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Do All the Housework, Stay Married, Die Young


Two studies were recently published concerning housework. One focused on how division of responsibility affects – or is related to – divorce. The other focused on how the division of responsibility affects – or is related to – overall health of both men and women.

The Norwegian study ironically entitled Equality in the Home, suggests that households in which women come home from full-time jobs and then do all the housework while hubby sits back and chills are less likely to wind up in divorce court than couples who share the work more equitably. Apparently Norwegian couples who share the housework 50/50 have a 50% higher likelihood of divorcing.

Co-author Thomas Hansen is, however, quick to point out that there is little indication of causality in the matter. He stated that the real answer is that couples who share the work are more likely to have a ‘modern’ attitude toward marriage in general as a ‘less sacred’ institution.

He does also note that women who have jobs of their own enjoy more economic autonomy and thus are more likely to be able to leave marriages that aren’t working for them.

But in a truly baffling – to me – moment, he also claims that there may be causality in the idea of blurred gender roles:

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Will You Marry Me? Divorce Me?


There’s been a lot of talk over the years of the ‘disposable marriage’ and what high divorce rates say about us as a society, as human beings.

Well, if you happen to be in Washington, DC and anywhere in the vicinity of the Corcoran Gallery of Art on August 11 between the hours of 10am and 3pm, you can join in the discussion in a piece of performance art entitled Save the Date by Kathryn Cornelius.

For the piece, Cornelius will don a wedding gown and veil. Once every hour she will ‘marry’ someone and then immediately ‘divorce’ them. She intends to marry both women and men through the day. Her hope is that this will spur attendees to consider their own feelings and beliefs about weddings and marriage.

The performance is part of the Corcoran’s Take it to the Bridge performance art series, which, in turn, is part of Free Summer Saturdays at the Corcoran.

I don’t know about all of you, but this is a performance piece I would be curious to see.

Love Me, Love My Cat… Times 550


When Mr. Twistie and I first started dating, he quickly came to the realization that as long as I was in his life, there would also be cats in his life. Love me, love my cat. Period.

Our good friend the magazine editor knew the instant he got together with his now wife that large poodles would be part of the equation, so he’d better like it if he didn’t want to lose her. Now every time he says or does something that makes her go squiggle-eyed at him, we warn him he’s going to have to stop off at PoodleWorld and get another batch of standard poodles for her. She grins and nods her head eagerly every time we tease him about owing her ‘oodles of poodles.’

Both of these men resigned themselves quickly and even happily to their fates. Mr. Twistie adores Jake the kitty and the magazine editor can’t get enough of the pups.

But the fact is that the magazine editor’s wife and I also keep the pets to a reasonable level. Mr. Twistie and I have never had more than two cats at a time, and usually have only one. The magazine editor and his wife generally have two dogs, one of which is invariably a poodle.

That’s the right way to do animal loving in marriage: keep only what you have both agreed upon and can easily care for responsibly.

Unfortunately, one woman in Israel didn’t get that memo. She adopted five hundred fifty cats to live with her and her husband in their home. Oh, and he doesn’t like cats to begin with.

According to the divorce papers he has now filed, the cats blocked his access to the bathroom, swarmed him when he tried to cook dinner, and refused him access to his bed because they were sleeping on it. When he sat down to eat meals, the cats would steal his food.

The gentleman attempt reconciliation, but the wife chose the cats over him.

What else can you say but, let’s forget it.

Two Celebrity Couples Call It Quits


After seven years of marriage, three children, and yearly reaffirmation ceremonies, Heidi Klum and Seal announced yesterday that they are filing for divorce.

No very specific reason was given for the split, but the couple did release a joint statement, saying they had “grown apart” and that their separation is amicable.

Whatever their reasons, I do have to appreciate the fact that they are refusing to air their dirty linen in public. That, my friends, is how to do it the classy way.

The other split that made the news this week is Aretha Franklin and fiance Willie Wilkerson, who announced the end of their engagement just weeks after announcing its beginning. While the engagement is off, though, there is no word of whether or not they have ended their romance.

Franklin’s statement said that she and Wilkerson had decided they were moving “a little bit too fast” and said there were “a number of things that had not been thought through thoroughly.” The upshot? “There will be no wedding at this time.”

Whatever their issues, it is my fond hope they can be resolved to the satisfaction of all involved. But if they can’t, I do believe it’s better that things end in a broken engagement than a painful divorce down the road.

None of this is happy news, but the heart is a resilient muscle. May all four parties find happiness in the long run, if not at the moment.

Srsly?


Every once in a while in the wild and wooly world of weddings, a story comes along to which I can only respond with a hearty “and what was this person smoking, I wonder?”.

One of these stories is that of Todd Remis and his attempt to sue the living daylights out of his wedding photographer.

It seems that when Mr. Remis married his blushing bride in 2003, the photographer on the scene from H&H photography studio failed to capture the final fifteen minutes of the reception, including the bouquet toss and the last dance. Mr. Remis was also disappointed to find that the videotape of the six-hour event was only two hours long.

Okay, missing the bouquet toss – while it probably wouldn’t make me lose eight years of sleep – was a mistake. But the last dance is hardly an iconic wedding moment in most peoples’ lives, and believe me, six hours of every sneeze and electric slide is more than the most hardy of home movie viewers usually wants to see of even their own wedding. I would have advised Mr. Remis to tell all his friends he didn’t think H&H did a good job and leave it alone after that.

