Why You Should Marry a Doormat*

Or, Forbes explains why smart men everywhere** should avoid those nasty career women.

1. You are less likely to get married to her.

And I thought that men were marriage-phobic and had to be corralled into the chapel. So wouldn’t this be a reason to date career women? We’re mixing up our masculine stereotypes here, folks, and it’s just not right.

Forbes is quick to note (in the last line) that the opposite may be true for black women — that having higher earnings and more working hours translate into easier marriagability. But, you know, black women don’t really count, so we can discount them in the headline and the rest of the article.

2. If you do marry, you are more likely to get divorced.

Women’s work hours consistently increase divorce, whereas increases in men’s work hours often have no statistical effect. “I also find that the incidence in divorce is far higher in couples where both spouses are working than in couples where only one spouse is employed,” Johnson said.


I love the idea that women’s work hours actively increase the divorce rate. And the author clearly didn’t consider the fact that if you aren’t employed, you’re a whole lot more likely to stay with the person who’s financially supporting you out of necessity, not necessarily out of love or contentment.

A few other studies, which have focused on employment (as opposed to working hours) have concluded that working outside the home actually increases marital stability, at least when the marriage is a happy one. But even in these studies, wives’ employment does correlate positively to divorce rates, when the marriage is of “low marital quality.”

I’m going to wager a guess that marriages of “low marital quality” positively correlate with higher divorce rates. And I’m also going to guess that “low marital quality” correlates positively with men who expect that their wives won’t work, but will stay home and clean up after them and never leave the house. Which leads us to our next reason:

3. She is more likely to cheat on you

Because if you never leave the house and you depend on hubby for everything, you certainly aren’t going to have an extra-marital affair. Nevermind that working correlates with men cheating as well — I have yet to see that used as a reason for why women shouldn’t marry working men.

4. You are much less likely to have kids.

Which, the article makes clear, is a problem because the vast majority of women desperately want children, but those careerists are too selfish (and apparently too stupid) to actually do it. And if your wife won’t give you any progeny, what’s the point — especially if she also won’t clean up after you?

5. If you do have kids, your wife is more likely to be unhappy.

Especially if you are the kind of guy who buys into the crap that this article pushes — because that probably means that you’re the kind of guy who doesn’t think he should have to do any of the tough child-rearing work, leaving it all to her.

A 2003 study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family concluded that wealthier couples with children suffer a drop in marital satisfaction three times as great as their less affluent peers. One of the study’s co-authors publicly speculated that the reason is that wealthier women are used to “a professional life, a fun, active, entertaining life.”

So both partners are less happy if they’re wealthy and they have kids. Which would mean that if you’re a wealthy career man who marries a woman who doesn’t work, according to this study you’re just as likely to be unhappy with children as you would be if you married a woman who works.

6. Your house will be dirtier.

In 2005, two University of Michigan scientists concluded that if your wife has a job earning more than $15 an hour (roughly $30,000 a year), she will do 1.9 hours less housework a week. Of course, this can be solved if the husband picks up a broom.

Is anyone else stunned that making more than $15 an hour only translates into 1.9 hours fewer housework hours per week?

And of course this can be solved if the husband picks up a broom, but that’s clearly a laughable idea. Because men, apparently, are idiots and slobs. And they say feminists have animosity towards men? I’m gonna go ahead (yet again) and point out that it’s the people who cling the most desperately to traditional gender roles who seem to have the dimmest views of men and their individual capabilities, and who consistently image them as emotionally stunted, incapable of caring for themselves, and highly animalistic. I think it’s about time that men started asking themselves who their actual allies are, and who’s willing to stereotype them as cavemen and morons in order to maintain a social structure that privileges them.

7. You’ll be unhappy if she makes more than you.

In other words, you are an insecure idiot. Ignore the fact that a substantial percentage of households are led by female bread-winners, or by women who make more than their male partners. Ignore the fact that these relationships are no more likely to fail than relationships with different set-ups. Insead, fear the emasculation that comes with being able to afford a nicer house, pleasant vacations, and college for the kids on your wife’s dime. Better to just go into debt and maintain your masculinity.

8. She will be unhappy if she makes more than you.

According to the authors of a controversial 2006 study: “American wives, even wives who hold more feminist views about working women and the division of household tasks, are typically happier when their husband earns 68% or more of the household income.” Reason? “Husbands who are successful breadwinners probably give their wives the opportunity to make more choices about work and family–e.g., working part-time, staying home, or pursuing a meaningful but not particularly remunerative job.”

Well, yeah, maybe we’d all be happier if someone would support us while we worked any job we pleased. But that doesn’t translate into her being happier if you make more than she does. But, then, under the lovely patriarchal assumptions of these Forbes authors, women live to be walked all over and dominated, so naturally she’ll be miserable if she makes more money than her husband. She’d certainly prefer to be under his thumb.

9. You are more likely to fall ill.

Yes, a working woman will make you sick — literally.

