*borat voice* my wife

A Brief Guide to Wife Guys

Shaun and Jenny McBride, a.k.a. Cliff Wife Guy and Cliff Wife. Photo: Shonduras/YouTube

While you were hopefully busy off-line enjoying sunshine and fresh air over Memorial Day weekend, a new internet character emerged on the scene. His government name is Shaun McBride, and his social handle is @Shonduras, but his True Name, the name by which he shall henceforth be known, is “Cliff Wife Guy.”

McBride, an OG Snapchat star turned YouTuber, posted a video on Twitter sharing the dramatic saga of how his wife Jenny fell off a “cliff” while on a hike on vacation in Hawaii. Jenny and Shaun talk directly to the camera about the “near death” experience. “It sure changes your perspective,” Jenny says through tears. (Jenny, who sustained scrapes and bruises, fell around 14 feet.)

McBride has since deleted his tweet containing the video, likely because Twitter, at this point, has dragged him harder than the rocks his wife fell over. Not to say that falling 12 feet over brush and rocks isn’t a scary and potentially painful experience, but the YouTube-style dramatization — calling it a cliff feels like a stretch — and the fact that footage of this event was recorded, edited, and shared, officially solidifies McBride’s status as an Internet Wife Guy.

In case you’re not familiar with the concept, Wife Guys are the men who make themselves famous for things their wives did, or qualities their wives have or had. “The wife is legitimizing for a male web celebrity, and particularly advantageous for a guy in the nerd-o-sphere, in the way a mid-century businessman benefited from the aura of stable matrimony,” Miles Klee at Mel Magazine wrote earlier this year. “In crasser terms, the Online Wife is a measure of the husband’s influence.” “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,” Tom Whyman later wrote at the Outline.

In McBride’s case, the wife event would obviously be the so-called cliff fall, but knowing about him is less important than understanding he’s just the latest in a series of increasingly ridiculous wife guys. Here’s a brief guide:

Cliff Wife Guy

Wife Event: Wife “fell” off “cliff.”

What makes the 19-minute video from the McBrides detailing the “traumatic” experience so dramatic is the fact that it includes actual video footage from the incident. After explaining what happened, the video shows the McBrides and friends sitting on a couch to watch the footage of her fall. (Yes, of course, the camera was rolling.) The video show’s her fall twice – once in slow motion – and also includes a clip of McBride running toward her, yelling “are you okay, babe,” and tossing his phone aside. (It keeps filming.) Then one of the friends in the group begins filming as McBride explains his wife’s injuries while she is still on the ground, looking admittedly quite shaken up and in pain. The couple’s 3-year-old daughter was with them. (Fun fact: In 2015, McBride live-streamed her birth on Casey Neistat’s now-defunct social app Beme.)

Where Are They Now: Probably still on vacation in Hawaii.

Don’t Email My Wife Guy

Wife Event: Getting extremely fed up at some other guy for emailing his wife. (Yes, really.)

Photo: Know Your Meme

Back in 2013, a photo of a garage door covered in spray paint went viral on Reddit. “STOP NOW,” read one door of the garage. “don’t e-mail MY Wife!!!!” read the other. Consider this the origin point of all internet wife guys. While we never found out the identity of the aggrieved vandal, it almost doesn’t matter. “DON’T EMAIL MY WIFE,” became an internet gag in its own right, and an archetype was born.

Where Are They Now: At large.

Curvy Wife Guy

Wife Event: Being brave enough to tell the world he loves his objectively hot wife.

Photo: Robbie Tripp/Instagram

Robbie Tripp, a.k.a. Curvy Wife Guy, burst onto the scene in 2017 when he posted a now-viral Instagram photo of him and his wife Sarah in swimsuits embracing on a beach. In the caption, Tripp said he had been teased in his younger years for preferring “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’” and declared that his “curvy” wife is what a “real woman” looks like. He made headlines again when he posted a pregnancy announcement referring to his wife as a “sacred vessel” carrying his “seed.” (I spent an hour with Tripp earlier this month which went about as well as you might expect.)

Where Are They Now: The Tripps live in Arizona and are expecting their first child this year.

I Am My Wife (and Also She’s Divorcing Me) Guy

Wife Event: Admitting to being his own wife online.

Photo: Elle Oh Hell/Twitter

Twitter comic @ElleOhHell made a name for, uh, herself as a female internet comedian racking up 24,000 followers. (My colleague at the Cut accurately described @ElleOhHell’s humor as “litany of twee and predictable jokes that routinely wound up on lists like 30 of the Funniest Women You Should Be Following on Twitter and The 20 Funniest Tweets From Women This Week.”) Except, as was later revealed by @ElleOhHell, the person behind the tweets was, in fact, a man pretending to be his wife online. He said she knew about the bit and was aware he’d used her likeness for the account’s avatar. He also, in the same breath, announced she was divorcing him. Wild.

Where Are They Now: Mid-divorce.

Gamer Elf Wife Guy

Wife Event: Announcing he and his wife are getting a divorce, but blocking his wife (who accused him of cheating) on Twitter so she couldn’t see the announcement.

Photo: Pro Jared/Instagram

Jared “ProJared” Knabenbauer is a recent addition to the Wife Guy club, joining in May of 2019. “First, his wife, designer and cosplayer Heidi O’Ferrall, tweeted that Knabenbauer had cheated on her with another gamer, Holly Conrad, a revelation that led over 100,000 fans to unsubscribe from Knabenbauer’s popular YouTube channel. Then, Knabenbauer was accused of soliciting nudes from underage fans,” Maddie Aggeler succinctly explained over at the Cut. O’Ferrall often cosplayed as an elf, hence Knabenbaur’s Wife Guy nickname.

Where Are They Now: Posted an apology on May 17 for his Twitter fight with O’Ferrall. Did not address the underage nude allegations.

Cliff Wife Guy … welcome.

A Brief Guide to Wife Guys