Why I Want a Wife by Judy Brady
I belong to that classification of people known as wives. I am A Wife. And, not altogether
incidentally, I am a mother.
Not too long ago a male friend of mine appeared on the scene fresh from a
recent divorce. He had one child, who is, of course, with his ex-wife. He is looking
for another wife. As I thought about him while I was ironing one evening, it
suddenly occurred to me that I, too, would like to have a wife. Why do I want a
I would like to go back to school so that I can become economically independent,
support myself, and, if need be, support those dependent upon me. I
want a wife who will work and send me to school. And while I am going to school
I want a wife to take care of my children. I want a wife to keep track of the children’s
doctor and dentist appointments. And to keep track of mine, too. I want a
wife to make sure my children eat properly and are kept clean. I want a wife who
will wash the children’s clothes and keep them mended. I want a wife who is a
goodnurturant attendant to my children, who arranges for their schooling,
makes sure that they have an adequate social life with their peers, takes them to
the park, the zoo, etc. I want a wife who takes care of the children when they are
sick, a wife who arranges to be around when the children need special care, because,
of course, I cannot miss classes at school. My wife must arrange to lose
time at work and not lose the job. It may mean a small cut in my wife’s income
from time to time, but I guess I can tolerate that. Needless to say, my wife will
arrange and pay for the care of the children while my wife is working.
I want a wife who will take care of my physical needs. I want a wife who will
keep my house clean. A wife who will pick up after my children, a wife who will
pick up after me. I want a wife who will keep my clothes clean, ironed, mended,
replaced when need be, and who will see to it that my personal things are kept in
their proper place so that I can find what I need the minute I need it. I want a
wife who cooks the meals, a wife who is a good cook. I want a wife who will plan
the menus, do the necessary grocery shopping, prepare the meals, serve them
pleasantly, and then do the cleaning up while I do my studying. I want a wife who
will care for me when I am sick and sympathize with my pain and loss of time
from school. I want a wife to go along when our family takes a vacation so that
someone can continue to care for me and my children when I need a rest and
change of scene.
I want a wife who will not bother me with rambling complaints about a
wife’s duties. But I want a wife who will listen to me when I feel the need to explain
a rather difficult point I have come across in my course of studies. And I
want a wife who will type my papers for me when I have written them.
I want a wife who will take care of the details of my social life. When my wife
and I are invited out by my friends, I want a wife who will take care of the
babysitting arrangements. When I meet people at school that I like and want to
entertain, I want a wife who will have the house clean, will prepare a special meal,
serve it to me and my friends, and not interrupt when I talk about things that interest
me and my friends. I want a wife who will have arranged that the children
are fed and ready for bed before my guests arrive so that the children do not
bother us. I want a wife who takes care of the needs of my guests so that they feel
Comfortable, who makes sure that they have an ashtray, that they are passed the
Hors d’oeuvres, that they are offered a second helping of the food, that their wine
glasses are replenished when necessary, that their coffee is served to them as they
like it. And I want a wife who knows that sometimes I need a night out by myself.
I want a wife who is sensitive to my sexual needs, a wife who makes love passionately
and eagerly when I feel like it, a wife who makes sure that I am satisfied.
And, of course, I want a wife who will not demand sexual attention when I am
not in the mood for it. I want a wife who assumes the complete responsibility for
birth control, because I do not want more children. I want a wife who will remain
sexually faithful to me so that I do not have to clutter up my intellectual life with
jealousies. And I want a wife who understands that my sexual needs may entail
more than strict adherence to monogamy. I must, after all, be able to relate to
people as fully as possible.
If, by chance, I find another person more suitable as a wife than the wife I already
have, I want the liberty to replace my present wife with another one. Naturally,
I will expect a fresh new life; my wife will take the children and be solely responsible
for them so that I am left free.
When I am through with school and have a job, I want my wife to quit working
and remain at home so that my wife can more fully and completely take care
of a wife’s duties.
My God, who wouldn’t want a wife?
From Ms. Magazine, 1972.Copyright © 1970 by Judy Syfers.Reprinted by permission.