A 2001 study found that having a wife who works less than 40 hours a week has no impact on your health, but having a wife who works more than 40 hours a week has “substantial, statistically significant, negative effects on changes in her husband’s health over that time span.” The author of another study summarizes that “wives working longer hours not do not have adequate time to monitor their husband’s health and healthy behavior, to manage their husband’s emotional well-being or buffer his workplace stress.”

Aww, poor dears, with no one to manage their emotional well-being or buffer their workplace stress. And without a wife around to moniter his health and healthy behavior, he will naturally get sick more often, since he’s apparently too much of a moron to eat well and take care of himself.

According to Forbes, adult men need to marry professional mommies, lest they meet a whole slew of trouble. Men, apparently, are so fragile of body and ego that they’re unable to take care of themselves, clean up after themselves, and deal with a partner who’s as hard-working and successful as they are.

Now, perhaps I’ve been spoiled by living in a fairly progressive city and going to a fairly progressive professional school, but most men I know aren’t like this. Are there a handful of them who probably are? Sure. And there are a handful of women who also believe themselves to be incapable of self-sufficiency. But the majority of men that I’ve met in my life are competent, confident in their work and their life choices, and able to take pretty good care of themselves. They seem to seek out partners who are interesting, and who they feel they have something in common with. Maybe this will change ten years down the road, but I don’t forsee most of the men I know seeking out mates who they think will primarily be unpaid household help — even if they marry women who decide to stay home.

Articles like this are obviously insulting to women because they reinforce outdated and highly sexist notions of what a “good woman” is, and they imply that if you don’t fit the Suzie Homemaker mold (which most stay-at-home moms don’t even fit) then your marriage prospects are shot. And they reinforce the idea that marriage is the highest goal that women should seek.

These articles further infantalize and insult men in attempts to coddle them with privilege and reinstate social heirarchies which entitle them to a fulfilling career and a wife who’s more personal servant than equal partner. Because that’s really the underlying fear through this entire list — that you might end up with someone who’s your equal. Were I a man, I think I’d be pretty deeply insulted by the implication that I should want a partner who is less successful and more subservient and dependent, lest I feel my manhood threatened. But I have a feeling that the MRA’s won’t be decrying this article any time soon.

Thanks to Julia for the link.

*This should not imply that all women who stay home, or women who work but aren’t “career women,” are doormats. It’s meant to be reflective of the general tone of the article, which was that women are good for child-rearing, cleaning, and being a glorified servant to their husbands, and that independence and autonomy are leading causes of marital demise. A person can be independent and autonomous regardless of their career/work status. The article conflates working with personal autonomy, and uses that to stoke fears about female independence.

**A note to these “smart men”: Please, please avoid me like the plague. I’m bad for you anyway, as I’ll leave our house dirty and will make you sick. So stay far, far away from me, please — it’s a win-win situation. Thanks in advance.


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About Jill

Jill began blogging for Feministe in 2005. She has since written as a weekly columnist for the Guardian newspaper and in April 2014 she was appointed as senior political writer for Cosmopolitan magazine.
This entry was posted in Domesticity, Gender, Work and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

126 Responses to Why You Should Marry a Doormat*

  1. Natalia says:

    You have to be fucking kidding me.

  2. wives working longer hours not do not have adequate time to monitor their husband’s health and healthy behavior

    Men are supposed to want their wives to stay home so they can get nagged more????

    Seriously, nagging your husband does not take that long. It can easily be fitted into the schedule, even with a full time job. If there is a negative correlation between men’s health and women’s employment, I think it’s more likely due to the couples who didn’t plan on the wife working full time: if the husband is sick, they’re more likely to change their minds than if he isn’t.

    Especially if the wife is the one whose job carries the health insurance.

  3. Fat Doug Lover says:

    This should not imply that all women who stay home, or women who work but aren’t “career women,” are doormats.

    It’s sad that some people are so defensive they would accuse you of this, even though they know damn well that’s not what you meant.

  4. Marian says:

    Interestingly, my mom, 60, did tell me that she’s glad I’m an administrative assistant and my husband has the bigger career goals, because it would “hurt his ego” if a woman made more than he did. Generational, I suppose, but how old is the guy who wrote this? Hopefully not my age.

    Also regarding financial dependency and divorce–that is still true especially in cultures where having the man “provide” and the woman “not need to work” is expected. (We plan to do the SAHM-breadwinner model for awhile too, but this is by choice–and a really really tightly planned budget–not societal expectation or not “needing” to work because I’m female).

    My husband is pretty progressive having been raised in the US Northeast, but as for his cousins back in India, the women ALL quit their careers once married (“She won’t “need” to work). That’s the whole reason why his lawyer cousin isn’t married yet–she’s not prepared to give up her law career.

    One other cousin–I post about her all the time here because from a feminist perspective she bugs me, is 19, is married, is going to college, but plans never to use her degree. Husband owns properties all over Mumbai and has so much money that she TURNED DOWN the wedding money she was offered “No thanks, we won’t need it.” Ummmm? :P). And when hubby dies or turns out to be all money but not faithful, then what? (Move back with Mom and Dad I guess).

