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Wedding bands: just jewellery for men

June 6, 2010

I’ve written a book about – and in part by – men, and there’s a chapter in it about cheaters, specifically those men who cheat on a very newly wedded wife. They’re a year in, sometimes with a little kid, and it takes nothing more than the merest raised eyebrow or lingering glance to get them all hot and heavy for a bit of a cheeky stray. The guys who helped me with this section explained it in terms of a portfolio – a wife is only half the portfolio or equation; a mistress, or the sense of freedom (as they perceive it) to rampage like a bachelor, is the other half. Together they make a well-balanced whole. Also, I learned that a lot of men don’t really believe in or desire marriage- it’s something many of them do to please the woman- so maybe they see it as a hollow arrangement. That said, they’re not going to leave the wife – they just want to play around. To leave the wife would be to “wreck their lives up to that point”.

So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by the fact that the majority of men who have sidled up for a snog or shown the most fevered interest in me in my 5 months of being single are – in fact – married. Some have a ring; the guy last night who stopped me on my way out of a bar did (married a year); as did the elderly executive at a party I attended on Friday. Then there’s the sommelier who chased me after a visit to his restaurant (married last September) and the reporter who has lived with his girlfriend for 10 years but who is more than happy to go with any moments of passion that present themselves.

It’s extraordinary – I guess there’s just a blanking out of the commitment they voluntarily made, a powerful denial and a childishness that makes you think, God I’m glad I’m not the one who fell for these guys. The downside of course, to being on the receiving end of their affections, is that they tend to be the fun, attractive ones, with experience and charm and it can be a bit of a sad feeling, knowing it’s all a dead end. Maybe that’s why someone else agreed to marry them in the first place – they’re not dweebs.

But I can truly say that for a man, the wedding band is more like a nice gold accent than anything of much meaning. Maybe it’s time to reconsider the marriage institution, especially if only half the population are keen on it.

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