When I was married to Douglas throughout my twenties and thirties, and the breadwinner much of the time, I would sometimes sneak clothes I bought into the apartment. How crazy was that? What would have caused me to fear my husband’s reaction? How could an independent woman be so spineless? Was I guilty buying something I shouldn’t? Did I feel I was denying Douglas something?
Truth is, I was not the only successful woman who hid purchases from her hubby. I’ve heard over the years from friends and colleagues who even kept high-priced jewelry a military secret. They paid the credit card bills so they didn’t worry about being caught. To this day, I know FOF women who still shop surreptitiously.
It’s pretty easy to be secretive because most men have the observatory ability of a giraffe. Their heads are in the clouds when it comes to what we wear.
I also was scared to tell Douglas when I broke a bookend he loved while I was cleaning our apartment. I was 24. And I was frantic when I accidentally broke the delicate glass hurricane lamp shade that Edgar inherited from his grandmother. He was out of town, which gave me days to run around antique stores to find a shade like it. I found one that was close enough. He never knew what happened.
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Toby Wollin says:
You know, I grew up in a family where my mom worked, and she spent her own money the way she wanted. She even told my father one Thanksgiving that she wanted him to take her down to the Jewelry District to buy a diamond watch (something she obviously wanted a great deal); another time, she dragged him down to negotiate for her for a ring with a double row of little teeny diamonds in it. I’m not quite sure why, exactly but I do think it had something to do with the fact that the other women in their social set all had huge rocks on their fingers and she wanted her own style of ‘diamond ring.’ But in any case, my dad took her down and did a bit of a haggle for appearances sake and she took out her wallet and bought herself the jewelry. I know from my father’s perspective, he found it a little bit odd that their arrangement was that his money was ‘family money’ and that her money belonged to her but she had a very strong feeling that women had to have their own money, that they should never be in a position to have to ask for it. I understood that — until I had a job of my own, I had to ask my father for money and he cross examined me for every little thing. I couldn’t buy myself a copy of a magazine without his telling me I was wasting money. So, I understood her position.
Yes, we were crazy, weren’t we.