    According to my MIL, the reason these marriages last is not necessarily “happiness in the Western sense,” but that the women would be out on the street without their husbands. And they will pick rich husbands for that reason

    I’m all for SAHM’s, but looking at these relatives who not only have never worked a day in their lives because “I’ll just get married someday and he’ll be rich and I’m a woman so I’ll just sit back” bothers me for some reason. perhaps it shouldn’t.

  5. Natalia says:

    The mindset is incredibly childish. So he’s gonna eat Twinkies and booze himself into oblivion, then turn around and scream, “you’re a BAD mo… *cough* wife, you didn’t stop me.” Oedipus has nothing on these fellas.

  6. Marian says:

    Come to think of it Natalia, that’s another mindset my parents have. Whenever I casually mention that hubby called in sick, my mom says, “Take good care of him and make sure he feels better to go to work tomorrow.” And the ex had a genetic heart disease risk, so I was to stop him from eating ice cream (Shame on you for the ice cream. You’re supposed to tell him “No.”). (and then send him to his room?)

  7. Sheelzebub says:

    This reads like a list of reasons for women not to get married.

  8. Fat Doug Lover says:

    Anyway, what’s funny is they seem to writing with the assumption that all men can command a compliant wife with no personality or internal life of her own by snapping their fingers. Why would an ambitious, interesting woman be a temptation at all?

    Oh yeah. That stupid “love” thing. Good thing men don’t feel that.

    They really do hate men, don’t they?

  9. Cari says:

    Ugh! The worst part is that most of the infantalizing commentary seems to be coming from the authors of all these studies, not Forbes. Do the DATA suggest that the reason men whose wives work longer hours get sicker is that they aren’t being emotionally well tended? Somehow I doubt it.

  10. Pingback: the oh zone » more reasons why men should not go out with feminist women: a blog that hurts

  11. evil_fizz says:

    3. She is more likely to cheat on you

    Before or after she finds out you’re a patronizing prick with and Oedipus complex?

  12. Sailorman says:

    I don’t know if it’s considered tactless to link to other blogs in the comments here….? I’m not going to do it without permission.

    But the Happy Feminist has (in the last couple of days) JUST had a post about women “marrying down” so that the WOMENS’ career prospects would be increased (post is called “Sexual Bargaining”). The thread is starting to die down after about 85 comments, but it makes an interesting counterpoint.

  13. evil_fizz says:

    Not to threadjack, but that trackback is vile, and it’s only three sentences.

  14. Thomas says:

    And the author clearly didn’t consider the fact that if you aren’t employed, you’re a whole lot more likely to stay with the person who’s financially supporting you out of necessity, not necessarily out of love or contentment.

    Or that most couples that are struggling to get by will have two people working, while couples with no money problems may have the luxury of relying on one earner. I’ll bet this statistic significantly weakens if one throws out low FICO scores, because the effect they find is merely that money trouble breaks up marriages.

  15. firefalluk says:

    you forgot one:
    10. All the other dickheads at work will point and laugh, and you’ll never get promoted again because you’re such a pussy

  16. norbizness says:

    Jill: I’ve got the broom, you’ve got the brains. Let’s prove Forbes jerkwipes wrong.

  17. dream_operator23 says:

    Yeah, if I was able to work a job that could support my me and my three children I wouldn’t be married anymore. Unfortunately I got married at eighteen to a man I didn’t love so he could support me. Stupid idea! Now I’m unhappy, but trapped because I don’t have enough job skills to get a good paying job. I wish I hadn’t been so stupid in my youth.

  18. Sarah says:

    and…as a man you are more likely to get the flu if your wife has self-esteem apparently!

  19. the15th says:

    I love how it’s not that having a wife who monitors your health and emotional well-being is GOOD for your health, it’s that NOT having one is BAD for your health. Just like not having the personal trainer and chef that I’m entitled to is having a really negative impact on my health.

  20. Nick Kiddle says:

    and…as a man you are more likely to get the flu if your wife has self-esteem apparently!

    You could make a case for the wife going to another workplace and bringing back germs, in the same way the house gets sicker once the kids start nursery/school/wherever they first start mixing readily. But it would be something of a stretch.

  21. micheyd says:

    dream_operator23: I’m very sorry to hear that you feel trapped in your situation. I’ve heard of programs that can help women in your situation get job skills (anyone got specific resources on this?) and train for particular careers, if you’re interested.

  22. Josh says:

    I thought the headings were jokes until I read the article. Why do we even have the phrase “career woman”? I plan to be a “career man,” and I hope to marry a woman who has a career. Crossing my fingers that I don’t make my wife sick, what with my career man status.

  23. Pingback: life inchoate » Blog Archive » marriage and the career woman

  24. Sniper says:

    Just like not having the personal trainer and chef that I’m entitled to is having a really negative impact on my health.

