Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 321

Expat wife swapping

So, I’m what’s known in the expat world as a ‘trailing spouse’. What a hideous term. It kind of conjures up images of us women lugging all the suitcases about behind our husbands as they do important things, and bowing our heads in a subservient manner, whilst putting on a pinny and making sure his supper is ready upon his return.

Yes, as you can see, I find this term rather old-fashioned and irritating.

This, as you probably realise, is not me

This, as you probably realise, is not me

I described the role of the trailing spouse to my American friends just recently, sort of like this:

‘So, there’s a bunch of us who are trailing spouses and we sort of know each other, and sometimes we all get together. Occasionally it’s hard being a trailing spouse because it is a sort of forced situation, but we do our best and take out of it what we can and most of us enjoy the experience, though there are some trailing spouses who find it really tough.’

My American friend mis-heard ‘trailing spouse‘ and thought I said ‘trading spouse‘. Yes, he really did. Re-read that sentence now and exchange ‘trailing’ for ‘trading’. Then, like him, you would think there are a bunch of British expats in the USA who are into wife-swapping. At first, he was horrified, until I corrected him. Oh, how we laughed!

Trading spouses the expat way :)

Trading spouses the expat way 🙂

(That’s not to say that there might not be some British expat wife-swapping going on….I’m just now aware of it 😉 )

Now, there’s a blog post ripe for the taking!

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6 Responses to Desperate English Housewife in Washington, chapter 321

  1. I agree about the “trailing spouse” thing. I’m trying to think if I’ve heard any different terms but I’m drawing a blank. What term would you prefer?

    Thanks for participating in the #MyGlobalLife Link-Up!

  2. EmmaK says:

    Hey you should go on Wifeswap what a fun program. I guess they’d swap you with a bible-thumping creationist or maybe a Florida alligator hunter. Give it a whirl I think it pays pretty well but you have to have a filmcrew hanging around your house for ages

  3. VictoriaK says:

    Yeah, the “Trailing Spouse” title wasn’t exactly a promotion for me; I am so not a HausFrau. Some aspects of being a Trailing Spouse are completely chortle-worthy, though. When we were opening our bank account here in very-traditional Austria, my husband had to authorize me to be a joint-owner on the account. The account manager actually said to me with a straight face, “You will be doing all the spending, right?” And when we were buying our car, the sales representative only spoke to me about the vehicle’s features, as I “would be doing all of the shopping.”

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