“My mom has given my matrimonial ad,” my coworker Anurag told me one day. “One of the respondents is an account manager with an ad agency in Mumbai. Drawing seven lahks per annum! That’s double my salary. So I told my mom, ‘I don’t think she’s my type.’”

Not your type…? I was dumbfounded. What could be a more perfect type than a wife who pulls in a boatload of cash?

So I argued with him. I tried to explain the benefits of that arrangement from the perspective of his future financial security, to say nothing of all the extra time he’d get to watch TV. But my arguments of real estate prices, private school tuition, and syndicated sitcoms didn’t make a dent. He wanted to be the breadwinner because, well, that’s what men were supposed to do. “What about my self-respect?”

“My friend,” I said, “you can drive your self-respect around in a gold-plated BMW.”

He laughed. And then: “You have absolutely no male ego. Are all American men like that?”


11 responses to “self-respect

  1. I’m glad for the ones who are!

    I’m a SAHM right now but my husband would switch and be a SAHD in an instant. In fact, we’re hoping that once we’re done having babies for me to nurse, it might be my turn to go out of the house & work while he is the SAHD! He looks forward to that day a great deal. 🙂 I guess that is one advantage of being Americans..

  2. Even if man is okay with this, woman may not often. Even in America. Or if she is right now, success of such marriages is questionable because of potential ego-issue. I can pull some studies which I remember reading though I don’t have sources right now. At some level, I think, speaking generally on an average, even woman don’t want a man who earns less than them.

  3. Its always interesting to note the use of articles in such topics when a person’s life decisions are mapped to general perceptions, social trends or social stereotypes. “A” man would … or “A” woman would … . What about “The” woman or man in concern?

    I believe gender equality as socio-political movement has gone overboard. From equal rights and opportunities people have moved to making both genders same in all possible ways. Well they are not equal in that sense. They are neither equal nor inequal they are different. Men are from Mars and Women are from venus has propagated sexual stereotypes which defeats the purpose of gender equality.

    Now you might ask me, Should a man or woman stay at home? Well that is wrong kind of question to be asked. The right question has to be in context of a real person and her or his reason for doing so. There are no precooked recipies offered by gender targetted magazine acting as a mediator between sexes.

  4. Well, in the U.S., the majority of parents subject their healthy newborn sons to penis-reduction surgery (‘circumcision’), so…

  5. my response to your post is perfectly summed in an article I wrote for mail today –

    It’s all about how successful Indian women end up intimidating men. The story from the other side 🙂

  6. l have been married for 30 years and during that time she has earned more than me on occasions while l have earned more than her on occasions. It has never got in the way of our relationship as we are constantly adapting as a team,- the priority being children and their development. There is no place for ego or status while we are so occupied, that can come perhaps when our job is done and we both live alone in a retirement home,- but we still have a 21 year old to see through university so that day is still a wee bit in the future depending on how many grandchildren we are lucky enough to have.

  7. IMO the gal would look for a guy who earns more. the high earning girls are ambitious, and unless it’s a love marriage, marrying a guy who earns less than her is rare. in india at least.

  8. Hi. I really enjoy reading your blog. My husband and I recently relocated to New Delhi (From New York).
    While i miss my life, my friends and my favorite city — new york, I think India can be great place to live. (Having said that – i am far, far, far away from liking it here). I was wondering, since you’ve been here longer then I have, if you know of any expat clubs or events where I can meet fellow americans or expats to network with and make friends.

    Thing is that I dont know anyone here — except some of my husbands side of the family.


  9. Until recently, I was of the camp that men MUST win the bread. Now, at the ripe o;ld age of 22, I am coming around to true understanding- Money is the lubricant of life. It does not matter where it comes from as long as it is clean, advantaged properly, and plentiful.

  10. All right, but let’s think of the converse. An Indian is as dumbfounded by American girls who crave the good-for-nothing boys as you might be dumbfounded by the marital behavior of Indians.

  11. The potential bride must be younger, shorter, “fairer” (complexion-wise), less educated, and earn less than the potential groom.

    Nothing new, just SOP. It is in the manual somewhere, though I don’t remember the page number (I’m too Americanized and I don’t write “Americanised” either).

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