We don't hear very much about the first gentlemen of American politics certainly, or anywhere else for that mattter, not as much as we hear about our First Ladies. But come November, that could change.
Watch the video and answer the questions below.
1 What three occupations does Andy Moffit have?
2 What area is Gina Raimondo a pioneer in?
3 What does 'six' refer to?
4 How did being a first gentleman change Dan Mulhern's marriage?
5 What did Moffit have to do during his wife's first campaign for Attorney General?
6 What does the phrase ‘Your primary role is emotional’ mean?
7 What was one of Andy Moffit's first tasks as first gentleman?
8 What causes is Moffit focusing on these days?
9 How does Moffit support his wife?
Meet Andy Moffit. Husband, a working father, and gardener-in-chief.
So the other day I was out there, you know, cutting the hedges and cleaning, and some guy came by and he said, 'Hey, hey, does the governor live here?' And I said, 'Yeah.' And he said, 'Well, if you see her, tell her she's doing a great job!
And it's pretty easy for Andy Moffit to get an audience with the governor of Rhode Island. He’s married to her. Gina Raimondo is the first female governor of the state, which makes her husband the first... what?
I do remember being at an event where I was a group of seniors, and the man who was introducing me sort of paused. He said, 'This is Andy. He's… what, what's your title again?' And I explained, 'First gentleman.' And all the older men and all the women there all laughed and kind of giggled.
Andy Moffit is Rhode Island's first first gentleman. And while that title may not exactly roll off the tongue, you might want to get used to it.
From Michael Haley in South Carolina, to Dan Little of Oregon there are now six, count them, six first gentleman in the United States. And while we don't know if the title of the cook book by Wade Christensen, the first gentleman of Oklahoma, sums up his take on the job, Dan Mulhern, former first gentleman of Michigan, says the role reversal can be humbling. His wife, Jennifer Granholm, served two terms as governor.
Did it change your marriage?
Oh, sure, yeah.
For a man to see your wife in the position of power and prominence all the time, you have to think about how to manage yourself, and how to manage your ego, and how to play roles that are unusual roles.
In fact, Mulhern, a lawyer and teacher at UC Berkeley, says he’d actually considered running for office himself, but it was during his wife's first campaign for Attorney General that his role began to change.
She gave a big speech at the convention, 3,000 people packed in. And she was amazing. And I was holding my son, and this horrific smell starts wafting up to me from his backside. And so I was on the floor in a bathroom stall with my son on a plastic diaper pad changing him. And I was just fussing like crazy with myself: I can't believe I'm here. Why am I here? I can't believe I'm doing this now!
During his wife's first term, Mulhern sought advice from, who else?, a former first lady, Paula Blanchard of Michigan.
I said it to her, ‘How did you decide what role you would play?' And she said, ‘Your primary role is emotional.’
And what did that mean?
Well, it meant a lot things: number one, it meant I was the lead in the family. And at that time our children were eight, seven and one. You know, you think of yourself as smart, you think of yourself as up on the ideas, you may think you have talents. But that's not where you're supposed to be.
The duties of the first spouse have never been one-size-fits-all.
It's a very amorphous job, a job without a definition.
Lisa Kathleen Graddy is the curator of the first ladies exhibit at the Smithsonian in Washington DC.
It all depends on what we expect of women, and what we expect of first ladies at that time.
Dolley Madison established the White House as a backdrop for social diplomacy. She also, you may recall, really knew how to pack up and move in a hurry.
Dolley Madison, when the White House was burned by the British in 1814, managed to save it…
A century and a half later, Jacqueline Kennedy reigned domestic, famously restoring her new home.
Lady Bird Johnson was the first to enter the job with an announced slate of programmes, including highway beautification. Our more recent first ladies have taken on issues like health care, literacy and obesity.
How much of what we expect of first ladies and of a first gentleman has to do with our expectations of gender?
I think almost all of it has to do with our expectations of gender. I don't think that people are necessarily going to expect a first gentleman to do the Christmas decoration tour, but we just don't know.
But maybe we should?
Maybe we should, maybe we should.
Take one of Rhode Island first gentleman Andy Moffit's first tasks.
You actually held the tea for former first ladies of Rhode Island.
I did, I did. I realize I have a platform as first gentleman. And I've a real license, and I have an intention to do something with it to make an impact on our state. And they were very encouraging in that way.
These days, while his wife is at the State House, Moffit is focusing on his causes: food and hunger-related issues. That is, when he's not working for a management consulting firm. Which brings us to this guy, who may soon find himself with a wife who's president, and a case of serious role reversal.
You don't make the decisions; your wife makes the decisions, you're a coach or a consultant. You're a supporter. You're a cheerleader. You're an encourager. But keep that clear in your mind: She's the boss.
Still, to hear Dan Mulhern tell it, there's nothing second-rate about being first gentleman.
If you had to assign adjectives, you know, my years as first gentleman were ..., what would you say?
Extraordinary, you know, magical, really confusing, disempowering, humbling, uplifting, very sweet. Lots of pride at my wife. Extraordinary feelings of pride for my wife.
1 husband, working father and gardener
2 she is the first female governor of Rhode Island
3 the number of 'first gentlemen' in US
4 he had to learn how to manage himserlf, and how to manage his ego, and how to play unusual roles
5 change his son's napppy
6 the first gentleman's number one task is being the lead of the family and he must forget about his other talents
7 holding the tea for former first ladies of Rhode Island
8 food and hunger-related issues
9 he's a coach or a consultant, he's a supporter, he's a cheerleader, he's an encourager