“This Could Get Ugly,” by Jim Bennett

Nov 24th, 2010 | By | Category: Nonfiction, Prose

I’m very concerned about marriage; not mine, mind you – I enjoy all the benefits of life as a trophy husband – but matrimony as an institution is in trouble, and infidelity is a major contributing factor.

I’m very familiar with the best resources: “The Five Love Languages,” “Weekend to Remember” conferences, Marriage Encounter, and “Love and Respect” seminars. As I studied each approach, though, I grew troubled. Something crucial had been overlooked. I racked my brain, but I could never put my finger on it. 

Then, I had an epiphany. I now know how to permanently prevent infidelity from derailing domestic tranquility. 

All the marriage experts have one thing in common: They all encourage married folk to look attractive for each other. Presenting a desirable appearance will presumably discourage a spouse from straying. Men, Bow-flex your way to anatomical perfection, practice chivalry and good grooming. Women, be attentive to hair and make-up, be charming, and submit to the Stairmaster. That’s sound advice, right? 

Wrong! Exhibit A: Movie star marriages. These are brides and grooms who embody our culture’s highest ideals of physical beauty. If the “expert” hypothesis had any merit, People Magazine’s favorite portmanteau would still be “Brennifer,” (Brad Pitt+Jennifer Aniston) instead of “Branjelina” (Brad Pitt + Angelina Jolie). Of course, Brad’s not done, and since there are only four celebrities in America left for him to date, the tabloids have already created relationship nicknames in advance: Actress Lindsay Lohan (“Brohan”); chanteuse Miss Piggy (“Mup-pitt”); “The View” panelist Whoopi Goldberg (“Pittsburgh”), and “The O.C.” cast member Samaire Armstrong (“Armpitt”). 

Exhibit B: The Gosselins: After birthing a set of twins and then sextuplets, Kate was left with an understandably saggy abdomen that resembled a burlap sack full of small-mouth bass. Meanwhile, her balding husband John was twisting his tresses into a tonsorial marvel destined for the Hairdon’t Museum’s comb-over wing, right between Coach Henson’s Lou-Do and the head-spread of U.S. Senator Carl Levin. Now, when was it that John and Kate Plus 8 become John minus 9? It wasn’t before they prettied up, but AFTER: Abdominoplasty for Kate, hair grafts for John, and teeth whitening for both brought them out of the insulating protection of their own homeliness. Marriage gurus would have you believe that all that sandblasting, spackling, and tuckpointing would make the Gosselin’s marriage affair-proof, but sadly, no. 

I submit that infidelity increases when married people make physical improvements. The experts say, “Try to elicit a favorable response from your spouse.” That’s a gamble, because it takes you out of the driver’s seat. I say, “Go with the sure thing!” When husbands and wives make themselves hideously unsightly, the revulsion of all coquettes and Casanovas is assured! 

Let’s get down to it. Three factors will free married people from the temptation of adulterous advances: 

(1) Get uglier than homemade soap. Men, those hairs in your nose and ears are there for a reason; don’t mow ‘em! Grow ‘em! And break out that Member’s Only jacket. Chess King may have filed Chapter 11, but parachute pants are forever! 

Women, demand the “Supreme Treatment” from your hairstylist; either the “Bader Ginsberg Mistrial Bun” or the “Sotomayor Scandalum Magnatum.” For clothing, you’ve got stirrup pants and that t-shirt the Red Cross gave you after you donated blood, or you can get serious: Sweats, Crocs with fuzzy socks, and a house coat. 

(2) Get smellier than sewage in June. Recent statistics indicate that Americans spent 2.3 billion dollars on deodorant, and we wonder why the divorce rates are so high. If you want to outflank the hanky-panky, start gettin’ stanky. Bromhidrosis (body odor) is the ‘osis with the mostest, and halitosis is a close second. Adopt a distinctly “European” attitude about dental and bodily hygiene, and soon you’ll smell foul enough to spook a Mastiff off a meat truck. 

(3) Get fatter than farmhand at a fish fry. It’s a simple formula: High calorie diet + Sedentary lifestyle = No mistress/paramour. Men, eat drive-up chow exclusively, and only order foods with names that refer to a military weapon (“Flamethrower”), a state of bipolar mania (“Angry”), or a homicidal abomination (“Monster”). Then, get yourself a World of Warcraft account and a Netflix subscription, and you’ve done your part for fat fidelity. 

Women: Quit the Pilates, and get the pie and lattes! You’ve got HGTV, Lifetime Movie Network (Currently showing “Die, Hubby, Die!” starring Melissa Gilbert), and – brace yourself – SoapNet! Yes, science has finally perfected a viable means for watching daytime dramas – at night! 

I realize my program has its drawbacks. Sure, there’s the whole “radically abbreviated life expectancy” blah-blah-blah, “imminent risk of catastrophic stroke,” yadda-yadda, yeah, whatever! Talk to the pudgy, malodorous hand! 

But the biggest obstacle is that the husband and the wife must be equally committed to being utterly loathsome. I’ve followed through on my end, but the Mrs. still insists on remaining gorgeous, delightful, and pleasantly-scented. 

Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one who is really trying in this relationship. 


Jim Bennett blogs at thebloviatinghammerhead.wordpress.com and familymediadetox.com.  He lives in rural Illinois.  

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