But Mr. Remis seems ill-acquainted with the art of Letting Stuff Go. He’s demanding that H&H restage his entire wedding at a cost of some $48,000 and bring all the principals together again so that they can capture those precious fifteen minutes… never mind that the marriage ended in divorce in 2009. Incidentally, that’s also the year he got around to filing his lawsuit citing among other things ‘infliction of emotional distress.’ He also claims that the photographs were ‘unacceptable’ in terms of lighting, color, poses, and – I don’t know – flavor?

Among the many fine reasons this seems unlikely to be a practical plan is the fact that Mr. Remis’ ex-wife has apparently returned to her native Latvia leaving no forwarding address.

The judge in the case – Justice Doris Ling-Cohan of the State Supreme Court in Manhattan – is allowing the breach of contract part of the lawsuit to go forward, but has dismissed much of the rest of it, including the emotional distress claim. She even went so far as to quote the title song from the film The Way We Were in mentioning her suspicion that Mr. Remis’ motives may have more to do with his ‘misty water-colored memories’ of his erstwhile marriage than his satisfaction or lack thereof with the services of H&H photography studio.

Mr. Remis, please. Your marriage is over. Your wife left the country. For the sake of your own sanity, if no other reason, just drop it.

Kardashian Marriage Krashes and Burns


It’s official. Just seventy-two days after the wedding, and long before the eternal loop of the encore presentations (remember when they were called ‘re-runs’ and only watched by sad, lost people too tragically unhip to make time for the first airing?) comes to an end, Kim Kardashian has filed for divorce from brand-spanking-new husband Kris Humphries.

As is to be expected in cases like this, rumors and blame are rife throughout the media. Kardashian responded with a flurry of tweets denying that she married for the publicity and money (she assures us all the money from her wedding gifts will be donated to the Dream Foundation… though I do believe Miss Manners would council her to consider returning them to the family members, friends and well-wishers who gave them if they are still in good condition, and the last time I checked, cash has a pretty significant shelf life) and assuring us she married truly for love.

“We filmed Kourtney giving birth, Khloe getting married, break ups, make ups, our best moments and our worst moments,” she writes. “These were all real moments. That’s what makes us who we are. We share, we give, we love and we are open!”

… and that’s kind of the thing, Kim. When you choose to live your life so very publicly, people will insist on having opinions about your life. It’s part of the contract. And some of those people will not think terribly highly of you, especially when you have a gigantic, public, media circus wedding followed by a marriage that lasts less than three months.

Kardashian insists that she just got ‘caught up with the hoopla and filming of the TV show’ to the point that she didn’t know how to break off the relationship. And I will say that Kim Kardashian is not the first bride to utter similar words of regret and confusion in the wake of a brief, disastrous marriage. I’ve heard more than one bride say that she really wasn’t sure when she was standing at the altar, but didn’t know how to stop the train at that point.

Look, what you or I think of Kim Kardashian as a person isn’t that important. Frankly, I prefer to think of her as little as her painfully public existence allows. But I think we can all take a moment to learn a Life Lesson from this sordid little tale: if you’re not really sure of the relationship, Don’t Get Married Anyway. A good friend of mine got married anyway. She’s now in the middle of a divorce and bemoaning the ten years she wasted on a marriage that never for one day made her truly happy.

If at any point along the way you find yourself seriously feeling trapped, unhappy, or fearful about being married to the person you said ‘yes’ to, slow things down. If you’re standing at the altar and the words ‘I do’ start to choke you, it’s still not too late. Don’t get married until you’re certain it’s what you want, and this is the person you want it with.

Your happiness matters.

A Different Reason to Trash the Dress


Kevin Cotter is trashing the dress… his ex-wife’s wedding dress, that is. Over and over and over again.

You see, Cotter and his wife got divorced last year and she left her wedding dress behind. She apparently didn’t feel the need to get it back and Cotter was at a loss at first what to do with it. According to the interview he did last month with The Man Registry, he brought the question up at a family dinner and asked for suggestions.

Luckily, he rejected the first entirely crass suggestion from his brother… but he did get inspired to play with the idea of all the ways he could use the dress in non-traditional ways. Thus the blog My Ex-Wife’s Wedding Dress was born.

So far the uses have included things like: place mat (hmmm… looks more like a tablecloth), draft stopper, kite, Darth Vader scarecrow, and my personal favorite, Christmas tree skirt. Cotter even wore it as his Halloween costume last year. That’s the picture at the top, incidentally.

What do I think of all this? Well, it would seem Mr. Cotter has found a creative way of exorcising his personal demons. It’s juvenile and a bit ridiculous, but sometimes that’s what it takes to get over a sad end to a hopeful beginning. I think if his ex-wife had wanted to keep the dress safe, she would have done well to take it with her when she left. I think some people are getting a cheap thrill out of the fact that someone else is doing something they wish they could do or had done.

And I think if Mr. Cotter ever remarries, his new lady ought to think carefully before leaving a wedding gown to his tender mercies if things don’t work out.

Oh, and I’m thankful that Mr. Twistie and I remain ridiculously contented with one another.

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