Becoming a wife was never something I aspired to. Marriage, yes, but not a slumpy, frumpy ‘wife’. Even the word promises little, being wider than it is tall and regularly lumped on the end of equally stout prefixes – house-wife, fish-wife. Compare it to ‘girlfriend’ – suggestive of kissing, fancy lingerie and shiny hair – or even ‘partner’, which strides forth beaming and biker-booted, full of equality and modernity.

How terribly rock 'n' roll. Pic: AP

But a wife I am. In fact, carelessly, I’ve been one twice: Once very badly; the second time – hopefully – a bit better (a fortune-teller told me there would be three husbands, but she also said I’d be rich, which I might be were I not so stupid as to pay fortune-tellers).

Enamoured, then, by marriage but not my marital status, you’d think I’d be nonplussed by Kate Moss’s recent comment that her husband “would go mental” if she dressed “like a wife”.

But I am bothered. Because it’s all very well for Ms Moss to prance around in skinny jeans and brag about being all rock‘n’roll. But in one flimsy, flyaway line, she’s painted all of us shackled to a wedding ring as big, fat polyester-clad nobodies arm-deep in cheese sauce. OK, she didn’t really say that, but we know what she means.

You’ll notice Kate doesn’t often give interviews. I could be nasty and point out a correlation between her last helpful comment – “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” – and a lack of nutrients to the brain, but then I’d be guilty of the same stereotyping as her.

Fact is, I need to thank Kate, because her inference that being “like a wife” is somehow deeply unfashionable and uncool has prompted me to rethink its significance.

Eleven years in, I’m finally happy to be a wife. Why? Because it means:

•Being known – deeply, irrevocably known. Not so known that he doesn’t occasionally buy the most God-awful gifts, but known enough that when my good sense stumbles or my world tumbles, he’ll try his damnedest to fix it. If he can’t, he’s there, a head-and-a-half taller, a shoulder broader, telling me, “No one’s going to care in a year.”

• Being wrong, most days. Putting a ring on it doesn’t ensure instant harmony. Sometimes, being married is like being rubbed over with sandpaper. But, over time, the sharp bits soften or, like walking on creaky floorboards, you learn to step around them.

• Being there. When his mother succumbed to mental illness, there was nothing that could be said and little that could be done. So I anchored myself – for him – as someone who knew her and what she’d been before.

• Being us. No one else cares a jot about our daughter becoming school captain, but we do because we made her.

• Being second. While I’d much prefer to munch on a block of Lindt Orange, I usually buy Dairy Milk Fruit & Nut because that’s his favourite. Likewise, he’s given up cooking kedgeree because the fish/rice/egg combo makes me puke.

• Being able to wear a fleecy blue dressing gown with a hole in it and skintight black jeans with ‘shag me’ shoes (not usually at the same time, though). Sorry, Kate, but if “like a wife” means me going to a 40th birthday dressed as a licorice allsort and him going as a jar of Marmite, then fab-diddly-oh.

• Even though sometimes I don’t want to be a wife and, more specifically, sometimes I don’t want to be his wife, the fact I still am says everything.

Catch Angela Mollard every Sunday at 8.45am on Weekend Today, on the Nine Network. Email angelamollard@sundaymagazine.com.au. Follow her at www.twitter.com/angelamollard

Most commented

18 comments

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    • TChong says:

      08:04am | 01/07/12

      hmmmmmm
      I know this is a weekend light piece, but jeez,
      To paraphrase Basil Fawlty- is that the aroma of burning martyrs ?
      ( self conflagrationists , this time} .

    • Gruesome says:

      08:55am | 01/07/12

      This all sounds a bit too much like a life sentence of blanding down until you both reach the polyester pants and matching colours stage (at about the same moment). Then one of you dies.

    • Tails says:

      09:59am | 01/07/12

      Interestingly Kate my husband takes offence to me dressing like a crack whore and giving blow jobs to other men so perhaps, should I want to remain a wife I should aspire to take adviice from someone who perhaps hasn’t had as many goes at it.

    • BJ says:

      10:07am | 01/07/12

      Don’t these sort of observations about married life belong on Facebook, not here?

    • Bitten says:

      06:58pm | 01/07/12

      Fark, one would hope so. Apparently not.

    • E. R. M. says:

      10:37am | 01/07/12

      Conversely, I actually found it rather helpful. It’s been 3 months since my fiancé and I have seen each other as we’re finishing up work in Perth and Sydney respectively. We’ve been at loggerheads from time to time (including last night, which we resolved) and this just helped to put some considerations back into perspective. Thanks.

