Relax, everyone — he’s only kidding!
A beloved Park Slope bodega owner has renamed his Seventh Avenue store The Bad Wife — but he insists that his spouse is anything but.
“She’s my best friend,” said Jim Lee, owner of the store between 11th and 12th streets. “It’s a joke.”
Lee said the name comes from a long running gag, where he teases his wife, Sungki, for being a great wife and mother.
“It has a positive meaning,” he said. “Customers tell me that they like it.”
And how does the Mrs. feel?
“She loved it,” Lee said, adding that if his wife didn’t like the name, they wouldn’t have used it. “She’s the queen. Park Slope women are strong.”
Strong enough to know that they don’t like references to wives being “bad.”
“It’s unpleasant,” said one of the Lees’ devoted shoppers, who didn’t wish to be named. “I’m worried that people won’t shop there because they think it’s sexist.”
Others said that if you don’t know the Lees, you’d be left thinking that the store is owned by a man who doesn’t respect his wife — a problem in a neighborhood that judges male-female relations by such benchmarks as love, honor, and an exact division of household responsibilities.
“I have mixed feelings,” said one neighbor. “I wish it said, ‘The Bad Husband,’ but unfortunately that’s not the traditional humor.”
Of course, some customers love the sign.
“It’s funny,” said Jean Beeks. “It wouldn’t bother me if I were the wife.”
Most customers know Lee and his wife as the ultimate example of an affable Mom and Pop. They opened the tiny fruit and vegetable store as J H Marketplace almost 25 years ago, and have been a neighborhood institution ever since.
Now it’s time to expand, and when he opens next month, he’ll use the extra space for flowers, plants, and oriental groceries.
And, of course, for paying an odd tribute to his wife.
The Bad Wife [378 Seventh Ave. between 11th and 12th streets in Park Slope, (718) 499-7513].
©2010 Community News Group
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