Meet the Manhattan mothers who think they deserve a ‘wife bonus’

Celia Walden in The Telegraph:

Stepfordwives_3308916bWomen are notoriously bad at asking for bonuses. Which is why I did my homework and created – as suggested – “a master plan”. I waited “the appropriate amount of time” (in my case, five years), made sure the big boss was in a good mood and took him out to lunch (“somewhere intimate, where there will be no interruptions”). I eschewed any usage of the word “need” (stinking, as it does, of desperation) in my pitch – which was “backed up with reports, charts and documentation of my positive performance” – and I tried to “remain respectful” as he stared slack-jawed back at me, before throwing his head back and roaring with laughter. Asking my own husband for a bonus simply for being his wife was never going to be anything less than preposterous. Yet according to an author of the forthcoming memoir, Primates of Park Avenue, this is what a glittering tribe of crispy-haired Upper East Side Manhattan wives do every year – depending, of course, on how well they have managed the domestic budget, socialised, upheld a variety-filled performance in the bedroom… and succeeded in getting the kids into a ‘Big Ten’ school.

Wednesday Martin, a social researcher who has been immersing herself in the lives of “Park Lane Primates” for over a decade, explains how the “wife bonus”, as she has called it, works in practice. “It might be hammered out in a pre-nup or post-nup, and distributed on the basis of not only how well her husband’s fund had done, but her own performance — the same way their husbands were rewarded at investment banks. In turn, these bonuses were a ticket to a modicum of financial independence and participation in a social sphere where you don’t just go to lunch, you buy a $10,000 table at the benefit luncheon a friend is hosting.”

More here.