About a year after my wedding, while packing for a move, I came across a box filled with nearly 100 completed thank-you notes—stamps, custom return addresses, all of it—that we apparently had never sent out. I screamed for my husband, Peter, and made him promise to never tell his mother. Peter is not his real name as I must remain undercover. So, if my mother-in-law asks, the party line is that we sent them all out—something is just wrong with all her friends’ mail. It's not our fault.
But when I say, “our fault,” I really mean “my fault,” because no one will care that Peter and I didn’t send out thank-you notes. They care that I didn’t send them, because in hetero partnerships, thank-you notes are the woman’s responsibility. They are one of the many barometers we use to measure a woman’s humility, grace and devotion to tradition, which I break down below:
Humility: Is wife humble enough to articulate through effusive thanks that she is not worthy of the gifts?
Grace: Does wife demonstrate elegance in the face of administrative paperwork? (e.g. Does she have the proper stationary ready to go? Has she acquired the postage? Did she dutifully note who got her what in a shared spreadsheet that Peter never, not once, looked at?)