Mar­riage? We’re not de­signed for it

The Jewish Chronicle - - Features -

I’VE BEEN on more dates this year than in the pre­vi­ous 10 com­bined — call me old­fash­ioned, call me weird if you like (why not? Every­one else does), but I tended not to date much in the decade that I was mar­ried. And in the course of dat­ing I have be­come some­thing of a re­la­tion­ship ex­pert. Turns out that one of the great things about be­ing sin­gle is that you sud­denly ac­quire a wealth of in­for­ma­tion on the con­di­tion of be­ing un­at­tached.

Ac­tu­ally, I was as much of a facts bore when I was hitched; it’s just that back then I was try­ing to jus­tify the op­po­site po­si­tion — i.e. why be­ing wed was the ideal state. So I would reg­u­larly trot out statis­tics vis-à-vis the rel­a­tive phys­i­cal and men­tal health of mar­ried men and how they were gen­er­ally hap­pier and lived longer and more fruit­ful lives than their sin­gle coun­ter­parts, even though I knew deep down that the data could not re­ally be trusted. Se­ri­ously now — what man would dare tell a mar­ket re­searcher the truth about his Jewish wife in a sur­vey for fear of the almighty broi­gus that would en­sue if she found out?

At least now I just have to con­tend with le­gions of an­gry mar­rieds glow­er­ing at me over the kitchen ta­bles of north west Lon­don as I of­fer ev­i­dence, the ma­jor­ity of it un­doubt­edly fic­tional, to sup­port the the­ory that Be­ing Sin­gle Is Bet­ter.

Con­nu­bial bliss, I de­clare with the grav­i­tas of a news broad­caster an­nounc­ing a global cat­a­clysm, is a fic­tion. We are not, I pro­ceed to tell the as­sem­bled with the as­sur­ance of some­one who has stud­ied the sub­ject at the high­est level (mean­ing a quick flick through a yel­low­ing copy of Cosmo, most likely at the den­tist), de­signed to be with one per­son for way to con­firm my premise about the im­plau­si­bil­ity of monogamy. Were they aware, for ex­am­ple, that the length of the av­er­age Vic­to­rian mar­riage was 15 years? No, they were not. More­over, they had no de­sire for a re­turn to Dick­en­sian val­ues — what, and wear bus­tles and frock coats to shul?

Fi­nally, I hit them with some so­ci­ol­ogy: did they know that, ac­cord­ing to re­search on the rel­a­tive de­gree of sat­is­fac­tion among the sexes, when both part­ners in a mar­riage were asked whether they would se­lect the same life-part­ner were they to re­marry, 70 per cent of men replied in the af­fir­ma­tive com­pared to 30 per cent of women? Did they also know that this re­search was com­mis­sioned by the world-renowned Saatchi & Saatchi ad­ver­tis­ing agency, which used to be owned by two nice Jewish boys, so it must be true…

I don’t just have a wealth of use­less info at my fin­ger­tips; I’m also prone to of­fer my opin­ions, even — es­pe­cially — when they’re not wanted. My cur­rent crack­pot so­lu­tion to all our tra­vails couldn’t be more straight­for­ward — men need to punch above their weight, looks-wise, for a re­la­tion­ship to en­dure. Al­low me to elu­ci­date. If a man is with a woman who is more at­trac­tive than he is, he will make more ef­fort to please her, buy her more ex­pen­sive things, take her to nicer restau­rants and gen­er­ally treat her like a god­dess for fear of los­ing her. As a re­sult, she will ra­di­ate con­tent­ed­ness and be more at­trac­tive to men, ergo her part­ner will have to con­tinue to try hard to keep her. That’s it. The com­plex his­tory of in­ter­per­sonal re­la­tions re­duced to one sim­ple psy­cho­an­a­lytic in­sight and cycli­cal be­hav­iour pat­tern. Ge­nius, right?

So I thought I’d road-test it, and where bet­ter than at work? Re­cently I was in­ter­view­ing this rock band called The Ed­i­tors back­stage at a gig. And for some rea­son I de­cided this would be a good op­por­tu­nity to ex­pound on my the­ory of re­la­tion­ship longevity to the drum­mer, a lovely chap, al­though one hardly blessed in the area of his phys­iog­nomy. Now, he hap­pened to there with his fi­ancée, who I couldn’t help notic­ing was a strik­ingly beau­ti­ful, wil­lowy crea­ture with the face and body of a su­per­model. The drum­mer, mean­while, looked more like the co­me­dian Fred­die Starr. But they seemed like the per­fect cou­ple, easy and con­tent in each other’s com­pany. So I told them why I thought they worked so well to­gether — that in a nut­shell, she was hot, but he was not.

You’ve never seen se­cu­rity men move so fast to eject some­one from a venue…

Celebrity cou­ple Katie Price and Peter An­dre, who proved to be a fine ex­am­ple of a wed­ded mis­ery

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