on demand, free labor etc, they would not be able to afford daughters in law for their sons. 

Henpecked husband: It has been a long article, I know. But principally here is my problem. When we say, “equal”, we have to mean “equal”. “Equal” can’t just mean tilting the scale heavily in favor of the perceived “weak” side to correct for historical wrongs. Awarding a gold digger all of a husband’s property leaving him penniless is not going to bring back the women who forcibly committed “Sati”s a hundred years ago.

IHM – Suggestion of dowry is okay? Suggesting a wife earns (or not earns) is also okay? Suggesting that a woman’s contribution in family income during the marriage is acknowledged is not alright? The bill allows courts to decide if the wife deserves a share in the matrimonial property (that was created during the marriage) – this seems to be an effort to ensure neither partner is left penniless. Also note, that the woman probably gave up opportunities to earn because she was in that marriage. 

Henpecked husband: The woman who goes around blowing trumpets about how she is in no way inferior should also not be hesitating in picking her bill at a restaurant or supporting a family financially.

IHM – I agree.

Henpecked husband: And finally, just because you might sense a lot of emotion at a few points in the article, don’t dismiss it as the ramblings of a henpecked husband. It gets a bit emotional at places because I feel strongly about it but to the best of my knowledge and belief, it’s a far too common scenario is urban families of working class professionals than what’s stated in your articles.

IHM – Self reliance for women, would automatically open many closed doors for men, they would be able to see wives as life partners not as dependents to be protected and provided for. But expecting dowries and dependent wives who can be asked to start and quit working earning when they get breaks from their other responsibilities (child rearing over and elder care not yet a full-time duty) seems unfair.


123 thoughts on “Ramblings of a henpecked husband? A comment.

  1. So much frustration in the letter writer. The Patriarchy screws everyone over, male or female.

    If men and women had their own choice of when, and whom to marry, and to get out of Marriages when they’re dead or dying(the marriages, I mean) Marriage wouldn’t be such a chore.

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  2. I can understand the letter-writer’s point of view in so far, as that for any man who treats his wife decently and works hard to sustain her and the family, her nagging about not having enough clothes and/or the right curtains are a slap in the face. However, the main problem lies in men being pushed into the traditional role of having to take care of their dependent wives and women being pushed into the traditional role of housewives, mothers and daughters-in-law. Meaning, while the writer is understandably frustrated about being regarded as merely the cash cow, the woman he writes about sounds just as frustrated about being solely responsible for chores. In my opinion, the only solution is sharing duties – including chores and earning money – and each partner having own friends and hobbies. Not to mention mutual respect for each other’s work.

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  3. I only read the first half of the post IHM. Will read the whole thing once I get some time, but I had to stop and comment on the first half. What I couldn’t agree more on is about the point: “dependence being romanticized”. This is so very true! All the larger than life concepts and gestures of “chivalry” extended almost always towards women. Whereas in the real case, what is required is basic courtesy. Basic manners to be applied towards both men and women. Even while growing up, as kids we were taught to learn each and everything so that we can survive alone. Be it doing basic cooking to feed ourself or going to the bank and doing the bank stuff or paying bills or learning to drive. I used to crib as a child and never understood why my mom was so strict about us learning all these things, but now I do value her way of upbringing.
    From what I have read till now, the comment writer seems thoroughly bitter towards his wife. And most likely than not, the vice versa is true too. But then, as with most of the things, communication is the solution. Talking things out. Encouraging the wife to have her own space, her own identity, her own jobs and hobbies.
    Will save the rest for later when I read the remaining post.

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    • Read the rest of the post and all I can think of is this: How can one live like this? How can this sort of marriage be happy and peaceful? Both the sides have complaints. And yes, having complaints in a marriage is normal, but one MUST talk to each other about these complaints and find a solution to them. I really cannot imagine living in a marriage where there is no happiness and peace of mind. I have seen enough dysfunctional marriages around me to come to the conclusion that more than anything else, peace of mind is of utmost importance. And I will do anything to ensure that my peace of mind is maintained. I really do hope that this couple sits and talk about their situation, educate each other about their financial condition, talk about how much spending is possible, talk about whether either of them are getting excessively tired in their roles and find solution to that (like taking a vacation, a break, hiring a maid, sharing work etc). All of us are given one life. And a short one, at that. And more often than not, we literally waste it by living life as per definitions set by the society and others. Why cant we just focus on being happy, growing as individuals and helping people close to us grow as individuals? Life will be so much better in that case!

      I recently read an article on Chandni’s blog where she has written about women not wanting same-ness, but fairness. That is, wanting equity instead of equality. All made so much sense. Men and women are different. What more, even among men and women, 2 men or 2 women are different from each other. High time people stop mis-understanding (and demanding) feminism as women wanting to be equal to men. Because seriously, being like a man is not my benchmark. In fact, far from it.

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  4. I think Henpecked Husband is really frustrated…I agree with him, there are some women who take advantage of their gender but to suggest accepting dowry for any reason is ok is scandalous…

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  5. I read this piece while I was breastfeeding my baby at 4 am and I was so irritated that I couldn’t go back to sleep.

    First of all, having read your blog before, the reality of what the majority of married Indian women go through still seems to have escaped him. If I were to “look around me” and talk about the few dozen of my associates, Indian marriages would be a heaven of hands-on dads who share chores. However, if not common sense, then reading your blog has shown me that marriage continues to be an oppressive and patriarchal institution for most Indian women. The marriages and women this man describes are from a privileged circle where such things as 15LPA is the norm (I had to think for a bit before I even realised what LPA was… clearly I am not one of the 15LPAs).

    Second, he seems to have not realised that being a homemaker is a job. Therefore, although some (though not even near a majority) of Indian women no longer have to work like slaves seeing to everything little thing and their mother singlehandedly and this group of priviledged women do have help available, they are still doing a job in keeping home. They are not sitting with their feet up all day. I assume the home is cleaned, food is cooked and general chores are done although some of this may be done by the help. Why is it okay for a manager in an office to delegate work and to complain when his underlings keep taking leave but not for a woman running a home to do so and to be pissed when employees she relies on to get tasks done do not arrive or take leave without notice? Running a home efficiently is challenging in itself, doing so in India poses greater challenges because getting even the simplest thing done can be a hassle due to inefficiencies in the system.

    And running a home with children… OMG… it is physicially, emotionally, mentally, socially challenging at levels that no white collar work can ever be. Hats off to women who do it full time and may your husbands not begrudge you a few baubles for your trouble.

    Since many of us women do the same office work and commute as men we can call your bluff on how hard and tiring it really is. Office work has an end and days off and bonus and incentives. Housework has none of these… maybe the man with a homemaker wife might think about the jewellery as an incentive or bonus for work done well? I insisted my husband buy me jewellery after the birth of my son (I thought it sounded more palatable than asking for cold hard cash, though after my daughter was born that’s exactly what I demanded) because what I really wanted was payment for the labour I went through, not just the labour itself (which is a killer) but the sleepless nights, the breastfeeding, the pressure of being the provider, the lost opportunities and bonuses and pay rises at work that I would have got had I not been written off because I would be on maternity leave for three months, the blood I lost and the anemia, the calcium I lost because of breastfeeding and the toll on my bones. Does this man have any idea what it’s like to be a woman?

    I also think that there is a very shallow understanding about feminism and women’s rights among many young women and men today as some kind of one-upmanship. Wanting a husband who earns a fat salary is okay but it’s not feminism. Wanting someone else to pick up the bill is not feminism either. So the letter writer can rest assured that the women he meets are not feminists… he should hope to meet some feminists though because then he might be saved some money.

    I’m not even going to get into his ridiculous argument for dowry and his ignorance of inheritance laws or how many men marry women with an eye on the property of that woman’s parents. There are gold-diggers and opportunists in both genders but somehow it seems very shocking if women seem greedy.

    And finally the argument on “equality”: When we say, “equal”, we have to mean “equal”. “Equal” can’t just mean tilting the scale heavily in favor of the perceived “weak” side to correct for historical wrongs.

    Actually that is what equality is. Would you call a race where one person starts way ahead of the other because of all the historical, social and other advantages that person has fair? Equality does mean levelling the playing field to have any real meaning.

