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elbanditoroso's avatar

Should men refer to their wives as "the boss"?

Asked by elbanditoroso (30728points) 3 months ago
40 responses
“Great Question” (9points)

I’ve recently noticed that several men I know – both in the real world and in the online world – refer to their wives as “the Boss”.

Is that an appellation of respect? of resignation? of frustration?

I don’t think these men use “the boss” when the spouse is in the room.

Women, do you like being referred to as “the Boss”?

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gorillapaws's avatar

My Grandpa would refer to Grandma as “the boss” in her presence. It always came across as endearing and affectionate. I can certainly see it being used with a negative connotation though.

jca2's avatar

I’m not married but I think “The Boss” is either said with resignation or affection, or a bit of both.

I think it’s better than referring to her as “the old ball and chain.” :)

cookieman's avatar

Generally, I don’t think there are any “should”s in these situations so long as two spouses are cool with what they call each other.

That said, I personally don’t like it. In fact, I really dislike any of the (IMHO) sexist tropes about marriage.

Referring to each other as ‘old lady/man’, ‘ball & chain’, ‘the boss’, etc. all rub me the wrong way.

‘Mommy’ and ‘Daddy’ is really creepy to me.

I can’t stand running, snarky comments about how dumb or sloppy a husband is or how much money a wife spends or how little she wants sex. They just sound like stereotypical tropes from an 80s sitcom.

Most of all, I hate when folks who think these ways try to get me on board with that conversation — “You know women, right? Always spending our money.” or “You must drive Mrs. Cookieman crazy during football season right?” or “Yup, soon as my wife said ‘I Do’, she don’t. Know what I mean.”

Um, no.

jca2's avatar

I also hear “Happy Wife, Happy Life.”

I’m friends with a bunch of married people (friends with both wives and husbands) and many make marriage sound very unappealing. Stories about husbands who do what they want, are nasty and mean, stories about wives being cold and vindictive, who are nasty and mean. I only have what I see to go on, so of course it’s not a survey of all marriages, but it doesn’t always look pleasant. It almost seems easier to be alone. I know a lot of people will say they have great marriages, and I know there are great marriages out there, but there are also a shit-ton of crappy marriages, where people stay together for financial reasons or because of the kids, or whatever.

Zaku's avatar

Depends on how it’s said and how the boss feels about it.

Personally, I would not… I’ve pretty much never even used it for my work bosses.

To me, the connotations are someone who is bossy or bosses people around, and that’s not something I generally want to promote, even in humor.

smudges's avatar

My take on ‘the boss’ is he really means ‘the bitch’, but I’m sure not all mean it that way.

@cookieman Loved your post and agree wholeheartedly. There were a bunch of 80’s sitcoms that made men look stupid and women were always right. There’s one episode of “Everybody Loves Raymond” where he’s complaining about her PMS and buys her some pills to help it…the worst part of the show is that she actually physically attacks him! That’s just horrible! If he attacked her it wouldn’t have even gotten past the censors!

filmfann's avatar

Referring to your wife as The Boss is harmless.
When I was working, everyone used some term for their wives. The nicest was My Bride, the worst The Psycho Babble Bitch. I remember a neighbor who called his wife Fish Face in front of her.
Did I have a name for my wife? I don’t recall using one in conversation, but my phone has her as The Shampoo Girl, referring to her first job.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think of “The Boss” as the one who makes decisions in the marrige. That would be me.

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

Not without her permission.

kritiper's avatar

Of course, if it suits them.
And, after all, a happy wife makes a happy life! (For the wife.)

rebbel's avatar

It’s fun, one time, I feel.
If one does it all the time I feel its a bit childish, a pit pathetic.
Almost disrespectful (either it is said in jest (she’s not the boss at all, he is, and he knows it, and he knows that she knows he knows, or, it is said because she is the boss (in his eyes, in other words, she arranges and decides everything).
There might be other reasons of course, why it is said, but to me it comes over as those two above mentioned (I’ve seen couples with such dynamics).
Just call your partner by name, or your love (or similar).
In my book, that is.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Same as @Dutchess. I like it and see it as respectful.

The context is usually someone asking a question, like ‘do you want to go to deer camp this weekend?’
He replies, ‘let me check with the boss and I’ll let you know.’
Due to his epilepsy and memory issues, he often forgets social events and appointments.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Referring to your wife as “the boss” would never have happened 2 generations ago. The man was undisputably the boss and what the man wants the man gets and to hell with how his wife feels about it.

cookieman's avatar

One couple we are friends with, the husband loves to play up the stereotype of him being the dumb, helpless man-child who can’t even feed himself when his wife isn’t around. Meanwhile, he has a masters degree, works in IT security, and runs a side business. He is, by no mean, a dummy. Very smart and capable guy.

We went out to dinner once and I asked him, “Why do you post on Facebook (when your wife is away) that you are starving, don’t know how to order food, and that the laundry is piling up? Do you really not know how to take care of yourself?”

He said, “I’m not really that bad. It’s just fun to act that way.”

