Blog: Skewed Views & News

My work wife

Yo Holly. Time to get my snack on.

To most people who know me, I think it’s fairly evident. I love my wife Kelly. A lot. She’s beautiful, funny, smart, talented and she has impeccable taste in life partners. Like all marriages, mistakes are made from time to time. But I always forgive her and move on.

Now that my re-declarations of devotion are out of the way, I also need to confess something else. And it’s precisely because of the security and trust I feel in my marriage that I can say this.

Turns out, I have a work wife.

Her name is Bridget. But to protect her anonymity, let’s call her Holly. Even though Holly is about a decade younger than me, our demographics have a lot in common – we’re both happily married to supportive spouses, we have young kids and we’re living in St. Paul suburbs.

So what makes her my work wife? First, let’s define our terms. A work wife, or work husband for that matter, is someone who provides a completely harmless, entirely platonic relationship that helps keep you sane 40+ hours a week, while also providing for your many workplace needs. In my case, these needs typically include:

  • CHEEZ-ITs at 10 a.m., breakfast of champions
  • Gum at 10:30 a.m.
  • Help manipulating Excel spreadsheets. (Math sucks.)
  • Wardrobe advice (Are my white ankle-high socks geeky, or should I just go sockless for the rest of the day?)
  • Commiseration and cheap therapy when work gets ugly.
  • Postage stamps.
  • Change for the Coke machine.

Yes, Holly fulfills all of these needs for me. And she does it without attaching those messy, ridiculous demands often placed on traditional marriages. Pressures like remembering to leave your spouse with a full tank of gas or properly soaking and scraping your chili-caked bowl in the sink before throwing it into the dishwasher.

Instead of writing me unnecessary little notes like, “Don’t forget it’s your turn to drive to dance tonight,” Holly writes me helpful notes like, “Here’s how much of your budget you’ve already spent. You owe me one billable hour for figuring this out.”

Like most of my previous relationships with women, I was very slow in realizing I had this formal connection with Holly. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago when I finally realized she had become my work wife. We were standing in our office parking lot, and she was helping me identify which one of my brake lights had burned out. In full accidental adult mode, I stepped to the back of the car to see where she was pointing, and the open (but locked) driver’s door swung shut, leaving me locked out of my running car, with no spare key. Of course, Holly knew what to do. She called AAA and assured me her membership services could apply to my car as long as she stayed with me and signed for it. Acting remarkably similar to my real wife, she even told the tow truck guy not to scratch my car when he was snaking his unlocking device through the window. I drive a 1998 sedan with 145,000 miles and 155,000 scratches on it. That’s funny stuff Holly.

Clearly, I value my work wife. So what does Holly get out of the relationship? I think one time I proofread something for her. Another time, after she complained that her office windows were too streaky, I wrote a “Wash Me” message in soap from the outside. (She was three months pregnant with twins and totally missed the humor of my hijinks.) And once I thought about brushing the snow off her car after work, but then I got distracted. Really, I think it’s the thought that counts.

But whatever I bring to the relationship is not what’s important here. What matters the most is that my work wife will continue to be there for me 9 -5, Monday through Friday. At least I hope she stays put. I’m bound to lock myself out of my car again, and like most accidental adults, I still don’t have AAA.

11 Comments to My work wife

  1. Tina M.'s Gravatar Tina M.
    February 14, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Hilarious – mostly because I can completely commiserate. I have always found a work husband no matter where I’ve been employed.

    Once in a while, I also find myself a nice, shiny work wife too. Hey – women need the comforts a wife provides (in a non sexual specific sort of way) to a man!

    Love your blog.

  2. Kelly's Gravatar Kelly
    February 15, 2011 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    This was hysterical…I have been in my work marriage for 11 years now. My actual husband luckily is cool with it. Everyone needs a work spouse. I believe this to be the reason that there is no violence in my work place. He keeps me grounded LOL.

  3. February 16, 2011 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    I have the distinct pleasure of having two work wives, and, to Tina’s point, I think they are work wives to one another too. It sounds like a rather convoluted arrangement, but it’s the best work environment I’ve ever encountered.

  4. JoJo's Gravatar JoJo
    March 18, 2011 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    Work Wives rule!!! I couldnt get a hold of my wife for a promotion so I called my work wife in front of the boss to get her input lol!!!

  5. Chrystal's Gravatar Chrystal
    October 30, 2012 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

    On the flip side…I have two work husbands. Oddly enough they are both my bosses – one of the also reports into the other. Curious if anyone else has a similar experience or can speak to any possible pitfalls of such a marriage?

  6. Bella Truss's Gravatar Bella Truss
    November 4, 2012 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    So what do you prefer most?Plain housewife or a working wife?

    Bella Truss