Single Guys vs. Married Guys
The Atomic Dog is a weekly feature that isn't necessarily about weight training or bodybuilding. Sometimes it's about sports in general, sex, women, or male issues of some kind. At times it's inspirational, but it can also be informative, funny, and even a little weird, but hopefully, always interesting and a little controversial. We hope it reflects the nature of Testosterone magazine in that, just as no man is completely one-dimensional and only interested in one subject, neither are we. If it makes you think or laugh — or even get angry — it's served its purpose.
My friend Chad and I were about halfway through a training session. I'd just finished my fifth set of Side Deadlifts, followed quickly by our first set of Zercher Squats. My mind should've been on the workout, but it wasn't. Instead, I was thinking about something far more important than my next set.
I walked over to the power rack, but as I started to cradle the bar in the crooks of my elbows, I paused, turned around, and said to Chad, "Did you know that sometimes love doesn't come in a minute; sometimes it doesn't come at all; I only know that when I'm in it, love isn't silly... love isn't silly at all..."
Maybe you're surprised that I have those kind of thoughts, but the truth is, if I ain't thinking about working out, I'm thinking about romance; romance, love, panties, all that stuff.
Anyhow, instead of giving me that steely hard glaze that usually reminds me of Curly in City Slickers, his furrowed brow started to unfurrow and his eyes seemed to soften, as he was no doubt remembering some long lost love from his days on the farm, some sweet thing lying in a pile of hay with her legs up in the air and her gingham dress hiked high above her head and her Barbie doll carefully placed aside, its eyes covered with a piece of hay so it couldn't see the despicable things Chad was doing to her.
For a moment, I thought I saw tears welling up in his eyes. I walked forward to let him wipe them on the one dry spot left on my T-shirt, but as I approached him he gave me a kidney punch, knocked me to the floor, and stepped on my throat.
"Hey! Funny boy. Can the stupid McCartney tune and do your set."
I guess I misread his facial expressions. Apparently, he wasn't exactly in a sentimental mood. Okay, I can grok that. Men, depending on whether they're in love or not, are either sentimental (at least a little) or pretty much sexual predators. For instance, a single guy like Chad spends most of his time thinking about what he'd like to do to that fitness model over by the leg curl machine, the one that he says makes his member swell and grow so that it's like the Yao Ming of penises—towering, yet slender; slender, yet strong; strong, yet able to score with impunity.
Married guys would like to show our Yao to that girl, too, but their married penises, sadly, are like Yao only in that they're yellow, yellow from their owners having snacked on too many cheddar cheesy Goldfish crackers and not washing their hands before going one-on-one with them in the bathroom while reading a stroke mag and fantasizing about playing some away games.
Yep, a lot of married guys dream about being single again, while single guys, once they've grown tired of the singles scene, often think it would be nice to be married. Man is totally schizophrenic in this regard, and therein lies his greatest curse and the only truly valid reason for thinking about killing himself.
But why do men get married in the first place? Is being married better than being single? It's a tough call.
I figure most guys get married for a couple of reasons. Sure, there's the sex thing, and at first, it seems really appealing. For instance, let's say you like Yoo-Hoo chocolate beverage. Then, by sheer circumstance, your uncle gets a job as East Coast sales manager for Yoo-Hoo. Suddenly, he gives you cases of it. You've got all the Yoo-Hoo you could ever want right there in your house. Who wouldn't want that?
You start drinking Yoo-Hoo two, three times a day. You think of weird places to enjoy Yoo-Hoo and innovative ways to drink it: on the kitchen table, in the garage, upside down. You even take out the video camera and tape yourself enjoying Yoo-Hoo while slapping its bottom and asking, "Who's your daddy? C'mon, tell me. Who's your daddy?"
You're only limited by your imagination.
It's great! But as the weeks go by, you start to get tired of drinking Yoo-Hoo and nothing but Yoo-Hoo. Pretty soon, you don't even want to touch Yoo-Hoo again. You start longing for something else tasty. Pretty soon, you're sneaking out of the house to sample some Tahitian Berry Snapple.
Trouble is, Yoo-Hoo finds out about it, and either cuts off your penis, sues you for divorce and takes everything you have, or hits you with her SUV as you're walking out of the hotel with your Snapple and runs over you not once, not twice, but three times, the bitch.
