“Dear Amazon. Please come while my husband is at work.” Anyone not seen some form of this joke on your social media accounts? At this point, it’s about as played out as the chicken crossing the road joke. In fact, I’d bet the chicken is crossing the road to avoid hearing this one more time. There is even a door mat available that says, “Please hide packages from husband” which one delivery person was caught on tape taking very seriously.
But is it really funny? I don’t mean because it is painfully over-used. I mean was it ever funny, even the first two-hundred times? It has always struck me as cringe-worthy.
First, there is the stereotype of women who can’t control their shopping. Our poor credit cards don’t stand a chance without proper monitoring by our husbands, amirite girls? I can only assume those packages are filled with cute shoes, as if we don’t have a closet full already. Sorry, Babe.
Then there is the antiquated idea of women having an allowance. It’s unlikely most women making this joke are literally held to a limit set by their husbands like happened in the “olden days” (not that very long ago), but it’s still a gross association.
Several years ago, my mom went to pay for a purchase at a big box store with a cheque. They informed her that she would need a cheque cashing card to do so. When applying for the cheque cashing card, she was told they would need her husband’s permission to give it to her. She was not allowed to write a cheque on her own account with her own money unless her husband said it was okay. Let that sink in.
The notion that men have the final say on the family finances is not so far gone for these jokes to be so flippant. Beyond that, financial abuse is a real thing. Money is often used to control women in domestic situations. Part of that is guilt and scrutiny over any money spent.
And why exactly would someone be afraid to show their husbands anything? What is the implication behind, “I need to hide this from my husband?” What will happen if he finds out? It just seems dangerously close to a joke about abuse.
Is it that different than this old ad showing a woman being spanked because her husband found out she wasn’t store testing coffee?
Yes, I know it’s a joke. Yes, I have a sense of humour. I get it, “People are so sensitive these days.” But these messages add up. What are we saying to our daughters when we imply that their finances are not in their own control? Or that they should hide things from their husband for fear of his reaction?
I once saw a magnet with Disney Princesses showcased next to the sentence “Prince Worthy,” aimed at little girls. They receive enough of these messages already without it coming from their own parents.
There are plenty of ways to handle finances in a marriage. Some pool everything and budget. Some keep their money separate and divide bills. Some do a mix of both, or something else entirely. But the one common thread in marriages with a healthy financial relationship is that both partners are respected.
I understand the humour behind impulse buying online, and the thrill of waiting for those packages. My husband and I both love the anticipation. But maybe can we joke about it without the misogyny?