My wife
May 15, 2019 9:39 AM   Subscribe

Anatomy of the Wife Guy Not every guy with a wife is a wife guy, and not all wife guys have wives.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero (77 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
Tripp recently announced that his Curvy Wife was now “a sacred vessel carrying my seed,” so there’s going to be a Curvy Wife Baby coming soon).

How did he get worse? How was that possible? I'm so unhappy about this.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 9:49 AM on May 15 [30 favorites]


I am so confused.
posted by clawsoon at 9:54 AM on May 15 [12 favorites]


I can't follow this article at all.
posted by agregoli at 9:54 AM on May 15 [57 favorites]


ents were the original wife guys send tweet
posted by octobersurprise at 9:55 AM on May 15 [28 favorites]


Tripp recently announced that his Curvy Wife was now “a sacred vessel carrying my seed,”

While I realize that someone has done a baby announcement that caused an actual wildfire, this still makes me feel more gross.
posted by Copronymus at 9:56 AM on May 15 [51 favorites]


If you can't follow this article, be glad; it means you're not suffering from internet poisoning. I, however, am unfortunately familiar with some of this, including the case of MarkusJ who died from being owned too much.
posted by Countess Elena at 9:56 AM on May 15 [10 favorites]


...nail art, a pebble from outer space, a tarantula’s compound eyes, a storm like canned peaches on the surface of Jupiter, Van Gogh’s Potato Eaters, a chihuahua perched...

seems pretty clear
posted by sammyo at 9:57 AM on May 15 [4 favorites]


I feel like Wife Guys are adjacent to Sword Bros on the periodic table of dipshits.
posted by SonInLawOfSam at 9:59 AM on May 15 [20 favorites]


... in which the author posits a category so wide and ill-defined as to be useless, in order to talk about things that happened on internet recently.
posted by skullhead at 10:02 AM on May 15 [28 favorites]


I'm so glad to have new vocabulary words like "wife guy" spelled out to me. It took me less time to figure out "showrunner."
posted by Melismata at 10:03 AM on May 15 [8 favorites]


Look, I get that I'm old and not particularly plugged in anymore, but this feels like some sociology professor asked their students to make a meme happen. But this?

But something about the quality of the word “wife” continues to feel like it belongs to the old, pre-internet world. Mention “online” and “wife” in the same sentence and one starts to imagine a man attempting to hide the internet from his wife, like it’s a scene from a classic stage farce, the Wife Guy rushing on from stage left to stash the internet in a closet, which he must now dedicate all his energies to preventing his suspicious wife from opening.

This. This kind of dumb bullshit. Let's call it Wife Guy Guy writing.
posted by phooky at 10:04 AM on May 15 [9 favorites]


This reads like algorithmically generated SEO bait.
posted by rhizome at 10:05 AM on May 15 [20 favorites]


I feel dumber after RTFA. Fail!
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 10:05 AM on May 15 [6 favorites]


Does anybody have a wife they can use to decode this?
posted by rhizome at 10:07 AM on May 15 [6 favorites]


<Borat>My wife guy</Borat>
posted by octobersurprise at 10:11 AM on May 15 [10 favorites]


I feel like I've stumbled into a politics megathread having never heard of Trump.
posted by clawsoon at 10:11 AM on May 15 [19 favorites]


This article making sense is a good litmus test as to whether or not someone spends too much time on Twitter.
posted by joedan at 10:11 AM on May 15 [26 favorites]


I don't know, I loved the article. I also enjoy the weird brand of internet absurdism this piece discusses, though. It deserves more analysis. This barely scratched the surface. Wife Guy is funny because gender is funny, because the internet decontextualizes otherwise banal concepts until they become startling, because young people are growing up in a dying world and are taking refuge in specific strains of nihilist humor on the internet.
posted by coffeeand at 10:12 AM on May 15 [20 favorites]


spinch
posted by salt grass at 10:13 AM on May 15 [18 favorites]


oh dear. I've just discovered that "wife" is one of those words that loses its meaning if you repeat it enough. Wife wife wife wife wife...
posted by BlueBlueElectricBlue at 10:13 AM on May 15 [3 favorites]


I enjoy these glimpses into Deep Twitter, even as I am so, toe-scrunchingly glad not to be involved in it in any way.
posted by salt grass at 10:20 AM on May 15 [4 favorites]


Wife Guy is funny because gender is funny, because the internet decontextualizes otherwise banal concepts until they become startling, because young people are growing up in a dying world and are taking refuge in specific strains of nihilist humor on the internet.

