More bad marriage advice

For those of you wondering what Gohs is doing in the sanctum sanctorum of all things pink, frilly and rose-scented, you’re not alone.

After all, what the heck do I know about women?

I grew up under the tutelage of a strong, independent woman—what Rush Limbaugh would refer to as a “Feminazi.”

On second thought, what the heck do I know about being a man?

I thought of asking mother for advice, but she and father have been locked in a Klingon-style death match over the same argument for the last 40-some years. I think it has something to do with Men being from “Mars” and Women being from “If you don’t like it then get the hell out!”

Then there were my many friends, relatives and acquaintances who are either divorced or soon-to-be.

Acting in desperation and hoping to glean a little inside information on all things sex-tra-terrestrial, I picked up Dr. John Gray’s bestseller “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.”

Pausing between chapters just long enough to dry heave, I learned three valuable lessons:

  1. Don’t try to learn about the opposite sex from a man who looks like he’s never been with a woman.
  2. Don’t take advice from a “doctor” whose credentials include weight-loss supplement workshops at the Portland Airport Howard Johnson banquet room and a degree in feelingology. (Actually, he claims to have a B.A. and M.A. in the Science of Creative Intelligence that he allegedly obtained from Maharishi European Research University in Switzerland. ) Go Fighting Maharishis!
  3. Don’t try to learn things about your wife by studying the ramblings of a man whose dubious heterosexuality is matched only by his dubious views on women. (He strikes me as a lover of Toggenburg Goats—look it up!)

As I searched for an answer, I ran into the usual assertions which smacked of subjective speculation:

  • Women are better communicators
  • Women are more apt to discuss their thoughts and problems
  • Men are better problem-solvers
  • Men are more apt to excel at mathematics
  • Men are afraid of their feelings

The same pablum was parroted by so-called experts, one and all.

Authors like Simon Baron-Cohen Ph.D. believe there are male and female brains.

He says those with female brains make better receptionists, counselors and teachers, while the male brains are better suited to careers requiring analytical and complex thought … but what do you expect from one whose theories seem more rooted in Honeymooners reruns than science or study?

To the moon, Baron-Cohen! See also the Archie Bunker/Ralph Cramden School of Marriage Counseling.

Armed with the new-found enlightenment that I knew very little—and had been searching in the wrong places for what little I learned—brought me to examine the prevalent stereotypes displayed with such eagerness by contemporary media, best-selling authors and even my friends and neighbors.

Were men and women really were no more complex than the beer-swilling, belly-scratching numb-skulls and the overworked, unappreciated emotional time-bombs as seen on your average sitcom?

Being a bit of a mental masochist, I dropped Gray’s book and headed to his website

In a column entitled “The Secret to Romancing a Woman” the author assumes the woman in the role of domestic goddess stating, “If you really want to score in the bedroom, then try taking out the trash.”

Again, I felt a fool. My wife went years without taking out the trash. Nor did she dust, eat bon-bons or watch soap operas.

As chief cook, seamstress and bottle washer around my house, I was starting to feel as though I’d done something wrong. According to the so-called experts, other than your normal male physical markings, I wasn’t much of a man.

I became frantic.

After all, I talk about my thoughts, feelings and fears with my male friends.

I may or may not have cried while watching “The Elephant Man” … every single time.

I’m still watching Sex and the City reruns. And, let’s face it, the second movie was far superior to the first.

For a few more stereotype killers, the wife is a whiz at math, while I am the Lenny Small of Euclidean Geometry.

She slays the household spiders, while I have full-blown panic attacks at the mere suggestion of bees.

All the telltale signs were there: a feminine (birth) father and a mannish mother. My god, what would I tell the children?

Once I stopped hyperventilating and the feeling came back to my face, I realized that, while I may have no Ph.D., no fancy suits, no best-selling books and the word “guru” has never appeared next to my name, I have kept up my end of a successful tolerable partnership with the same women for nearly 25 years, and that’s something.

Though it may just as well be a testament to the power of enabling and fear of loneliness.

So, what the heck do I know about women?


But, I know much about my wife … and the longer we’re together, the more I learn.

A little free advice from this lowly laymen: Marriage is not one large institution, but many individual partnerships, each with their own set of rules and regulations.

Some of them last, some of them don’t; but, if you spend your precious time listening to your spouse instead of hucksters hawking generalized doses of relationship feel-good juice, you may be better off.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, the quiche ain’t gonna make itself.