The Right Roles
For centuries, men had always been the main breadwinners for the households, supplying the income necessary for the family's livelihoods to go on. The men brought in and maintained this set of Cs - condo, car, credit cards, cash, and career (these days, may also include Cessna, Chanels and club memberships).
The women would stay at home and take care of another set of Cs - chores, cooking, children, and commitment. Even if they worked, most of them only contributed, or their earnings were confidential and controlled only by themselves.
Oh well, wouldn't really say which is "right" or which is "wrong", but rather, the conventional roles were as such. And no, we're not talking about MCP (male-chauvinist pig)'s views.
Men had pride, better known as "Ego", that also came with a sense of responsibility and the understanding that they were supposed to be perhaps the more capable ones, with higher earning power, and hence it was their duty to provide for their women. Men who lived off women, or tried to, were referred to as "eating slipper rice" or the women in question were being referred to as the "money trees", both in Chinese sayings.
The Roles Reversed
These days, however, things have changed - and rather drastically so. Women are getting more capable nowadays, being highly educated and good at their respective fields of work. Hence, it is not uncommon these days to see women contributing jointly to household expenditures or even taking charge completely so that their husbands may stay at home to become homemakers instead.
"You contribute nothing, and depend solely on them, you lose out, because you cannot have a say in most things," Jesslyn* a Public Relations Manager comments. "By helping with the household expenses, or paying 50%, we find it easier for our opinions to be taken into considerationa and we can have a say in things we are unhappy about, for instance the new air-conditioner he installed? He did not bother to seek my opinions or consent to install the aircon! That was when I was a full-time stay home housewife."
A notion that was unheard of in the past, and certainly frowned upon by the older generations, this role is getting increasingly common, especially in the Western society - house husbands!
Men who stay at home to take care of the household chores and children (if any) while the high-flying, capable wives strive off in the workforce, forging the daily corporate battles to bring home the bread to feed their spouses, kids and pets.
So... does it mean that since the women are now wearing the pants, the men should start wearing the skirts?
Let's hear from Emily*, a Relationship Manager in a very established bank earning a five-figure salary every month. "I do not find anything wrong with that... when the kids came, one of us had to leave our jobs. And since I was earning a lot more, working for a more stable company, we decided that I should keep my job while Walter* stay at home to manage the kids. We did not want to depend on maids to look after the kids."
Emily* goes on to share that it was not an easy decision at first, especially Walter* was a very career-minded man with some prideful issues as well, but eventually someone had to make the sacrifice in order to sustain their lifestyles and household expenditures.
"Furthermore, I am not as patient as he is; I am sure I will not be able to do a better job than him, in handling the Martha* and Mitchell*," the career-mom conceded, finally.
Walter* shares with us his take on the same issue. "It was not easy at first, for sure. I am a man, and I have to swallow my pride to stay at home to play nanny. I mean, don't be mistaken, I love my kids, but the role of taking care of them full-time should not be played by me," He says with a sheepish grin. "It took some persuasion, definitely, and serious consideration, before we reached this decision. So I quit my job as an engineer and took on the role of a stay-at-home-dad. At first, it was tough having to explain to friends and family on my choice, but they respected it."
He shows us a photo of his children - a boy and a girl, both blonde and good-looking like their parents. "It was gratifying, being able to watch every stage of their childhood, there was a bond between us that I never felt before. Also, I'd learned to cook and prepare Em's fave dishes so that when she gets back from a hard day at work, here's something that will perk her up."
Nicholas*, another full-time stay-at-home-husband, shares with us that he had to quit his job when he got involved in an accident and lost both legs. "So I became wheelchair-bound," he says with a sad overture. "I used to work for a large corporation as a guard; they paid quite well as we were in-house security. I had to quit my job because I can no longer walk now."
His wife, Maria*, a sweet-faced teacher, was determined to take care of him and they could tide through things. "So Maria* teaches, and gives tuition after work and on weekends. I felt so useless, having to depend on her this way. She is very tired, I know," Nicholas* tell us. "I didn't want to just become an invalid living off my wife anyway, even though she claims she doesnt mind. So I set up a small business as an agent to sell security systems for a friend's company. Well, the salary's not what I used to bring home, but at least it helps ease some of Maria's burdens."
Some other issues faced by couples with these kinds of arrangements, include fielding sarcastic questions from colleagues or friends when introduced as "house husbands", or the wives worrying if their husbands did secretly crept over to the neighbors' for afternoon trysts while they are hard at work.
Toy Boys / Gigolos / Depending on Rich Wives
Then there is another group of males who do not mind in the least to be a "kept man" or dependent on their wealthy wives for livelihoods.
Wesley*, a good-looking freelance model admits to being the companion of a rich, married lady whom he referred to his friends as "that hot Cougar". He had met her at a club and they got involved that very night itself. "She is very pretty for her age, and extremely lonely as her husband is always travelling," Wesley* informs us. "So she needs a boy toy, and she buys me expensive toys in turn,"he chuckles at his own sense of quirky humor.
When asked if he minds being supported by a woman, he looks surprised. "Why should I be? She has the dough, and I make her happy. These days, gender no longer apply anymore.....I feel."
Alan*, who met his current wife since their schooldays, now enjoys life being pampered by his wife who came from an affluent family. "I kept changing jobs, so she decided that I should stay at home to accompany her ... so we spend a lot of time travelling, shopping or just lounging around," he tells us.
When asked if he has no qualms being maintained by the wife, this is Alan's answer,"These days, women want equality. Since her family is rich, and she is willing to support me, why not?"
Somewhere along the changing times, it appears that values and mentalities have changed. What used to be the naturally-assigned roles have slowly been altered, and replaced by more liberal mindsets of the younger generation. I am not a fan of this reversed roles, but shall respect those who choose to take the roles head-on.
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