We were listening to our favorite radio personality on Tuesday, and heard the ladies from DoubleX.com talk about all sorts of fascinating things. Once we calmed the Anti-Couric down, and reminded her that Colin is not her actual boyfriend and therefore could not possibly be cheating on her with these women, she had a few interesting things to add to the conversation. Colin and the ladies were talking about a study that found women today to be less happy than they have ever been. Pretty much every reason they gave for modern American women being unhappy had to do with their marital roles. This reminded our dear, sweet, confirmed bachelorette of a study she once read about how married men tend to be happier than single men, but married women tend to be unhappier than single women.
Clearly this needs to be hashed out.
It should be worth noting that the term “single” means “not married,” so think of it in terms of your tax returns, which doesn’t ask if you’re in a “serious relationship.” You’re either single or married. Now look around your office, restaurant, classroom, or whatever. You can tell who the married guys are: their heads droop, and they jump every time the phone rings hoping it’s not a phone call from their wives to make sure they remembered some dance recital. It’s depressing. You almost feel bad for them until you realize they chose to get hitched (unless it was a shotgun deal, in which case it’s just funny).
Have you ever been around a married guy talking about how his wife is going away for the weekend? The anticipation and look of pure joy on his face is akin to that of a kid’s on Christmas Eve expecting his first Nintendo. There will be no one to nag him about leaving a dish in the sink or, God forbid, not going to bed together (because we all know, there’s no bigger domestic crime than that).
When two people are going out and seeing each other on a regular basis, it’s fun! You’re getting to know someone, doing fun things together and doing lame couples things that you’d normally be embarrassed about. (Bike for two? Yes please!) That’s a good time, so what goes wrong?
The one thing you always hear about marriage is that it takes a lot of work. Know what blows about life? Work! Most people don’t like their jobs so what the heck, why not get another one for when you get home? After you finish your work day, you get to come home to your work night. Sign me up! A guy I work with once said “I love my family and all, but jeez, I really look forward to Mondays.” Is this bizzaro world? No, it’s the world of being married with kids. Sheesh.
What would a typical weekend for a single guy look like? Maybe meet up with some friends; watch a ball game; eat lots of red meat; try to chat up women who are way out of his league; sleep in; have one too many brews. Normal stuff. What’s the weekend like for a married guy? He doesn’t know because he has to ask his wife first!
Are all married men miserable? No. There are probably 4 or 5 that are very happy. If half of marriage ends in divorce, how many of the remaining people are happily married? The picture can’t be pretty. If anyone can convince me that married men, as a whole, are more happy than their single counterparts, you should get a job on the Obama administration because you can convince anyone of anything at that point.
Bottom line: If you took kids (and community property) out of the equation, most married men would want to be single again. I’d bet my bank account on it.
This is my theory: Men go into marriage kicking and screaming, only to realize that life gets easier once they have someone to make dinner, clean the house, and bang them a few times a week. He can get fat, go bald, and never has to shop for himself again. (Here’s a slightly different take on it.) Women, on the other hand, go into marriage thinking life will be exponentially easier. Then they realize they have to continue working, cook dinner, clean the house, do twice the laundry, and deal with their husband’s flatulence. And for all of this, what does she get? A guy who can’t remember her birthday and refuses to leave the house during football season. Then the kids come along and it’s all over. You can kiss your friends goodbye, and expect to spend the rest of your life stressed out and wondering who the fat ass is in the bed next to you.
So when I heard Colin and the ladies talking about their theories as to why women are unhappy these days, I felt vindicated. Apparently, men have been hit hard by the recession and many of them have been laid off from the jobs they hated and can now “follow their bliss,” becoming yoga instructors and film makers. Meanwhile, their wives have no choice but to cling to the jobs they hate because someone has to pay the bills, and the ungrateful kids who ruined her stomach for all eternity need to be fed (and the cable bill needs to be paid because God forbid a man miss a single night of “Sports Center”).
Like most (straight) men, though, our own Ring Nation doesn’t pay much attention. So he can probably be forgiven for only seeing the results of nagging on a man, and not what inspires that nagging. Sure, some women are awful, just like some men are abusive. In other cases, people remain blissfully in love their entire lives. In the average marriage, though, the husband is happier than his wife. Statistically, men are less likely to leave their marriages, live longer when they’re married, and generally benefit from the arrangement. While women, no doubt, also experience some benefits, the findings aren’t nearly as cut and dry.
The fact is, women are still getting the shit end of the stick. Men may get nagged, but they’re usually sitting on the couch with their hands in their pants, watching “the game.” Meanwhile their wives are nagging from the kitchen where they’re cleaning up the dishes from the dinners they cooked, after getting home from eight hours at the office, begging him to take out the garbage that’s been stinking up the house for days, or fix the toilet that’s been running for months. And that’s in a relatively good marriage. Don’t believe me? Look around at your co-workers, your neighbors, your friends, and ask yourself where the guys would be without their wives. Ask yourself the same about the women and their husbands. Chances are, the men would be lost, and the women would be happily charting a new course.