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    • Payment for labour by the husband to his wife? You must be joking, 5 days after my child was born by a C-section, I was feeding her, and because I finished feeding on one side, I took her off the breast to turn her to the other side. Impatient creature that she is, she started bawling, and kicked out, catching me on the C-section wound. It was painful, and I commented on her having a temper. Immediately, I got a resounding slap from my husband who was sitting beside me. Excellent payment indeed. Unforgettable, even after so many years.

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      • Hugs Just Me. I have also heard of men who never pick the baby themselves, throwing a fit because the mother, while cooking at the same time, can’t make the baby stop crying. And when I had morning sickness and mentioned it in a party, one man from Haryana told me women in his state went back to working in fields days after delivering. I should have asked him what the mortality rate for mothers and babies in Haryana was. I guess this shows how much we respect mothers and motherhood.

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        • Yeah many men think the mother is to blame if a baby cries. His Highness wants to rest, how dare the mother not pacify the baby in time so as his sleep or peace of mind is not disturbed! They scream at the wife if the baby cries, even when she is trying her best to calm it.
          How is it that we create generations of these ignorant and insensitive men? Slapping a wife because she remarked about her baby who kicked her on her wound?!

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        • Oh, I heard this ‘women in the old days used to do blah blah’ argument too and from someone quite young, urban and educated. I snapped back: “Yes, and they and their babies used to die and still do. Is that what you want?” He shut up.

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      • Just Me, I got chills when I read your post.😦 I had a c-section for my second baby too and God, I know the pain, just to move. I can imagine a slap after a c-section or frankly even natural labour which I had with my first. I would have killed my husband. But I guess not physically. possible to kill anyone after a c-section.

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      • Replying to Shail here- as there is no ‘reply’ icon under her comment- No, it was not that he was being bothered by the baby’s crying. It was because he felt my comment pointed out his own bad-tempered ways, which I think run in the family, and which have given me so much grief over years. All his siblings are pretty much the same, as are my child’s cousins on his side.

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    • “Does this man have any idea what it’s like to be a woman?”
      is exactly what I thought when I read this henpecked husband’s “sufferings”.

      Just to quote few instances – I have a friend who quit her job after marriage because her in-law didn’t like the idea of hiring a maid. This friend found it difficult to work both at home and outside. So no, she didn’t quit her job for no reason! I have an acquaintance whose husband haggles to give her money even for her basic necessities, let alone jewelry! And yes, these are what you call, well-educated, empowered, awakened women! who sadly sacrificed way too much!! I have a friend who was exceptionally brilliant and was a class topper. Right now she is at home taking care of her two babies. So no, she just didn’t quit her job just like that! I am not saying this as bad, btw. It was her’s and her husband’s collaborative decision. Both husband and wife are saving to sponsor for her higher studies (again collaborative decision). BTW, you talk about women quitting their job after having a baby so lightly, do you even know how difficult it is to leave a baby to have to goto work? I mean, I have loads of appreciation for those woman who still manage to balance between work and home after having a baby, because I know how difficult it is. Leave alone career, do you even know how tiring it is to manage a kid at home for SAHMs like me?

      So your definition of an ideal wife(or just wife) goes something like this –

      – one who brings dowry/ or works
      – one who doesn’t rely on her husband(or maids) for any kind of household help, especially so if she is a homemaker
      – one who does not ask for expensive jewelry
      – one who thinks that child care is exclusively her duty
      – one who does not expect any kind of communication from her husband once he is off to work – because he is busy “working” – (I would like to add here that most of us women have tasted the pressures of “outside work”, so when we compare the two we know what we are talking about, but yet some men just don’t seem to get the pressures experienced by a homemaker!)
      – one who does not expect to be treated nicely(or like royalty, as you say) by her husband
      – one who adjusts to her in-laws no matter what.. I mean, almost all the women I know have basic decency to treat their in-laws as human beings.. but it is not the case other way around… If a woman has a non-intrusive, non-judgmental in-law, one who respects her and her choices however wrong they may be… she should be that evil to just hate them for no reason.
      – and dowry, weight loss, leaving you penniless – seriously??

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      • Expectations:
        1) Works (best), appreciates the hard work that goes in to the husband’s salary cheque and keeps expectations in check (second best), else if she must behave like a spoilt princess all the time then I don’t think it’s really unfair for her father to pitch in, dowry or otherwise
        2) Doesn’t crib to death if the maid fails to turn up 1 day and she has to do something herself. I am not on a honeymoon here either and help is always there
        3) I don’t understand this fixation with jewelry. Is marriage mostly a “your purse my body” deal? If I am not making unreasonable demands, am fulfilling all essential requirements and frankly have 100 better things to do with my money, do I have to blow up money on jewelry to show I care? Or is it a payment for the “sex on demand” that has been provided to me over the years? I guess the woman never wanted it, it’s only me
        4) I can’t give birth and breastfeed but otherwise it has never been a one man/ woman show although I never sing as many songs about it as my wife does or most women on this blog are doing. Also, the decision to have a child is not a forced one. If you agree to have a child it’s quite logical and you’ll need to bear labor pains and breastfeed
        5) If your world as a homemaker is falling apart every 1 hour and nothing can wait, you are not doing a very good job in the first place though you want every bit of appreciation/ payment/ bonus for it
        6) Being treated nicely = being respected, given space, provided for – Yes. Royalty = never taking no for an answer, not shutting up till you have your way, expecting everything that the neighbours/ relatives have without working for it – No
        7) Arguments such as I stayed with your mother for a week, now you need to stay with mine for a week to break even, after 7 years of marriage. Not hate, pure lack of respect, I would say. No hesitation to take money from in laws when you need but no sense of duty to even be respectful?
        8) Dowry – have already mentioned in response to Bride; weight loss – if someone wants to be treated as royalty without really working for it, the least she can do is at least look like it. It just lessens the pain. Penniless – maybe not by law but have seen many cases where women have simply occupied the houses the husbands bought/ couples bought together when they separated, including all the “payments” in terms of jewelry and cash for all her “services”. You can keep going to courts for the rest of your lives. Penniless – maybe not exactly – but yes, quite close

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        • If a woman has a non-intrusive, non-judgmental in-law, one who respects her and her choices “however wrong they may be” – really? – is it an ego trip that you want your choices to be accepted even when you know and admit they are wrong?

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    • The Bride. Exactly. White-collar office work is like a stroll in the garden compared to keeping house and rearing children.

      I’d like to know if Henpecked Husband would agree to be a full-time homemaker if he thinks homemaking is a piece of cake.

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      • Yes Biwo. If you can bring home an equivalent salary, buy me clothes and jewelry all the time, take me to expensive vacations and agree to listen to all my ramblings whenever I want, I have no issues managing a few maids to get household chores done.

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        • Oh yes! Of course I can match your equivalent salary and buy you clothes jewellery and take you to vacations. All you have to do is to take care of the house, the bawling babies, feed them, manage the servants and their attitude problems, manage all the chores each and every day the help doesnt turn up. Oh and I am sorry but since I am coming home after 10 to 12 hours of work you ARE NOT ALLOWED TO COMPLAIN. See, coz you’re at home all day doing practically next to NOTHING. While I am the main bread-winner. The money is in my hands, the powers is in my hands. Whatever I want and say you have to do without questioning. By the way take care of my parents for me will you? But when it comes to taking care of yours the maximum that I am willing to do is to throw money at the problem while u slog and slave and fulfill my parent’s every little whim and fantasy and listen to their criticisms belittling you and your family and your lineage. What a wonderful life it will be…….

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    • Well said, The Bride.. Very touching indeed. I feel so helpless Being, being not able to do anything. Moms literally bring life to a new born sacrificing themselves.. and yet.. all the males & females (half problems are with the mother-in-law, right?) don’t understand they need to be taken good care of.. at all times!.. and by doing that we haven’t be repaid them enough let alone providing them enough to wade through the tough times pre & post natal.

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      • Haha, no no. I only read this post while breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is a bit of struggle for me, which probably added to my ire at this man’s lack of depth. I then stewed with irritation until I got to work – the very oh-so-tiring office Mr HH refers to – and actually had time to do such things as reply to blog posts which I never got to do when I was home full time on maternity leave.

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    • If only people understood it as well as you have articulated it. No, they will cry about maternity leave- or about how they work their butts off while their wives “enjoy themselves at home”. Whoever says the latter should do housework for a while- it si the most soul destroying thing anyone can do.

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      • My dear husband asked me if I was looking forward to maternity leave before my first child was born. I had seen my sister’s tired and sleep-deprived face after the birth of her child and so I said “no, it’s not a holiday, it’s hard work.” For my second child, he knew better than to ask such stupid questions.

