real life

Come join me in taking the "perfect wife" test.

If you are a wife, it’s time to check your job description.

Because the Internet has some excellent ideas on how you could be better at it.

Behold, some helpful feedback from young men about how they know that they have married the right person.

“She does your laundry.”

“She knows the 3 Ss – sex, sandwiches and silence.”

“Her mum looks like a better version of her.”

“She can cook like a Latina goddess.”

“She values quality time spent indoors with you, rather than exotic trips.”

“She doesn’t have insecurity problems.”

“You have very few complaints about her.”

How are you doing on that checklist, people?

#wifeherif She owns a big hat and an impressive collecton of poplin sundresses.

These are just some of the highlights from the delightful #wifeherif hashtag, that’ve been trending on and off since 2013.

It recently bounced back on the back of a world of helpful and informative think-pieces about “how to know if you have found the woman you should marry” and “what’s the difference between women you date and the woman you marry,” all of which have adorably twee life-lessons, like:

8. The girl you date shows her cleavage all the time.
The woman you marry is more modest because she knows her attributes are for your eyes only.


14. The girl you date has to be entertained.
The woman you marry is someone you can have fun with, relax, do activities, or do nothing together and still enjoy each other’s company.

Aw. Men. It would be almost lovable that they are being suckered into the same insecurity-inducing, self-help nonsense and endless relationship advice articles that women have been slaves to for ever if it weren’t so very depressing.

I am not married, and yet I am very, very married. I have been exclusively with one man for ten years. We have a mortgage and two children together, intertwined families and busy, busy lives. But reading through the lists of attributes that the ideal wife should possess, I had a sudden, blindingly clear vision of why I have never got married.

Many years ago, when I was living in a share-house with the kind of adorable male who once told me that he had stayed with his girlfriend for so long because he didn’t know how to use the washing machine, I made a vow to myself.

I would NEVER learn how to use a washing machine.

No insecurities and few complaints. Just like Betty and Don.

No-one would ever stay with me because they couldn’t look after themselves. I would never be the kind of “wife” who was indispensable because of her domestic skills.

Fold your own damn washing. Make your own damn dinner.

I’m just going to sit over here and be interesting and independent.

Now, it seems, that determination for self-determination has made me exactly the kind of woman who does not appear on the #wifeherif lists.


Since my young, share-house days, I have learned a few life lessons. One of them is about sharing the load.

So, I am making a list of #husbandhimif – to help myself and all the other unmarried women out there.

And here’s what it reads:

“He does your laundry.”

“He knows the 3 Ss – sex, sandwiches and silence.”

“His dad looks like a better version of him.”

“He can cook like a Latina goddess.”

“He values quality time spent indoors with you, rather than exotic trips.”

“He doesn’t have a insecurity problems.”

“You have very few complaints about him.”

Yes, I learned how to use the washing machine, but I always made sure I wasn’t the only person in the house who knew how. Of course I sometimes fold my partner’s washing, and now my kids’ washing (every damn day) – but he also folds mine, and the kids’. We both know about sex, we both love an excellent BLT, and we both know the moments to shut up.

Here I am, in the kitchen, whipping up a macrobiotic pulled-pork.

Sometimes, I make an incredible pulled pork, close to how I imagine a Latina goddess might. And sometimes, so does he. Because it’s in a cookbook, it’s written down, it’s not rocket science. He would also rather go on exotic trips than sit staring at me. Neither of us get to do that as often as we’d like.

We both have insecurities. And sometimes, we both love to complain about the other, preferably to each other, in the kind of way that does not burn bridges.

Since swearing off washing machines, I have learned a lot about what makes a good partner.

And it’s the same for all humans, regardless of gender.

Respect, consideration, shared responsibility.

And being able to make an excellent sandwich.

What would be on your #husbandhimif list?