    Hey, I’m sick right now because I caught a cold from a student. Shouldn’t I be shielded from the possibility of virus transmission? Also, my husband apparently didn’t nag me enough. Should I divorce him?

  25. Julie says:

    I’m a stay at home mom for the time being and I will be the first to tell you my house is a wreck and I am certainly not monitoring my husband’s health and well being. The closest I come is bugging him to go to the doctor when he’s extremely sick and nine times out of ten he doesn’t go. I also had plenty of time to bug him about it when I was working. I have a newborn and a toddler, so my day is pretty much spent taking care of them, not worrying about the house or the fact that my husband has the sniffles. He’s a big boy, he can take care of himself. When I am working, we have an interesting situation where I make more per hour than he does, but he works more hours so his paychecks are higher. He never appeared to feel threatened and in fact would be extremely happy if I made enough for him to stay home with the kids. I’m the more career minded of the two of us, it just makes more financial sense for me to be home right now and I am enjoying the time at home with the kids. It’s certainly not a forever thing, though.

  26. Lya Kahlo says:

    “This reads like a list of reasons for women not to get married.”

    Prezactly. If these weak-willed men with inferiority complexes are all that’s out there- count me out.

    I wonder if this is directed at “white collar” men only. My bf is a “blue collar” man, I far out-earn him and I work longer hours and yet he somehow manages to take care of himself and even – gasp! – pick up a broom (more often than i do because I hate cleaning).

    Now we’re not talking about getting married because neither of us wants to be married. And we don’t have or want kids. Uh-oh looks like the article’s right! ;)

  27. Roxanne says:

    I’m sure glad Bono bought into Forbes.

  28. beebles says:

    OMG, I just about spewed pop all over my monitor…if my career makes me more likely to cheat because I’m more likely to meet someone more interesting than my husband, what does that say about my husband?

    I wonder what the female writers at Forbes think of this? I’m sure they have a few career girls there…

  29. piny says:

    I wonder what the female writers at Forbes think of this? I’m sure they have a few career girls there…

    Probably something about sending out resumes.

  30. raging red says:

    I was wondering what the female readers of Forbes think about this. I’d bet their readership is mostly male, but way to alienate their female readership with this article, all of whom would be career women, if they’re reading Forbes.

    I found it funny that the author thought of an alternative to “don’t marry a career gal!” for #6 (your house will be dirtier), but not for any of the others. The author figured out that the obvious solution to #6 is for men to pick up a damn broom, but couldn’t figure out that the solution to the child-related ones was for men to do their fair share of childcare, and couldn’t figure out that the solution to #9’s “you’ll be sicker” is for men to monitor their own damn health, et cetera.

  31. Jemayday says:

    One thing I don’t think has been mentioned yet is that this article is particularly offensive given that it appears in Forbes. There is no place in a business magazine, which presumably has a male and female readership, for this type of piece. It’s found in Forbes’ “Careers” section but is directed entirely at straight men…not to mention that it is misogynist drivel not worth publishing anywhere, in fact.

  32. my mom’s boyfriend (ages and ages ago) broke up with her because she earned more. i’m not kidding. i’m sure there were other reasons, but the biggest was that she was in a higher position where they both worked and he didn’t feel manly enough.

    she is now happily married to a man who has absolutely no issues with their earnings disparities. he’s pleased as punch, as a matter of fact. :)

  33. zuzu says:

    It’s found in Forbes’ “Careers” section but is directed entirely at straight men

    Oh, I think it’s aimed at least as much, if not more, to straight women. Another reminder that they don’t belong in the business world, and will they please just take their proper place in the home and let the men take the jobs.

    It’s all of a piece with the stories about the “Opt-Out Revolution” that never was or the “YOUBETTERGETMARRIEDYOUNGORYOU’LLNEVERHAVE BABIES!!” stories or the “You have a greater chance of getting killed by terrorists than marry after 30, well, whoops, actually not, but we’ll take 20 years to correct that” stories.

  34. Matt says:

    Forbes amazes me. I’m a guy who finds this crap insulting.

    I hope that this really is a generational thing as someone mentioned above. My parents think like this, but I don’t know anyone my age (27) that does. I only find educated, driven, and successful women attractive.

    I also like the boing boing take on this. “2006, meet 1956″
    http://www.boingboing.net/2006/08/22/dont_marry_career_me.html

  35. Ginger says:

    Another reminder that [women] don’t belong in the business world, and will they please just take their proper place in the home and let the men take the jobs.

    Damn skippy. I forwarded this post to the nimrod who wrote the piece; his email is mnoer@forbes.net if anybody else wants to take him to task.

    Excellent post, Jill. Now stop thinking and go get me a beer, woman!

  36. petitpoussin says:

    Hey look, it’s not the first time this clown stood up for misogyny! Here’s how this article starts:
    ‘Wife or whore?

    The choice is that simple.’

    A-ma-zing.

  37. Pingback: Don’t marry career women - They Bite! at Within / Without

  38. kth says:

    Think of the ideal Forbes reader as resembling Steve Forbes himself–i.e.,affluent, ugly dweeb–and the anxieties that motivate an article like Foer’s become obvious.

