A man we’ll call Hank wants to marry his girlfriend, not because he is necessarily ready for marriage or because he is head over heels with his fiance, but because he has good reason to believe that during his wild single years he pissed off just about every other woman on the planet. But is this an admirable motivation for getting married and will such a desperate impulse result in a successful marriage? The short answer is yes.
Hank’s marriage will work because he is a contrite realist who knows that for men like himself marriage is a sort of Witness Protection Program. It is a point of fact that Hank has offended 99% of the female race with his pestilent, cheating, lying, BS-ing, emotionally retarded existence, so that marriage is the last sanctuary for this morally depraved man who has stepped on so many women’s toes that he is, understandably, a marked man, his face stapled to every telephone pole in the country with the words, “CAUTION:THIS MAN IS POISON TO THE WOMEN ON PLANET EARTH.”
Let us bear in mind, therefore, that Hank is not so much getting married as much as he is enlisting in a “witness protection program” to insulate himself from all the women who, justifiably, want to kill him.
My analogy between Hank’s marriage and a witness protection program is further developed when we see that for bums like Hank marriage is his last chance at earning public respectability because he is, as a married man, proclaiming to the world that he has voluntarily shackled himself to the chains of domesticity in order that he may be spared greater punishments, the bulk of which will be exacted upon him by the women whom he used and manipulated for so many years.
Because it is assumed that Hank’s stalwart, gimlet-eyed wife will keep him in check, she will become, in a way, equivalent to the ankle bracelet transmitters worn by parolees who are only allowed to travel within certain parameters. Marriage will anchor Hank close to the home and, combined with his wife’s reliable issuing of house chores and other domestic duties, Hank will be rendered safely tethered to his “home base” where his wife can observe him sharply to make sure he continues his penance and doesn’t backslide into the abhorrent behavior of his past single life.
The success of Hank’s marriage is not rooted in “love,” as Stephanie Coontz so convincingly shows in her masterful essay “The Radical Idea of Marrying for Love.” Rather, Hank’s successful marriage is rooted in his understanding that marriage, for him at least, is The Final Fortress of the Scoundrel. Knowing exactly what his marriage is and what his humble role is in the marriage will insure a far more successful, long-lasting marriage than the capricious “love” described in Coontz’s essay because ______________________________, ________________________________, ________________________________, and __________________________________.