What's that you say? Wives charging their husbands for basic services --- like preparing a boxed lunch to take to the office or dispensing a haircut? Or when making love??
Well, think of them as business-to-business transactions, advises Aera (Aug 3).
"If it helps bring order to a chaotic household, something may change in husband-wife relationships as well," observes a 42-year-old gent identified only as Kimura, who began paying his wife 400 yen to make him an "obento" to carry daily to the office. Considering he receives 50,000 per month for pocket money, taking his own lunch translates into daily savings of about 500 yen.
A 45-year-old chap named Kobayashi pays his better half to trim his hair. "You pay your barber 3,000 yen; I'll do it for 1,000," she proposed. Now, of two monthly trips to the barber shop for a total outlay of 6,000 yen, he now pays 2,000 yen and pockets the remaining 4,000.
More important, the sessions have fostered "skinship" between partners, who look forward to a spirited conversation while she provides him with a skilled clipping.
"It's a win-win situation for both parties," says Ryosuke Mizuno, author of a book that examines the value of tasks performed by wives. Which, he says, take on even greater importance in the current era of price deflation.
"Think of them as B-to-B services between companies," Mizuno counsels. "Adopting this system is a good idea for bolstering the household budget by cutting down on expenditures outside the home."
A freelance photographer named Maeda found himself with a somewhat different problem. After the birth of the couple's first child, Mrs Maeda began giving her hubby a wide berth at bedtime. Smarting over this denial of conjugal rights, one evening he blurted out his complaint.
Her response was surprising: "There's a comedienne in Osaka who collects 10,000 yen from her husband every time they have sex," she told him.
"I can pay 5,000," he retorted.
They decided that the stipend should be paid prior to snuggling in bed. He passed her a bank note. She blushed, but accepted it. "Her expression was really endearing," Maeda recalls fondly.
She uses the income from their marital trysts to purchase sexy underwear. Previously, she'd saved away her earnings for a family trip to Taiwan, which helped to serve as confirmation of their deep affection.
"I realized this also demonstrates how money can be swapped for love," Maeda tells the magazine.
In an impromptu survey of 20 married women, Aera's reporter asked, "If your husband were cheating on you, how much would you accept per month not to divorce him?"
Full-time housewives replied they would eschew divorce if they received between 270,000 to 300,000 yen. For those with jobs, the minimum figure was around 1 million yen per month.
"If couples are in a mutually trusting relationship, there's nothing wrong with having their having fun engaging in monetary dealings," says counselor Rieko Saigo. "But using money to test forbearance will wreck the marriage."© Japan Today