FFS! What is this – 1832?

March 2009:

For sale: nagging wife, very high maintenance

A British man fed up with his wife’s complaints has advertised her for sale – and received a number of offers.  “Nagging Wife. No Tax, No MOT (ministry of transport test). Very high maintenance – some rust,” wrote Gary Bates, 38, in a small ad in British classifieds magazine Trade-It, more usually used to buy and sell cars or household goods.

Mr Bates, a self-employed builder from Gloucestershire, south-west England, snapped after his wife Donna got on his nerves while she was watching television and decided to place the ad as a joke.  “She was nagging me for doing something small, while she was watching some rubbish on TV,” he said.  “So I just thought I’d put an ad in to get rid of her. I didn’t think anyone would ring up, but I’ve had at least nine or 10 people calling about her. It’s gone mad.  “There was no-one I knew – just people asking, ‘Is she still available?'”  The couple only married last year, and Mr Bates said his 40-year-old wife – whom he advertised in the magazine’s Free to Collect section, along with some of his fishing tackle – initially gave him “a bit of an ear-bashing”.  But he said: “She’s seen the funny side of it now though.

So hilarious, much fun was had by all.   (Update: Ohh even funnier!  He’s not the only one to pull this stunt!) We are after all mocking a not too distant historical reality.  Women were property at the disposal of men, their lives literally dependent upon the kindness of the males around them.  From nineteenth century England there is over 200 recorded instances of men putting women in bridles and taking them down to the local market place and selling them, in scenes that would not have been so different to the opening of Thomas Hardy’s The Mayor of Casterbridge.  And this happened in Australia too.

Australia 1832:


Gentlemen, I have to offer to your notice my wife, Mary Anne Thompson otherwise Williams, whom I mean to sell to the highest and fairest bidder. Gentlemen, it is her wish as well as mine to part forever. She has been to me only a born serpent. I therefore offer her with all perfections and imperfections, for the sum of fifty shillings.

After waiting about an hour, Thompson knocked down the lot to one Henry Mears, for twenty shillings and a Newfoundland dog; they then parted in perfectly good temper – Mears and the woman going one way, Thompson and the dog the other.

Quoted from THE ANNUAL REGISTER for 1832.

And don’t even get me started on the very real problem of the global trafficking of women and children.  But by all means put your wife up for sale on ebay, and let’s all have a giggle ‘cos we’re so enlightened and it’s ohh so funny threatening to sell nagging, high maintainence spouses who don’t know the proper wifely attitude, oh and while we’re at it why don’t we send the little wife to see Bettina Arndt for some advice on how to save the ailing marriage.

4 comments on “FFS! What is this – 1832?

  1. Oh, wow, that is really depressing.

    I had seen a similar thing happen on Craigslist a year ago or so.

    Some the shit that people post just makes me want flail my arms in a very wild manner.

  2. Stevie says:

    Wow, I did not realise I could still sell my wife. What a wonderful and enlightened time we live in! (please note the sarcasm)

  3. Hey Peeps,

    Keep uo the Good work.

    Love Heaps


  4. rayedish says:

    Hey Wendy “Some shit that people post just makes me want flail my arms in a very wild manner” – It does get depressing sometimes doesn’t it. I feel like steam comes out my ears sometimes, some shit I come across is just to horrific to post about. It’s like what can you do in the face of this? (Like the 13 year old girl stoned to death for ‘adultery’ after she reported that she’d been raped). Horrendous.

    Stevie “I did not realise I could still sell my wife” if you weren’t being sarcastic then maybe we could talk about going halves if you get a good price. No! hang on! If you could sell your wife – she would, like, have to get ALL the money because, you know, she is her own person and not yours! 😉 By the same token if she tried to sell you and your motorbike, you’d get all the money.

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