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Don’t patronise women just because they’re wives

PUBLISHED: 10:54 11 September 2018

Mutual Appreciation Day - it could work. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Mutual Appreciation Day - it could work. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto


It is annual wife appreciation day on Sunday, September 16. Lynne Mortimer sends out a plea for husbands to ignore it and appreciate their wives every day.

Sewing on a shirt button - what fun. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphotoSewing on a shirt button - what fun. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

I have to declare an interest in Wife Appreciation Day. I am a wife.

Meanwhile, a colleague also expressed an interest: “Every day is wife appreciation day,” he said without rancour.

This day, devised by whom?... falls on the third Sunday of November each year. I could say is it a Sunday so that it doesn’t clash with the football but that would be sour grapes.

Apparently its origins are lost in the mists of time... or maybe in the bottom of the third glass of wine. But it seems to have been dreamt up to celebrate women who are married but have no children.

Don't patronise the little woman. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphotp/Anet LandaDon't patronise the little woman. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphotp/Anet Landa

So, let’s celebrate being patronised. The mere fact that no one claims ownership of the day leads me to suspect its perpetrator remains in hiding and my advice is for them to stay there because no good can come of a 0.274% commitment to appreciating one’s female partner.

This doesn’t stop them from wittering on about it, though. intones: “Since wives do so many things to make their husbands and homes happy, this is a day for men to let their wives know just how much they appreciate both the little and the big things they do all year long.”

Men should not be intimidated into thinking they ought to recognise this wholly useless occasion. As a typical (-ish) wife I would not be happy if my favourite husband felt he had to buy me something or massage my feet in order to show that he appreciates me. I know he does because he shares his thoughts with me... even when I am trying to read my book or do the crossword.

"Hope I'm not interrupting your viewing, darling," Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

What does a Wife Appreciation Day actually mean?

It means, I suppose, that for 364 days out of the 365 and a quarter days of the year women can:

• Not expect any thanks for doing the lion’s share of the ironing: “There’s a button missing off this shirt you ironed.”

• Cook without praise: “Cottage pie... must be Tuesday.”

He appreciates his wife's roast dinner. Picture: George Marks/ Getty ImagesHe appreciates his wife's roast dinner. Picture: George Marks/ Getty Images

• Do most of the shopping without it being noticed unless: “We’re out of Jammie Dodgers again.”

• Remove dust which is invisible to the partner’s eye: “I see no dust.”

• Ask politely if their husband (who is sitting on the sofa reading the paper) would mind lifting their legs so you can vacuum under them

But on Sunday, September 16, all that will change, apparently.

Why not a mutual foot massage. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphotoWhy not a mutual foot massage. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The notes on “traditional ways to observe Wife Appreciation Day” suggest gifts of flowers, perfume, jewellery or clothing.”

I might add that buying red satin underwear does not count as a gift for her.

Other “rewards” for being an appreciated wife might include a day at a spa, tickets to a show and dinner at a nice restaurant. Then there is the personal touch: “A foot massage and cooking breakfast or dinner at home can also say, “Thank you for all the things you do every day. I appreciate them.”

To be frank, if my husband who − I am happy to report − irons, cooks, cleans and shops without prompting, suddenly arrived home with flowers in order to show his appreciation, I would be very suspicious. I am more than happy that he makes me a cup of tea in the morning and does not call me “dear” or “the other half” or “she, who must be obeyed,” or “darling” or “the little woman,” or “the wife”.

A sudden floral tribute would have me checking his shirt collars for lipstick, pouncing on his mobile phone to check texts and emails or trying to find out what he’s done wrong − eg ordered something stupidly expensive from the internet.

I would urge all of those who have noticed that Wife Appreciation Day is approaching to make a point of ignoring it. In 2018 people who are life partners should appreciate one another every day. If a wife has spent all bar one day a year feeling unappreciated, there is something badly amiss and a bunch of flowers ain’t going to fix it.

The next thing you know they’ll be creating a “husband appreciation day” on which wives get to sew missing buttons on to shirts or buy cartloads of Jammie Dodgers. That will really make the day stand out from all the rest...

This trumped up idea of a day to appreciate wives is like some ghastly throwback to times when men were masters and women were just there to do their bidding.

I should cocoa. I would like to see Wife Appreciation Day re-designated as Mutual Appreciation Day (MAD) when couples who consider themselves equal partners in a relationship show each other respect. This is how to feel truly appreciated.

There is #WifeAppreciationDay to post on social media but I have refrained from availing myself of the hashtag. What I have to say (see above) really cannot be confined to 280 characters.

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