Cameron: Secrets to a happy marriage
A recent study determined that marriages are happiest when the wife is thinner and better looking than the husband, which is why I am doing my best to be as fat and ugly as possible.
Wife: Why are you having a second chocolate sundae?
Me: Because I want you to be happy.
I guess what happens in relationships is that men look at their pretty wives and think to themselves, “Hey, I must still have it together, my wife is hot!” And then women look at their husbands and think, “What a slob!” And for some reason, this leads to marital bliss. But if the man looks at his wife and says, “Hey, honey, you need to lose a lot of weight!” this does not lead to bliss, it leads to homicide.
Or maybe the woman looks at the husband and thinks, “I may have put on a few pounds, but I’m nowhere near the porker he is.” And the man thinks: “I’m having another chocolate sundae, and she’s not complaining about what it will do to my health! I’m blissful in my maritals!”
Several other studies conclude that being married leads to greater longevity in men, which in view of the first study means that you can gain weight and live longer at the same time! Also, there’s a study that says drinking beer adds years to your life span (I ignore the studies that say this isn’t true.) Add it altogether, and you’ve got a fat guy sitting in front of the TV yelling: “Stella! Bring me a beer!” and he and his wife will live longer and be happier. Aren’t scientific studies wonderful? Of course, the fat guy will be a lot less happy if it turns out his wife’s name is not “Stella.”
There are most likely some problems with the research I’ve cited here, except the beer one, which I’m sticking to no matter what. For one, how do we determine if a couple is truly happy?
Researcher: Are you guys happily married?
Husband (looking nervously at wife): Sure, I mean, yes! Of course! Really happy!
Wife: I wouldn’t mind if he lost a few pounds, but other than that, sure.
Also, how do we know someone lived longer than he would have if he hadn’t gotten married? Do we ask the wife?
Wife: If it hadn’t been for me, he would have been dead a long, long time ago.
Husband: She’s right! I don’t even feel like dying now! When someone is murdered, the cops always figure the spouse did it — so in some cases, being married does not cause you to live longer.
Before this whole skinnier-wife study, I always gauged how happy married people were by whether one of them was throwing plates at the other. Now, though, I can go up to my friend Tom and say: “Whoa, Tom, you’ve put on some weight there, buddy. Your wife Emily must be really happy!” And then Tom will thoughtfully offer me a beer. That’s why I consider him my friend. Otherwise, he’d just be “some slob married to Emily.” Either way he’d live longer, though, because his wife is thin and also because of the beer study.
Now, the problem with these studies is that Emily being so pretty doesn’t make Tom happy, it makes him nervous. He’s worried that Emily will realize she has better options. This causes Tom to get up early in the morning, put on his running shoes and try to make Emily eat some doughnuts. When she says she doesn’t want them, Tom winds up eating them himself, which come to think of it might be why heavy husbands are so happy with thin wives — those guys get to have all the doughnuts!
Tom confides to me that Emily is “worried about” his weight. I explained to him that she is probably thinking that either he’s so heavy it will affect his health and reduce his life expectancy, or that he’ll lose so much weight it will cause his marriage to be unhappy and reduce his life expectancy. In other words, all we can do is eat doughnuts, which he thoughtfully shares with me.
That’s why he’s my friend Tom.
-By W. Bruce Cameron. Photo: Saida Online