Retirement Talk

WHAT to do with the rest of your life?


T'ain't So, T'is Too
Jackie Spinks                                                                            
                                              Marriage: Misfiring

Guys go into marriage with a ball and chain mentality.  Oh, Hell, I’ve been caught.  What am I going to get out of this deal anyway?  And the answer from his cynical uncle is. “You’ve got a lifetime sentence as a provider and a penal limitation on your freedom-- and for what? A free roll.  Big deal.  You could get a cheaper roll out of a bar.”

You’ll be working your butt off for someone else, who will throw your money away and get angry because there isn’t more.  And all because you lost it and made some commitment while in lust, and so, okay, I’ll go along with it, while in love, dancing to some love music. Why does any guy want to put that deterrence on his freedom?”  And that was the thought pattern of men in my era—which I’m told may be different today.

As for the career woman stuck with a lay-about spouse—my sympathies. Today many men stay home and do the computer, claiming they’re looking for employment, although porn gets a good viewing too, while their wives work.

Along with that, I’m told the shoe is now on the other foot and it’s women who hesitate to marry.  Women wanted equality, okay, girls we got it-- so  be prepared for big alimony payments to the prince that’s turned into a deadbeat.  

There was a time, okay women of my period, when we were so conditioned to believe in the miraculous wonders of love and marriage, that we could take that big step with nothing else to go on then those fantasies of “love and marriage and a baby carriage,” and amazingly I’ve read some women still go into marriage with these misconceptions. 

I was as hallucinatory as anyone.  I used to read all the romance magazines crowding the newsstands in drug stores and markets—impatiently waiting for the next issue of “Modern Romance”, “True Love”,  “True Romance”, etc. to arrive.  I never see any of them around anymore.  Thank Goodness.  What a crock we swallowed

Those stories had as much reality as a Mickey Mouse cartoon—yet women, like myself, and millions of others, ate them up like candy. How we loved, and I hate to say it, but maybe, still love the Cinderella and Snow White  stories--that  promise of “living happily ever after.”  And it wasn’t a fantasy, or a pipe dream to us and maybe still isn’t, but a reality, especially as we’d found this wonderful guy, who has such a good job and so much future potential. 

But there’s another side—we are a capitalistic country, and a part of our brain is wired for hard-headed commonsense. Women were, and still are, groomed by soap operas, romance novels, movies, TV, etc., from their earliest years to seek out and yearn for that prince charming, but, let’s be practical, we look for one who had a good job or a future with a good job potential.  In these stories asbout the prince rescuing the plain maiden then proceeding to fall in love with her as her inner beauty reveals itself, just don’t happen.

According to studies, and here we hit the pragmatic, when it comes to marriage, young men are looking for beauty and old men are looking for youth and beauty.  Young women are looking for romance, older women are looking for security.  People marry those they consider on their same level, educationally, similar backgrounds, and with the same values—but mostly they’re looking for someone on their level of attractiveness—that is if they’re approximately the same age.  And older men, if loaded-- and sometimes not loaded, if they have a lot of prestige, can get trophy wives.  Who ever said marriage wasn’t a buyer and seller’s market?

As a result of all their spouses similarities, they are also loaded with these fables and fabrications, so women are, invariably, disappointed with marriage, while men find marriage better than they expected.  Is it any wonder, when a couple have been married a while, it’s the woman who becomes fed up with the whole show and wants the divorce?

For men it’s not too bad, it’s regular sex, regular meals, clean underwear, a soft place to fall, cute kids, a nice house.  No, not too bad at all.  It means continuing to go on as they did before, but with a care-taker.

For women it’s dirty dishes, messes, sleepless nights with the kids, loud football games and nowadays, as she has a job, being overwhelmed, tired and irritated with the lack of help from the other half.  Where is that romance she’s been promised?

At the same time women put a lot of pressure on marriage—and expect a lot.  They want not only household help, but fulfillment.  In comparison, 30% of Japanese women, as opposed to 80% of American women say a woman has to keep romance alive over the years in marriage. Good luck on that one!

And an interesting occurrence—divorced women, although often financially strapped are happier living as a divorcee, then men are as a divorced man.  But that doesn’t mean the happy divorcee doesn’t give up that search for another prince charming—and this time it will be the right prince—a guy who is a help.   I repeat—good luck. 

And, there’s that old status thing.  Married women have more status than single women.  For instance, if you need your car fixed, it helps if you’re “Big Ed’s wife,” rather than Miss. Flibbertygibbit.  Read how a car dealer will quote $11,000 for a car to a man and $12,000 for the same car to a woman.

But none of this matters.  So she loses her status, her credit cards, her home-- she wants out.  So she’s going to be poor, have to struggle, lose status—so what, none of that matters. She tired of this second-class citizenship, this unequal power division, this neglect even physical abuse.  Women are more likely to be hit, beaten or killed in families than anywhere else in society.  So she has to struggle financially.  So what? 

So I ask you, when 50% of marriages fail and somebody gets wiped out financially, invariably the woman, why do gays want to get married? Is it a political thing? And statistically speaking as gays are usually in the upper middle-income class—if marriage is legalized, these upper middle income earners will have to give up half their fortune in a divorce?  Most states divide property equally.  And it’s my  understand that it’s a greater proportion of gay males than gay females that opt for divorce. 
Ah, but are we never satisfied? 

Politicians talk about the breakdown of the family.  It’s here.  Get used to it, but a good political spin.   As the country is becoming ever more individualistic everyone looking out for #1, from Congress and corporations on down, marriage will probably end up with an even higher proportion of divorces.  As the divorce rate has increased from sixty years ago, from 5%  to 50 % today, figure the same increase for the next 60 years to 90%. That is, unless the culture changes from individualism to one of unity, which, if we’re smart, will happen.   






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