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  6. “They would have an army of maids taking care of every household chore right from washing utensils to cooking to taking care of babies to even taking out clothes from a washing machine and hanging them out to dry.”

    1) I am left wondering just WHAT percentage of the population can afford to be this way?
    2) Have you watched the so called supervisor in a construction job? Just one example. He sits around the whole day watching others work, the laborers toiling. Even his tea is brought to him. And yet, everyone says he is ‘working’ while all he does is watch others work. Mysterious how when a woman has household help to do everything she is criticized.

    I am not disputing AT ALL that women like the Henpecked Husband has mentioned exist. They do. And changing their outlook is indeed a daunting job. But your responses in red have done a good job.

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    • Shail,

      I think he is referring to the educated, middle-class young married couples and I believe they form a pretty significant section of the population. And I think his intention was just to bring to notice the other side of the coin.

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      • Well, if you read the last part of my comment, I HAVE acknowledged that very “other side of the coin.” you speak of.
        I disagree with you about the ‘significant” numbers. I maintain that women as mentioned in the comment above are an insignificant minority. The majority of us are those who run around trying to complete our work with or without partial help from others.

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      • Not all educated, middle-class young married couples act in this manner. I might be one of the exceptions, but most of my friends belong to the oppressed class where they are constantly told by parents / husbands / in-laws how to live their lives. Financial independence is of absolutely no use, if you are made to give your salary to your in-laws because “this is the custom of the house”. So do give me a break with the whines already. You have a problem with women and babies? Don’t get married or have children.

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  7. IHM,
    i agree with him in almost all instances, expect for the one regarding dowry.. There are many women like the ones he has described and regardless of what they have been conditioned to think( “getting married and staying married”,careers not important, financial security from husband- the jewellery example etc,), that social conditioning is no excuse for them to behave this way. It is the same as how it is not okay to use social conditioning as a reason/excuse for men to expect their wives to give up their jobs, adjust with other family members etc
    Social conditioning is no excuse for anything and it works both ways, both for men and women.

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    • Exactly… what about those women not earning inspite of high education. Yea their husbands earn more than enough to support 2 generations. So? I did my grad & PG from DU and you know how difficult it is to get admission there- high cut-offs, entrance, GDs, interviews… they only take the so-called bests (Im not talking about the quotas here)… And I feel saddened to see majority of my classmates stopped working after marriage because they dont need to. Some of my friends down south dont work bcz their husbands ‘dont like it’… Can we call these situations same?

      And I do admit that sometimes, when deadlines begin to choke me, I feel jealous of these people. It muz be nice to stay at home (house chores cant be that much unless you have kids at home. I live with a friend in an aprtment and we dont have maids).. it muz be nice to walk into a supermarket and pile the trolley with imported chocs without worrying about budgets (have seen my friends doing it)… it muz be nice not to be time-crunched and not compromise your socializings and leisure activities…

      But again, I know that this feeling wont last. Independence wd be too big a price to pay for all these comforts. Thats why I just don’t understand women who choose to be homemakers when they actually hav a choice to work (again i dont mean the new moms here; I myself wd rather stay home for my baby than leave him/her atsome day care centres) mean the new moms here)_

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      • “It muz be nice to stay at home (house chores cant be that much unless you have kids at home. I live with a friend in an aprtment and we dont have maids)..”

        I think when you’re married and a homemaker the chores, even without kids, kind of double because you’re doing the spouse’s share too, plus a higher standard of performance in the chores is expected and generally one is expected to undertake all sorts of other social arrangements also. For example, the married but ‘not working’ wives of my cousins are very helpful to the rest of the family (taking old grandma – the husband’s grandma – to the doc, helping Mil with her party) etc. They also throw very nice dinner parties themselves with loads of dishes, house impeccable etc. All this does contribute to the husband’s social cache as well, so its not like it is not useful work. Of course, there are Indian women who go out to work and do all this as well but except of the odd superwoman, this is very tiring and should not be expected of anybody because really it’s two people’s jobs.

        Regarding independence, I know for a fact that some (a minority I’m sure) women have made sure they are financially secure even though they are not working in the traditional sense. (They do, however, provide great value to the home and their husband’s lives even though some of them don’t have children.) I know my cousins’ wives are and a couple of my friends are. Hopefully your friends are in the same situation.

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    • Very true. It annoys me considerably when women, instead of fighting for their rights, try to correct the wrongs by buying jewellery or spending money.

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  8. The other side of women’s lib is male liberation. This person points towards male liberation – which by the way, only men can do for themselves (just like women have to break out for themselves!). Starting to treat each other as people without falling into set roles and stereotypes based on gender would be a good start. I fail to see why men like this can’t be part of fashioning equal relationships. There’s no point making it men versus women….another old time mindset that needs to change.

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    • So true. Like the guy could have explained to the girl why it’s not done to not pay for her dinner. When we went out for a group dinner in Mumbai, everyone always paid their share. I think it doesn’t occur to women to pay for being dropped home but it’s a good point, and I would have no objection to doing so. Though it’s a sad that women have to live in places where they need to be dropped home.

      Yeah, he might have got some flak for making his point but so do women-libbers when we argue for a fair deal for ourselves.

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  9. Dear Indian Home maker, i like this article of your’s very much.Thank you for sending the same.through which i feel the generosity shown by you by sending such articles, to my e-mail.

    Me – Dear paddupati, Thank you, I am glad you like it, but I did not send the article to your email, if you would like start receiving new posts/articles by email please click on the link on the side bar.

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  10. The henpecked husband’s rant adds to evils of patriarchy we have been discussing. The stereotyped gender roles, lack of respect for spouse’s work, taking certain things for granted, expecting more and more from the other party etc etc. These are some of the maladies plaguing our society (for both men and women). The foundation is laid as soon as girl or a boy is born..that is when the gender stereotyping starts.

    As a solution, we must ensure that we bring up our own kids with the right set of values and a healthy, balanced outlook to start with. We must also point out to the erring ladies (who take for granted that the men will pay or drop them) that they need to be fair and contribute proportionately. Just like it’s politically incorrect for men to pass sexist comments in the presence of women and women do not fail to point it out to them.

    Me – Love your comment Better late than never.

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  11. I read Hen Pecked Husband’s views with interest.

    He has made some valid points no doubt but the situation he describes is not the norm.
    I would just hazard a guess that not more than 10 percent of wives are of the type he bemoans.

    In the majority of households the situation is like what we have been discussing.

    If everything was fair and square why would more couples prefer male children?
    How many men (straight men, I mean) would have preferred to born as female?

    It is a fact that men have it easier than women.
    Patriarchy, societal prejudices, customs etc are all weighted in favour of men.

    I see no point in denying it.
    We ought to be working to correct the situation.

    I need not rebut his points.
    You (IHM) and The Bride and others have already done so quite competently.

    Regards
    GV

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    • //”How many men (straight men, I mean) would have preferred to born as female?”//

      I think that should end all arguments. Yes, HOW many men actually want to be born as women?

      @GV, Strangely enough, there was this Major Saab, my husband’s colleague, who used to say loudly in the hearing of us ladies that we had an easy life and that his one wish was to be born as an Army Officer’s wife in his next birth. I did not engage him in conversation to prove how it was not easy at all as I found his repeated declarations too immature. But instead I wished that he would indeed be born thus and face the music to know, no one has an easy life, and not the women definitely, in comparison..:)

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      • Thanks Shail for responding.
        You know what?
        I once told my wife, many years ago, when she was busy juggling a bank job, and managing a home and  bringing up two kids, handling tactfully my mother’s intrusions into my family affairs, on a particularly taxing day, when she was struggling to fix up amother maidservant since the previous one had just quit without notice, and also putting up with a 10 am to 5 pm power shutdown that day,  that she was a remarkably efficient spouse and that in our next birth, I would like to be married to her only and no one else.

        Her response: “you are welcome, as long as I get to be the husband and you agree to be the wife”.

        Regards
        GV

        PS: read your latest post and had typed a longish comment, and either WordPress  or the internet acted up after I clicked on the Send button and I lost that comment. It is probably floating around somewhere in cyber space. Sorry. Just didn’t feel equal to typing all that again.

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  12. Henpecked, You seem to believe that equality is a privilege for women. Nope. It is a right. Just like it is for men. It does not mean that to have equal rights, women should be saintly all the time and keep proving themselves to others time and again how awesome they are.

