The XX Factor

Can I Trade a Wife for a Secretary?

Ha, Amanda, I don’t think there will be a slew of takers for your Wonder Woman wife . Or rather for Dr. William Moulton Marston’s. It sounds too much like the unsettling, self-abnegating arrangement at the center of A.S. Byatt’s The Children’s Book , not to mention Big Love . Myself, I’ve actually switched from making the I-want-a-wife joke to longing for a secretary-the old-fashioned kind who picks up the dry cleaning and buys birthday presents for my kids’ friends (not for my own children; I haven’t sunk that low). I also really like the idea Lisa Belkin flagged from this academic article, ” Housework Is an Academic Issue .” The authors suggest an employer-provided housework benefit: Money that you can spend on whatever part of taking care of your home that you don’t want to do yourself. Of course, this could also just be called a raise. But I like the idea of bosses out there recognizing this as a real, felt need that’s worth a serious response.