Marriage…solution or problem?

There was a comment on an internet forum the other day that suggested that people who got married had “lost the plot”. I responded with a polite “I haven’t lost the plot thank you very much!” and was met with an essay that basically said I was a misogynist old git who just wanted a bit of paper.

I could not let that slide! I started a huge fourteen page rant, complete with references, but as is often the case, repartee is normally after departee…. “this thread is now closed for further comments.” Damn!

So I will defend the indefensible. Marriage is often seen as an old-fashioned institution. Who the heck wants to live in an institution anyway? Marriage means different things to different people and it is very easy to deride those whose point of view is that a trip up the aisle results in a wonderful life.

I am married. I know that the roses around the door need to be trimmed. I also know that the argument normally starts about who should actually get around to trimming the roses, why were they not done properly and who wanted the blasted things in the first place. that’s part of any relationship, sorting out who is wrong most of the time. ( Wife has just corrected me, the last bit should read “Who is wrong all of the time”).

There are loads of statistics on the internet, so they must all be true, that point out that children of married couples have a better start in life than those whose parents co-habit. As with all statistics, I reckon about 45% are made up. I do however, think that kids thrive in a loving relationship , and it matters not If parents are married or co-habiting.

The actual physical side of getting married is fairly simple. You go to the pub, chat up a bird and then decide that you want to share your life with them. So far so good. You waltz up the aisle, a bloke in a dress says “I now pronounce you man and wife” and people chuck bits of paper at you. Off you go to married blitz…

The actual difficult bit comes after the honeymoon. That is the bit where the month has lasted longer than your money, the car has made a horrible noise and the toilet seat has been left up just once too often…
Being in a long-term relationship means that these problems have to be overcome as a couple. For once it is not a question of “what should I do?” and becomes a question of “What should we do?”. Life becomes more involved and loses the point at which you go to your mum and ask for help. Of course these things happen to a couple who live together, but the main difference between wed and unwed is of course those lovely, kind and generous people we know as solicitors. I cannot afford to leave Wife and she is unwilling to pay the fees that are required to end my life of Riley, so she grimaces gently and smiles all the time searching on the internet for a cheap hitman. It focuses the attention on the relationship thinking that I would have to dig deep into her purse for the cash to become young, free and single again. Of course, since I am dragging 50 rather than pushing it, young would involve a hair transplant, free would involve court fees and single would mean waking up to a whole bed rather than the 20% I am used to now.

Since just walking out of the door is not an option, I am forced to think about how to solve a problem in our relationship. I solve it by spending her money on beer and she solves it by cutting my beer money. The end result is that we have a wonderful happy marriage, during which neither of us has lost the plot or even got grumpy about the toilet seat.

Because getting married and getting divorced cost a few bob, there are many reasons not to wander up the aisle. My argument has always been that since getting wed takes a bit of commitment, why would you marry the first person to take your fancy? “Marry in haste, repent at your leisure” means just that, take your time, make sure there is a sound relationship sorted before you decide to move in together and find out that the way that your partner breathes wants to make you smash a flower vase over their heads and that the “tap-tap-tappity-tappity-tap ” that they do on the coffee cup in the morning really wants to make you remove their spleen via a totally inappropriate orifice.

Will getting married solve all of society`s problems and solve global warming? Well no, really it won`t. But just pausing before setting up a home with someone by having to organise a dress, a church and more importantly a bar there is a point that you look at your intended and think, “Naaah, they aren’t worth it!”

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Men are from Halfords, women are from Debenhams.

There are one or two differences between men and women, apart from the obviously different way that trousers and shirts are filled out. If you are dragged kicking and squealing towards a shoe shop it becomes ever more apparent. As a chap I look around and see women trying on the thirty-fourth pair of shoes and asking the husband/partner/boyfriend “What do you think of this?”. The bloke, (If he is a real bloke), will shrug and say something on the lines of “Yes, that`s nice”. At this point he will be asked a rapid set of questions that no amount of schooling, night classes or university courses prepare a man for. “Is it better than the last one?”, “Is it my sort of colour?”, “Should I have a heel or a flat?” and the killer question.

” Are you paying any attention at all?!”

Of course he is paying no attention. Real men don`t “do” shopping. To us proper men shopping is merely an inconvenience whilst we wait for the pub to open. Shoe shopping is done for me when my shoes are worn out or have got to the point that the aroma requires that they be kept in the shed outside. Even then a pair of trainers can be used for a while longer to enable a quick run to the dustbin in inclement weather.

I have a lot of items of footwear. One pair of trainers, one pair of casual shoes, a pair of wellington boots, a pair of walking boots and a pair of shoes to go with my suit.This does,as far as men go, make me slightly suspect. I mean what chap has two pairs of shoes? My defence is that of course the shoes to go with my suit are only ever worn with my wedding/funeral/interview attire, so do not really count. The posh shoes I own are naturally enough buried at the bottom of the wardrobe and covered with enough fluff that until they are cleaned I cannot remember if they are brown or black.
Wife is far from a shopaholic. She regards fashion labels as an excuse to charge thirty pounds for a five pound shirt. I am naturally very pleased at this as the money that she saves I can pilfer from her purse and put to good use at a bar. She still has about fifty thousand pairs of shoes, a million skirts, tens of thousands of blouses and tops yet still tells me that she has nothing to wear.
Currently there are several shops that are starting to sell fashion to men. I blame Burtons myself. That used to be a staid and sensible shop selling suits to men who had either received a wedding invite or given one out. Now they have designer underpants and fancy clothes.The toughest decision I used to make was what T-shirt to put on that day. That was normally made by simply seeing which one smelt the least. Life was so much simpler then, Jeans, T-shirt with a band`s logo on it and a jacket if it was cold. Fashion was for girls and men cared not a hoot as long as their clothing didnt repel a tramp from fifty paces or look too different from their drinking buddies.
Men shop so differently from women.With men there is no messing about, a time limit,a number of shop limit and of course a number of visits to the changing room limit. After that if it fits it is suitable to be purchased. If the waistband turns your legs blue but the pub is opening in ten minutes, tough, you made a poor choice and must buy the trousers and scurry to the pub and moan to your mates that you have spent ages shopping. ( Bloke talk meanes that “Ages” means more that fifteen minutes).
Naturally enough there are some exceptions. Even if the pub is open a man can spend as much time as he likes in Halfords. Carefully deciding which car polish to buy and not to use and of course the Halfords manuals to cars you do not own are there to be carefully browsed. They sell tools you don`t need and bikes that you will never ride.Blokes understand that you should look at ICE and subwoofers then nod sagely as the salesman talks in gobbledygook about the wattage per channel. We look at the carpet set for an M3 BMW despite the fact we have a ten-year old Ford Fiesta mouldering quietly in the car park.This is a man-shop. It just needs a bar to be perfect….
The other place a man is at home is in a DIY store. There he can gaze longingly at the powertools he has no use for but just wants. Wife complains as I leave the shop with another set of screwdrivers with the usual “But I thought you had already got a full set of screwdrivers?”.She does not understand. You can never have enough screwdrivers,drills and powertools. They come in handy to put another shelf up to store the eight-hundred and fourty first handbag.