A part of derby culture that has been a bit of a mystery to me is the concept of derby wives. I’ve heard it described as “your derby bff.” “Well, then why can’t you just call them your bff?” was my point of view. Once RCRG really started to grow and bring girls that were experiencing derby for the first time, I started to see many girls pairing off. Facebook announcements, happy engagements and signature jewelry seemed to be everywhere and I looked, and I wondered exactly what it means to have a derby wife.
Here is the general description I see in regards to what it means to have a derby wife:
We decided that derby wives were the person that is required to hold your hair when you puke and the one you call when your car breaks down and you need a ride. You call her when your heart is broken over a stupid boy or girl. You call her when everything is going great and you couldn’t be happier. She’s also the one that knows to call you when you’re down and not calling her. The day you met, you knew you would be friends, but the first time you hung out with her…you knew that you would be friends forever and that you would always have each other’s back no matter what. She’s like your long lost sister, the one you never knew you were missing until you found her.
RCRG Skater Meg Abbitch says that having a derby wife has brought a new kind of camaraderie into her derby life. “I felt a connection with my teammates, but there was still a little bit of separation. It was my own issue. Suddenly, this new girl showed up. I found myself giggling at her snarky comments. I wasn’t as self-conscious around her. I enjoyed seeing her at practice. It was just this instant connection. To find someone with whom you have an instant connection with is rare. It is something to be celebrated. Add a common addiction, like derby, and it becomes a strong bond. We probably would have never met if not for derby.”
The concept of a derby wife can be as serious or as flippant as you want it to be. Some skaters choose to make an event of it to marry their derby wife – every year at Rollercon there is one giant ceremony for derby wives to tie the knot - http://rollercon.com/events/derby-wedding/. Some skaters choose to buy stickers or jewelry declaring their derby relationship. Still other skaters don’t care for the idea at all – and find the idea of it contrary to the inclusiveness of derby culture.
With a culture of “by the skaters, for the skaters,” having a derby wife can seem contrary to the vibe of including any and every woman in the sport. I’ve heard some comment that it “just seems silly.” It isn’t unusual to see significant others that aren’t appreciative of someone else being “married” to their wife. RCRG skater JACK’d Up commented that she “sees two sides to having a derby wife - being a solid derby friend who you can go have a cry with and they won’t give a shit, and then the other side thinks it sounds more like you just claimed your Prison Bitch.”
No matter your thoughts, the presence of derby wives is a very prevalent part of roller derby culture, and one that does not appear to be going away any time soon. No one can dictate how you prioritize your derby experiences, and whether you find having a derby wife essential or not is entirely up to you - though it’s probably a good idea if your wife feels the same way!
Pictured: Ella Noise & Meg Abbitch, Hellz Kitten & N’Sidneous, Mamba & Devlyn Angel, Arkham Inmate & Dimples Destro’ya
Happy Valentine’s Day, from the Rockin’ City Rollergirls in Round Rock, TX!
RCRG Skater of the Week: Mean Streak
Mean Streak is a blocker with some serious anger management issues. When she sees jammers trying to get all up in her personal space, she flies right at them in uncontrollable rage. Meanie spends most of her track time employing her most lethal assets; good luck getting past her when she’s got room to swing her butt around. She probably has a good side, but usually when she turns the other cheek, it’s bad news for you.
Off the track, Mean Streak is just as vicious. She’s in the cutthroat business of online marketing, and she knows how to make every word count.
Likes: Herself, flattering booty shorts
Dislikes: Pretty much nothing, except for black licorice. That stuff is foul.
Check out ICE! Stone cold killer on the track, with the warmest heart you’ll ever find.
This is RockHell. Three months ago, she was fresh meat. Now she’s a jammer killer who smells blood in the water.
Huckleberry slam will mess you up!