Kudos to whoever coined the term “Wife Guy.” I confess, until the Adam Levine debacle I snarked about last week, I hadn’t heard of it. (Hey, I’m an aged dork who lives in the woods.) But it perfectly encapsulates the phenomena of the flamboyantly devoted man, whose wife is his brand. (Spoiler alert: Until such a time as she inevitably is not.)
A wife guy is not embarrassing because he is overly devoted to his wife, the sexist idea that used to be called “being whipped” and is now more fashionably referred to as “being a cuck.” He is worthy of suspicion because he appears to be using his devotion to his wife for personal gain. Tripp has made a brand for himself off his wife’sbody, not his own. He has leveraged it into Instagram brand deals for natural shaving creams and Dunkin’-themed sneakers; in his music video, he raps as his wife dances mutely in a swimsuit. He has taken a rather sexist tradition — of men gaining social status through the physical appearance of their wives — and pitched it as a newly enlightened stance.
God save us from this enlightenment. And why, at least in the case of Tripp, is the praise rather off-putting? I love you in spite of your cellulite! #bitchcookie. Are there women rappers out there exulting their husbands’ ear hair? #tuftguy
Anyway… the era of the Wife Guy appears to be in decline. Tiffany Kelly at MSN asks, “Can we stop idolizing Wife Guys now?”
The problem with making loving your wife part of your brand? The fallout if you break up or get caught cheating. We saw this happen in 2021 when John Mulaney announced his divorce from Anna Marie Tendler, an artist whom he mentioned a lot in his comedy specials. And we saw it happen this week after Try Guy Ned Fulmer admitted to a “consensual workplace relationship” after rumors of him cheating on his wife, Ariel Fulmer, hit the internet.
Now add Adam Levine reportedly cheating on his pregnant wife, Behati Prinsloo.
Should we despair? Are there any thoroughly decent people out there just loving each other warts and all and not making cringey videos about it?
Sure. And that’s the tell — the love isn’t all impression management and narkles. Authentic people don’t require rewards for doing normal, loving, human bonding things, i.e, “finding wife attractive.” (Thank you Stew Elliott for this tweet.)
How could a Wife Guy cheat?! He was so devoted! Here’s my cynical take. I think the over-the-top proclamations of love, the whole muse schtick (that’s a rail-against-patriarchy essay for another day) is just an invitation for other women to do the pick me dance. Knock that muse off her pedestal and win some of the glory.
Wow! If I can get a Wife Guy to choose ME, I must be REALLY special!
Nah. You’re just kibbles.
Real devotion just shows up and stays quiet. Why advertise that juicy ass/bogeyman-ear-hair unless you want to share?