Monday, September 27, 2010

Battle of the Sexes

My husband and I are both competitive, so naturally we keep track of who is better at what.  For example, I’m better at scuba diving, beer pong, and removing hot toast from the toaster oven.  And he’s better at ice skating, poker, and spinning a pen.  We’ve even gone so far as to compare IQ scores – I lost by a few measly points.  After another thirty years or so, I suppose we’ll tally up the results and declare an overall winner.  Until then, it’s anyone’s game.

Recently, I admitted defeat in the breadwinner category.  With his marginally higher IQ, he was always the favorite to win it.  At least I can say I earned the higher salary for a few glorious months.  It was a year after we started dating, and I received a promotion and a sizeable raise.  At first, he was thrilled for me, until he heard the amount and ran the numbers in his head.  He was careful not to ruin my moment; he immediately took me out for a celebratory dinner, during which he alternated between praising my success and pouting in silence.  In return, I was careful not to rub it in; I only brought it up once, maybe twice a day for the first month or two.

But alas, my breadwinner status was short-lived.  His wages soon surpassed mine, and the gap has been growing ever since.  Not to worry – the Bureau of Labor Statistics insists it’s perfectly normal.  Apparently, only 25.9% of wives earn more than their husbands when both are employed.

Perhaps this is because more women are drawn to artistic pursuits than to, say, math or computer science.  I used to be the counterexample, but I eventually cast aside my math books in favor of creative expression.  This brings up another point.  Perhaps women are more prone to changing their minds, and as a result, spend more time backtracking and less time climbing the corporate ladder.

Anyway, whenever I feel bad about earning less than my husband, I remind myself (and him) that the situation could still change.  And if it does, I will be more than happy to share my success with him.  If I win the Oscar for best original screenplay, I’ll let him hold my purse while I’m on the red carpet!  And if my blog eventually takes off, he can quit his job and be my assistant!  Well, in any case, I’ll always be the better scuba diver.

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