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Dave Barry.

Guide To Marriage And/Or Sex


Marriage is a wonderful thing. Everybody should get married unless he or she has a good reason not to, such as that he or she is the Pope. I personally have been married two times that I know of, and you don’t hear me complaining.

What’s the secret of a happy marriage? Call me a romantic if you want, but for me, the answer is the same simple, beautiful idea that has been making relationships work for thousands of years: separate bathrooms. You give two people room to spread out their toiletry articles, and you have the basis of a long-term relationship. But you make them perform their personal hygiene activities in the same small enclosed space, year in and year out, constantly finding the other person’s bodily hairs stuck on their deodorant sticks, and I don’t care how loving they were when they started out. I don’t care if they were Ozzie and Harriet. They’ll be slipping strychnine into each other’s non-dairy creamer.

Of course even an ideal marriage, even a marriage where the bathrooms are 75 feet apart, is going to have a certain amount of conflict. This is because marriages generally involve males and females, which are not called “opposite sexes” for nothing.

Why Men and Women Have Trouble getting Along

At the risk of generalizing, I would say that the basic problem can be summarized as follows:

WHAT WOMEN WANT: To be loved, to be listened to, to be desired, to be respected, to be needed, to be trusted, and sometimes, just to be held.

WHAT MEN WANT: Tickets for the World Series.

So we can see that men and women do not have exactly the same objectives in mind. Which is why, as a rule, the only time you see two people of the opposite sex who have achieved true long-term stability in a marriage is when at least one of them is in a coma.

This is strange, when you think about it. I mean, look around at the other species. Most of them are much stupider than humans are, not counting humans who pay to watch automobile races, yet they have their male-female relationships all worked out. Take squids. Squids may have tiny little brains, but they know exactly how to have relationships. The female squid goes into heat at exactly the right time, and all the male squids come around and wave their tentacles in exactly the most attractive way, and she picks out the one with the biggest suckers, or whatever and they mate. And they know exactly how to mate, the same way that squids have been mating for 46 million years, without any kind of formal instruction whatsoever.

Wouldn’t that be great? I don’t mean having sex with a squid. I don’t recommend that unless you get truly desperate (see “The Singles Scene,” in Chapter 1). I mean having everything all worked out between the sexes; having a procedure, where everybody knew what to do and what to expect, and nobody ever felt guilty or inadequate.

Yet here we are, humans, the most sophisticated species on Earth, having evolved over the course of millions of years to the point where many of us have satellite dishes on our lawns, and we have less savvy, in terms of our relationships, than invertebrates.

People say: “Well, if you want a marriage to succeed, you have to work at it.” And I say: Why? It isn’t fair! The other species don’t have to work at it! They don’t even have to think about it! Can you imagine a female snake agonizing about why a male snake never pays attention to her? Or a male cockroach nervously asking a female, after sex, if it was Good for her? Of course you can’t! Cockroaches can’t talk! But you know what I mean. I mean we have a problem here.

To date, the efforts to solve this problem have consisted mainly of articles in women’s magazines, the ones that always have the following general lineup of articles:

21 Fun Drapery Possibilities

5 Common Mascara Blunders

10 Quick and Easy Mayonnaise-Based Entrees

14 Ways to Tell If Your Child Is Shooting Up

11 Exciting Pudding Concepts

6 New and Extremely Dense Chocolate Desserts

147 Weight-Loss Ideas

Somewhere in there they always have an article with a title like “12 Tips for Getting Some Quantity of Romance Back into Your Marriage,” featuring advice such as: “TIP NUMBER THREE: Try not to blow your nose during sex.”

These articles are fine, except for one thing: Men don’t read them. Men read the sports section, or action adventure novels where the main characters are males who relate to each other primarily via automatic weapons. True, sometimes there are women in these novels, but only for the purpose of having firm breasts.

Clearly what is needed is some kind of book that women and men would want to read, a book that could bring the sexes together and help them reach some common ground by means of a straightforward, common-sense discussion of all aspects of finding the right mate, falling in love with this person, getting married, and living happily ever after. This was exactly my goal, when I set out to write this book. Unfortunately, as you’ll see, I failed completely, but what the hell—you already bought the book, so you might as well read it.

A Thoughtful Word of Advice Before You Get Started

You cannot have a successful relationship just by reading this book. For a relationship to succeed, both parties must be willing to work. Work, work, work, that’s the key. Endless, constant, extremely difficult, unpaid work. More work than is involved in the construction of major bridges and tunnels. I am getting very tired just thinking about it.

Also there will be hard times along the way. Awful times. Terrible, horrible times. That is why this book includes helpful advice such as in Chapter 3, where we talk about adding zip to your sex life via Saran Wrap and other common household products, and also how to recognize the warning signs that your spouse is having an affair, and what kind of gun you should buy.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. First you have to meet somebody.

Chapter 1. How To Find Somebody To Go On Dates With And Eventually Get Married To Who Is Not A Total Jerk

In getting into the field of marriage, one very important decision you must make is who, exactly, will be your spouse. I am not saying this is the most important decision. It is certainly not as important as selecting the right wedding caterer (see Chapter 6, “How to Have a Perfect Wedding No Matter What”). But you should definitely give it some thought.

To know where to look for a marriage partner, you need to know what kind of person you want. For example, if you want to meet a person who likes to bowl, you would go to a bowling alley; whereas if you want to meet a person who is rich, sensitive, attractive, and intelligent, you would not. So your first step is to scientifically develop a “psychological profile” of your Ideal Mate.

How to Develop A Psychological Profile of Your Ideal Mate

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