    • Ol'Wobbly says:

      10:53am | 01/07/12

      TChong and Gruesome, you’re both either under 25 and/or unmarried or divorced. You have to have gone through the serendipitous experience of a good marriage before you can agree with Angela’s sentiments. Don’t be so bloody cynical - instead, work on your marriages/go get yourselves something similar (as the case may be).

    • Anonymous says:

      11:18am | 01/07/12

      This article makes me very, very happy to not be a wife.

      But hey Angela, whatever blows your skirt up.

    • Anjuli says:

      11:23am | 01/07/12

      It all depends which era you were when married , it used be women should barefoot and pregnant. If you expect a perfect union then you must have spent your formative years reading Mills and Boon .It is all about give and take by both, they do say the first 10 years are the worst after that you just get on with it——most of the time.

    • conspiracy says:

      11:55am | 01/07/12

      Are those kids members of the Illumanatti?

    • thatmosis says:

      12:34pm | 01/07/12

      I have been married for over 40 years and my wife doesn’t look like a wife but a very attractive lady, you know, one of those people that talks correctly, doesn’t use every second word as a swear word, can actually string a sentence together without saying like or you know, doesn’t answer her mobile while people are talking to her face to face, dresses well and doesn’t have rolls of fat hanging out over her clothes, thighs like tree trunks and arses that if put between the earth and the sun would cause a nuclear winter.
        She is busy with various pursuits that keep her busy and keeps a very clean house and makes me very proud. Of course we both work at our marriage unlike the majority of people nowadays who walk out because its all just too hard and accept that we aren’t perfect but don’t try and change the other person into something there not.
      So what’s wrong with being a wife, or a husband for that matter.

    • Jase says:

      01:54pm | 01/07/12

      Interestingly enough, if you observe married individuals they tend to let go appearance wise post marriage.

    • stephen says:

      08:08pm | 01/07/12

      So true.
      After only 6 months gravity takes hold, everything falls to earth and jowls take up most of the face.
      (For the blokes, the gut is the first thing to get wet in the rain.)

      Marriage is for the mediocres of the world : each sap can be joined to the harmony of the herd mentality of consolidation.

      ps if you want to be excellent, be selfish ... and as my old Auntie once said to me ... ‘bless her heart’ ... why go to the bookshop when you can go to the library ?

    • Wilma J Craig says:

      05:07pm | 01/07/12

      Whatever the hell she wants to look like. That is what a wife should look like.
      1) She wants to dress like a Lady? Fine, so long as she can afford it.
      2) She wants to dress like a High Class Whore?
      That’s fine, so long as she can a( Afford to & b) put up with being propositioned.
      3) She wants to dress like a cheap, gutter tart?
      That’s fine too, so long as she can afford to buy the drugs.
      4) She wants to dress & look like everyone’s image of the Vicar’s wife?
      Great. She just has to ensure she behaves like one & that means nooky only for purposes of procreation!
      Me? I just hope I know, or at my age now, knew, how to be all those things - except the drugs & vicar’s wife bits - as & when suitable.
      My Harry said many years ago - must be that for he’s been dead 15 - that what he wanted in a wife was a woman who was the perfect lady in public but a red-hot momma in the cot.
      I think I managed all of that for, though he looked, he never strayed!!!
      However if he did stray I would like to know when he got the time to do so!

    • Arnold Layne says:

      07:17pm | 01/07/12

      Nice piece Angela, speaking as a husband.  Comfortable and familiar isn’t bad, as long as it’s not a by-product of apathy and taking-for-granted.  Or when you don’t have to say anything, even though you haven’t run out of things to say.

    • Cath says:

      11:08pm | 01/07/12

      Last line indeed says it all!

    • Joan Bennett says:

      07:44am | 02/07/12

      I think she meant because most “wives” become Mothers and this is what makes the change in appearance.  It is nigh impossible to look glam when you have baby and, just as you are getting your time back to consider exercise/diet or what you wear etc, along comes another bundle of “I have no time for myself” and it starts again.  Of course, rich and famous types can employ staff to do all the hard yakka, so they can enjoy the good parts of being a Mum and still have time to look a certain way.  Funny how so many non rich and famous Mums complain about not having time, though.  I wonder why they had children if they feel that way?

    • M says:

      10:21am | 02/07/12

      Who cares what she looks like as long as she’s in the kitchen!

 

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