18 Comments

  1. Tips at least. Wait, she was manager… but they might have a shared tips system.

    But I may have it backwards anyway. Forget the arrangement with Pru, at this point they would have the expense of hiring a manager, balanced by the new income if Mom (what th’ heck is her name?) got a paying job elsewhere. Might not exactly balance , but roughly.

    But they could still get some extra income from renting the room out. But not if they let Luann make it a hobby room.

  2. This strip is so bizarre, as is this story line. Nancy (the Mom) has two grown children, neither of whom lives at home, except for Luann on school breaks. It can’t take that much of her day to do Frank’s cooking, cleaning, and laundry, especially since Frank, as the owner of a bar and restaurant, probably doesn’t have time to eat meals other than breakfast at home anyway. The idea that a husband would resist his wife working at the family restaurant hasn’t been plausible since about 1970, at which time his attitude would have been seen as hopelessly old-fashioned and unrealistic.

    The family is perennially short of money. Meanwhile, the Fuse is short of staff. Nancy has few marketable skills, but she does have or could easily obtain the skills needed to work there. How is it possible that she is not already working at the Fuse?

  3. I’ve noticed that women seem to take great office at the idea that they should do anything perceived as “women’s work.”

    At the last corporate job I had, where I would eat the lunch I brought from home in a large lunchroom full of other workers for the same multi-billion dollar financial institution, female coworkers would ask me “Do you make your own lunch?” I would usually answer “Hell no! I didn’t get married so I could make my own lunch!”‘

    This would often be followed by disapproving looks and often words.

    I would reply that I worked at least 8 hours a day in my job, very often more. My commute to and from work took about four hours. I typically slept about seven hours per night. That left me five hours to do everything else in my day. My wife, on the other hand, did not work (health reasons) and was home all day on most days. Why shouldn’t she make my lunch? Furthermore, because of the physical demands involved, I do laundry and bathroom cleaning (both of which I agreed to do when we got married, when she was healthy).

    So, yeah, family members should contribute to the running of the family, but that doesn’t mean they all need to do the same thing.

    Another story about that kind of thing:

    A good friend who lived in Singapore at the same time I did had a wife and two, then three children. The wife did not work. She had terrible morning sickness throughout all her pregnancies and could not work. So he took care of making money and she was at home and looked after the kids. Sometime after kid number two arrived, she made it known she wanted a maid.

    In Singapore, a maid is not the marker of extreme wealth it now is in North America. In Singapore, comfortable middle-class families will often have maids to do household chores, watch children or aged relatives, and cook. The employment pass laws require the maid live-in with the employer, so you must provide room and board, pay the maid-levy to the government and pay a fee to the maid agency which has imported your maid, some of which she gets as a salary.

    While _having_ a maid isn’t a huge status symbol, the _type_ of maid you have is. The cheapest maids are from Indonesia. Usually very young girls of 17 or 18, they will often not speak English (at least not well) and will usually need much supervision and training to run a household equipped with modern appliances and may need to be taught how to cook as well. Next up the ladder are those from Malaysia. Much of what I said about Indonesians applies, but they are usually better trained and can speak some English. The top-tier of maid is the Filipina. They speak English, are older and well-trained, often with several years experience. They have the option to travel to Hong Kong, Canada and other places as nannies and maids, so they command a premium and employing one in Singapore lets people know you’ve got some serious scratch to through around. Finally, there are some very wealthy individuals who may import an au pair from a Western country. Their duties tend to be more child-focused, though they will usually do household chores as well. Their employers are often, but not exclusively, expatriates who want the children having an au pair from the home country who speaks the native language.

    So, background set.

    Buddy gets a maid. So he’s out working, paying for a maid _and_ the wife isn’t working. One day she gets on him about how he needs to do more around the home when he gets back. I helpfully suggested he could negotiate a deal where she goes to his office and does some of his work. I don’t think that’s how he responded.

    Anyhoo, I don’t think it’s inherently horrifying if a man suggests that I woman do work around the house because she has the time to do it.

  4. I think it’s quite a bit to do with how you answer the question. Your actual reply was that your wife should be making lunch regardless. Had you said, “My wife doesn’t work outside the home, so she has taken on the job of making lunch for me”, then I doubt any asking looks would have occurred.

  5. @ Brian in StL – To me it sounded as if S-Bill‘s aggressive answer was intended to squelch the questions.

  6. Kilby, not quite. I considered it a didactic opportunity. Yes, my response was intended to provoke the typical response from the woman asking (because men never seemed to care if I made my own lunch). I then had an opportunity to teach them that there exists a world outside their limited experience and view and they should not jump to conclusions. I’m a feminist and think women should be able to live their lives as they wish. How people live in their relationships is pretty much none of my business (unless someone is being abused).

  7. My Dad told me about an odd office mate of his who brought his lunch from home every day. Every day he’d take a peanut butter sandwich out of the bag and complain about it. “Peanut butter again!” Or, “I’m sick and tired of peanut butter!”

    My Dad said, “Why don’t you ask your wife to make something different?” The office mate said “Leave my wife out of it! I make my own lunch.”

  8. That’s an old, old, old joke. But, to be fair, not quite as old as the one in today’s CRANKSHAFT.

  9. I think the wording was designed to generate a negative reaction. It wasn’t an unreasonable question.

  10. Brian, I was probably 45 or older before I started giving this answer. I was getting the question for years before that and “No, my wife usually makes it” was met with a disapproving look at best or some condescending comment or some kind of lecture about equality of the sexes. It was usually younger women who felt the need to judge the way we ran our household. Men and older women didn’t usually care much. So, best defence is a good offence.

    I’ll admit that I was not bothered by questions about my ability to do domestic chores when I worked in Japan. I was single and lived alone. So laundry, cleaning, and feeding myself were all on me. The Japanese women at work (other teachers and school admin staff) would ask who cooks for me, who does the laundry, etc. and be amazed that I did it all for myself. Their husbands generally did none of that, even though these women would put in long, hard days at work. I wonder if I started any arguments? Anyway, one of the stated goals of my job was cultural exchange, so I was pretty open to discussing cultural things.

  11. Good comeback to a woman asking a man if his wife makes his lunch –
    “Why does your husband make yours?”

    Over the decades who does what between Robert and me has varied. We both were working when we got married. As his job rose in importance (and salary) and exhausted him, I did more of the general housework. When he quit his job and I was supporting us he took over more of the housework. Now that my client load is down under 10 and neither of us is working that much – neither of us does the housework – until it really NEEDS to be done.

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