This seems to be the title of two movies, one with Chris Rock and one with Tyler Perry. Funny no white guys have made a movie with this title, but I’m sure similar things have been done.
Actually, the unfortunate married stiff is a common theme of comedy, although more often you see a stupid fat slob who is married to a hot, smart woman. The idea meant to be communicated is marriage is great for men, and good for women as it gives them someone to feel superior toward and condescend to.
The grimness of marriage seemed to be a theme of highbrow literature in the 70’s, examples being John Updike and maybe John Cheever although I’m not familiar with him. This was about upper middle-class WASPs in the Northeast though, and not about the men’s experience in general.
Underneath the stoicism I think there is a lot to be questioned about the emotional experiences of men and their experiences of marriage. Why do guys get married? How do they feel about it afterward? We all know about the 50% of marriages that end in divorce, although these are usually initiated by women. What about those who remain married? How many are happy? What regrets do they have?
Lots of questions! But I ask because I don’t know. I have one friend who is married. His attitude is “never get married.” He has never really explained to me why he did it in the first place. I think he had been with the woman a long time and felt bad or got an ultimatum. His attitude is shared by many, but it doesn’t address the ambiguities of the situation.
My only experience with marriage is my parents’. I once thought they were happy, then later realized they were pretty unhappy. I think my father was always pretty ambivalent about it. I think he went ahead with it because my mom wanted it, and she wanted it because she was getting old. My father recently said getting my mother to marry him was one of his accomplishments. At the time while I don’t think he was opposed to being married, his wife and children were pretty low priorities for him. He lived much like a bachelor in a rooming house, he would come home and other than a little chit chat at the dinner table he kept to himself. I think now in his old age he was glad he had some kind of home life and he has some company in his old age from his kids.
I think of this because I have ambivalent relationships with a couple of foreign girlfriends. I honestly don’t think I can marry them but I can’t let them go. Do I marry a woman I’m not sure about it the hope things will work?
I suspect a lot of guys do. They have problems with the relationship, likely relating to the woman’s attitude and lack of respect. But they don’t think they can do better, they want to end the pursuit of women, which is tiring for most, and they want to enjoy family life.
And I suspect they find the disadvantages outweigh the advantages, or at least weigh heavily on them. The wife is a bitch frequently, even when it’s not that time of month. Whether or not she works the main burden of the household expenses falls on him, and the money goes for things she wants, not things he wants. The kids are usually bratty, sometimes hyperactive, and he gets no peace and quiet or time for himself except some time in front of the TV. A solitary life of microwaved dinners starts to look good to him.
I guess the bulk of these guys soldier on. If the wife files for divorce they are surprised, because they thought their efforts were appreciated at least a little. Or maybe she doesn’t file, but just treats him like her slave, and bitches and gets fat. Maybe the life has its moments, a happy moment with the wife which recalls the early days, some fun activities with the kids, some pride in the home and family he has constructed.
Back before he turned into a lefty shill, I was at a Bruce Springsteen concert, I believe for the “The River” tour. He told a story about how his dad would sit in the kitchen late at night, with the lights off, smoking. I think I have an idea how he felt.
But I’m just guessing about a lot of this, because guys don’t talk about it much. I have a terrible fear of dying alone in a charity rest home in a pool of my own filth. Getting married and having kids obviously is no guarantee this won’t happen, but it has to reduce its probability. I am inclined to take the risk but I certainly have my doubts about the whole thing.