The Guardian nailed it when they reported in January 2015 of Human Rights lawyer Amal Clooney and her husband arriving on the red carpet at the Golden Globes.
Her husband of course, is George Clooney. George is a super-successful actor, but compared to his wife Amal, his achievements seem shallow and narcissistic. You could say that George is the perfect example of a trophy husband.
But what exactly is a trophy husband? If that question has made you stop and think, you’re not the only one. Why is it is so easy to define the female version but not the male? Well, let’s drill it down.
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The easy way to understand this is to get to grips with the concept of the trophy wife. Trophy wives are status symbols, often beautiful, and not particularly intelligent. Their husbands parade them on their arms to show off to society.
The husbands of trophy wives are usually older, not attractive but very wealthy or powerful. The term is derogatory, despite the pride with which their partners display them.
this kind of wife is an indication of the husband’s wealth and status. So what is a trophy husband? Are we any closer to knowing? Well, yes. A trophy husband is the exact same as a trophy wife but in male form.
So this guy will be a good-looking, handsome, young man whose partner is older, possibly not so attractive, but rich in her own right. Basically, he is the attractive partner of an older, wealthy woman.
Now, years ago, the very thought of a woman choosing a partner for his young looks would be unheard of. We all know the wink-wink attitude of older ladies that go after toy boys. They are known as cougars; predators ensnaring young flesh for sexual pleasure. How dare they!
But going back to trophy husbands, society has changed. It’s no longer the case that women earn less than their male counterparts. Secondly, isn’t this selection of a partner for their looks primarily a male thing?
It’s typically men that choose looks over substance when it comes to their partner. Women don’t usually cite looks as a prerequisite for marriage or relationships. Character or a good sense of humour were always top markers for a potential lover. But times have changed.
Well, first of all, women are now earning more than their sisters did decades ago. They occupy top managerial positions, run their own companies, and they employ men. All of these raises their alpha status. And with this new alpha status comes choices. One of them being their romantic options.
You could say that the roles are being reversed, and this is true of men and women in all walks of life. For instance, stay at home dads is not unusual, or seeing dads picking up children at the school gates. Whereas years ago this would be a talking point, now it’s a badge of honour.
There’s no shame nowadays for fathers to look after their own children. Men would have been ridiculed for choosing to stay at home. They are, after all, supposed to be the breadwinners. But not anymore.
Women are not only equal in the work industry, but in the home as well. Moreover, women are becoming the breadwinners in their own home. That gives them power, status and certain freedom.
They are independent, they don’t need a man to support them, or to look after them. Our modern woman looks after herself. She is financially free to pursue her own agenda. And that is powerful.
But it’s not just about the wants and desires of this alpha woman. For men, it’s a pretty good position to be in. These days, the word trophy husband doesn’t come with the same connotations as the female version. It’s a sought after position that shows men in a good light.
Why? Because they’ve put their egos to one side for a change and allowed their partner to steal the show. And some guys actually like staying at home. For a start, there's way less pressure on them to be the breadwinners.
I can explain this a little better if I give you some examples of these men and their very accomplished women.
Oscar-winning actress Nicole Kidman (51) married her country and western singer boyfriend Keith Urban (52). Sure, Keith is a highly regarded singer and a little older than her but come on, she’s the icon.
We might have heard of Benedict (43) but he’s just an actor. His wife Sophie (41), on the other hand, studied at Oxford, speaks fluent French, is a theatre and opera director who has won the coveted Samuel Beckett Award for writing and directing.
Described as the ‘wind beneath her wings’, Steadman (68) is a celebrated author and businessman but Oprah (66) is the star in this relationship.
Has anyone heard of composer, director, actor and producer Jeff Richmond (59)? How about comedian, actress, writer, producer and playwright Tina Fey (49)? I rest my case.
Serena Williams (38) has 39 grand slam titles to her name and is arguably one of the greatest tennis players of all time. Her husband Alexis (36), on the other hand, is the co-founder of Reddit and an internet entrepreneur.
Eddie (38) might have starred as Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, but Hannah (38) is a PR executive who was once the head of PR at financial company Mergermarket Ltd.
Princess Victoria (42) is the heir to the Swedish throne. Her husband, Daniel (46), was a personal trainer and owns several gyms.
