September 11, 2012 by kitcac
I am still agog at the 1950s housewife timewarp moment I had today. I have never had one before. I didn’t go batshit crazy like I thought I would in that sort of situation. I just kind of let it wash over me and now it’s festering.
Anyhow, we are having some work done at the House of Hooks next week and a guy came round today to do some measurements.
I offered him a coffee and we made small talk while the kettle boiled. He asked me what Mr Kitcac does for a living. I told him. Then I patiently waited for him to ask what I do for a living. Nothing. OK, I thought. Fair enough, there’s a baby in the house, he might think I’m a stay at home mum rather than an aggressive office worker on maternity leave.
He could have asked “are you on maternity leave?” or “is it your day off?” or “do you stay at home with the baby?” or something like that, just to be fair and let me have something to say about me.
Ah well, I am over it. He just wasn’t fussed about what the little woman gets up to.
Then another weird question: “Who will be available next week when the work gets done?”
I said I would be in. This was followed by “Oh, so your husband won’t be here? Are you ok with that?”
Hmmm, I am sure I can manage to brew up for some workmen on my own. I’m not frightened of men (they might turn out to be frightened of me). Again, I let this go. Presumably some women need their fellas about if anything manly is happening on their roof.
I had to sign some paperwork and as I signed it I was told “Don’t worry love, it’s not a legal document or anything”.
I did a bit of a haw haw haw guffaw at this and rolled my eyes. OK mate, I won’t worry my tiny female brain about that!
We’ve paid a deposit for the work but will have to pay a further sum on completion of the work and he asked me did I understand this.
I fully understand the concept that you must pay for something that you are contractually obliged to pay for. It is not rocket science. When you pay a deposit for something, you generally have to pay the rest of the money. Otherwise people end up writing really nasty letters and making each other cry in court.
I get it Mister!
And then it happened. Something made me speechless. Or at least incapable of coherent anger.
“Right then Mrs Kitcac, how will your husband be paying the balance?”
How will YOUR HUSBAND be paying the balance?!!!!!!!
I repeated it back to him. I might have been slurring my words because I think this question caused me to have an aneurysm. It went like this:
“How will my husband be paying the balance? (Slurred slurred slurred)”
I think I might have gone a bit cross-eyed too.
Yes, Mrs Kitcac, will your husband be paying by card or cheque?
I couldn’t kick off. I simply couldn’t function because I was so shocked that these attitudes still existed. And I was holding the baby – I guess I could have thrown the baby at him, but that’s really not the done thing.
I just said “By card”.
By card, yeah, that’s how my husband rolls!
So yes, in summary, my husband is in charge of all of the money and I stay at home and warm his slippers for when he comes back from work. Sometimes if I am planning to cook a special dinner for him after he has had a difficult week at work, I pop to the shops and buy a new pinny with my husband’s money.
Do people actually live like that? As in “my husband is in charge of all the money and I get some money for housekeeping, which allows me to occasionally splash out on a new ribbon for my hair”?
Now that it has had time to sink in, I have a million questions swirling around my head.
Other than this guy, do people generally think that the men are in charge of money in a relationship?
Regardless of whether it’s a relationship between a man and a woman or a same sex relationship, should one person be in sole charge of the money? Is it not an equal responsibility and an equal right? Do these things not get discussed as a couple?
If one person is in control of the money, what does the weaker party have to do to obtain the other’s permission to spend? Do you have to justify it? Why should you? What if the financial controller doesn’t agree with your justifications for spending? Does the weaker party go without?
It is depressing is it to learn that some families in 21st Century Britain, some people still think that it is acceptable to create a dynamic in the household that harks back to the 1950s, when a woman was considered almost as an employee of the husband and financially controlled by him.
For what its worth, Stavros and I have a relatively relaxed attitude to finances. We’ll agree on what we need, what we want and what we can afford. That’s it.
It isn’t about asking permission, it’s about deciding as a partnership.
The workmen are going to be back next week to do the work. I have decided that I am going to dress up as Doris Day in a yellow dress and sing a song to my husband as he leaves for work, having starched his shirts and baked cookies for him.
Then, when they are on the roof doing all their butch stuff, I am going to wander around the back garden and do this:
Now wear did I put my white gloves and my hairspray?!