The XX Factor

Exclusive: The Performance Review that Decided One D.C.-Area Man’s “Husband Bonus”

A man and his child, in search of Daddy’s bonus.

A recent New York Times piece took an anthropological look at an exotic species known as the “glamorous stay-at-home mom” (Glam SAHM), whose perks include the “wife bonus,” distributed according to such criteria as “how well she managed the home budget [and] whether the kids got into a ‘good’ school.” But what about the husband bonus? DoubleX has exclusively obtained the annual performance review determining the bonus of one Washington, D.C.–based husband; the review is reprinted in full below.

As specified by marriage contract dated July 20, 1997, entered into by “Wife” and “Husband,” there shall be an annual review of Husband’s performance. Pursuant to a motion agreed by both parties, and in consideration of the mutual covenants and promises outlined herein, “Husband” shall receive an annual performance-based “Husband Bonus” on meeting or exceeding metrics laid out below.

The performance measure will use the agreed-upon rating scale:


Needs Improvement


Exceeds Expectations



“Husband” has maintained a regular schedule of boot camp and gym attendance. He has additionally declared himself a “freak for the five-minute workout.” Weight has inched up this 12-month period, but given recent cultural vogue of the dad bod, any softness in the abdominal area can be considered a plus. Continues to cultivate adequate self-hatred over excessive dessert. Beard maintenance has been erratic, ranging from barely boardroom-acceptable to food-specked. Attire acceptable, discounting a recent public appearance in a moth-eaten shirt.

GRADE: Satisfactory


Despite avowals, “Husband” has failed to improve his French, conquer fear of water, decipher Arduino, or master bulletproof coffee.

GRADE: Needs Improvement

Enhancement and Support of Wife’s Work

“Husband” has exhibited considerable moral support but has failed to properly entertain wife’s colleagues or professional peers at several cocktail parties and dinners. In one case, yawned repeatedly at dinner with wife’s superior; in another, sneaked upstairs to read hypermasculine novel; in a third, planned to be “out of town” during gathering.

GRADE: Satisfactory

Contribution to Household Income

“Husband” has resigned from editorship of prestigious online magazine to “follow his dreams.” This has resulted in a much smaller-than-usual annual contribution. Also, “husband” spends his time interviewing other people about working and calls it working.

GRADE: Needs Improvement

Home Budget Management

“Husband” continues to pay all household bills and exclusively meet with accountant.

GRADE: Exemplary/Clooney

Child Maintenance, Basic

Children continue to attend middling local public schools, and only one of three bathes with any regularity.

GRADE: Needs Improvement

Child Maintenance, Additional

Attempts to teach smallest child how to ride a bike only marginally successful. Coaching of soccer team decidedly half-assed, although general enthusiasm for soccer excellent. Ditto for watching golf on TV. Children, at present, play neither lacrosse nor water polo nor baseball, despite stated goal to boost level of household athleticism. Boxes ordered from Evil Mad Scientist sit unopened in basement. Newly purchased skateboard lies under a pile of coats. Various Harry Potter books missing chunks of pages. Science project involved ketchup. Most ambitious extracurricular outing so far: Pitch Perfect 2.

GRADE: Needs Improvement

Community Involvement

Husband fails to maintain outreach with neighbors or organize school events, although he served as a masterful auctioneer at the annual school auction.

GRADE: Satisfactory


“Husband” always willing and reciprocal. Any deficiencies in this category must be blamed on “Wife.”

GRADE: Exemplary/Clooney

Based on aforementioned criteria, “Husband’s” year-end shall be assessed at 17.3 percent of “Wife’s” annual salary, the amount of which “Wife” will keep hidden from “Husband” unless she deems it necessary for him to know.