2010-04-15

You've had too much to think...

One of my best friends, Nathan, is getting married in a few weeks. That's pretty remarkable because he was perhaps the most commitment phobic guy I've ever known. On the other hand, watching him be single made me wonder if being single forever would really be that bad. Despite the level of our raucousness, Nathan's kept himself surprisingly marryable. Ashley hasn't had to do much work to get him into husband shape -- if he were a house, he's basically just needed window treatments and a little paint. The whole process has made me wonder about my own marryability. (Yes, I know it's supposed to be written marriageability, but it's my blog, ok?)

If you haven't gathered, marryability is basically the credit score of a single male. It's a function of age, status, income, maturity, spirituality, hair follicle density, fashion sense, culinary talent, waist size, horsepower, fuel economy, taste and everything else you can think of. The younger you are, what you lack in maturity and income, you can make up for in potential and sheer fun. The girl sees you and says, "Ah, I can work with this."

As you age, what you loose in some areas you gain in others. Your hair thins, but now you've been on cross-country road trips, you have a degree, and your clothes still mostly match. At this point, the girl says, "Well, I'm going to have to train him to not do a, b, and c, but his car is paid off and he only quotes The Simpson's about half the time." Of course, this process continues until you reach the riper ages of male singleness. At this point, you've been single so long unless you make a conscious effort to stay marryable, you may acquire so many odd quirks that no one can put up with you.

For example, around age 30, every male loses whatever instincts they had once had to change my sheets regularly, do the dishes, wipe the counter, not be flatulent, avoid wearing sandals with socks, shower daily, eat vegetables, vacuum periodically and every other thing your mother insisted you do for the first 18 years of life. Basically, if left to your druthers, you'll turn into your father, except as becomes when your mom goes out of town for several weeks: unkempt, jaundiced from a canned chili/Mountain Dew diet, and wearing 90's era Doc Martin sandals with a t-shirt tucked into jean shorts.

To prevent this from happening, you have to at least make an effort to keep up appearances, even if just seems like a bunch of hassle. I say at least because if that's all you do, your marryability will still go down. The reality is that we age, we get weird. We get weird because the world is constantly changing around us, and we simple can't adapt to everything. Some stuff we readily accept, like switching to MP3 players instead of CDs. But you know there's some dude somewhere caressing his collection of Aerosmith cassettes/Bee Gees 8-tracks/Pink Floyd LPs and wondering how the world got so off track. That dude's marryability index is plunging fast.

The reality is that the older you get, to stay as marryable as you were at a younger age, you have to bring more to the table. This is not just to make up for what you've lost, but also to offset all your extra baggage that someone is going to have to put up with. I'm not saying you need to grow biceps the size of your thighs or read the Divine Comedy in the original Italian to woo a mate (such pursuits are actually non-stop detours to Douche-ville.) But you've got to keep yourself up to date, as inane as it appears sometimes. Returning to the house metaphor, there's absolutely nothing wrong with a house built in the 70s, but selling one with the orange shag carpet and faux wood paneling is going to be tough. They're fun and quirky, but remodeling is a huge hassle and can take forever.

Yes, yes, I can hear the chorus of, "But I want someone who accepts me for who you I am." Well, that's baloney. You don't want anyone whose standards are that low. And as for the fairer readers of this blog, I have no comment on your marryability. I am, after all, trying to keep my own marryability index high as possible.