Today I wanted to write about the reigning belief that popularity legitimizes and implicitly excuses a morally questionable person, place, or thing. But an editor in my In Box wants me to write a piece offering up “5 pieces of marriage advice that everyone needs” instead.
So here are my five hot tips for keeping your bad, dull, pointless marriage together.
1. Get a pet.
You need a pet so you have a place to put all of your love and affection after your love and affection for your spouse dries up. You also need someone to talk to when your spouse refuses to have a conversation about the topic you’re most passionate about, namely what a fucking tedious dope he is.
Pets are also great for when you want to imagine that someone in your house is telling you that you’re sexy and fantastic around the clock, instead of, just for example, reminding you that your bras are still hanging up in the shower. “Oh thanks, Binky. My legs are smoking hot, I agree. Glad you noticed.” “Amazing advice again? I know. It’s uncanny. I am made of magic. You’re welcome.”
2. Walk together.
Walking with your crumbling spouse is good for his bad knees, and it’s also good for your bad ego. While he mincingly treads across the pavement bitching about how much his shitty knees hurt, you can spend that valuable time marveling at how comparatively springy and useful your own knees remain, along with your positively bouncy calves and, of course, your ass of steel. “I feel old,” your ball and chain will mutter, and you will think, “I feel agile, and predatory.”
3. Read the same books.
Reading is fundamental to any good marriage. Your spouse will read books about tragic storms and seafaring dullards and you will read fiction about people who are awkward and think too much or who can’t leave the house anymore or who want to sink into a drug-induced stupor for a full year. Or you will read that rare book by a writer who is actually insightful and hilarious and never boring.
Unless you want to hear your spouse describe the stupid twists in his seafaring-dullard novel, you will need to press your best books into his hands and call them life-changing. That way, you can prattle on about whatever is inside your brain at any given moment, merely by tying it to a current-book-related “lede.” A lede is a device journalists use to make an evergreen essay appear timely, and it’s also a device that married humans use to make the jumbled, self-involved contents of their addled brains appear relevant to their half-interested spouses.
4. Share the same enemies.
An enemy is just a friend you haven’t wronged yet. And they’re everywhere! You can tap into this powerful resource by suddenly turning on a close friend of yours, simply by finding fault with one of her completely typical and well-known habits. Soon, you’ll be free to entertainingly eviscerate that friend for your spouse’s pleasure and enjoyment each day. Your spouse probably hated her already, so he’ll be more than happy to listen closely as you outline her countless failings, which is something you very much enjoy doing. Moreover, you can use those failings as a “lede” in order to segue into a detailed analysis of your own comparative strengths, insights, and charms, yet another deeply satisfying area of inquiry that you’re always been keen to explore at length.
5. Buy the biggest, most expensive bed possible.
If the world were sane, no two humans would be forced to sleep within ten feet of each other, let alone within a few inches of each other, night after night, like common criminals. Yet married people do this every night until they’re both dead. Spending each night within elbow-striking-distance of your spouse should be recognized as an abject tragedy and a failure of the imagination.
So imagine this instead: A vast sea of crumpled sheets and tower of pillows, protecting you from that growling, snoring slug you married, thereby ensuring sweet slumber for your agile, predatory frame and your giant, fruitful, self-obsessed brain.
Maintaining a “healthy” marriage is a lot like creating a fake business or an illegal shell company: You might appear to be nurturing and supporting the arbitrary human you’ve chosen to drag around with you until death (along with whatever menagerie of supporting “pet” and “child” characters you employ or “adopt” or “birth” along the way), but your actual self-centered routine need not change one iota, and it could become even more greedy and self-serving. If your marriage is functioning correctly, your spouse should serve as a kind of false front for the criminally selfish interests, desires, and fixations of your wild mind and lithe, rapacious body.
Amazing advice again? I know. It’s uncanny. I am made of magic. You’re welcome.
Need some guidance from a lithe supervillain? Write to askmolly at protonmail.