    Women are people too. Which means, just like men, there are good women and then there are bad women. There are women who are very independent while there are women who are freeloaders. This does not mean feminism is wrong or that all women must have their rights taken away.

    Really, if you feel your wife is a freeloading gold digger, then I think there are many frank conversations that you need to have with your wife about your expectations from each other instead of calling out on the entire female gender. Btw, running a household, like many have pointed here is a tough job, so maybe before you draw your conclusions, you should try running a home for a few days.

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  13. One must try to gauge what one is getting into in the first place. If the choice of mate is a mistake and when there is no meeting ground, walking out should be an option. This insecurity will make everyone work towards the marriage and not take each other for granted.

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  14. Honestly for all its seriousness I feel that HH sounds a little immature.
    For every gril who wants a rich husband there are 10 men who want a virgin homely wife and no they do not talk about the GF’s they had in past. Each of us are hypocrites lets not judge it by gender.

    You talk about wanting to have a relaxed sunday and get irritated when the women asks you to take her out. Have you thought that she stays at home the whole day taking care of your house and children (which is a full time job & no housewifes do not spend the whole day watching TV or talking on phone, talk about myths) and expecting you to take her out is her idea of change. Shopping? Well that is our idea of relaxation like yours is watching TV. Lets not bring gender in here.

    Royalty? ha! I have met Men who make their GF’s pay for their flight tickets when they are coming to meet them, no I am not kidding, I was the GF who paid for her BF’s flight tickets. Thankfully better sense prevailed and we broke off but what I want to say is that this is an individual thing. Lets not get gender into it.

    Women are entitled to 50% of their husband’s property? And they get it?
    ha! U must be joking. I am sure you know that we live in India, where rules are just for books!

    I agree there are women who irritate their husbands with endless calls, taunt them, are dependent on them for all market work but then there are Men who do not help their wives in ghar ka kaam, there are Men who suspect every move of their wife…

    My point is this is life and each of us experience everything differently. Let us not generalize things based on gender. It would be better if we concentrate on living a better life by trying to improve the society and stop being frustrated with changes that are beckoning us. Which might even mean Giving some power to women. Come on don’t be a loser we also deserve a better life.

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    • Awesome Comment Ms. Smita. Actually I am yet to meet this so-called chivalrous men who hold doors, pay for the ladies, serve the ladies, drop us home etc etc… All the guys in my friends group are complete opposites. They take a look at the bill and give it to us with an ‘all yours lady’. Not that we mind! We love them anyways😀

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    • Smita, men like Henpecked Husband lack the emotional maturity to build healthy relationships.

      Really, men like him should stay single and spare their spouse a lifetime of frustration.

      He seems to think that wives should make no demands, have no desires / opinions and live only to please their husbands.

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  15. such well-educated, empowered and awakened women are scandalized if someone were to suggest dowry, for them to work, do any household chores, lose the 20 extra kilos they have on them or adjust for a week with her mother-in-law.

    so no matter if the woman is “well-educated, empowered and awakened” she also needs to ‘accept’ the man and not be ‘scandalized’ if he accepts dowry, insists his wife works and gives him hard cash (just like the wife is asking for baubles), the man has no clue about what house-work is – while the wife has a job AND is expected to come home and serve him hot dinner while he puts his feet up (and make special food on weekends to serve the lord and master of the house?) AND despite having worked equally ‘hard’ as the man at work and doing everything at home – needs to ‘look attractive’ (lose 20kgs? I would accept if it were more of a concern for health reasons) AND adjust to the nit-picking, grumbling MIL.

    Now, here is a Question: How would an educated, empowered and awakened Man react if the roles were revered?? Or would he be even thinking of doing all these things that he is expecting the wife to do-only because she is the wife?

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  16. There are so many men whose sense of power in life comes out of controlling what the women in their life do. What they wear, where they go, how they laugh, how they sit, how much they study etc. Curiously, this is never seen as ‘nagging’ but as the responsibility of the head of the family or whatever. I agree that there are clingy women who act dependent and bug men with whom they are in a relationship with, but there are equally clingy and needy men too! Ones who will go ballistic if the phone is engaged when they are trying to call the girl and insist on knowing who she is talking to, ones who will stalk them, hack their email and so on (and believe me, there are plenty of these around). There are also plenty of freeloaders in the male gender who will not bring their own lunch but grab their colleagues, always pretend that they have no change to pay for the auto or the restaurant bill and so on and so forth. These are people who lack common courtesy and they can be found in both genders.

    As for the 65 kg woman wanting a Salman Khan – so what if that is her expectation? There are tonnes of couples where the wife is way more good looking than the husband, but we hardly see any couples where the reverse is true. We are okay when the wife’s educational’s qualifications,salary, family status, age etc are below that of the husband’s (it’s even considered mandatory) but for looks alone, we are convinced that it cannot be that way. Would you have found it equally ridiculous if an overweight man had wanted to marry a beautiful woman? I’d hazard a guess that this wouldn’t have sounded so appalling.

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    • I’m sure there are plenty of men who would cause a mirror to shatter who think that they deserve a pretty wife. I once had a non-attractive ‘friend’ of mine tell me that because he is of a certain caste, he is entitled to a pretty bride. I gave him an earful about how chauvinistic that was, but it was of no use. He freely accepts that he is a chauvinist and calls people who contradict him ‘narrow-minded’.

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    • “engaged when they are trying to call the girl and insist on knowing who she is talking to, ones who will stalk them, hack their email and so on (and believe me”

      I have a colleague/friend whose husband gets suspicious if he gets a busy tone, or if she doesn’t pick up after a few rings.

      She’s deleted her old email account because he’d insist on checking her email everyday and sulk if she refused.

      He still gets paranoid if she attends office functions with male colleagues.

      He’s slowly learning how to trust her and respect her space, but the first year was hell for her.

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    • I am glad to FINALLY see a comment on the 65 kg woman wanting a Salman Khan as her husband. Am I the only one or have the others also noticed Hen pecked husband’s fixation with the wife/woman’s weight?
      Next there will be a fixation with her complexion perhaps. Or length of her hair?
      And frankly speaking, I do not believe that the situation he has described is the one he is in. It just seems to have been lifted directly from the trashy soap operas which portray a vamp as the lazy, incompetent, gold-digger woman and the heroine as the pativrata, sati savitri.

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  17. I’m only going to address the point on housework or its lack due to maids as that’s uppermost on my mind this morning (the husband this morning in response to my stray comment about being tired by the time i got to work said, ‘i dont see what you do except stand around giving. instructions; they (maids) do all the work’. Needless to say it went downhill from there). I hate to generalise, but it is a rare man who has any idea how much work goes into the basic maintenance of a home. That’s conditioning too. My conditioning tells me that I have to keep my house a certain way otherwise it reflects badly on me. Its is an irrational sort of mindset because nobody’s going to look into the cupboard where the clothes to be ironed are kept, leave alone judge me on it. A man’s conditioning tells him that unless that pile of clothes is blocking entry and exit to the house then it can just stay where it is until a woman happens along to deal with it. Any attempt to draft him into helping dismantle it, is “excessive”, “compulsive”, “unnecessary” and a condescending “you just enjoy stressing yourself out unecessarily”. Housework is never ‘done’. Its repetitive, monotonous, unending and thankless. So pardon us if it makes us cranky occasionally.

    Regarding phone calls during work. Does your wife call expecting you to spout odes to her eyes in the middle of the work day? If not, then please give her a hearing (if not immediately but as soon as you get your next free window) because what she probably wants to talk about it important to her. Dismissing issues of importance to her as trivial, makes her feel small & probably a burden and will only make her nag you more.

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  18. hh thx for sharing, greed can be observed in anyone regardless of gender or financial status. Naturally there’s quite a few greedy and self-centred women out there with social conditioning to act like queen. we need to be aware and firm in dealings.

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  19. “The man would come home after 10-12 hours of office work and commute in a crazy traffic and the woman would be all ready to rip him into pieces – “My friend’s husband got her a new necklace for 2 lakhs. When was the last time you got me one?”

    HP, I work full time and the salary I draw is more than most men at my age with similar background do. Point being, I put the same if not more amount of hard work in my professional life. Now, I have two kids. I went on extended maternity breaks. And let me tell you, that I found staying at home and taking care of kids and household (with domestic help mind you) FAR MORE STRESSFUL.
    Just because every woman goes through maternity and most are the prime care givers for the family, it does not mean that it is easy. In fact you cannot even compare the hard work that child bearing and rearing requires with that of a normal office job.

