Monday, May 28, 2012

Playing Wifey

My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding
I've become addicted to the docu-reality show, 'My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding'. The show has the winning combination of a totally fascinating 'fringe' culture, a set of very likeable characters, and some amazing outfits. Gypsy culture seems to be incredibly patriarchal and old fashioned, with uber-macho men and super feminine women. Girls absolutely don't drink or have sex before marriage, or even hang out with men alone. They tend to get married super young, around 16 or 17. As a wife, they are expected to cook, clean and raise the kids. They are not expected to work outside the home. Responsibilites and boundaries are very clear.

As a good feminist, this rings all my bells, and I worry about their freedom, safety, and threat of violence.  But I can't help admit that they do seem to be happy families, connected and loving. The clarity of roles and responsibilities seems to alieve some of the angst of modern partnerships.  I jokingly said to my friends when I left for England that I was going to go 'play wifey' to my sister for a week. While she's finishing her first book, I'm here cooking dinner, cleaning her house, doing a big spring clean... making her life smoother and more comfortable while she slogs through work.

Trying to do it all alone is hard. Having a career, keeping a house, eating well and exercising enough. Sometimes I think us career women really need a good old-fashioned wife.

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