While I think this is true, I also think at least some of the Wife Guy antics are inherently funny enough that they work even outside of the memetic Wife Guy. Like, the guy who wrote a long, earnest e-mail to a husband about how he was engaging in an affair with his wife but that they were both cool about it and no one should feel bad is pretty funny. I also think panic-blocking your wife on Twitter when it's been revealed that you've been cheating on her is funny just by itself. How is that your first step? What are you hoping to achieve?
posted by Copronymus at 10:20 AM on May 15 [16 favorites]


I enjoyed the article (even though I don’t even have a Twitter account). For some reason this jumped out at me: Tripp went on to write a self-help book, which Babe.net compared to the Unabomber Manifesto. Tripp later threatened to sue them over the comparison, adding him to another pantheon of online figures: the Extremely Mad and Litigious Guy.

I also now feel that before I email anyone’s wife, no matter how innocently, I should drive by their house and check their garage, just in case.
posted by TedW at 10:21 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]


This shoulda been a tweet with an invitation to share funny Wife Guy stories, like the Billy Dinner thing. This content creator did not stick the landing in attempting to bounce it into making some broader point about life, the internet, and everything.
posted by prize bull octorok at 10:25 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


While I think this is true, I also think at least some of the Wife Guy antics are inherently funny enough that they work even outside of the memetic Wife Guy.

This is very true. It wasn't an affair, it was two people being bowled over by discovering a deep wellspring of powerful emotions and a connection they never thought possible.
posted by coffeeand at 10:25 AM on May 15 [9 favorites]


I also loved this. A lot of writing about the internet trips over itself to explain things, I really like that this one just dives right in.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 10:25 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


How is that your first step? What are you hoping to achieve?

to prevent the dreaded Wife Guy's Wife Coming Out of Her Wife Well to Shame Wifeguykind
posted by poffin boffin at 10:27 AM on May 15 [26 favorites]


I don't know anything about elf wife! Why would I, or anyone? Yet I have deep knowledge about the rest of that wife guy stuff that isn't any different in quality. It is so nice to not be on twitter anymore.
posted by Kwine at 10:28 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


This article making sense is a good litmus test as to whether or not someone spends too much time on Twitter.

<borat>MY LIFE</borat>
posted by rhizome at 10:30 AM on May 15 [4 favorites]


i keep conflating elf wife with the d&d orgy and it's all very hilarrible
posted by poffin boffin at 10:30 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]


Sorry. Im sorry. Im trying to divorce it
posted by Etrigan at 10:44 AM on May 15 [12 favorites]


> And most recently we were given ProJared, the Elf Wife Guy, a professional video game player whose wife, a professional elf, revealed he was having an affair with another professional video game player (and pigeon aficionado) after he blocked her on twitter.

Knowing the backstory here of this event at least, this does a lot of disservice to those involved especially the "professional elf" who was betrayed not just by her husband, but also her close friend, the pigeon fancier (who also may or may not have broken up their own marriage over this). Add on top the extremely distasteful demands ProJared was making of his young female fans, and I can't find this funny at all, really, from any point of view. Sorry. This isn't some bizarre internet meme; it's hurt a lot of real people.

That's not even factoring in publicly blowing up multiple long-lasting professional relationships with close co-workers and one of the nicest, most supportive fan-communities out there.
posted by bonehead at 10:50 AM on May 15 [9 favorites]


When I lived in Baltimore, my circle of friends spoke sort of longingly and obsessively about the "Baby, Don't!" guys. Real guys of all races that we'd observe, maybe twice a year, usually wearing cargo shorts, sneakers, and polo shirts, looking up a couple of stories and screaming "Baby, Don't!" as the "Babies" threw the Playstation down at their former (future?) partners in fits of pique.

TFA made me think of these guys again. Thanks?
posted by kalessin at 10:59 AM on May 15 [17 favorites]


Thirty-nine percent of heterosexual relationships in the U.S. now begin online: the internet is, if anything, our most important source of wives.
posted by Hypatia at 11:07 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]


Beto is the wife guy of the 2020 campaigns. eto O'Rourke has played some downright disgusting pranks on his wife Amy
posted by Space Coyote at 11:19 AM on May 15 [2 favorites]


So hang on a second. If I understand the article correctly, the author's definition for "wife guy" is "anyone who does something on the internet in which he invokes a wife in any capacity". Right?