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  20. Well, assuming that the marriage didn’t happen under duress, I really see no reason why “society” should be blamed for this man’s (and woman’s, no doubt) unhappiness.

    Most of the situations you have described with women are really just examples of poor etiquette, and immature attitudes. They have nothing to do with women’s rights.

    If your female friend asks you to do things you are uncomfortable doing, you are free to refuse. If your female friend refuses to pay up her share, there is no reason to extend special courtesies to her. In short, female friends are just friends. You owe them exactly the same amount of consideration as you do to your male friends. Nobody is forcing you to be “a gentleman”, but if you want to be one of your own free will, you really shouldn’t complain, should you?

    Gold-diggers exist in every society, but they are just one category of rotten people. You have to stay AWAY from rotten people. You need to be proactive about your own happiness, and protect yourself from them.

    What you have described is not, in any case, the situation of having married a gold-digger. You are describing the story of the life of urban couples struggling to fit their script-written roles in Indian society, roles which are no longer relevant to the realities of the time.

    such well-educated, empowered and awakened women are scandalized if someone were to suggest dowry, for them to work, do any household chores, lose the 20 extra kilos they have on them or adjust for a week with her mother-in-law

    I would never marry a woman who balks at the thought of working outside the home (unless there is a genuine reason, of course), or doing a bit of housework (on a shared basis). I would also never suggest that my SO lose 20 kilograms, “adjust” with my mother, or pay me to marry her (aka dowry), so if she balked at the thought of any of those, I’d be perfectly fine with that.

    That’s how it’s done, you know. Adults come up with personal criteria, and marry their partners when they are reasonably sure that those criteria are met to a reasonable extent.

    You can’t just play the Russian Roulette when it comes to relationships. If you wanted a career woman, you should’ve said so, right? Are people supposed to dream up what you desire out of the relationship?

    Proactive – that’s the key word. You have to be proactive, so you get what you want.

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  21. As a British Asian Male, I’ve never been to India, and can’t say much about this topic as to what my views are of it or inside other South Asian countries. I guess in an environment and a culture, in which gender favouritism is ripe, this will be a tremendous problem for the social structure.

    In so far as British Asians in the UK, thank God we don’t have this problem as bad as it is known in India. Yes, there are similar culture clashes here in the UK, where the younger generations need to balance their lifestyles and their careers between expectations of their ‘traditional’ parents and a society which pretty much promotes equality between class, culture and career prospects.

    In so far as marriage, it is believed that British Asians should marry other British Asians, or accept their parent’s invitation to look at prospects in their homeland. As it happens, in this country, there is no culture of maids, or helpers to help around the home, especially for married families. As it is common here, if a couple have a small family, and hold down careers, then it acceptable for both the male and female to participate in keeping the house in order. So all your domestic chores are done jointly, without the need of a 3rd helper – a 3rd helper simply doesn’t work.

    In my view – what is key is to sustain a healthy relationship, be it with your parents, siblings or life partner. People are free to have their own opinion and views on these types of problems and issues. But, it’s equally important to understand the basics and the mechanics of how a healthy relation makes a healthy home and in return makes a healthy society for everyone to benefit from.

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  22. I have never realized why housework is such a chore for so many people. I have been on my own for many years now, and I never let it get in the way of my life. Even my friends always whine about housework, and I am left wondering what the big deal is. If something isn’t going to kill you if you don’t do it immediately, do it when you have more time. Or not at all … Is there any need to iron the underwear or the bedsheets? Or to clean the cupboards when you don’t feel like it? After all, there comes a time in everyone’s lives when they WANT to clean the cupboard (At least for me), just leave it until that moment comes.

    Of course, a child is a different thing altogether, but having seen my friends at housework, I feel most of it is completely unnecessary, if it makes you unhappy. I also fail to understand why women go gaga over cleaning things when men are content to let it be. I mean, surely the man will lift his hands and go wash his underwear when he absolutely needs to? Why make it your own responsibility?

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    • Not sure that men are immune to this silliness.

      Until a few years ago, I used to find it nearly impossible to relax if things – especially personal things, like stationery, books and laptop computers – weren’t placed just so.

      Although I’ve piped down a bit in recent years, I used to be very anal when it came to my surroundings. Not only did I constantly group clothes in my wardrobe based on color and frequency of use, I also pretty much sterilized dirty dishes BEFORE putting them in the dishwasher. On holidays, I’d rove around the house, picking up stray bits of paper from every invisible corner, and complain loudly about people who inexcusably use their bedrooms as a dining room.

      Just after I graduated from law school, I shared an apartment with a Scottish guy who was the worst couch potato I’d ever met. He was nice enough as a person, but he had a penchant for littering the place with bits of food. This would usually result in an angry tirade from me, followed by conciliatory gestures from him, and something like “In teh name of wee man, Prav, you’ve got teh get a GRIP! It’s just some chips, by Jingo!”. In the end, I took to leaving little Post-It notes at strategic locations, reminding him to lay off the couch if he was planning to grab some chips, and asking him to kindly roll up the carpet before he spilled his drink on it.

      I’m sure that I’m far from unique here. I’ve known many men who are this way, and it had very little to do with their ideas on feminism.

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  23. I tend to agree with the view of the man here esp. on dowry. How many women work after marriage or are financially independent? How many women do all the household chores on their own? How many women are child bearing machines today (with family planning etc.) ? Is sex only the requirement of a man or is a mutual requirement in a marriage? So why treat the life after marriage as compensation for entitlement to earnings of the husband? How many women marry men who are not ‘well settled’ or earning well or pay dowry to such men? How many women bear the diktats of their parents in law or for that matter even the husband today? I believe domestic abuse is exception rather than a rule. Dowry therefore to me is just a matter of supply and demand. There are too many non earning women as compared to earning men. There is no real necessity for an earning man to marry a woman and legally get bound to share his wealth with her (and her relatives). Dowry is just to showcase that the girl’s family is equal in status to the boy (or his family) and is not trying to usurp someone else’s wealth or seen as the golddigger. Afterall marriage itself is about a legal arrangement to enhance the status and wealth of two families from ages . So why cry over dowry. As you said dowry for an economically empowered women is a non issue. However working for decades is not a very easy thing (for a woman or a man) as it comes with its own share of tensions and compromises, and ‘not to work’ is an easy option, for anyone who has the option. Since it is mostly women who take this option under different excuses, raising issue of dowry seems just too much – there are no free lunches in life, especially where financials (inherited or potential) are the first filter criteria for the husband material.

    Like

    • Hmm, something tells me you’re not a woman. I see no point in rebutting your comment because it is WRONG on just so many levels.

      I’ll only say one thing — no one forces a man to marry. If he doesn’t wish to be tied down to the old ball and chains, well STAY SINGLE.

      There. Problem solved.Now stop whining.

      Like

    • What a convoluted way of saying “dowry is necessary to pay the for the expenses of a wife who does not earn money, does not do any domestic chores, does not bear or raise children, and does not contribute in any
      other way to a marriage”.

      Of course, stating your argument in a non-convoluted and straightforward fashion makes it immediately clear that it is utterly stupid and does not apply to a single actual wife in the universe.

      In any case, the only real rebuttal to your argument is this: you are free to marry whoever you think will make you the best life partner. Go ahead, marry the rich girl! Marry someone on the condition that they remain employed continuousl until retirement! Don’t marry the person you fear will become a burden to you! You will be doing yourself and your prospective wife a favor.

      You are NOT free to engage in buying and selling of women, however, which is what dowry is. All this handwaving about “the intent of dowry is not to impoverish the girl’s family” and “abuse is rare” does not mask the fact that dowries and bride prices are BOTH commodification and dehumanization of women.

      Like

  24. So women are selfish, manipulative, nagging, controlling? Men aren’t? All humans have positive as well as negative aspects to their personality. So what is the writer driving at?

    Demands for jewellery can be tackled if there is transparency in finances. MIL visits can be tackled if there is transparency in relationships. Getting groceries can be tackled with a periodic planning. The necessity of maids can be better judged if both the partners share household chores. These are everyday issues that can surely be tackled by openness and talking out rather than competing for control.

