Study Guide

Wife in Here We Are

By Dorothy Parker

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High Anxiety

Like her husband, the wife is never actually named in the course of the story. But Parker makes her main anxiety pretty clear: she is apparently a virgin and very nervous about consummating her marriage. She tries to disguise it (though not very convincingly) by talking and arguing about other topics: whether her husband likes her family or her hat, for instance.

She also seems confused by the husband's suggestion that they go to show once they get to New York—apparently, she was thinking they would get down to business. So, continuing her husband's apparently irrelevant train of thought, she says that she's going to write some thank you letters to wedding guests once they get to New York.

In the end, they both agree that they're not going to go to a show or write letters—they're going to put on some Marvin Gaye and do "whatever (they) want." Bow chicka bow bow.

This song and dance about writing letters is indicative of the way the wife's character works: she keeps throwing her basic worry (OMG, sex) off in other directions. She seems worried that her husband has decided on going out to the theater with her, delaying consummation—so she throws out a plan that would also delay it—writing letters.

These crazy newlyweds really need to chill out.

Marriage Trap

One point the wife keeps returning to is how so many people all over the world get married all the time—and sometimes it doesn't work out:

"Oh, no," she said. "Not ever! I don't know what made me do like that. It all got so sort of funny, sort of like a nightmare, the way I got thinking of all those people getting married all the time; and so many of them, everything spoils on account of fighting and everything. I got all mixed up thinking about them. Oh, I don't want to be like them. But we won't be, will we?" (98-99)

She's not just worried about the fighting—but that sex won't be all that it's cracked up to be. Yet, even beyond that, she seems worried that being married won't make anything all that different—they'll still be the same two people with the same problems.

Plus, they'll need to figure out how to live with each other for a lifetime, which makes the wife concerned about how much her husband really loves her. He keeps suggesting that the wedding night will make everything different, but she doesn't seem entirely sure that she buys this argument.

This anxiety also manifests in accusing her husband of hating her hat (he said he prefers her old blue hat to the new one) and of having a thing for her friend, Louise. The husband seems to be pretty innocent, though he foolishly says that the wife's friend, Louise, looked extremely attractive at the wedding. Pro tip to all you prospective grooms out there: do not say anyone at the wedding besides your wife is hot.

Here's another classic and characteristic moment that showcases the wife's anxiety:

"Here I've sat and sat, and just listened to you saying how wonderful Louise is. I suppose that's nice, getting me all off here alone with you, and then raving about Louise right in front of my face. Why didn't you ask her to marry you? I'm sure she would have jumped at the chance. There aren't so many people asking her to marry them. It's too bad you didn't marry her. I'm sure you'd have been much happier." (55)

Ouch. Seriously, these kids need to get a room and stop bickering.

The argument that began about hats loops back to include Louise and suddenly starts to throw their whole marriage into question. But the wife probably doesn't really think that her husband's affection for the wrong hat or for Louise is really going to threaten their marriage.

It's the fact that the marriage isn't complete yet, which proves the most troubling: not only haven't they really experienced the physical side of the equation, but they also don't know how they'll be able to live with each other and give each other the affection they'll need to endure as a married couple for many years.

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