  39. Fred says:

    Natalia beat me to it.

    So if I’m unhappy from earning too much I should ask for a pay cut?

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  41. Shankar Gupta says:

    Hrm. The article seems to be having problems over on Forbes’s site. I wonder if they’re taking it down, or if it’s getting flooded with hits, or what.

    Anyhoo, it does seem like rank sexism to me. But I do wonder about couples where both members work long hours, independent of the gender issues. The article looked at it from a man’s viewpoint only, but it’s certainly possible that the ill effects listed for men are visited upon women, as well. Would the article be more palatable if, rather than presupposing men ought to work and women ought keep the home, it were about how couples work better when one partner is the breadwinner and one partner manages things at home, irrespective of which gender takes which role?

  42. Pingback: WIMN’s Voices: A Group Blog on Women, Media, AND… » Blog Archive » A word of advice: Don’t marry misogynists (or trust their sloppy news copy) - Part 1

  43. Pingback: WIMN’s Voices: A Group Blog on Women, Media, AND… » Blog Archive » Latest threat to marriage: “Career girls”

  44. W. Kiernan says:

    Whenever I read another one of these literally idiotic articles about married women’s free choice between working vs. staying at home Endusting things and flirting with the pool service guy, what I feel is rage and disgust. For everybody in my socio-economic class – that is, at least three-quarters of the population – there is no choice. Of course, this article being in Forbes, they don’t even hint at the actual reason why so many married women work, which is that since the cost in employee-hours of keeping a roof over your family’s head has doubled since the sixties, married people these days enjoy the free choice between both spouses working and the family living in a tent.

  45. Kip W says:

    3. She is more likely to cheat on you

    That’s true, because she’ll have shoes. And the office will probably have one of those “telephones” too.

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  48. Henry Holland says:

    This brought back memories:

    Women’s work hours consistently increase divorce, whereas increases in men’s work hours often have no statistical effect.

    I used to work for a major West Coast bank in the real estate department that very much had a “If you don’t work 7:00 am to 7:00 pm M-F and come in at least two Saturdays a month, you’re not a team player” culture.

    I had to work late one night and I hear all this laughter coming from the VP’s office. I go in and it’s him and all the 4 or 5 Asst. VP’s sitting around, shooting Nerf basketballs and just being dorks, not a lick of work being done. I joked “Ah ha! So you *don’t* work 12 hour days, you just don’t want to go home to your wives and kids hahahahahaha”. Cue the crickets and all of them suddenly finding the top of their shoes really, really fascinating. I left right away, really embarrassed for them.

    I wonder how many men and women use the “Sorry, babe, gotta work 14 hours today” excuse to avoid going to a sucky home life?

  49. Bitter Scribe says:

    I notice Forbes has pulled this from their web site. Down the memory hole.

    Forbes is by far the frothiest, shallowest mainstream general business magazine in America. Forbes the magazine is worth about as much as Forbes the candidate.

  50. Dan'l says:

    I read that article (when Cynthia1960 at LiveJournal linked it), and was flabbergasted. Even Playboy isn’t dumb enough to publish something like that in this day & age … are the people at Forbes idiots, or were they spoofed somehow, or…? I don’t get it…

  51. Ginger says:

    “Ah ha! So you *don’t* work 12 hour days, you just don’t want to go home to your wives and kids hahahahahaha”.

    I had a roommate who was a school teacher. She was single, and would come home right after work so that she could go to class/hang out with friends/chill out. She noticed that the married female teachers with kids always stayed three or four hours later than she did. At first, she felt inadequate because she thought they were actually working. Turned out, they just wanted to put off going home.

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  53. William says:

    6. Your house will be dirtier.

    In 2005, two University of Michigan scientists concluded that if your wife has a job earning more than $15 an hour (roughly $30,000 a year), she will do 1.9 hours less housework a week. Of course, this can be solved if the husband picks up a broom.

    This ran in Forbes? Why on earth wouldn’t a sensible household just hire a cleaning service to come in? Granted it might cost more than $15 an hour . . . but the combined household makes more than $15 an hour, otherwise the husband is a slackass and really does need to pick-up a broom. That’s just sheer lunacy, 1.9 hours less of homework a week, even if maids charged $50 an hour we are talking $5,200 to get an extra $30,000 a year (before taxes). If your wife makes $30,000 a year and you make as much or more, quit complaining and either do some chores or budget some money. Life isn’t better with your $30,000 and a full-time unpaid maid.

    No wonder there are so many problems in career marriages . . . there must be a ton of stupid men out there!

  54. Ginger says:

    Noer might want to peruse the book “Wifework” if he’s looking for reasons that women really leave their marriages. Kyso Kisaen did a great job discussing it here.

  55. kate says:

    Well, well well. Looks like the ‘ole white hairs sitting on the Forbes editing staff are getting really rankled that statistics keep showing that younger men are preferring smart and motivated women to trophy wives. Ain’t that sumptin’?