    If a woman does not pay for what she eats, simply ask her to as you would ask a male friend. If you don’t like pulling a chair for just female friends, pull for your male friends as well – courtesy needs no gender, does it?

    I have come across women who are gold diggers. I have seen the poison that can add to the family’s peace of mind. But I have also seen men who are gold diggers adding the same kind of venom. It is pointless calling one evil over the other.

    Like

  25. I’m one of those wives with the maid, cook, driver et al and let me tell henpecked husband that even then it’s a great deal more annoying then just going to work and back.

    I used to work full time, my husband also did , then we got married and guess who quit and moved ???? ME there it is the first compromise. Ok granted our case was weird that we married without anyone’s approval and in -love and all and he had a house in bombay so it made sense. then we both worked in Bombay and he picked me and dropped and dined me, thanks to my absolute terror of the Bombay trains🙂 , THEN CAME THE TWIN BOYS. and pretty much the end of our freedom as i saw it. I had to deliver and with my small frame trust me twins were not much fun. + they came with GERD so one of us had to be flexible with work and stay closeby, guess who did it ? yep more compromise.
    I have to give it to my husband who the min i agreed to go parttime for the babies pretty much banished me from the kitchen. he hired a cook and a nanny and a driver + car so i won’t be stuck at home. he didn’t consider that as a bonus to me, he still felt bad that my career took a hit.
    and a month after i delivered he got himself fixed, and to this day feels the guilt that he was responsible for huge bony babies. he has a big frame and so do the boys.
    In my mind that one task i did having kids and raising them – was so hard i could have worked 2 jobs for the past 18 yrs !!! easily .
    so no I didn’t go part-time for the fun of it, because he had money or so that I could live a life of leisure, I did it because having had kids we needed to raise them well.

    These past 18 yrs are the foundation for our family, we both were happy and that was because we didn’t begrudge each other our tasks, help or enjoyment. Both have a right to happiness, both have a right to do what they please, both have a right to compromise. As for a 60Kg lady wanting a hero, so what that is what SHE wants, if it’s what he wants then good for them, else guess she’ll spend her lifetime looking as long as IT MAKES her happy – finally that is what counts. My H is 6+ ft fit, good looking & rich to boot, and I’m no heroine , yet ours was a love marriage. passion, trust,commitment have nothing to do with looks or bank balance it has to do with love,trust,empathy for one another.

    Like

  26. Why dont women start using their brain IHM???

    “For millions of years something happened so we cant overcome overnight.”

    Well, this can’t be an valid excuse, its not todays women who bore that millions of years. They just carried some burden for few years may be.

    So far I see, men & women alike, blaming others for their problems. When they have never taken actions to do something, or make it right.

    Like

    • Makk, I didn’t understand which point you mean… what should women overcome? If they have babies, they do need to take leave and miss opportunities career-wise. And if they find it difficult to get back to work once the kids grow up it’s sad, but would you really blame them?
      About chivalry I think, it’s time it was replaced with good manners and courtesy towards all, by all.

      Like

    • //”Why dont women start using their brain IHM???”//

      Makk, What makes you think men are using theirs? When there are females and males to a species keeping one (in this case females) unfairly disadvantaged actually shows utter lack of brains. So in this matter it is not just women who aren’t using brains, men are totally brainless too.
      Your question reminds me of what Marie Antoinette is supposed to have said, upon learning that the peasants had no bread, “Let them eat cake.” How easy for a Princess to say, if you don’t have bread go eat cake. How easy for Makk to ask, ‘Why don’t women use brains?’ when the society is hell bent on creating obedient cattle, following “million” year old traditions.

      Like

    • “Make it right” how? A friend of ours tried to, she got married – per her choice ( yes my friends all have that common problem)
      She didn’t have kids – by choice. she wasn’t an overtly motherly type and she just didn’t want to restrict her flourishing career so she told her husband if he badly wanted a child she was ok to adopt one or many and then he could stay home and raise the child if he so desired and she was ready to support it. Guess what society calls her ??? By society I mean men, women, her family, relatives, many friends, lot many acquaintances. etc.,
      Why can’t we understand it’s her choice, she is making a stand for equality, and a choice for her HAPPINESS? so no we won’t let women fix the issue and yet we’ll blame them , there’s no winning this one.
      BTW they did adopt a 3+ yr old (to avoid the infant stage ) and are quite happy with a very well adjusted, happy 16 yr old girl who has decided she will adopt a whole house-load of kids !!!! ( yes the innocence of youth)

      Like

      • Radha. Hats off to your friend and her husband. I’ve always wanted to adopt but have hesitated because I do think I will be an effective single parent.

        Our society judges everybody no matter what; so it is best, to live your life on your terms like your friend did.🙂

        Like

  27. The post and the comment make me happy and sad at once. Happy that people are speaking up, even if its in twisted ways or securely online. Its a sign of change in the right direction. It also makes me sad that by the time we reach a consensus to use that famed thinking capabilities that make us more than animals to marry / not marry, live together / apart, reproduce / or not , I will most likely be dead.

    Like

  28. My husband often tells me that women are able to talk about their problems because we have been oppressed for so long. But according to him men too have as many problems as a woman. He says children don naturally love the father like they love the mother, the father has to earn the love. To which I say, for the pain we go through, this is the least we would expect. And he says it is not easy for the man to balance between his parents and wife. I really dont understand this point. What is there to balance. You are married, you have your on family, you run your household along with your wife. True, they are ur parents, but they need to know that their baby is an adult and does not need their continous advice to help him get through life. Thirdly he says a man, can never ever think of leaving his job and sitting at home while a woman can do it anytime. I feel this situation is fast changing. I earn as much as my husband and we are expecting in few months. I would love it if he would stay home after my maternity leave and take care of the baby. I would really love that. In fact I wld much prefer that to calling parents over to look after the baby. I wld feel the baby wld be safest with one of its parents.

    In the end it is all a question of how much a man is willing to come out of the conventional ‘husband band’. If you are brave enough to come out of it, you will enjoy its benefits.

    Also I notice very few men commenting for such posts. Do they have different views and are worried about getting the ‘thumbs down’?

    Like

    • I agree A. Mothers spend a lot more time with babies, if dads did the same, they will not need to make any extra efforts. And how do wives ‘balance’ their love for their parents and their spouse and children – husbands should have the freedom to do the same.

      Sweden I think acknowledges father’s right to care for their children, and they have ‘parental leave’ instead of only maternity leave – both the parents can share the leave the way they need, this gives fathers as much right and freedom to care for their kids, as mothers.

      Like

      • Norwegian law too has a 10 weeks of parental leave(paid) for fathers during the child’s first year which can’t be transferred to the mother, and expires if not used. Germany too has paid parental leave quota for men and most fathers use this leave to bond with their children.

        Like

      • You are 100% right about parental leave. Hear, hear!

        You know, when I fell in love with my now-husband, the last thing on my mind was whether he would make a good father. But as luck would have it, this guy is THE most involved and “equal” dad I know among all my friends and relatives. He not only plays with the children, he also feeds them, bathes them, changes them, cares for them, teaches them things, takes time off from work when they are sick, wakes up in the night for them, knows how many pairs of socks they have and which ones are getting holes….

        AND WHY NOT? He’s their dad! He’s not some part-time babysitter or distant relative. They are his responsibility as much as mine. I’m just glad his workplace is relaxed enough to allow him to be an equal parent.

        The result of his equal parenting is that my kids are exactly as comfortable around him as they are with me. The 9-month-old prefers me a little bit because I’m breastfeeding her still. But the 3 year old often prefers dad, especially to bathe him and sleep beside him occasionally at night.

        Like

      • IHM, even we have paternity leave available here in the US, though it is not as generous as it is in Europe, from what I hear. But sometimes the hard realities of life come in the way – when I had my second baby, my husband could not take paternity leave even though it was available to him, because it wouldn’t be on a full salary and we’d be losing more if he took the leave than if I took it.

        Despite that he managed to develop a strong bond with the baby right from the start. He and I took turns waking up with her at night after I went back to work. He used to come home early and used to carry her around in a baby carrier all evening tending to the chores he did around the house and the yard. This was even when my parents were here to help us. Yes, he got tired and cranky, but he still did it just like I, the mother, would have. He still carries more than half the responsibilities sometimes because I have gone back to school for an MBA, in addition to working full time.

        It is not about how much time they get to spend with the babies/kids. It is about their attitude towards it, that helps develop the bond between the babies/kids and their fathers.

