It's voting season, and I'm not talking about politics. Or "American Idol." I'm talking about a couple of starry-eyed local wives whose romantic adoration of their husbands might win them fabulous overseas vacations.
This week — on the same day — I heard from both women, and both had the same plea: "Tell Wichita to vote for me."
The first is Kim Gish, a mother of three and Redbook magazine subscriber who on a whim entered her husband, Jason, 37, in the magazine's "Hottest Husband" contest.
Kim submitted an essay in which she described her 6-foot-5-inch husband as a giant softie who isn't afraid to play Barbies or have tea parties with their daughters.
Kim didn't tell Jason, a landscape architect, that she'd entered the contest until he was already on the road to being named a Hot Husband semifinalist.
"I had to tell him what it was, and he was really embarrassed at first. He turned red," she said with a laugh. "But he has forgiven me, and he's taking it really well. He's taking the heck from the guys really well, too."
Those who want to help Kim and Jason win the grand prize — a seven-day trip to Antigua — can vote for Jason at www.redbookmag.com. The voting will be open for several weeks, Kim said, and the winner will be announced in a future issue of Redbook.
The other local wife competing for a trip is Linda Leatherman of Mulvane, who entered herself and her husband of 33 years, Jay, in a contest she saw on Facebook.
The contest, put on by Robbins Brothers jewelers, was a tie-in with the movie "When in Rome" and offered couples who shared their "most romantic wish" a chance to win a trip to Rome.
Linda's entry contained just one sentence, saying her most romantic wish was "to have my husband propose to me again in a quiet little restaurant and not spill the wine like he did the first time when he gave me my ring."
She laughed when she recounted Jay's proposal at a small restaurant in Georgia. He tried to present the ring to Linda but knocked a glass of wine in her lap instead. After a quick cleanup, he gave it another try.
Linda's entry beat out nearly 1,500 others, contest organizers told her. The judges liked her entry because it was so "short and sweet."
Jay and Linda are now competing against nine other couples — all of whom appear to be in their 20s and 30s — for Internet votes. The voting ends at 11 a.m. Monday. Go to http://sweepstake.robbinsbrothers.com/.
Linda says she's never been to Rome (though she does regularly eat at Luciano's in Mulvane).
But she wants to go so badly, she's been begging for votes everywhere she goes — on Facebook, at her women's club, even at her mom's retirement village. At the moment, she and Jay are trailing the other couples in votes. But there's still time to change that, she said.
They no doubt have the over-60 vote tied up.
"I'm not very high up on the list," she said. "But I think we have a good chance."