Get a Wife to Get Ahead? It’s Not That Simple

The XX Factor
What Women Really Think
March 29 2013 10:12 AM

Get a Wife to Get Ahead? It’s Not That Simple

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Seriously, if you're not in love, you should just buy a Roomba

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

As a lesbian living with the woman I hope to marry, I want to warn Amanda Marcotte and any other ladies out there considering getting a wife so they can “lean in” and climb the corporate ladder: You’d better really love her, because marrying another woman is not going to make anything easier. Anything. More ladies, more problems.

For starters, good luck even marrying another woman, whether she’s your soul mate or your roommate. There have been hundreds of women parked in front of the Supreme Court all week because, in 41 states, they can’t marry each other. In the nine states (and D.C.) that they can, gay couples are still denied 1,138 benefits that straight married couples get, thanks to DOMA. So, just a heads-up, ladies, that no one will be receiving spousal Social Security benefits or Medicaid when you are old or widowed. You’re also going to get screwed on taxes and retirement.

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On to the household: The main problem is that you’re both going to have to work, because two women means both of you are making 77 cents to a man’s dollar. No one gets to be “The Feminist Housewife.” According to a new Half in Ten report, "Lesbian couples tend to have much higher poverty rates than either heterosexual or male couples" and “[Older] lesbian couples ... are twice as likely as straight married couples to live in poverty."

This is why our house is messy, our cooking is spotty, and I've been stealing my true love’s ugly white tube socks for the past three days: Because we both work 50-hour weeks trying to avoid that fate. And we’re lucky we don’t live in one of the 29 states where it is legal for an employer to discriminate based on our lifestyle—or in one of the 34 states that would allow us to be fired for our clearly dykey appearance.

When we decide to have a kid, we'll have not one but two mommy tracks to deal with. My partner might wear a tie to work, but the minute she starts heading out the door at 5 p.m. for family time, she's going to get smacked with a "MOMMY" label, slacks or no.

And whose insurance is going to cover that baby, anyway? On a recent lesbo group trip to the mountains, a friend who works at the State Department brought along a Congressional Research Service report as light reading to figure out why, despite the new benefits extended to same-sex federal-worker spouses by the Obama administration, her new—and suddenly unemployed—wife was not covered. (Spoiler alert: The answer is always DOMA.)

Lastly, we get our periods at the same time and are programmed to "talk things out" endlessly. Still want on board this Olivia cruise?

A man needs a maid (thank you, Neil Young). But ladies, please choose your wife for a better reason than that, because you are getting a bunch of real, gay problems as a wedding gift. Even Lisa Belkin, scribe of the now-infamous New York Times pieces “The Opt-Out Revolution” and “What a Working Woman Needs: A Wife” has changed her mind a decade later.  She calls now for a “third path”—flexibility within workplaces that gives women (and all families) options beyond a retro femme-wife savior fantasy.

Unless you’re actually gay and in love, save yourself a lot of trouble and get a roommate and a Roomba.

Shauna Miller is a writer and editor in Washington, D.C. She is a co-founder of Girls Rock D.C., a rock camp for girls ages 8-18.

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