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This is a male character who is simply a better domestic than his (usually female) significant other. He is better organized when it comes to homemaking, knows how to cook, clean, and is good with kids. Such a character is often contrasted with a less-than-feminine female character, or another male character who is a "real man", and thus useless around the house.
The usual Double Standard applies in that, for the most part, such a character is assumed to be less "manly" than one who doesn't do these things, because (for some reason) men aren't supposed to be good at these sort of things. Quite often, a man who is a full-time House Husband is seen as somehow a failure or a "bum" for "not working," even by people who have no problem with women being full-time homemakers and who would never even hint that a woman who stayed home to keep house and take care of the kids didn't have "a job". In addition, a lot of the "support network" of stay-at-home moms is often unavailable to a stay-at-home dad, because being a male makes the House Husband an outsider, even if he has the same day-to-day experiences and problems as the stay-at-home mom.
Additionally, a full-time House Husband may be patronizingly praised as though he's obviously making some incredible sacrifice, since of course men can't possibly enjoy childcare or domestic work, and/or somehow exceeding the limits of what men are capable of by displaying any actual competence at those things. Sometimes this happens while other people are calling him a bum.
When Played for Laughs, the trope is often a part of a Fish Out of Water story wherein a man with no prior experience at, or interest in, domestic work is forced by circumstances into the House Husband role and has to adapt quickly.
Obviously this is Truth in Television.
Anime & Manga Edit
- Brock from Pokémon. He even lampshaded that Ash and Misty can't travel well or eat properly without him.
- Cilan takes over this role in Best Wishes, although Iris is at least savvy enough to fend for herself.
- UFO Princess Valkyrie. Kazuto. In one episode, he participates in a "bridal training game" along with several other cast-members, including the eponymous Valkyrie (albeit in her childlike Sleep Mode Size). At the end, the game crowns the finest "bride"...him. Responsible, skilled at cooking and cleaning, kind, and even knows flower-arrangement somehow. He's basically a male Yamato Nadeshiko.
- Kenshin from Rurouni Kenshin is a textbook example. Which, considering his One-Man Army past, serves mostly to underscore his Atoner and Broken Ace tendencies.
- Ryuuji from Toradora! is a variation on this, as he plays this role to both his own mother and Taiga. And enjoys it.
- Lelouch Lamperouge from Code Geass is an excellent cook, knows how to sew, and is a consummate neat freak, all as a result of looking after his Ill Girl sister for years. This especially contrasts with his partner C.C., a total slob who leaves trash all over the place and would gleefully eat Pizza Hut each and every meal if she could.
- Tanda from Seirei no Moribito, a rather feminine healer-in-training, in contrast to his tomboy love interest/childhood friend Balsa, a bodyguard-for-hire.
- Madoka's father Tomohisa in Puella Magi Madoka Magica.
- Shinji Ikari from Neon Genesis Evangelion is definitely a House Husband in training. His roommate / commander is a total slob and Cordon Bleugh Chef, so he takes care of just about all the cooking and cleaning duties once he moves in.
- In Happy Yarou Wedding, Yuuhi takes a job as a nanny/housekeeper for a professor from school. When he becomes part of the family he naturally ends up being this trope.
- In Kekkaishi Yoshimori's dad is one of these, in the absence of their mother. He's portrayed unusually respectfully and is a generally decent guy, albeit not one with badass superpowers (he married in and didn't inherit them.) He even seems to have inspired the protagonist to become a chef. On the other hand, his wife turns out not to be as good at cooking than he is.
- The King of Devils (Forbesii) in Shuffle cooks all of Nerine's food much to the surprise of all her friends. In the original Visual Novel he's even seen in an apron from time to time. People comment that his cooking is quite good.
- In Fruits Basket, in spite of his temper, Kyo is shown to be a good cook and able to at least take care of himself. He generally doesn't do it often because he really doesn't like the people he currently lives with (except for Tohru), but did have to help out with the housekeeping when he was raised by his less able former guardian Kazuma. In an aside note in the last volume of the series, the author also notes that Kyo will be "a kind father".
- Gokushufudou aka The Way of the House Husband is the story of an ex-Yakuza named Tatsu who manages to leave his group and marries the Office Lady Miku, who's now the breadwinner of the duo. Since Tatsu is a huge Fish Out of Water and is determined to do his best to take care of his and his "Boss" Miku's home, Hilarity Ensues.
Comic Books Edit
- Ben Grimm in Fantastic Four: The End is one of these, spending most of his time at home with the kids.
