Last week I came across a post gone viral where a man intentionally messed up his apartment and invited his girlfriend over to check whether she cleans up indicating she was good enough to marry. He called it the ‘girlfriending test’.
Twitter did not disappoint, obviously. The tweets that followed pointed out the misogyny, the filthiness and the overall stupidity of his idea which led to him to being single because she dumped him right away.
No surprises there, I mean who’d want to date a filthy pig.
But this whole episode reminded me of Indian marriages where the woman walking in the filthy apartment isn’t a girlfriend but a new bride and has almost zero chances of walking away. At least not without a huge reason because of the stigma of divorce haunts women and keeps them imprisoned in bad marriages.
I recall when my sister got married into a well-to-do household of engineers and doctors with government jobs and two domestic helpers, they fired one the next day and the other turned out to be a cousin from their extended family. She belonged to a low-income family so they told us in the beginning that she was a domestic worker.
And immediately after the wedding charade was over, they expected her to wash even denim jeans of the husband and father-in-law by hand, not by machine because ‘they liked hand washed clothes’. You married a dentist so you can have an unpaid maid to clean the floors and your dirty laundry? WTF.
Or my friend whose husband was an engineer with a high income, living in Delhi all by himself. He depended on the maid for all his cooking and cleaning before they got married. When my friend delivered a baby and wanted to stay at her parents’ house for a while in Lucknow to recover from the massive surgery, he was hell-bent upon taking her home to Delhi the very next day because he was having trouble with food. He wanted her to clean and cook for him in this condition… the man who had no problem eating food the maid cooked for years, would now suddenly die if he didn’t eat meals cooked by his wife.
No wonder 66% of women’s work in India is unpaid.
Although men do 34% more paid work than women, women still spend more of their time on unpaid work such as housework, childcare, and care for older people. According to a study, “Indian men just spend around 19 minutes a day on routine housework, which is, the lowest in the world. Indian women, on the other hand, spent a whopping 298 (around 5 hours) minutes on daily housework such as cooking, laundry, pets, home maintenance and the likes.”
And then they ask “what do you women do at home all day?” Without going into the economics of unpaid women’s labour and the impact it has on our GDP, I want to give Indian men a very brief but stark reality check:
Dear Indian Men,
Women are not your ‘other half’. Women are full, complete humans. When you marry one, you bring a partner in your life. And as a partner, your roles, responsibilities, and compromises are 50-50. You both may mutually decide to take care of one part (outside chores) and the other may take up the other half (inside the house chores).
Neither is less important or easy.
If you think so, try doing all the house chores for a day and you’ll know.
From fetching water across the village from a well to bringing firewood, women put in a lot of hard work while the men are ploughing the field. None of this can be discounted.
And in urban cities too, women whether educated, holding executive roles in offices or the ones staying home to look after the kids and the elderly, none have it easy. In fact, both rural and urban working women do double the duty, they work outdoors and when they come home, they do the cooking and cleaning too.
The survey of the OECD and the 19 minutes men spend on household chores usually in comparison to women’s 298 minutes is a big whopping truth you can’t deny.
We’ve seen this in “English Vinglish” too closely when Sridevi’s character is insulted constantly by the husband and kids and her work is discounted or seen ‘trivial’ while she is both domestically inclined and entrepreneurial. Despite being the central character who is responsible for running the entire household, she is trivialized. The film is not just about language but the physical and emotional labour women put in which is not recognized by the so-called educated men and children.
The point I am trying to make is that no matter what your rationale may be to marry a woman, remember that she is your partner, not your maid. Thus, keep your ‘girlfriending tests’ to yourself.
No woman deserves to be conned into becoming a nanny and full-time maid to clean up after you for the rest of your life.
If you bring them home only to clean your garbage and fix your broken home then you rather leave them alone because that indicates that you are not ready to get married. She may be marriage material, you aren’t.
If you can be responsible, share responsibilities and appreciate the woman’s unpaid labour, great! Otherwise, you’re meant to die single my friend. More importantly, you need to work on your perception of marriage and what it means to be a lifetime partner to someone before you plunge into this marriage business.
So the next time you are on the hunt for ‘wife material’, remember this before you approach any woman.
You’re welcome 🙂