Is it me or is that just....impossibly broad? Like, he decided to randomly make "Toast Guy" a thing but instead of it describing a post about toast, he defined it as "Anyone who posts anything on the internet but at some point in their life they happened to have once eaten toast"?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:00 PM on May 15 [7 favorites]


oh dear. I've just discovered that "wife" is one of those words that loses its meaning if you repeat it enough. Wife wife wife wife wife...

That's the spirit!

Anyway to me the object of this essay basically lies at the intersection of guys who feel compelled to continuously broadcast that they have achieved compliance with heterosexual norms at least once and guys who are trying to get away with some bullshit in a relationship but are comically bad at it and get caught out embarrassingly.
posted by atoxyl at 12:01 PM on May 15 [10 favorites]


Well, attempting to read that article finally confirmed it.

I am old. Much too old for this shit. It may be time to retire from teh intertubes.
posted by fimbulvetr at 12:13 PM on May 15 [10 favorites]


Yeah I felt an immediate flash of recognition at "Wife Guy" but the article took it in a different direction.

To me, the Wife Guy is a guy who exists in an unstable state of subordination/resentment and pride/appreciation. He is the dude who is sexist but tries to treat his wife well, in his way, because he feels like she is "out of his league" or whatever. He is a guy who is invested in traditional gender roles but his wife is the final shot-caller in the relationship and he knows it and everybody who knows them knows it.

Wife Guy will not ever shut up about his wife, but he does leaven his complaints with positive comments. Wife Guy has definitely broached a conversation about having an open/poly marriage, but would handle it very poorly if it actually happened. Wife Guy is the only guy you know who has a Man Cave, but he only spends like an hour per month inside it. Wife Guy is constantly letting everybody know how horny he is for his wife, even on her social media posts that her parents and coworkers can see. Wife Guys are commonly depicted in the media; nearly all "sitcom dads" are Wife Guys.

Not all Girlfriend Boys (younger dudes who manage to work the fact that they have a girlfriend into every conversation) grow into Wife Guys, but it's a fairly common transition.

Wife Guy divorces are the stuff of legends.
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:14 PM on May 15 [62 favorites]


atoxyl: Anyway to me the object of this essay basically lies at the intersection of guys who feel compelled to continuously broadcast that they have achieved compliance with heterosexual norms at least once and guys who are trying to get away with some bullshit in a relationship but are comically bad at it and get caught out embarrassingly.

Indulge in some set theory with me for a minute: Is it the intersection of these two groups, or the union?
posted by clawsoon at 12:18 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


prize bull octorok: Yeah I felt an immediate flash of recognition at "Wife Guy" but the article took it in a different direction. To me, the Wife Guy is a guy who exists in an unstable state of subordination/resentment and pride/appreciation.

I thought it was going to be the guy who always says, "I'd love to, but the wife..."
posted by clawsoon at 12:21 PM on May 15


the intersection of guys who feel compelled to continuously broadcast that they have achieved compliance with heterosexual norms at least once and guys who are trying to get away with some bullshit in a relationship but are comically bad at it and get caught out embarrassingly

Yeah, exactly this. It's not that they have a wife (some don't, I mean, in at least one of those examples it's someone else's wife), but the fact that the woman in question is a wife. She, as a person, is not important to how the guy seems himself. It's their interaction with her, A Wife, that matters. I know lots of guys that shoehorn their wives into conversations, never by name, just as My Wife. And they only refer to other wives as "your wife" or [guy's name]'s wife."

Where that guy meets the guy who is garden variety sexist trying to mask it while getting away with some bullshit that goes against his public persona, that's where you find the Wife Guy.

The @ElleOhHell thing (mentioned in the piece) is such a great example of this.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 12:23 PM on May 15 [14 favorites]


My Wife
posted by TedW at 12:35 PM on May 15


It's not that they have a wife (some don't, I mean, in at least one of those examples it's someone else's wife), but the fact that the woman in question is a wife.

That's it, eloquently stated. Wife guys can only think in terms of who "owns" a particular woman. I would not be surprised at all to learn that having an affair is less about sexy sex than about "stealing" someone else's "property".

If you want to see this on steroids, just go to your favorite porn site and look at the captions. Without studying it, I'd say the vast majority of references to the women in the clips are referred to solely by terms of their relationship with some man, whether "wife" or "girlfriend" or "sister" or whatever. Wife guy captions.
posted by maxwelton at 12:35 PM on May 15 [8 favorites]


Wife guys can only think in terms of who "owns" a particular woman.

