One Monday on Facebook,
Me, status update: Working for a living.
My Sister-in-Law, comment: yes but at least you get paid for it.
My Sister-in-Law is an out of work Yale MBA currently staying at home with two small children. They live on the west coast with its inherent expenses.
Me, comment: I’d rather get paid for my thoughts on golf, technology, and the future. Or for thoughtful, heroic roles in important epic feature films. Or for inventing something on the scale of post-it notes. By the way, your work is not gratis.
- Cook- 2000/mo
- Chauffeur -2000/mo
- Nannyx2 2000/mo
- Sugar baby 1500/mo
- Consultant -1000/mo
- Cleaner -1000/mo
- Gardener -1000/mo
- Tutors 2500/mo
- Room/board for all these people 3500/mo
I can go on. This is with no benefits -health or retirement.
My Lovely Wife, J, comment: Do you want a bill?
Me, comment: Yikes!
Sister in Law, comment: kee kee…
Guess now that you’ve convinced me I’ve earned it, I can afford to redecorate, treat myself to those spa treatments, and toss in that Marc Jacobs handbag I’ve been eyeing. I think we may also need to add Psychologist, Nutritionist, Hair Stylist and Health Care Professional to the list…
Me, comment, exeunt: You go girl. It doesn’t apply to J because she employs me.
This exchange made me think, which is the first step into getting into big trouble. Why do do women want to get married and stay married? If you look at the job description, the housewife takes on at least 5 or 6 essential jobs, goes through great deal of risk to have children, and starts having incredible headaches after about five years of marriage.
If the husband was the first domesticated animal (link), the husband-keeper was the first pet owner. Some husbands are useful and clever like the sheep dogs in that Samsung commercial (link). Others are more like those giant dogs people get when they’re small and cute, but are horrified soon to find that the dog eats food bought in fifty pound sacks and lays turds bigger than theirs. They’re messy, they’re high maintenance, and they’re horny.
So what do you do about a problem dog? You “fix it.” And that is what the husband keeper does to the problem husband. The fix involves:
- limiting access to non-family activities with the guys (hunting, fishing, golfing!) that increases testosterone driven pack behavior
- letting them overeat (to make them less appealing to other women and by increasing body fat, increase relative estrogens and brooding behaviors while tamping down on demon testosterone)
- making them drive ungainly automobiles that have the profile of pregnant women (minivans, Priuses, Lexus anything). Through about a million years of monogamy, the original savage brute is transformed into the domesticated house-husband.
Being married, I clearly benefit by not having to employ an army of assistants while getting a leg up on unmarried people with the help of my wife. I am presentable because of my wife. The unattached, middle-aged man has the shelf life of a can of anchovies -more than a few years, but not more than about five to twenty. Being unmarried, unattached, or sadly widowed in your sixties or later is a formula for showing up sallow, unshavened, unpressed, and unwashed -a homeless man. There is good data to show that longevity is associated with marriage. Most guys who run off on their wives and families immediately turn around and get married and start another family -what were they running from?
What benefit does a woman get? Pride in ownership? Someone to kill varmints? I have very little insight into this question. I did kill a mouse in my NY apartment in 2003 -last time I did something tangibly useful for my wife. It is shocking to me that we are nearing our 15th anniversary and I look at my wife and nothing has changed about her and us. And maybe this two-happy-bugs-preserved-in-amber-for-a-billions-years thing is it: it is not one person’s benefit or the other’s, but the sum of the whole. By getting married, we enter a time compression bubble where one year can feel like seven but fifteen can feel like one. For better or for worse, in sickness and in health, I am hers and she is mine.
Now about that Porsche.