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One must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star. -Nietzsche

  October 29, 2014

Manning Up for Modern Marriage

My friend Jeff was under a lot of pressure to marry his girlfriend Lauren of two years. Some cited tradition as the impetus, though nearly all traditional foundations of civilization that work in conjunction with marriage have been discarded or only linger on in inferior and degraded forms.

He's the classic breadwinner type, working as a project manager at a large consulting company. After a long day of smothering chaotic fires with calm structure and a pragmatic attitude, all he wants to do is go back to his well furnished home, see his two happy dogs, and decompress from work. He was a lot more energetic in college before the toll of his job left him somewhere between burned out and demoralized.

Lauren doesn't help make home life relaxing. She's a Human Resources consultant which means bringing drama home with late night phone calls, texting, and email. When not talking about the problems her coworkers caused her that day, and reacting to their wacky situations, she repeats the principles of HR tasks as if about to be tested to prove her knowledge, forever mentally chained to her cube in servitude to her temporarily loyal employer.

Sundays are Jeff's day of leisure. He'll watch 6 hours of football, grill on the deck, and drink freely to clear his head out for another week of labor. College football doesn't really appeal to him, so he spends Saturdays and many evenings in his garage where he can work on mechanical projects alone, and occasionally light woodworking.

Lauren is thoroughly modern, so doesn't know how to cook, clean, or contribute to running the house, but tries to remember to order takeout and encourage Jeff to keep her fed. They've got a Colombian maid to keep the house spotless so Jeff can enjoy the fruits of his labor. He finds her cute and started hooking up with her on the side because his wife was typically consumed with work and not particularly interested in him. She was a feminist in college and once swore off men until finding a way to appreciate Jeff. Jeff thinks she might silently tolerate his outlet with the maid, though is unsure and doesn't discuss his surrogate affection arrangement.

Jeff's plan is to keep switching jobs every 2-3 years until he hits 65, and then retire somewhere sunny and inexpensive like Belize or Costa Rica. Lauren is more about the treats of the moment, like good ice cream and cupcakes.

I give them two more years before they admit to being modern and irreconcilable.

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