BAFTA-winning and Golden Globe winner US actress Amy Adams (45) has a slew of Academy Award nominations to her name. Her husband, Darren is also an actor, but as of today, he doesn’t even have his own Wikipedia page.
Julia Roberts (52) has a celebrated career in the movies, and has bagged several prestigious awards including an Oscar. Hubby Daniel Moder (51) is a cinematographer and has worked on films such as The Mexican.
We all know about George (58) and his illustrious showbiz career, but gorgeous Amal (42) is a highly-respected top human rights lawyer. She has a BA in jurisprudence and has been appointed special envoy to Kofi Annan in Syria.
Jim Toth (50) is a Hollywood talent agent and has represented celebrity A-listers such as Scarlett Johannsson and Matthew McConaughey. But he’s no star in his own right. Reese (43), on the other hand, well. Need I say more?
So those are our celebrity versions but what does it mean to be one in everyday life?
To achieve trophy husband status there are certain rules. You will get some free time from your lovely lady, but only to go to the gym. You have to look the part. These alpha ladies don’t want a man with a beer belly. You’re going to have to spend time defining those abs and working on your guns. After all, you are on show and no self-respecting alpha woman wants a slouch on her arm.
This is the most important factor is - he has to be attractive. After all, the word trophy suggests a prize and who wants an unattractive prize? But don’t worry because if you haven’t got a film star looks, your alpha woman is usually happy to pay for your surgery. Yes guys, be prepared to go under the knife if you don’t measure up.
In fact, times have changed for the modern woman. According to dating agency Berkeley International, women are now citing appearance as a top priority. And, if they are wealthy enough, they’ll pay for it.
Studies show an increase in the number of ladies willing to foot the bill for their partner’s procedure. And the top procedures are hair transplants and body sculpting including liposuction.
Men that put themselves second to their wives? What is this trickery and magic? Men and their egos are not easily separated so it takes a very special kind of man to neglect his own needs for his lady.
Your job is to support her, boost her confidence, and generally make her life easier. You stand in the background; you are invisible until you’re wheeled out for the show.
You have to be both physically and emotionally available to your wives. Again, you are putting your needs second. It doesn’t matter if you’ve had a bad day with the children, as soon as your missus arrives home your attention is fully on her.
As Oprah described her husband Steadman as ‘the wind beneath her wings’, so should you make it easy for your wife to excel in her chosen career. This might mean that you are the stay-at-home husband, or that you work part-time so that you take care of the house.
Whichever role you undertake, it never surpasses your wife’s career.
Listen, you are basically being paid for your services. You are the good-looking arm candy and you are being paid to look good at all times and shut up. You can have an opinion, so long as it offers advice as to how you can better support your wife. Otherwise, keep your complaints to yourself.
Why do some successful ladies go for younger, less intelligent but good-looking guys? One reason is pretty obvious; it’s for good sex. Your job is to pleasure your wife, to attend to her needs and maybe you’ll get some crumbs during the session.
Now, you might think that the typical trophy husband has the body of Fabio and the intellect of Joey from friends. But, it all depends on the woman.
Of course, some do want this mixture of looks and stupidity, but others don’t. Some want a successful man by their side to show off. So it’s not all about looks. Remember, it’s all about showing off your man.
So some women think looks are important, others might prefer intellect or wealth or power. It’s all to do with what the woman covets in a man. What does she want her partner to be like? Perhaps she wants her partner to have finished grad school.
She might want her man to have a career, but he will have to know that his full-time career is her. So even if he does have a job, it won’t interfere with how he supports her.
You might be wondering why there is a rise of trophy partners. Well, according to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), nearly two million women in the UK who work fulltime earn more than their partners.
In addition to this fact, more men (14%) than women (8%) now work at home. And there’s more. In April this year, around half the women in the age group of 22 – 29 earned more than £9.55 an hour. Compare this to the men and you’ll see less than half in the same age bracket managed to earn that much.
Clearly, the dynamics of the workplace lend themselves to this shift, but what is it like in real-life to have a husband or partner than earns less than you?
Well, it seems there is one rule for celebrities and another for us ordinary folk. Despite women earning more and having the choice of their partner, they are still doing most of the housework, tending to the children and sorting out the finances.
So in real life, the concept of a trophy hubby might be a pipedream. Oh well, we can dream can’t we ladies?