The corollary are the people who are definitely wife guys who screwed up and lost their wives. You'll find them getting owned on twitter in the replies simply stating, "your wife left you"

(looking at a certain president's son here)
posted by mikeh at 12:43 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


This. This kind of dumb bullshit. Let's call it Wife Guy Guy writing.

yeah i came away from this article without a lot of insight about Wife Guys but more insight about Wife Guy Guys than the author probably intended
posted by murphy slaw at 12:43 PM on May 15


also is the female equivalent of the Wife Guy the woman who only (and constantly) refers to her husband in public as “The Hubs”
posted by murphy slaw at 12:45 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


That's it, eloquently stated. Wife guys can only think in terms of who "owns" a particular woman.

Thanks! Honestly, this has always been a reliable litmus test for me with men. How do they refer to the women in their lives? You'd be shocked (lol no you wouldn't) to hear how many men only talk about women by how they know them. Brothers get "my brother [name], sisters just get "my sister," stuff like that. It just shows that they don't think of the women they know as having full lives outside of how she relates to him.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 12:46 PM on May 15 [2 favorites]


also is the female equivalent of the Wife Guy the woman who only (and constantly) refers to her husband in public as “The Hubs”

I don't think so! I mean, that's annoying too, but I think a key difference is that it's "my wife" but "the hubs," like, she is possessed by him, but it doesn't go both ways. I don't think I see "my hubs" used in the same way all that often.
posted by everybody had matching towels at 12:51 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


How about "the wife"?
posted by clawsoon at 1:02 PM on May 15 [3 favorites]


When I lived in Baltimore, my circle of friends spoke sort of longingly and obsessively about the "Baby, Don't!" guys.

The older brother of the guy who goes "I just miss her so much bro!" as he punches a hole in the drywall of your student house.
posted by Freelance Demiurge at 1:26 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


So these guys are like, the Ned Flanders version of an Incel? I always thought the guy who only refers to women as wives (either his "property" or another's) online was an older Boomer, but I guess creepy benevolent sexism knows no age.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 1:45 PM on May 15


Indulge in some set theory with me for a minute: Is it the intersection of these two groups, or the union?

The union, but the Ideal Wife Guy is in both sets.
posted by atoxyl at 1:46 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


So these guys are like, the Ned Flanders version of an Incel?

I believe the Wife Guy is a man whose identity and self-confidence is derived through his marriage to a woman who he believes will be perceived as impressive in some way by his culture or peer group, as though her choice to marry him validates his life and personhood independently of his accomplishments outside the marriage. A wide range of Wife Guy variants exist.
posted by prize bull octorok at 1:55 PM on May 15 [4 favorites]


CTRL+F "Please".

*sigh*
posted by suetanvil at 2:06 PM on May 15 [5 favorites]


was henny youngman the original wife guy send tweet
posted by murphy slaw at 2:36 PM on May 15 [3 favorites]


It's a shame because Heidi O'Farrall is arguably the hardest done by of the listed Wives (and ProJared is almost certainly the worst of the Wife Guys) and doesn't deserve to have her whole identity subsumed by having done some cosplay, but the more the phrase comes up, the more I start to think that "elf wife" has some real "cellar door" potential as a mellifluous phrase.
posted by Copronymus at 3:12 PM on May 15 [8 favorites]


from everybody had matching towels' link:

Moreover, @ElleOhHell was making a not-so-tacit claim that he couldn’t have had a positive experience on Twitter without swapping genders: “and honestly, who would want to be a man on the internet.”

I'd laugh really hard about this if it hadn't caused all of my brain functions to fail violently
posted by taquito sunrise at 6:00 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


I spend a lot, way too much, time on twitter and this seemed like it was written by a random word generator. But I could tell it wasn't worth the effort to look for a pattern.
posted by bongo_x at 6:38 PM on May 15


I quit Twitter in early 2018 after being Extremely Online for several years and yeah, I can confirm that this shit no longer makes any sense to me. This will only make sense if you spend at least 3+ hours on Twitter a day, even Leftbook isn’t so singularly unified in terms of weird memes as Weird Twitter seems to be.
posted by mostly vowels at 6:49 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


Thanks! Honestly, this has always been a reliable litmus test for me with men. How do they refer to the women in their lives? You'd be shocked (lol no you wouldn't) to hear how many men only talk about women by how they know them. Brothers get "my brother [name], sisters just get "my sister," stuff like that. It just shows that they don't think of the women they know as having full lives outside of how she relates to him.

