Me? Really? You want me to write an article about the future of masculinity in marriage? A guy who’s 40 years old but cried like a bitch when Buzz and Woody were about to die in Toy Story 3? Fuck you for not having a heart! They’re gonna get burned alive!
However, after some thought, I do believe that today’s married man has gotten a little soft. Example: My grandfather and I could not be more different. My grandfather had a second family, didn’t change diapers, and never had to compromise on his TV viewing choices like I do. I can’t imagine my grandfather coming home and my grandmother asking if he wanted to watch House Hunters International. “Oh, so after a long day of catering to white people’s bullshit, now I have to watch them buy a house in Lisbon?” [Chugs bourbon, gets in car, never returns.]
Now I’m not saying that any of my grandfather’s actions made my grandmother happy and contributed a to a healthy marriage. I’m gonna go on a limb and say the answer’s a big “no.” I’m just acknowledging how different he and I are. If you were to put my grandfather and myself on an evolutionary chart: one of us is still walking on all fours and the other is listening to Marc Maron on NPR while driving a Prius (What? Black people can’t like Maron? A white guy complaining about white people bullshit? I’m in, son.)
Now society wants husbands to “man up.” Does that mean I’ve been “man-downing” all this time? Twenty years from now, they might want us to “man-sideways.”
I do think the reason there seems to be such a huge “masculinity drift” (hate and love myself for coming up with that) between my grandfather and myself is that my mother and father’s generation overcorrected too much. My dad was determined to prove he was more sensitive than his father, and my mother was determined to prove she could do anything a man could: evidenced by the shoulder pads in her numerous pantsuits.
Being raised in this environment, I (like many of my friends) grew up being “sensitive men.” We made slow-jam mix tapes; we said it was fine if our girlfriend wanted to “just grind.” It was a rough time, but we were being more sensitive than the men before us. However, now society is swinging back the other way and wanting husbands to “man up.” Does that mean I’ve been “man-downing” all this time? Twenty years from now, they might want us to “man-sideways.” It’s all so damn confusing.
After processing all of this, I realized there is no way to completely predict what masculinity in marriage looks like in the future. Instead, I decided to approach this article from a different perspective and prognosticate on a few ideas that could right the ship and help married men in the future. The best thing about Back to The Future II was Robert Zemeckis’ vision on what the future would look like. It’s fun on two levels. One, you can dream on what the future holds (i.e. rehydrating pizza, self-tying shoes, hoverboards—still waiting, Bob!) And two, you get to see what actually came true (a baseball team in Miami, wireless video games, and Jaws 3D—shame on you, Dennis Quaid. You were in Innerspace, man!).
Let’s do this. Here’s a few of my predictions of what I hope men can use in the future to help in their marriage:
1. A new hall pass card
Now I know what you’re thinking: Your classic “get-out-of-jail” cheat card. Not so. Truth be told, cheating is so much work. I don’t need another woman mocking me for how much I love fantasy football. No, this hall pass is because I want to cheat on you by just hanging out with my best friend. Every husband hates having to tip-toe and give a long preamble about why he wants to get together with his boys. “Honey, I haven’t seen the guys in a year. I think they may be getting together to watch the game. I’m not really sure though. I don’t have to go. I haven’t said yes. Yeah, it’s okay. I’ll stay home.”
As a husband with kids, it’s the weirdest thing to feel guilty to want to see your friends — but you do. Well, not anymore. This futuristic hall pass is used for one guilt free chill time with your friends. Use it anytime and anywhere. And yes, your wife can still use her “hall pass” to have sex with a celebrity. Win, win.
2. The credit watch
Most husbands do good deeds for our wives because we genuinely want to see them happy. However, once in a while we do something so nice that our wives climax and scream, “You can do no wrong for a month.” That is a man’s version of “Will you marry me?” However, this euphoria usually only lasts until the trash isn’t taken out or laundry isn’t folded. That month quickly becomes reduced to four days. The credit watch is a device that your wife wears that physically prevents her from saying anything negative about you until the time she said is up. Don’t ask me how it works, but our scientists assure me it’s perfectly safe. I hear the watch somehow syncs with her heartbeat, then chemically adjusts something or another. I wasn’t paying much attention as I’m still enjoying my week-long freedom of buying my wife a new washer-dryer…with pedestals!
3. Invisibility suit
Women today care way too much about how to please their man in the bedroom. I don’t know any husband who tells his friends, “Man, Linda used to give horrible blow jobs, but now? Whoo-hoo!” The fact that you’re doing it without rolling your eyes is enough. What women need to practice is the art form of silence. When my grandfather would come home from work, my grandmother knew to let him have a drink before bombarding him with an impossible list of things to do. Today, men receive countless texts throughout the day from their wives about what still hasn’t gotten done (which is always a polite thing to do). The invisibility suit allows you to come home and go completely unnoticed until you reanimate. Want to take a few minutes to collect your thoughts before your wife makes you talk to your son who was kicked out of school for masturbating in the locker room… again? Turn on your invisibility suit. Downside: if you grab a beer out of the refrigerator, it will look like a ghost is drinking it.
All kidding aside, no matter what weird idiosyncrasies society gets men to do (guys, put down the leather sweatpants—seriously) men are always going to be men. We’ll always misremember our athletic “achievements”, we’ll always be told by our wives what we got the kids for Christmas, and we’ll always check out a girl working out in the gym, even if we know she’s not as hot as our own wife (those damn leggings). So as long as these things continue, the world will continue to spin on its axis and men will always stare at boobs.