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I don't know the meaning of "I could use a good wife" and also this sentence "you couldn't afford one" in this passage:

She: “Well, I took your suits to the laundromat and got them cleaned and pressed. And I got a great present for your secretary’s birthday. Oh, your Mom called, and I told her you were too busy to go out to dinner this week, but I would take her to lunch Friday.”
He [distracted as he looks through the mail]: “Oh, yeah, thanks. . . .”
She [miffed as blood pressure rises]: “I could use a good wife!”
He [startled and angered by her sarcasm, responds in kind]: “You couldn’t afford one!”

closed as off-topic by ColleenV, FumbleFingers, Em., Brian Tompsett - 汤莱恩, M.A.R. ಠ_ಠ Aug 10 '16 at 19:28

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She, as a good wife, has done all these tasks. She feels so overworked, that she wishes that she herself had someone to do these things. "Obviously" (sarcasm) that person would be a woman, a good wife!

He, having been provoked, and not realising/appreciating the extent of effort that gone into helping, responds with a put-down that draws attention to the quality of life the wife has (in material things) which is expensive to provide. You could not afford to pay for a good wife!

I infer that this relates to a relationship where the man earns the money and the wife has no independent income.

  • thanks..so u mean .she wishes to have a servant? – user40058 Aug 10 '16 at 15:00
  • @user40058, In effect, yes: the man clearly treats his wife as a servant, and she sarcastically says that she needs a wife (as a servant). – JavaLatte Aug 10 '16 at 15:11

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