Not sure how I'd come across to you--at work, I usually just refer to "my wife"...but I also usually refer to my sons as "my eldest" and "my youngest." I do sometimes use the names of all three of them. My wife has the extra complication that she has the same name as the wife of one of my co-workers. Things are *usually* clear from context, but there has been confusion on occasion.

When I'm with my friends, I always refer to all three by name.
posted by Four Ds at 6:58 PM on May 15


The howling abyss of weird Twitter is hilarious and intoxicating and I'm glad I deleted my account.

The "spinch" tweet is me to an embarrassing degree.
posted by Reyturner at 7:44 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


ugh this reminds me that I need to find a date to my friend's Wife Event.
posted by mullacc at 8:43 PM on May 15 [2 favorites]


Re using “my ___” instead of using the person’s name: I do this when mentioning family members to people who (in my estimation) don’t know me well enough to remember the names from one conversation to the next.

But when it comes to a significant other who is a regular figure in stories, I feel it’s in poor taste not to mention them by name. For one thing, it makes for awkward work holiday parties when standing in a room full of people known to you as “my wife” or “my boyfriend,” etc.
posted by mantecol at 11:03 PM on May 15


Man, I think humans have run their course, people
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 11:49 PM on May 15 [1 favorite]


...nail art, a pebble from outer space, a tarantula’s compound eyes, a storm like canned peaches on the surface of Jupiter, Van Gogh’s Potato Eaters, a chihuahua perched...

...we didn't start the fire?
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 1:54 AM on May 16


bongo_x: I spend a lot, way too much, time on twitter and this seemed like it was written by a random word generator. But I could tell it wasn't worth the effort to look for a pattern.

I think the article is the complete Voynich Manuscript translation that was promised a few posts up.
posted by clawsoon at 5:33 AM on May 16 [2 favorites]


Re using "my ___" instead of the person's name, sometimes my partner refers to me as "what's his name" (sometimes when I'm sitting right there) in an attempt to both assert personal independence from the relationship and be a loving jerk. We both think it's funny, but it tends to make newbies uncomfortable (as does a lot of our terrible, sarcastic, insulting couple humor).
posted by kalessin at 5:38 AM on May 16 [3 favorites]


It's all perfectly cromulent
posted by vibratory manner of working at 12:00 PM on May 16


I thought it was going to be the guy who always says, "I'd love to, but the wife..."

And its coroallary, "So, is the wife going to let you have the penis and balls tonight?"
posted by e1c at 12:03 PM on May 16


You're all coming to my Wife Reveal party, right? No gifts.
posted by rhizome at 12:05 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]


You're all coming to my Wife Reveal party, right? No gifts.

As long as there's no sacred seed involved.
posted by clawsoon at 12:12 PM on May 16


if I ever get married after the vows I'm gonna be all "BEHOLD, I HAVE WIVED! WITNESS THE FRUIT OF MY WIVING!"

maybe not
posted by prize bull octorok at 12:15 PM on May 16


Heh; seeing the word "wife" repeated so many times in here has just kept re-reminding me of a story about Jason Momoa being a big ol' goober.

Apparently the first time Emilia Clarke met him was when she had just showed up at a hotel where everyone was staying before they started filming or something, and suddenly she heard someone holler "WIFEY!!!!" from clear across the lobby and the next thing she knew Jason Momoa had bounded over and wrapped her in a bear hug while she stood there blinking and wondering "what the hell?...."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:28 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]


If there's any single thread that makes Weird Twitter bind together into any semblance of a cohesive theme, I'd say it was "incongruous earnestness". What makes most Dril tweets funny isn't that he's saying something goofy, but rather that you imagine him taking something so mundane or unimpressive so seriously.

So I think this "wife guy" thing is probably a subset of this: you have a wife? So what? Lots of people of all genders do, so I mean, what's the big deal? And the "big deal" is usually some minor obsession (ladder theory insecurities, fears of being cuckolded, mystifying the relationship, etc) that comes across as self-important and unintentionally comedic.

We had gags like these forever. It's nothing new, but in the era of TV we got them telegraphed to us with a wink, a nod, and a laugh track. Now we get them in text form with entire fake personas structured around them and more and more people are impeccable at maintaining kayfabe. I honestly couldn't tell you even after reading this article if any of the stories are genuine or just part of the whole Andy Kaufman vibe of Weird Twitter.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 3:09 PM on May 16 [2 favorites]


Do wife guys also tend to have large adult sons?
posted by 168 at 2:29 AM on May 19


ladder theory insecurities

cool, i just looked up "ladder theory" and now my day is ruined
posted by murphy slaw at 1:22 PM on May 21


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