    What the hell is Forbes going to do now with all the steretypes of the Hot Chic posing next to the Hot Car to grab young male readers? Eh? Eh?

    Take a lookie here and see what men who were surveyed in a men’s forum truely think about the type of women they want to find:

    It doesn’t seem to reflect an attitude that the ‘ole boys like.

    NOw I hope I get this link in here right: http://www.askmen.com/media_kit/survey/survey_index.html
    http://www.askmen.com/media_kit/survey/survey_index.html

  56. Frumious B. says:

    hey – the story in #36 is also gone.

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  58. petitpoussin says:

    Hey guys, I can’t find the earlier Noer story I posted earlier – but there is now a point/counterpoint version of ‘Don’t Marry A Career Woman’ on Forbes’ site, with a response by a (woman) writer on staff. Check it out. Apologies if this was posted on the Slate ‘gender neutral’ response post… only skimmed it so far!

  59. Pingback: real men are not » Blog Archive » Forbes says: “Don’t Marry Career Women”

  60. Pingback: Just Shelley » Career Woman: New American Terrorist

  61. Kneejerk says:

    According to Forbes, adult men need to marry professional mommies, lest they meet a whole slew of trouble. Men, apparently, are so fragile of body and ego that they’re unable to take care of themselves, clean up after themselves, and deal with a partner who’s as hard-working and successful as they are.

    As a guy, sad to say, Yes. Yes we are.

  62. KnifeGhost says:

    Speak for yourself.

  63. nonwhiteperson says:

    According to Forbes, adult men need to marry professional mommies, lest they meet a whole slew of trouble. Men, apparently, are so fragile of body and ego that they’re unable to take care of themselves, clean up after themselves, and deal with a partner who’s as hard-working and successful as they are.

    As a guy, sad to say, Yes. Yes we are.

    Men want their moms as wives. Anyone who not like their mom is a bitch. But men do not respect a woman who was like her mom from the previous generation. Each generation of American women has become more liberated and it’s just fear that holds us back.

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  66. Jeff in Texas says:

    I met my wife the second day of orientation at law school. We’ve been together now for eleven years, and have two young kids. She’s very traditional in a lot of ways, but she is one of the toughest and smartest people I know, and she gets shit done. I personally cannot imagine being married to a woman who was, in effect, another child instead of a partner in life. I am dumbstruck by my trophy-wife-seeking friends and associates. I think there is still a significant percentage of men who just don’t want to be challenged at home. I think they are missing out.

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  69. N. A. says:

    Very interesting points raised by the article… Everything, of course, should be taken with a grain of salt, but still… something to definitely consider
    ~P

  70. I find it telling that Noer applies many of the statistics only to women, and not to men, even though they themselves (um, the statistics) are gender neutral. People with graduate degrees are 1.75 times as likely to cheat? Well, maybe women shouldn’t marry men with graduate degrees! People who make more than $30,000 a year are more likely to have extramarital affairs? I guess women shouldn’t marry men with sizeable incomes then!

    Ugh.

  71. Ragnell says:

    The old Economics of Prostitution article is put back up, too. (I still saved a copy, just in case)

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  73. Melissa says:

    Hello,

    Just wanted to let you know I linked to your blog in my article on CBSNews.com today. Thanks!

    If you want to take a look, here’s the link: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/08/24/national/main1933970.shtml

    Thanks,
    Melissa

  74. Jennifer says:

    I am a 30 year old happily married women who just recently had her first child, a precious baby boy. I am also a stay at home mom by choice. I have to somewhat agree with what Mr. Noer has wrote regarding this topic of careers and marriage. (now please don’t slam me) I used to be one of those “independent career minded women.” in my early twenties. I have to say that being independent and becoming the women I am today helped me find a good man who I married and started a family with. I don’t understand why all of these women are getting so angry. We(women) have so many rights and choices now that why does it matter if someone chooses to write this kind of article? Aren’t we strong women capable of making our own decisions? Since becoming a mom and wife, I feel that my life has more meaning. I wake up charged and happier than when I had to sit in my car with a long commute to work, being gone 12 hours a day, not satisfied with my pay or not being promoted and dealing with the office b.s and gossip. If I were to die or leave my place of work, would I be remembered? Probably not because every single one of us is replacable, hence the reason why I put more emphasise on my family and not a career. This decision is good for me but may not be for someone else. I will be remembered for being a good wife, mom, daughter, sister, cousin, granddaughter and friend…in the whole grand scheme of things that’s what matters most. A job is a means of surviving. My career doesn’t define who I am. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about a women having a career that makes her happy but not when it comes between her family. Women should have equal rights and by no means am I a anit-feminist. I just am keeping things real. My single independent friends who so desperately want to be married are not because they are independent single women who say they can’t find a man who will deal with them being independent. You cannot have it both ways…independence and marriage don’t mix too well…you have to compromise and find a happy medium. I think the institution of marriage is in great danger and unfortunately it has been since the 60’s. Is it just a coincidence that marriages declined and divorce rates have gone up since women entered the workforce? We, women have so many options now that being single is not so bad and that kind of thinking is destructive. So in conclusion, I say that both partners just need to respect each other’s wishes and dreams and both be a part of each other’s goals. Marriage is a partnership and just because a women decides whether to stay home or have a career should be her decision. As long as it’s healthy for the relationship. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me. I did what I wanted to do for myself, my child and my husband.