I was perplexed. It’s fun?! You just come off like an idiot and you’re perpetuating sexist stereotypes.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Sounds like he’s trying to lay a guilt trip on his wife.

Nomore_lockout's avatar

I call my wife Mamma Bear. She never had an issue with it. Never called her The Boss but I don’t think she’d mind that either. But we have always had a good relationship and we don’t worry about crap like that. Don’t even remember the last time we argued about anything. Well, just one little thing a few months back, but not really anything between the two of us. My boss tried to, and did, butter me up with a bottle of high dollar Irish whiskey in order to persuade me to work two extra days. She was a bit mad because I went for it, but nothing major. Just said, “I wanted you to be at home. Enjoy your whiskey ass hole”. LOL Smooth stuff it was.

Demosthenes's avatar

@cookieman That stuff has always seemed very cringey to me and certainly doesn’t do a good job of selling married life to anyone. :P

The first thing I thought of when I read this was the metaphor of one’s testicles residing in the handbag of their spouse (or girlfriend). I’m just not sure where the line between playful and resentful is.

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KNOWITALL's avatar

@Demosthenes I didn’t understand before I got married either. :)

But in reality, either person dominating the relationship and making all the decisions, to me would be abusive. Like if I forced him to deposit his check in my account instead of keeping everything seperate and equal. Marriage rule #1, you can’t force another adult to do anything.

It also takes a very long time to get a single person to understand it’s respectful to check with your partner before taking off for a week. Or some couples have a spending limit (anything over x amount of dollar is a mutual decision, not one person.) It’s a partnership, so Boss is kind of ironic comedy to me.

cookieman's avatar

@Dutchess_III: That could be true.

@Demosthenes: Exactly. It’s similar to when somebody says something mean followed by, “What? I’m just kidding.” No you’re not.

smudges's avatar

@Nomore_lockout I think ‘Mamma Bear’ is very cute!

Inspired_2write's avatar

I wouldn’t like that as it comes off as ignorant and demeaning to whomever its directed at.
It sends the wrong message that one is more in power in the relationship that should operate as as a team equality.
How would you feel if your friend says that THEY are the Boss?
Same feeling…power trip and not many would stay in that unequal relationship.

Note: Lately everytime I type and after sending it ,is going out incorrectly?( auto correct function)?

dabbler's avatar

Depends on the context, and whether or not wife is present.
If she’s present then you can tell what they both mean by that.
Sometimes (often?) the wife is the literal boss of the social calendar and people who are familiar with the couple know what hubby means when he needs to check with the boss.
Sometimes it suggests the wife is overbearing or worse, not likely that was meant respectfully.

kneesox's avatar

They better not try it with me, or they’re fired.

JLeslie's avatar

My husband sometimes calls me boss and I hate it.

raum's avatar

If they only use it when their wives are out of the room, I’m going to say no.

Though I’ve seen it used affectionately with the spouse in the room. I’m fine with that.

Pandora's avatar

Let me tell you some truth about the Boss. The term the boss is a way to recuse themselves from any responsibility. It’s not said with affection nor meant that way.
Kids:Teens. Can I borrow the car. Dad. Ask the boss. When men say this it is often because they know mom will say no and they agree, but don’t want to look like the bad guy. How many times do guys say, hey, if it was me I would say yes but you know mom.
Same for escaping favors. Friend ask, hey, can you come over and help me move. They say ask the boss. The wife already knows if he sent someone to ask her than it should be a no. Again, he doesn’t want to look like the bad guy.

My husband is a yes man to most favors for friends even when he wants to say no because he’s tired or they already owe him money. He hates hurting feelings. So all his pals think I am the bad guy when in truth, he didn’t want to say no to their face and have to come up with an excuse because he sucks at it. I can usually come up with an excuse or say something like you already owe us money. Or you borrowed the car twice and bought back the tank empty and I had to fill up at the gas station on my way to work. (I don’t work now, but when I did.)
My dad use to do the same thing. He also was too kind and would let people take advantage of his kindness.

My mom says dads are the good guys in the soap operas and moms are always the evil villian in that same soap opera.

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Poseidon's avatar

I am 74 years old and I have never heard a man refer to his wife as ‘The Boss’. Neither have I heard a wife refer to her husband as The Boss.

The whole idea of being married, or living together is to love honour and above all trust each other and live your lives as equals.

If I did hear a man describing his wife, or partner as the boss I would treat it as a criticism and either think that he has no respect for her or she controls him.

Either way in my opinion that is not an ideal marriage

Glambarber's avatar

My husband recognises that I’m the boss, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.

Dutchess_III's avatar

It depends on the context. Rick has his mad skills and I have my mad skills. We’ll refer to each other as “The boss” depending on the situation.
My maddest skill is financial management
Rick is just the opposite in that area. I’ve nixed more cars and boats and trucks than you can shake a stick at. He makes decisions emotionally. That’s why I have to step in.

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kneesox's avatar

@Dutchess_III what are mad skills?

Dutchess_III's avatar

mad skills = really good skills.

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