Dating is kind of amazing and kind of awful. I love meeting new people, but I hate the awkwardness of a potential relationship. Recently I went out with a man who seemed pretty great on paper. Amazing family, great job, well traveled, fluent in multiples languages, funny, smart. We went out for drinks and the conversation was easy. He was a good listener, and was interesting when he shared details of his incredible life. But then the mood shifted. He started complimenting me, while simultaneously talking about what he wanted in a wife. He told me I seemed like the kind of women who would do anything to keep her man happy. Confused, I asked him to elaborate. He told me that he was looking for a wife exactly like me. (After knowing me for three days, mind you.) He wants to start a family and is looking for someone to support him while he runs his many businesses. He told me I was “above” the jobs I currently worked and would be more useful as a wife. I'm not entirely sure what that means, and although he told me not to be offended-I was. He further explained that he wanted a woman who had the flexibility to hop on a plane whenever he wanted to travel with her, but would keep the household in check while he was away on business. He said he didn't want his wife worrying about money, that if I were to marry him I'd have access to a household account and plenty of credit cards to cover any expenses or luxuries I could possibly need or ever desire.
Don't worry, this isn't a chronicle of my dating life. There's a point here. First of all, I don't know this man well and he doesn't know me. Without knowing my aspirations or desires, he immediately starts talking about taking care of me. Maybe I do not want to be taken care of that way! And even if I was looking to be taken care of, belittling my daily work and the ways I currently earn an income are not the path to my heart.
There is nothing wrong with having money. There is nothing wrong with a man supporting his wife. What I have an issue with is our society placing so much value on the "trophy wife." When I asked this gentleman why he thought I'd be a good wife, he said I was beautiful and easy to get along with. That's it. Those were his requirements. Perhaps I shouldn't be offended. But I don't want to be a pretty face that fades into the background of his life. I don't want a credit card handed to me without knowledge of how the money was acquired or how it would continue to be earned.
What exactly is a “trophy wife?” When you google the term it’s essentially when a young, beautiful woman marries an older, wealthy man. The wife is known to shop, to get beauty treatments, and to be the arm candy of her well-off husband. That sounds like fun for about three days, but then I would be absolutely bored out of my mind. More importantly, I want a husband who will view me as a partner. I want someone who is looking to me as an equal, who sees me as an asset in all areas of his life. I want someone who respects my intellect and my dreams, not someone who has cast me as the supporting role in his life.
I am sure this gentleman meant no harm in his suggestion that I would be a good fit in his life. He saw someone he thought would be decent arm-candy and was easy to talk to. Great. But his intentions were selfish. He made it seem that since he had money, that was sufficient cause to dedicate my life to his pursuits and his whims. I’m not opposed to building a business with someone or being a stay-at-home parent for a couple years if necessary, but I want there to be a mutual respect. I want a man to pursue me, to know my heart, and to love me because of what I can offer him with my passions and my knowledge, not just my looks and personality.
If I am ever going to be a “trophy wife,” my hope would be that I am a trophy that was pursued. A trophy that was earned and is, therefore, cherished. Because there’s a big difference between being cherished and being taken care of. Typically, when you’ve been given a trophy, it means you’ve worked hard, you’ve invested time, you’ve studied and learned about whatever sport or arena in which you’ve been awarded said trophy. That is what I want from the man that I marry. I want him to study me, to know me, to invest in me, to create a life with me. I wish we demanded more from the men that we dated. I wish I could protect my sisters from men offering the world on a platter, without asking what kind of world she wants to live in. I wish men didn’t feel compelled to tell us their net worth in order for us to be interested. I wish women didn’t allow their dreams to become subservient to their husbands’. And I don’t know how to make any of that happen, but I think a great first step is redefining what it means to be a “trophy wife.” I hope that in years to come a “trophy wife” is a woman who is courted, who is adored, who is encouraged to be the best version of herself possible, who is challenged, who is smart, who is strong, and who is beautiful from the inside out.
Until next time,