- Jack Butler, the eponymous house husband in Mister Mom, starts out as a Fish Out of Water, but ends up this at the end of the movie.
- The aptly titled film Househusbands is all about this trope.
- In Daddy Day Care, Eddie Murphy has to learn how to be a house husband, and eventually turns it into a successful business watching other people's kids.
- Felix from The Odd Couple was this; it was part of the reason that his wife left him and he ended up rooming with Oscar.
- The entire plot of Dorothy Canfield's The Home-Maker revolves around this trope. When the husband loses the use of his legs in an accident, the housewife is forced to enter the workplace, while he takes over the job of raising the children...and each is far happier and more skilled in their new role.
- Spenser, the eponymous detective of Robert B. Parker's Spenser series of novels, is admittedly a better housekeeper, cook, and general domestic than his live-in girlfriend Susan Silverman, as she is the first to admit. But then, he is a Cultured Badass.
- The Doctor Who Eighth Doctor Adventures novel Father Time features the Doctor playing this role. He's always been the Team Chef, but in this one, he adopts a young girl and is seen serving her friends home-made lemonade. Aww. And he has time to have a successful career and save the day.
- After having a heart attack and being told to cut down on his stress, Watson Brewer in The Baby Sitters Club takes an indefinite time off from work to run the household. He gets so good at it that Nannie feels unnecessary and moves out...only for things to completely fall apart even with Watson's newfound skills.
Live Action TV Edit
- Andrew in the last season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer could be considered this. He's not in a relationship with anyone, though; he's more of a hostage/unwanted guest who cleans.
- In Full House, Jesse (played by John Stamos) and Joey (played by Dave Coulier) were effectively this, helping Jesse's widowed brother in law Danny (Bob Saget) raise his three girls. The early seasons even lampshaded this on many, many occasions.
- In the episode where Becky went back to work after her maternity leave, Jesse was slated to play this role, looking after both the girls and his own twins. He snapped and quit after one day, feeling "unmanly" in such a role in addition to all the stress of taking the kids to the market, tending to babies, and cooking dinner for four people only for just him and Michelle to end up eating it (DJ and Kimmy went for burgers, while Stephanie filled up on free samples at the supermarket).
- In Growing Pains, Doctor Seaver ran his psychiatric practice out of his home office so he could be a stay-at-home dad to his kids while his wife worked.
- In the 2010 version of Parenthood, Erika Christensen's character works full time as a lawyer while her husband stays at home and raises their child.
- The J-dorama called At Home Dad.
- An episode of CSI involved a husband who was a homemaker, taking care of the house and the infant son, while his successful lawyer wife made all the money. She is shown to treat him like dirt and not even bother hiding the fact that she is sleeping with her boss and that the child is likely his. The husband is revealed to be secretly going to a House of Pain to work out his frustration on a dominatrix. Then he accidentally suffocates her. When this is revealed, he finally musters the courage to tell his wife exactly what he thinks of her before being taken to prison. She's just mildly annoyed that her husband is going to jail. Not a very flattering portrayal of either the female provider or the male homemaker.
- One episode of NCIS had Ziva talking to a female Marine's "domesticated house husband."
- On the Lois and Clark show, Clark is a gourmet cook who wants kids (and children seem to adore him in both his guises). Lois, conversely, is terrified of children and "can only make four things", one of which is pasta salad. (Fanon sometimes cranks this up to "burning water" levels). One wonders how he manages time.
- Rory Williams from Doctor Who. He's a nurse, who spent his life roving around the universe with his wife and her best friend, fighting aliens. Their daughter Melody inherits her mother's last name and he's mostly fine with taking Pond as a last name himself.
- The Double Standard involved in this trope was starkly illustrated on an episode of Wife Swap when a conservative, very religious, "traditional" couple (husband worked, wife stayed home to run the house and care for the kids) switched with a non-religious, more liberal, "unconventional" couple (husband stayed home to run the house and care for the kids, wife worked). The "traditional" housewife almost immediately started berating the house husband (who was equally competent as she in taking care of a home) for being a "lazy deadbeat" and kept insisting that he "get a job". Surely, if anyone would know, she should have that staying at home and taking care of the kids is a job and its anything but lazy.
- El Chapulin Colorado was once called to help a House Husband. Said househusband was a gynecologist who quit his job when his wife (whose job was never specified) started earning more than him. By a Contrived Coincidence, one of his former patients and her husband moved next door and, not knowing he lived there, the patient's husband went there to use a telephone to call him. Chapulin then pushed the house husband into resuming his job. His wife then became a housewife.
