The Case Against Marriage/The Cows Were Right

In a stunningly unprecedented turn of events, research has managed the once unthinkable. It has proved men correct on an issue of vast social significance — marriage.

I’ll admit it. As a gender we were wrong on the not letting women vote thing. Same with sexual harassment. Now that we think about it — bad idea. And we’re still apologizing for the XFL.

But according to a report authored by Richard E. Lucas of Michigan State University in the “Journal of Personality and Social Psychology,” our ages-old argument that marriage will not improve our lives now appears legitimate.

Marriage, as many of you know, is the phase of life that begins when two people publicly profess their love for each other in front of family and bored co-workers. The bride wears a very expensive gown she will never wear again. Oddly, the groom’s clothes are rented.

Afterward there is a reception where the best man’s struggle to remain coherent leads to the following toast: “Of all the chicks Todd hooked up with, and there were lots, I always thought Jody was the hottest. I think it’s cool she’s a bridesmaid. That could have been awkward. To a cool couple. Burp!”

After the guests inhale breaded chicken and green beans with slivered almonds, a DJ plays “It Takes Two,” “Celebrate,” “The Chicken Dance” and the same 60 songs you hear at every reception.

Hours later the best man wakes up on the hood of his Buick LeSabre in a Denny’s parking lot. He reaches in his pocket for his keys but pulls out a breaded chicken cutlet. To his dismay, it does not fit in the ignition.

The next day the happy couple flies as far from their families as they can afford.

Thus concludes the happiest day of their lives together.

For good reason, men have long debated the value of marriage, though never eloquently. Until this report, our strongest argument against betrothal was, “Why buy the cow when the milk is free?”

(Upon further reflection, that statement is entirely inappropriate. I would like to apologize to bovines everywhere for dragging you into our species’ inter-gender squabble. It was a poor analogy on our part.)

The cow is nature’s slutty whore. Always giving it away.

With this report, which I’ll go out on a limb and call the most important document since the Constitution, men finally have official confirmation that marriage will not improve our lives. The report found that most married couples experienced brief emotional bliss after their weddings but eventually returned to the same outlook they had on life while they were dating.

In other words, marriage is like Fruit Stripe gum. For 10 seconds, your taste buds are treated to a crack-like euphoria. But the more you chew, the more it tastes like your mouth before you started.

The report also says that people who were happy with themselves before marriage were still happy after tying the knot and stayed married longer. For people who were not happy before they wed, marriage did not make them happier.

So, if I’m interpreting this correctly, the only couples that should marry are the ones who are so happy they would stay together whether or not they ever walked down the aisle. It is only when neither person needs marriage that it actually works.

I have to say, that sounds way better than comparing your would-be fiancee to a certain animal (apologies, again) that gives away certain dairy-type products free.

(Originally published 3/31/03.)

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Joe Donatelli
Joe Donatelli is a writer in Los Angeles

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