While I was working on that epic piece about marginal and average tax rates (I know, right?) my wife IMd me. It went a little something like this:
[wife:] i have a 100 in a class where the average is 75
[me:] oh, that’s my Ro!
[wife:] FINALLY something feels normal!
My wife (Ro is short for Robin) has been doing an incredible job of excelling at her PhD program in computer science while also being a solo parent of two small children every week while I’m away at work. I leave Sunday between 4pm and 6pm and don’t get home until Friday evening, often after the kids are down. I’m amazed as all she does. I know it’s more than I could do–more than most could do–and my happiness for her and pride in her achievements was mingled with a little bit of frustration. So, after posting those quotes on Facebook, I followed up with this:
I’ve heard from a depressingly large number of people that men don’t like it when women are smarter than them. I’ve seen it myself, both in women pretending to be dumber than they really are and in guys who eat it up. It always made me sad to see.
Me? Look, I’m a socially conservative, tradition-loving troglodyte, and even I can see that all human beings are most beautiful when they are reaching for their fullest potential, wherever that takes them.
I can’t hold a candle to Ro’s achievements and you know what? I’m perfectly happy with that. I’m a B-student, and she was high school valedictorian, full-ride scholarship, double major with honors, etc. She got into academic organizations that I hadn’t even heard of, let alone gotten an invite for!
I hear that it’s a strain on marriages when the woman has a bigger paycheck than the man, too. Since when is more money a bad thing!? My wife has always been worth more than me in the market (measured as salary per hour) and you know what? I think that’s just awesome too. Every time I get a raise, she gets a bigger one, and my only response is that the world damn well best recognize what she can do.
The thing is, my wife rocks. She doesn’t get all A’s and kick ass and take names because she’s trying to prove something. She doesn’t brag. She goes out and kicks ass and takes names because she’s brilliant, she’s curious, she’s courageous, she’s determined, and she knows that if a thing is worth doing then–by thunder!–it’s worth doing right.
(Luckily, I at least managed to emulate that trait when it came to finding someone to marry my sorry self!)
So every time I happen to tell a new acquaintance who hasn’t met her yet that my wife is scary-smart, super-awesome, and all-around fantastic and they get that “Oh, nice platitudes a husband says about his wife” look in their eyes I just smile and think to myself, “You don’t even know.”
Seriously, guys, if you can’t love and appreciate a woman in your life for striving to develop her talents–whatever they are–you’re missing out. And ladies: for the love of all that is holy find a man that understands that support is something that both parties in the relationship deserve.
Not thinking of anyone when I write this. Just putting it out there, because that’s this right-wing neanderthal’s idea of feminism.
Last comment for the Mormon feminists out there: I know the whole pedestal thing can be a kind of chauvinism all on it’s own. I get that, but that’s not what I’m doing. It’s not romanticizing your wife or bragging about her when it’s just. the. truth. This isn’t a fantasy that I’m projecting as an expectation. This is the reality of what she accomplishes.