Watching the president’s wife on television—surrounded by fascinated press while she talks at length—the shopkeeper’s wife turned to her husband and said: ‘You’re the reason why I’m not a president’s wife.’
Watching the general’s wife on television—standing by her husband as he received accolades and medals—the shopkeeper’s wife turned to her husband and said: ‘You’re the reason why I’m not a general’s wife.’
Watching the rock star’s wife on television—interviewed by a talk show host on her latest autobiographical exposé—the shopkeeper’s wife turned to her husband and said: ‘You’re the reason why I’m not a rock star’s wife.’
Watching the CEO’s wife on television—giving a tour of her home to show the taste and beauty her husband’s wealth bought her—the shopkeeper’s wife turned to her husband and said: ‘You’re the reason why I’m not a CEO’s wife! You’re keeping me a shopkeeper’s wife!’
The wife, angry and frustrated, sought an outlet and an explanation for her thwarted ambitions. She was owed the attention of the press, the adoration of fans, the interest of interested parties. She was owed fine furnishes and glossy surfaces, vacations to expensive beaches and an Olympic-sized back yard pool in the shape of a guitar or maybe a piano. She was owed this, and had her husband, the shopkeeper, delivered?
She found other women, angry like her, and blaming. They told her that her frustrations were legitimate but misdirected: it wasn’t just her husband who had kept her a shopkeeper’s wife, but all men along with him.
So the shopkeeper’s wife read everything she could about her frustration—now recognized as oppression—how she—yes SHE!—had been denied the spoils of wealth and privilege not just by the very man she had married but all men. And it wasn’t due to his inability or lack of ambition, as she had once thought and repeatedly reminded him of, but for far more sinister reasons. It was a deliberate ruse on his part; a conspiracy, a devilish plan shared among all men to keep women from positions of power and acclaim and riches. It was a dark and secret cabal and her husband was its point man in orchestrating her personal misfortune.
The shopkeeper’s wife went back to her husband and said: ‘I’m an empowered woman now so I don’t need to be the wife of a president, a general, a rock star or a CEO. And I can forgive you for not giving that life to me, lazy and worthless as you are, but what I can’t forgive is you taking it away! You stopped me from being a president, a general, a rock star, a CEO! You kept me a shopkeeper’s wife!’ She hesitated a moment. ‘That’s why I’m leaving you.’
And so she did.
I hear she’s a cashier in a shop, now.