And there are other problems, too. You know that girl you've been dating? The one that's a silken-haired, smooth-skinned, frilly-frock wearing angelwho always looks like she walked out of a Maybelline cosmetics ad? Well, as soon as you get married, the Goddess becomes a mere mortal. Out come the sweat pants. Out goes the make up. All that exotic underwear that she used to turn you into a slobbering lap dog with an erection about yay big? It lies moldering in a little used drawer.
Once in awhile, you furtively tip toe into the bedroom to excavate a pair of those exotic, memory-filled panties, place them against your face and sniff and snort like a pig looking for truffles, but instead of getting a scent of her perfumed Yoo-Hoo, you just get a semi-lethal dose of Lemon Pledge and have to make an appointment to see an asthma specialist.
In the morning, when your Testosterone levels are their highest and you want to usher in the day with what country boy Chad calls "a little sugar," you see the light streaming through the bedroom window and you notice, for the first time, that without makeup, the girl you married looks kind of like Andy Rooney from 60 Minutes, albeit with pert little alabaster breasts that are much nicer than Andy's. So you roll over and pretend you're asleep while the words, "The Horror, the Horror," keep flashing through your mind.
Caption: Christian Aguilera before the magic of make up.
Not only that, but after you get married, you start seeing weird things in the bathroom. Your angel uses hemorrhoid cream, and there's Tampax in the wastebasket. And the worst thing, the ultimate horror? You walk into the toilet that she just vacated and you're hit with the horrible realization that your sweet elfin baby has taken a dump that smells like one a Sumo wrestler might take after a night on the town in Tijuana.
There's this line from a 17th century poem by Jonathan Swift that, while simple, captures that particular epiphany perfectly:
No wonder how I lost my Wits;
Oh! Caelia, Caelia, Caelia shits.
We don't like to think of these perfect creatures as having these, these... bodily functions, and the mere contemplation of such is enough to short circuit our simple brains.
But there are, of course, good reasons to get married, reasons that make a lot more sense than limitless sex. Men often like to have someone around to share life-affirming experiences with them. Say they're watching something entertaining on television. If it excites them, they want to be able to shout out, "Hey, c'mere! Come look at this! The Skipper thinks that's Gilligan in a gorilla suit. He doesn't know it's a real gorilla!" Having someone to enjoy moments like that makes them all the more special.
Similarly, if you wad up your paper towel after eating some Buffalo wings and toss it in the trash basket from 20 feet out, you need someone to witness and appreciate your athletic skill. Wives do nicely in that situation.
So marriage ain't all that bad.
Wanting children is also a perfectly sane reason to get married. Men want children to achieve some sort of immortality. Of course, raising some slack-jawed kid whose career path is cleaning the grease traps at Mickey D's isn't how I want to achieve immortality. I'd prefer to achieve it by living a hell of a long time.
Scientists say that Testosterone levels go down in men after they're married and especially when those same married men have children. Anthropologists speculate that it's nature's way of keeping men monogamous.
That doesn't seem to hold water nowadays. Hell, with the advent of women's fitness, liposuction, breast implants, thong underwear, low-rider jeans, latex, Lycra, Maxim Magazine, MTV, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, those beer commercial twins, bikinis, Victoria's Secret catalogs, The Man Show, push-up bras, Hooters restaurants, Internet porn, Baywatch reruns, the lingerie ads in the Sunday paper, the little skanks with pierced belly buttons and bare tummies who magically appear in the grocery stores and the coffee shops and even the Kinko's down the street, and all the other sexual demons that cry out to us, even a married man's supposedly low Testosterone isn't going to keep his penis from rising up, shaking the sleep from its eye, and thrashing about in his Dockers like an angry weasel trapped in a gunny sack.
All of that is what makes life for a married man so ridiculously unfair. There's so much sexual temptation out there that life becomes almost a living hell. It's as if married men are all recovering alcoholics and in some weird Twilight Zone-ish twist of circumstances, they've woken up in a world that's a giant Costco with nothing but aisles and aisles of reasonably priced liquor.
But then again, if you're single, chances are you're going home alone most of the time anyhow and, like your married counterpart, you spend a good deal of time locked up in the bathroom with the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, some Goldfish crackers, and a sore yellow penis.
Death, take us now... please.
This column was first posted on February 20th, 2003.
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