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Cliff Wife To Curvy Wife: Inside The Deeply Weird Online ‘Wife Guy’ World

Recently, a guy’s wife fell off a cliff, and everyone on the internet had a pretty good laugh about it.

The individual components of the story aren’t funny. The cliff, while really being more of a ‘big ledge’, didn’t look pleasant to fall down, and his wife was banged up afterwards. But the broader concept, of a blogger who proceeded to turn his wife’s tumble into a 20-minute YouTube video about seizing the day, was met with high-key amusement.

Thus, we entered the era of Cliff Wife.

So let’s back up a bit. What is a Wife Guy? How does Cliff Wife fit into the broader Wife Guy framework? Can any man with a wife be a Wife Guy? (The answer is ‘no’.)

As The Outline’s Tom Whyman wrote, in what the history books will show as the seminal essay on the topic, “a Wife Guy is defined by the fact that they have done something which involves a wife, whether their own or someone else’s — call this a Wife Event. A Wife Event can take many forms, but it necessarily involves the internet in some way (a long-distance online relationship; a fake social media account; a prominent Instagram presence) and, when discovered, will be widely discussed online.”

In other words:

Ground zero for the Wife Guy phenomena is an old image from at least 2013, of a classic suburban house marked in rageful yet ultimately sad spray paint: ‘DON’T EMAIL MY WIFE’.

Certain Wife Events stand out in memory. There was the guy who emailed another man to tell him he’d be moving to his hometown to start an affair with his wife (and posted the whole email on Twitter); the guy who pretended to be his own wife online for years and only outed himself when she divorced him; and recently, the famous gamer guy who was left by his cosplaying elf wife because he was having an affair with another gamer.

But the one you really need to know about is Curvy Wife Guy. A man called Robbie Trip made headlines a few years ago when he posted a tribute to his slightly-larger-than-size-zero wife.

“As a teenager, I was often teased by my friends for my attraction to girls on the thicker side, ones who were shorter and curvier, girls that the average (basic) bro might refer to as ‘chubby’ or even ‘fat’,” he wrote, his hands on the hips of a wife who is, objectively, out of his league.

“For me, there is nothing sexier than this woman right here: thick thighs, big booty, cute little side roll, etc … There's nothing sexier to me than a woman who is both curvy and confident; this gorgeous girl I married fills out every inch of her jeans and is still the most beautiful one in the room.”

In case you were wondering how Curvy Wife Guy took to all this, he recently released a single called ‘Chubby Sexy’.

Sample lyrics: “She got a waist so big / That her belt can’t reach / So I call her James / and the Giant Peach.”

There’s a video clip:

The latest addition to the Wife Guy genre is the Cliff Wife, which brings us full circle.

Cliff Wife Guy is a YouTuber called Shaun McGride, and his wife is Jenny. “i watched my wife fall off a cliff … you’re [sic] whole world can change in a matter of seconds,” Shaun said in a since-deleted tweet. “mine almost did. a good reminder to be grateful for every moment of it. the good and the bad. the happy and the sad. because you’re here.”

You can watch Shaun’s YouTube video in full if you want, or skip ahead to the eight-minute mark for the fall. Look, it’s not a small fall, and Jenny had a few bruises, but the words “I watched my wife fall off a cliff” conjured images of unsurvivable falls. This was not that.

“My wife fell off a knoll,” one user suggested.

As soon as this video went to Twitter, memes were made, retweets were plentiful, and there was no better place to be than online.

Even Chrissy Teigen entered the Cliff Wife Guy conversation, as she had suffered a nasty fall herself.

Her tweet -- which crossed the streams of celebrity Twitter and weird Twitter -- promulgated Wife Guy discourse into an even wider realm. It went mainstream.

Does this mean we’ve reached peak Wife Guy content, and it will go the way of all popular memes -- onto Brand Twitter, Cop Twitter, and eventually, your mum’s Facebook account? Or will the intersection of funny, weird, and yes, a little bit sad keep the Wife Guy alive?

Only time will tell.