Here comes cruelty. And I beg all advertising wives in Uganda to forgive me right now. But here comes reality too.
She is lucky, or not, because she is married to a great guy, or not. I met a few of them. The wives. Many more wives than great advertising guys, please note.
She is clever, jolly, positively charged, positive influence. She is beautiful as the sunset over the ocean of a distant African country, or ugly as hell but in return, generously gifted with intelligence and good humour.
She is broody. For a reason. She married a child of sorts, a man that doesn’t quite grow up – so she must be broody and willing to reproduce the husband in many different varieties.
She loves her man, immensely. She is as smitten today, after several kids and a number of difficult situations, as she was on their first date. She is all butterflies in the stomach and soft, creamy and tasty like butter on the outside.
There is an immense amount of trust. She has no other option but to trust him. To trust the late nights at the office, the pitch nights that convert into weeks of absence from home, client events, client drink-ups, client schmoozing, female client schmoozing, female colleagues who call late at night stranded without transport, all that work and teamwork! She trusts that strange late night calls are client complaints about a crooked billboard or a misplaced advert. She trusts that the female voice that answered his phone was a colleague who answered because she saw “Wifey” flashing on the phone and didn’t want the wifey to get worried…
She also waits a lot. Those extra days on an upcountry trip. That long return home to take her to the maternity ward when the water broke and she was all in panic and all alone for that one hour. All the campaign breaks that delayed Christmas dinners at her parents’ place, baby showers, birthdays and anniversaries. Sometimes the wait is intolerable, it gets dark, then the Moon even rises, it strikes midnight and she’s still waiting.
But she gets her rewards. A new perfume every time there is a rumour that a new flame had been employed in his department. Flirty diners with female clients result in Spa treatment with mani, pedi and new synthetic hair for the wife. That Diana ring is hers! He was just waiting for the right occasion, of course. A new fatherless baby dropped by a former junior colleague is usually rewarded by a new car. So life of an advertising wife isn’t that bad, at all.
It takes a lot of sacrifice though. She gives up her career. She raises his children to look up to their father and because kids know first, she raises them to become copies of him. She gives up her principles and values as he makes the money. She gives up her dignity in a way, because she knows who they are laughing quietly at when she turns up at those dreadful Christmas events; she tolerates all the cheap floozies who come to air-kiss her man – and her – at those events, keeping the distance from her but squeezing themselves a touch too close to her husband.
She risks her life quite a few times driving with him home, after all the parties where drinks were sponsored and plenty. She risks her face more often, dragging him out of bars when he gets spectacularly sloshed after winning or losing the pitch, either way.
She gives up her friends or so she thinks. What else can she do when everyone close to her was only telling her what an idiot her husband is, how he cheats on her and has all these other women and kids… But she knows that is just plain idle malicious talk. He is never like that. She will never call those ex-friends again. The remaining two are his friends too, they give her processed information and everyone feels better that way, there is a certain peace and clarity with that.
She sacrifices her youth and her hips for this man, only to find herself years later surrounded by grown up kids, tired parents, wrinkles on her face… and she wonders. Was it worth it? What was her net gain? Four kids, huge hips, crow feet around her eyes, no sex for months on end, no friends and even worse – no enemies because everyone pities her.
You guessed well, this was the unlucky wife. The one who clicks at the end.
The lucky one is either happily married to a truly great guy, or, she simply and blissfully hasn’t got a clue.