Sam and I are taking a drumming class. It's a lot of fun and I'm even starting to think I'm learning how to drum. Sort of. Sam came home after the first class and said "I need a bigger drum". So he went and bought one. I joined the class midstream, and I'm borrowing a drum to use on the theory that these are big suckers and we don't actually need to own two.
So last week one of the other women in the group looks at me and says "so he won't let you buy one, either? My husband says he needs to hear me play more before I can".
Maybe before our next class I can figure out what to say in response, since I just sort of stared at her. I wanted to say "just go buy one" or "if that bothers you, get a job", but those seemed, well, rude. I know she doesn't draw a paycheck - she's a stay-at-home mom - but it still astonishes me to hear women acknowledge their economic dependence nonchalantly, as if it's normal and acceptable. It's like the whole name-change thing: I just don't get it. Sure, I read the commentser who said having the same name unified the family. If you want unity, I really like Ponderosa's plan to pick a new name for the new family (although that would make the Mormons work a lot harder). I can respect changing your name, but I don't get it - deep down I wonder why other women don't feel the same way I do. And that's how it is with "he won't let me". I just don't get it. I couldn't tolerate it. Honestly, it's easier for me to understand why a woman would stay in a physically abusive relationship. (I am NOT equating the two, and I am NOT condoning abuse. I'm just saying I have more empathy for an abused woman than the "my husband won't let me buy that" woman.)
This is not about being a stay-at-home mom. I get that, I really do. I couldn't do it myself, but I get why other people want to. But a lot of the stay-at-home-moms I know are like my mom: they actually control the money. It was a standing joke in our house that Daddy never had any money, and when he wanted to buy something extravagant - like our first color TV, back when they were the coolest thing going - she often stopped him. At least temporarily. So I grew up in a one-paycheck family, but it was clear to me that Daddy didn't tell Mom what she could and couldn't buy. If anything, it was the other way around.
So I don't know what to say to this woman. I'd kind of like to come up with a fast answer (well, a week later means it wouldn't be "fast" - maybe witty). I don't know or like her well enough to get into an earnest discussion about feminist principles. Maybe I should have gone with my first response, which to slap her the way Cher slapped Nic Cage in "Moonstruck" and yell "Snap out of it!" I'd do that, but my husband won't let me.