In the wake of the devastating hurricane that hit Florida last week, cleanup has begun, most pressingly on the state’s electrical framework. It’s a lot of work, and pinch-hitter lineworkers—who service power lines—have been called in from across the region to help out. So far, this is fairly standard post-storm operating procedure. But in 2022, nothing is too mundane for the algorithm, and this week TikTok has taught me about another hazard descending upon the sunshine state: an epic showdown between bucket bunnies and linewives.
Now, if your response is, “KR, bucket-what and who-wives???” Well...I’m taking that as an invitation to explain it all to you.
“Linewives” are, as you may have inferred, the wives of the lineworkers who’ve been sent to reconstruct the affected area’s electrical framework. The job is very dangerous and time intensive. As someone who lives in fear of walking across the carpet in wool socks, I have nothing but respect for people who touch wires for a living. Also being up very high in a little bucket? Sweetie, that sounds like a stationary ferris wheel with the added bonus of potential electrocution. I cannot guarantee these are good men—and actually, according to a significant portion of the TikToks their wives have made, a lot of them are complete assholes—but they are nonetheless, of course, doing good and vital work.
Now we have “bucket bunnies,” aka the women—and yes, this does seem to be a problem that exclusively plagues the straights—who “bounce” from bucket to bucket, sleeping with traveling linemen and chasing their union paychecks and hazard pay with no regard for the lineman’s marital status. According to Tiktok, they are the villains of this saga.
The drama all started when Florida resident @emilyhosein1 (who does not herself identify as a bucket bunny but has been called one) posted a TikTok showing how her Tinder was chock full of linemen in town to restore power. Other users have filmed—seemingly from behind bushes, which feels uh, pretty awkward at the very least—the linemen gathering outside of their hotels.
These Tiktoks have sparked the jumble of live wires that are linewives, who have now taken a break from their busy schedule of being a linewife to make TikToks explaining how hard being a linewife is. (There’s also been some side-drama of the men on Tinder being married, but I simply cannot engage in another cheating scandal for the time being.) In one TikTok, a woman solemnly packs her husband’s suitcase with jeans and sweatshirts with the caption, “unfortunately, if you are a linewife you know what i’m doing right now.” My guess is: You’re packing your husband’s suitcase. I am not a linewife nor am I a genius, but I’d argue that a man traveling for work while his wife holds down the fort is an easily recognizable trope. Nevertheless I’m invested in the melodrama.
Another linewife filmed a TikTok of herself stomping outside to an empty driveway to show that this is the reality of linewives: Your husband will be gone most of the time. Similarly, another linewife explained that most of linewives’ lives are filled with explaining to their family and friends that their husband isn’t at a function because he is off being a lineman.
If I have learned one thing from this saga, it is that being a lineman is not just a job, but a lifestyle, and the difficulty of the lineman lifestyle comes second to the difficulty of the linewife lifestyle. Line-marriages are the institution upholding the infrastructure of storm response. From the couch on which I lie horizontal, with the phone two inches from my failing eyes, I salute them.
Interestingly enough, the drama is not centered around bucket bunnies being actual threats to the line-marriages; rather, it’s that bucket bunnies do not have what it takes to be linewives. Do they know how to cook a lineman’s steak? No! Do they know how to pack a lineman’s lunch? No! Do they know the pain of an empty driveway? No! They are not cut out for this lifestyle! They haven’t even considered, as one linewife pointed out, that if they want to hook up with a lineman, they’re going to be in a motel room with four other linemen bunked in there. (However, I don’t want to rule out the joy that that particular situation may bring to of our kinkier bucket bunnies and linemen.)
Aside from the pride and community of bulldog linewives, I’m having a hard time seeing the upsides. But like other niche community drama that TikTok has provided a window in to (hello #BamaRush), I’ll thoughtfully consider all involved parties’ perspectives. Once again, social media is living up to its promise of showing us the fascinating lives of others.