  75. Jennifer says:

    I just want to add something else. I think some of what Mr. Noer says about the house being dirtier and stuff is such bullshit. He is way off base on some things. I think if a women cheats it’s not because she works or makes more money…it probably means that she’s unhappily married…I just think we all will continue to debate this man vs. women until the end of time…it’s just not that big of a deal. Live your life to the fullest, however you choose to!

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  77. Joan says:

    Is it just a coincidence that marriages declined and divorce rates have gone up since women entered the workforce?

    Of course it’s not a coincidence. When women are economically able to survive without a husband, they are less likely to stay married to a bad husband. IMO the divorce rate has more to do with the ‘me’ generation wanting everything their own way than it does to whether the woman has/can get a job. If have a spouse who has made a committment to you and makes an effort to please you and are happy in your marriage, no matter what kind of career you have, you don’t cheat and you don’t get divorced.

  78. mia says:

    Hello to the lady that does not have skills to get out of the bad husband trap.

    Computer based training! There are many free courses on the internet. just type in what you want to learn and you can do it before the children wake up.

    It worked for me and once I got my foot in the door, the company paid for everything else. 10 mins every day and you’ll be ready by the end of the year.

    Good luck.
    Mia
    miadimicco@yahoo.com.au

  79. Martin says:

    **A note to these “smart men”: Please, please avoid me like the plague. I’m bad for you anyway, as I’ll leave our house dirty and will make you sick. So stay far, far away from me, please — it’s a win-win situation. Thanks in advance.

    After several hundred words of sarcasm, you end up giving the same advice to men as Noer. A kind of vindication?

  80. Vendetta Guy says:

    I agree with Jennifer to an extent, although I definitely think that independence and marriage can mix well. Autonomous thought is something of a prerequisite for me.

    However, I am somewhat baffled by the slew of negative replies this has generated. I understand that at first glance it may seem like male chauvinist drivel, but in reality all it’s saying is “don’t marry an overly career-oriented woman, because she’s probably so used to putting her career first that she’ll probably continue to do that through the marriage.” And if the genders were reversed, would it be a bad thing? How many women have complained throughout the ages about having workaholic husbands? Why would anyone want that for a wife?

    Furthermore, I’m a little confused as to why it’s such a big deal anyway. What exactly is the allure of marriage to people who obviously have different mindsets than you? Is it really that much of a tragedy that you’re considered undesirable to anyone, much less people who you all so vehemently disagree with anyway? Or must everyone think that you are the Holy Grail for you to be satisfied? And aren’t “career-women” independent anyway? Is it that bad to be unmarried? Do any of you “need” a man?

    Women who stay at home with the kids aren’t doormats, and although you put in a nice little placating statement at the end, I have to raise an eyebrow if you think it’s anything but insulting to those aforementioned stay-at-home women.

    I’m sorry for being so blunt and probably coming off as a vitriol-spewer, but things like this make me angry when I have to deal with women who don’t like me for whatever reason, be it that I’m not athletic enough, that I’m not smart enough, that I’m not cool enough, that I’m too smart, that I’m not attractive enough, that I’m too attractive, that I’m not driven enough, that I’m too driven, that I’m not a Democrat, that I’m not Republican enough, that I’m black, that I’m “white,” or that it’s a Thursday, and you have the gall to complain that any guy should want to marry you regardless of your career choices. Because, when you get down to it, that is what you’re saying.

    Career women do not have a monopoly on being three-dimensional, and it’s high time people started realizing this.

  81. Vincent says:

    I am amused by your outrage in response to Michael Noer’s article. Do you fear that his assertions ring true. The fact is most smart women are opting for motherhood anyway. See NYTimes: Many Women at Elite Colleges Set Career Path to Motherhood
    By LOUISE STORY
    Published: September 20, 2005

    Articles such as this must scare the hell out you. While you may assert that the majority of men that you’ve met seek out partners who are interesting, and who they feel they have something in common with ie are career minded (I assume). The possibility that the “enlightened” men you know might prefer partners who stay at home fosters thoughts of you growing old and alone. This must create a great deal of fear and loathing in the feminist community, which is why you attack Michael Noer so visciously.

  82. Jill says:

    You’ve figured me out, Vincent. I dislike Michael Noer’s article not because it was insane and sexist, but because I’m afraid that winners like him won’t marry me, leaving me old and alone with only my cats to love me. I should have just written him a personal letter, included a picture of me in my sexiest lingerie and holding a broom — therefore reminding him that women can be both sex objects and personal servants — and waited for a proposal. Damn it, Vincent, why weren’t you around a few days ago to give me this advice?