- On Stargate Atlantis, Kanaan is basically this when Teyla goes back on active duty after the birth of their child. He doesn't suffer any stereotypes for it, though, probably because he's such a small character.
- On The Secret Life of the American Teenager, George becomes this after Anne's business career takes off. Anne discovers that she enjoys that more than staying at home and George discovers that he likes staying home more than he likes working in the furniture store. However, it is not treated as a strange thing.
- In My Three Sons we have a "House Grandpa" with Bub, and later a "House Uncle" with uncle Charlie.
- David Healy on Roseanne became this after he and Darlene got married, so much that she made him go play poker with the guys so he wasn't "hovering" over her. Hell, when they were teenagers and arguing over having kids in the future, he offered to do all the housework and child-rearing so she could work! Unfortunately, he was also a deconstruction of the trope in that he was too eager to please, and Darlene turned out to be as bossy and demanding as her mother. This led to their divorce before the revival, and breaking up for good in The Conners after a brief period of toying with getting back together.
- The song "Mister Mom" by Lonestar plays the Double Standard to the hilt, featuring a man who loses his job and has to become a house husband. At first, he sees it as a chance to relax, but by the end of the first week of being a stay-at-home parent, he hates it and wants to find another job. The implications are that men (all men) are unsuited to domestic life and have to leave it to the women.
- Jon Lajoie's "Stay At Home Dad".
Newspaper Comics Edit
- Stuart from Dykes to Watch Out For is an extremely peppy, successful example.
Video Games Edit
- The protagonist of Persona 4, who can cook better than any of the girls (which says nothing), is good with kids, can clean pretty well, and has jobs to do at home.
- Rafael in Date Warp, although not romantically involved with anyone at the start of the game, lives with another character and does all the housework - during the course of the story, he's basically looking after all the game characters. And yes, he is a romance option for the protagonist.
- The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword features potion-shop owner Luv and her husband Bertie. Whereas Luv is a shrewd businesswoman who is known for her brashness, meek Bertie is the one who constantly takes care of their child, only runs a side-business, and is even referred to by your Exposition Fairy as a "tireless househusband." Although Bertie seems like a Henpecked Husband, he seems to genuinely enjoy being the primary caretaker for their child ("Even when they keep you up all night, babies are still pretty cute"), and he and Luv make a great potion-making team.
- In The Sims, a male character with a family-based aspiration works very well as one of these.
- Artur in Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones becomes one if he marries his childhood friend Lute, and has the traits associated with such a trope.
- Stahl from Awakening is this trope all over, being a Supreme Chef and highly skilled at making tonics and having a few of the typical traits (Nice Guy, Silk Hiding Steel, Submissive Badass). Frederick, too, since he lives and breathes domestic chores when he's not fighting and is damn good at them. Ricken seems to aspire to be one as well, since one of his event tiles has him saying "modern men should know how to cook." Gaius can be seen as a rougher version, since he's a great cook plus a skilled artisan (especially regarding jewelry) and quite good at needlepoint.
Western Animation Edit
- Johnny Test's father in Johnny Test, who is literally a "househusband."
- On Rugrats, Stu Pickles works at home inventing toys and apparently serves this role during most of the year, when his wife Didi is working as a high school teacher. Howard DeVille is a classic example, meek and gentle and even shown wearing an apron a few times. Chaz is one when he isn't working, due to having to be both mother and father to Chuckie.
- On Daria both Jake and Helen work, but Helen is by far more successful and obsessed with it. Jake, meanwhile, seems to enjoy cooking strange dishes much more than business.
- In The Princess and the Frog, Tiana's father cooked for his family (and the neighborhood in general) and was very involved with raising his daughter. His love and devotion to his family was later used as a sign of how successful his life was, rather than whether or not he achieved his dream of running a restaurant.
Real Life Edit
- John Lennon in the last five years of his life.
- Due to the economic downturn throughout the 2000s, this has been happening more frequently in families where the husband loses his job and can't find a new one (or, in some cases, realizes after a while that he enjoys and is good at domestic work, and doesn't want a new job). This can lead to relationship friction if one or both partners, or their friends, find this "inappropriate" behavior for a man.
- One way to see male lions, even if they still are the leaders of their prides. Since the lionesses tend to do most of the hunting, the lions watch over their territory (the "house") and the cubs (the "kids").