Can a Rent-A-Wife Service Succeed If It Insults the Same Demographic It’s Courting?Meredith Carroll
Decent idea. Bad, bad name.
A service called Rent-A-Wife came to be after the creators “saw a need from our busy mom friends: they were overworked, overwhelmed and needed help so we created The Rent A Wife.”
Which is all well and good, but can a service aimed at a demographic that it’s insulting at the same time survive?
Rent-A-Wife suggests “everything magically gets done with you play with your kids, make a business call, enjoy a date with your sweetheart, shave your legs or take a long, peaceful nap . . . We can be your Girl Friday, your Handyman, your Suzie Homemaker, and your Rosie the Riveter all rolled up into one. We can wait in line at the Post Office, the DMV, the return line at Target or even the voting polls while you show up just in the nick of time. We can pick up your kids from school and deliver them to soccer, [with or without cupcakes]. We can organize your Tupperware, spice drawer and even your undies. We can plan your parties, send the invites, make the space look fabulous, and rent the bouncy house or the bartender. We can coordinate your home improvement projects with Bob the builder, choose paint colors, stage your furniture and take your house from drab to fab. We can transform your office into a money factory, sell your treasures on Craigslist, assemble your Ikea furniture, cook your meals, and walk your dog. We can manage your move out of the old and into the new with ease and TLC. We can plan your vacation, be your airport shuttle, Facebook the photos and watch your house & pets without setting off the alarm.”
It sounds like a dream come true. Although, not really, actually. Having an assistant is work, and often more trouble than it’s worth — when you have to explain everything in detail, sometimes it’s just easier to do it yourself.
But ultimately, that’s neither here nor there. Because what the service is describing is a personal assistant, a toady, a peon, a lackey, a grunt worker — and calling it a wife. A quick glance at the calendar suggests it’s, in fact, no longer 1952, and while some women today might choose to stay home and keep house as described above, many men participate in the process, too.
The poorly chosen name is also a glum reminder of how plenty of women do these thankless tasks for no money — but if they want someone to do it for them, they have to pony up.
While I could always stand to have some extra help at home (as could my husband), I’d rather do it myself than go back in time emotionally to an era when this would all fall to me as it if were nature’s law.
Photo credit: iStockphoto
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