        Like

    • I don’t think it’s true that kids don’t naturally love their fathers. If fathers put in the same amount of effort in raising the kids they would. My husband is a hands on dad and the kids adore him and are more attached to him. (esp the elder one, since he pretty much took care of him from a young age single handedly as my daughter came along pretty soon after him) . If you spend time with kids and take care of them then they will love you back. Simple.

      Like

      • Mors, I’m in the same situation… my baby girl arrived when my son was only 14 months. So pretty much the whole first year of his life – because I was pregnant and throwing up… and then pregnant and too big to really get down on the floor with him for a long time – my husband and helper took care of him. And he is more attached to my husband than me. There is nothing ‘natural’ about the child’s affection for the mother, it is developed through time spent. Mothers do have a headstart in that the baby is familiar with the mother’s voice from before birth and breastfeeding strenghtens it but the bond with the father can very quickly develop and grow strong if the father puts in the effort.

        Like

        • My FIL was telling me something similar. That there are somethings only mothers can do and that fathers cannot get good at it no matter what. Except for breast feeding, I told him that it was a very convinient excuse used by men over generations to get out of child rearing duties.

          Like

    • I don’t agree that children naturally love their fathers more.

      Neither is it true that men are less caring and involved as parents. My own father always stayed up with us when we were babies or when we were sick.

      My mother would doze off, while my father would stay up with us the whole night.

      Like

  29. BRILLIANT rejoinders ihm!! the writer intended it to be funny, but am glad he has opened another pandora’s box here.
    you know, what struck me today, is that, most ppl assume that the laptop toting, educted woman must not have any gender based issues, since she is so self reliant , independent and aware. and yet, on your blog, the stories we read – in the posts or in the comments (like that slap after the c sec.. am still churning on that one) , are of “women like us” – women who are not supposed to have issues… isnt that funny?

    Like

  30. Pingback: Do Indian men benefit from being married in exchange of dowry? | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  31. While I beg to differ from henpecked husband views regarding dowry and etc., I do agree with many of them.

    These women who quit jobs live very unfulfilling and unsatisfying lives while trying to please themselves of how they had to forego their careers because of kids. A very few even go to the extent of blaming their husband’s households or what not to cover their own a_se. This happens even when the girls and the husband’s family are so supportive of woman’s career.
    The most common reason that I have heard of is “I am now tired of working and want to take a break. Let him support me. I am bearing his baby after all”

    And there are another set of women, who are just physically present in office but their heart lies at home 24*7. They never keep up office timings, they never care to even meet the expectations if not exceed them. But right at the time of appraisal, they always raise their hands for a better salary hike or promotion. I am not a man in a woman’s disguise. I am indeed a woman, who finds other women’s attitude barbarous. I come across as a woman with no emotions to many of them. When women fight for equal rights everywhere, why not prove it in office too. I am not blaming the entire women community here. But are certainly a few in my team who only fight for their rights at the time of appraisal.

    I indeed know of a subordinate who is very well paid but who takes cheap pleasure and pride in saying that she shops around using her husband’s credit card for every possible thing even if is a hair band.
    I think it arises out of the stupid tradition where women are meant to be in a man’s shadow

    Yes thumbs down to me! Blame it on patriarchy or whatever.
    Its high time women think of their own lives and live accordingly.

    Like

    • on the contrary sparrow, what you have raised are very valid points. no thumbs down there.

      about the women whose hearts are at home 24*7, assuming, of course, that its not because of their responsibilities at home… if they have responsibilities at home that require them to do certain things for home during office hours (like dropping child to school before leaving for work, even if dear husband is home, because he “likes to sleep in the mornings”, or picking up grocery and reaching home before cooking time, or ensuring that they talk to the child once in the afternoon after he has come from school), assuming that its not responsibility that is dividing their attention, it is indeed unfair to daydream in office and then ask for a hike later. but both genders do it. god knows we know enough free loaders who are male. and they are also the most vociferous denouncers of the appraisal process at appraisal time.

      about the “i want to take a break, let him take care of me”. well….that one has been discussed ad infinitum on this blog earlier, so let me not go there..

      abt the subordinate (and the choice of word is very interesting) who is well paid but uses her husband’s credit card.. i dont see why she should brag or be ashamed of it. a woman who financially supports her husband has no reason to be proud or ashamed. likewise for this example, na?

      sigh! i love hogging comments space, it seems…

      Like

      • @how do we know,
        About daydreaming in office, I agree that its not just women who are day dreamers. May be my comment came across strongly towards a segment of women.
        Having said that, what the pattern that I notice about some of these women is that they seem to take entire onus of responsibility of running home and everything else that you have mentioned above solely upon them. Why not discuss it with their husbands/partners and divide at least some of the chores instead of bringing it to office?

        The number of hours spent over coffee every other day talking of the above sacrifices, or having to highlight these so called “sacrifices” during appraisal discussion, of how these women can portray themselves as an epitome of modern Indian woman who juggle around managing family and work, or how they compare themselves with other xyz/ non-Indians who concentrates on work better because they are single etc., irks me off.

        The countless times that you remind them not to bring in these discussion on to official plate but they still do is what bothers me. And these women are educated from some of the finest colleges in the country.

        Btw, the word “subordinate” was not a carefully chosen word to undermine my colleague any way.

        Like

    • @Sparrow

      I really want to work where you work. Because where I work, there are no free handouts. I dont get a raise because I ask for it. And my responsibilities dont diminish because I have a toddler at home. And if my mind is always at home, then my manager will gently suggest I am better off being there too instead of coming to work.

      That said, it can be pretty grating to hear someone “boast” about her husband’s credit card because it is hardly an issue to pride on. I mean, I use my husband’s card whenever it is convinient, it is not like I am achieving something by doing that. My husband uses my card too at times, I doubt if he ever gloats about it!

      Like

      • @cluelesschick,
        I shuttle between Indian and Oceanian regions for work.
        One has to weigh their ownself and understand why they stand out before asking for hike/ promotion. This inclues both men/women.
        But that seldom happens.
        Instead people seem to want promotions because they have served in the same capacity for 3 years and with some women that I work with, the scenario that i stated is more common because in these 3 years they have additional responsiblities at home, say a husband or a toddler etc.,.
        Horrible that I am, just like your manager, I suggest that they are better off at home.

        Like

        • @Sparrow: “Horrible that I am, just like your manager, I suggest that they are better off at home.”

          It is this attitude which pushes the women even further down and back. How about, instead of suggesting they stay at home, the managers suggest some ways for the women to improve their performance, set some project goals for them to complete within the year so they CAN become eligible for a promotion based on their performance? For the first time in my career, I have a manager who does that and I cannot tell you how much it motivates me to work and put in my 110% effort. He has stated clearly that he would like to see me promoted this year and has set some goals that would help me achieve that. If more managers managed like that, only the worst slackers would still fail to improve. And THEN the managers would be right in suggesting that they stay home.

          Like

        • @StrangerInTheMirror,
          On a lazy Saturday evening, I don’t feel like typing a long response. But I am compelled to do so after reading your comment.

          It is this attitude which pushes the women even further down and back.

          I don’t understand why “women” alone will be pushed down with that sentence/attitude of mine. I would have said that to a male too if his performance was not up to the mark. For me, there is no difference between a man and a woman because I hire for talent and not for gender. I don’t think I have to guide women alone how to improve their performance. I hire professionals who are at least 23+ and expect that they think and act professionally and not like what I have mentioned in the previous comments.

          How about, instead of suggesting they stay at home, the managers suggest some ways for the women to improve their performance, set some project goals for them to complete within the year so they CAN become eligible for a promotion based on their performance?

          Whatever you have stated is an ideal scenario. Every manager should do that and so do I. But, let’s live in a practical world. When there are too many people reporting across multiple geographies, it is not always possible to pay attention to each and every individual. Of course goals are set by the manager but it is an individual’s responsibility to find out ways to out perform and grow up in the ladder. It’s individual’s responsibility to find out what will make them stand out in the crowd. But if you say me, that a manager has to initiate this, I would say NO. Manager’s lives are miserable too. Their lives also burn with constant pressure to reduce costs, increase profits, outsource to cheaper locations and etc.,

          For the first time in my career, I have a manager who does that and I cannot tell you how much it motivates me to work and put in my 110% effort. He has stated clearly that he would like to see me promoted this year and has set some goals that would help me achieve that.

          It’s indeed great to know that your manager takes such personal interest in his team’s career. But how often do you come across such people. Later in your life if you work with a manager who has different attitude, I can only suggest that you initiate things from your end instead of waiting for manager to take interest in your growth. This is the reality which most of us hate to admit.

          Like

    • I agree with you Sparrow – in that these women who think that just by the virtue of being a woman they can get an easier ride are hard to respect. But these are just a few of the entire female population, just like there ARE men who believe they deserve an easy ride just because they are men. This is the social conditioning that these men and women were subjected to. What’s wrong, is generalizing this to the extreme and applying the conclusions to ALL women (or men).

      Not all women are freeloaders and not all men are male chauvinist pigs. Takes all kinds.

      Henpecked husband’s view is one sided. Again, no disputing that there are women who act like that but it is unfair to generalize things to this extent and say all/most women behave like this. Also, I feel it is unfair to imply that these women are acting the way they are just to harass the men. I believe these women, and their spouses, are just victims of a rigid social conditioning process which didn’t even equip them with the capability to think or decide for themselves. So these women keep blaming their husbands for the choices they had to make. Maybe the husbands had a part in the circumstances at that time but things do change.

      What these couples need is an open, ongoing dialog about what is making whom unhappy and coming up with ideas as to how they can change things to make it better for everyone involved. We teach our kids everything except one thing – how to communicate, specially when you are unhappy. I have seen so few people who actually know how to convey their unhappy feelings without yelling, getting upset or blaming the other party. If we all learned how to communicate (that includes LISTENING too, BTW) without making the other person feel cornered, belittled or blamed, I am sure many of these marriages would heal and many of these women, instead of blaming the husband and his family, would work to find a solution to their unhappiness.

      Like

    • I usually joke that I use my husband’s credit cards because he can afford it – he earns three times what I do. What I don’t mention is that a) these are joint cards, b) I don’t really spend that much and c) I kid I kid, I joke I joke!!!

      Maybe that woman is joking too? Even if she isn’t, I wouldn’t judge her because I don’t know what financial arrangement she and her husband might have. Maybe they spend his salary and save hers?

      “Its high time women think of their own lives and live accordingly.”

      Who is equipping them to do so? That IS the entire crux of the matter, I think.

      Like

  32. Pingback: A comment: One more thing, had I been financially independent I would have never got married. | The Life and Times of an Indian Homemaker

  33. Henpecked husband
    I agree with most points except of course the dowry aspect

    If both of u are so unhappy, pl take professional counseling to see where both of you are going wrong. Of course you don’t want the son to be brought up in a environment where there are fights everyday

    Looks like the toll of being the single earning member is taking a toll on you.I am a software manager myself so I understand work pressure u talk off. Unfortunately a housewife may or may not appreciate this fully. Taking care of a home is a task in itself

    Just yesterday I yelled at my husband who occupied the toilet when my 2 yr old son wanted to do his potty . I yelled because the son finally did potty in the middle of the bathroom.I could have been softer but the whole potty business washing , touching with my hands was driving me crazzzy. Usually i do the potty cleaning, bathing, feeding. etc for him.
    So obviously trivial day to day tasks can get very damn boring for your wife too

    See where both of you can share responsibilities. May be explain that the market is so tough , that a costly jewellery cannot be afforded by a sw engrr like u
    In my apartment. women teach yoga , music to keep themselves occupied. Also they get to keep their savings for their expenses.

    So see if you guys can sit and discuss. Some women may not want to work because in-laws spend the money that she earns
    I am not telling a lie . My sis’s in laws wait to know what comes from my parents home every time she comes from India. No my sis is not newly married. they are married for 9 yrs with 2 kids now
    If such is the atmosphere, which woman would want to work to part with hard earned money

    Like

    • and take part in day to day work atleast on weekends.You talk about taking rest on weekends. that itself can be irritating for the wife.Like my husband has idlis on weekends and goes off for a nap. It irritates me to no end since I work as a sw engr myself but clean bathrooms, cook etc on weekends. Imagine if women had to declare sitting idle on weekends too

      So take part in play with your child. that itself can be relaxing.give him a bath, watch him color

      life is beautiful if u remove the IT engr, hard working tag off your shoulder

      Like

    • I feel if she is equally involved in planning the finances she would know why they can/can’t afford the jewelry… most women who ask for jewelry feel (I maybe wrong) that they have no right of the family’s money. Maybe it is just a difference in personal opinions – she think jewelry, he thinks say stocks/gadgets etc?

      Like

  34. @Sparrow

    Thanks for taking the time to reply on a lazy Saturday evening. I have so few of those that I certainly appreciate your effort😉

    Yes, you could say this to men too (they are better off staying at home) but right before this comment you wrote ” with some women that I work with, the scenario that i stated is more common because in these 3 years they have additional responsiblities at home, say a husband or a toddler etc.,.” That is what my response was directed towards. And towards your previous comments where you were quite clear about how you dislike these women and their ways. Okay, maybe I should have been clear about that in my comment. Sorry about that.

    Thanks for your advice too – of taking the initiative in the future, but I really am not seeking career advice here. I am very well aware of the “realities” myself, but all the good managers I have seen do take the time to mentor their teammates (subordinates are called this these days) Or lets say, the managers who are good leaders to their teams do this. Others just manage. Somehow. This is not to say that the teammates should not take the initiative or do anything on their own. I don’t know how you do it, but in my part of the world, individual goals are set by the individuals with input and direction from their managers.

    Instead of focusing on what these women are doing wrong, their managers would benefit if they focused on their strengths and the areas that needed improvement. And believe it or not, many women are indeed in a tough situation because they have no support from their families, or are expected to carry full burden of all responsibilities at home. That does not, and should not, excuse them from delivering on their responsibilities at work but it isn’t so easy for them to break those constraints either. But giving them a little direction, or constructive criticism which includes their weaknesses and strategies to improve on them, might benefit the company, the team and the individuals. Not everyone will implement those strategies and THAT will give you an indication of who is serious about their job and who isn’t.

    Oh, and yes this would apply to men too.

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  35. IHM, I want to have an opinion from the readers of this site on a particular attitude of this girl (whom my friend will marry in a few days). Both of them work and are in well paid jobs. Apparently, the girl’s father is taking out a loan for marriage (before you pounce on me, there is no dowry, and my friend insisted on a very simple marriage). The girl wants to repay the loan over the next six months, which my friend has no issues with, but what bothers him is, she expects him to treat her like a princess and has demanded a exotic holiday over the next few months with his money, openly saying she will not be contributing for the household expenses or for the vacation. This would also not be a problem for him, except bulk of his salary goes for his EMI’s and running his household (btw, its only his mom and him). How would you think he tackle this situation. I am only asking this, because, frankly nobody within our friend circle has got a clue and he does want this to go beyond his decision making (either him mother or her parents to know about this)

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    • In a way, the girl spent on the wedding (and is repaying the loan now), so it’s okay if the husband spends on the exotic holiday (or honeymoon).
      About household expenses – the guy is supporting his family (his mom) – not clear if the girl is also going to be spending on/supporting her parents.

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  36. You know what Henpecked husband, your problem is less about feminism or patriarchy and more about the severe lack of communication and fulfilment in your marriage. If you have so many issues with your wife not doing much, why don’t you encourage her to go out more, not to parties or anything but take up some class or some hobby? Maybe when she isn’t cooped up at your house all day and thereby pinning all her expectations on you, she wouldnt be nagging you or asking you. Personally as someone who tends to go on a nagging spree when I am unsatisfied with something in my own surroundings, I guess I get where she comes from.

    I also see a severe lack of communication and respect in the two of you. If you feel you are being forced to go shopping with her on weekends when you want to relax, why not encourage her to have her own friends? And have told her that you are tired without making it sound like she is bugging you by even expecting something like a little attention from her husband on the only day she gets to spend with him? If you encouraged your wife to pursue what she really likes in terms of a hobby or a job, she wouldn’t be complaining about most of the things you are talking about.

    It seems to me both of you need to visit a counsellor, or atleast you yourself should. If you are feeling like the great martyr, an outside perspective might help you in feeling less like one and even asserting yourself in the right manner. Instead what do you do? Since you cannot deal with it, you hide behind convenient excuses of social prejudices towards roles of husbands and wives to explain away why your marriage is not working out to be the dream marriage. So point is, take responsibility for turning your life around.

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