    Where did you get your psychology degree from, anyway? Because hot damn, you are good.

    (For the record, no, I am not particularly worried — nor am I really even thinking about marriage at this point. Smart women are opting for motherhood, and always have. Smart women are also opting for work. Many of these smart women are opting for both. Many men opt for both as well. Incredibe, I know. And given that there are lots of men in the world, and lots of women in the world, and we’re all individuals who like lots of different things, I don’t think that my chances at finding a mate will be negated by Forbes articles instructing all men to behave a certain way, any more than your chances of finding a mate will be negated by feminist bloggers like me hoping, for the sake of womankind everywhere, that you never get laid again.)

  83. Jill says:

    Also, can I ask where you guys are coming from? Which anti-feminist linked to this post and kindly sent you in our direction?

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  86. Vincent says:

    Jill: You are ignorant and ascerbic. I do not have a psychology degree, but I have lived the feminist ideal of a husband, I have made significant sacrifices in my own career to accommodate my wife’s career advancement which has not developed to the degree that she had hoped and which has resulted in significant limitations in my own career development. We now have three children and she wants to be a stay at home mom, except because of the sacrifices I have made in my career for her to do so would mean a significant step down in our standard of living. Something I am not adverse to at all, but she is. She is now angry and resentful and has dropped the “d” word on more than one occasion. My life bears out the truth of Michael Noer’s article. Imagine if you will we are in the 1950’s and the man who has dragged his family around the country aggressively seeking career advancement comes home one day and says, you know, honey I think I want to be a stay at home dad, so why don’t you go out there and start earning the bread and, oh yeah, by the way I do not expect to experience any change in our standard of living. Seems reasonable to me, how about you! What do you think? Men in the 1950’s did not do that, they trudged off to work every day without complaint and earned the money to support the family. By the way I linked to this blog through a CBS News story.

  87. Vincent says:

    Jill let me share my story with you. Elizabeth Corcoran suggests that the man married to a career woman learn something new and I do learn something new every day because I have to. You see six years ago after practicing law for 10 years in one state I followed my wife to a state I had never been in before so she could pursue what appeared to be a fairly lucrative career opportunity with a dot com. Because laws and procedures vary from state to state I basically started my career over. In our new locale I secured a job as an associate with a firm, but because I was new to the jurisdiction my employer required that I accept a $25,000.00 a year pay cut from what I earned in the state we used to live in and despite numerous efforts I have been unable to improve my situation, primarily because where I presently live the number of lawyers is probably two or three times greater than where I used to practice. Lawyers are subject to the laws of supply and demand too. Meanwhile, my wife’s dot com imploded within a year of our arrival and despite my desire to return to our former state of residence my wife has refused to return. She has secured new employment, but nothing remotely close to the compensation package which drew us away from what I refer to as “home”. Over the years my wife’s income has gone up, but not dramatically while mine has remained essentially the same. She has now grown resentful and has started dropping the “d” word. I would take up a new book, new music or movie (?!?!?) except, when I am not putting in my 45 + hours of work at the firm I am still an associate at, I am home taking care of my three children all under the age of 12. We do have someone help us watch the kids 15 hours a week when they are not in school (we really can’t afford any more than that and besides I think kids should have a parent around more). I am the primary parent at home and happy to be so, but my wife is not. Mike has cited scientifc studies which are certainly more akin to my personal experience. Feminism has been a bain to marriage, society and child rearing. Feminists refuse to acknowledge feminism’s failures and simply seek to shut dissenters up. I could go on and get nastier, but my career driven wife is not happy and neither am I and I attribute it, at least in part to feminist philosophy.

  88. Chris Clarke says:

    Jill’s Ascerbian? I thought she was Croatian!

    but my career driven wife is not happy and neither am I and I attribute it, at least in part to feminist philosophy.

    Yeah, I can’t imagine what else she could be unhappy about.

  89. Vincent says:

    To Chris Clarke: Sorry I misspelled acerbic. Pardon me for the typo. It means, if your small mind can’t grasp it, acid in temper, mood or tone. You took the sentence out of context. She is unhappy about the extent to which her own career has failed to advance and equally unhappy about the sacrifices I have made in support of that advancement and the extent to which my career has been handicapped as a result. And absent feminist career philosophy I would have been free to pursue my career unencumbered. I’ll give you a moment to look that up! Your post was offensive and insulting and completely inappropriate. This is a serious issue for me because it is seriously affecting my relationship with my wife which could have long lasting effects on my children. You might find it amusing, but I don’t!! So please spare me your acerbic comments.

  90. Chris Clarke says:

    Your post was offensive and insulting and completely inappropriate.

    It is utterly appropriate to offend and insult someone who wishes he could consign an entire gender to second-class citizenship rather than contend with a slightly more level playing field.

    And absent feminist career philosophy I would have been free to pursue my career unencumbered. I’ll give you a moment to look that up!

    Hmmm. Are you a trial lawyer? Maybe your mediocre career success has more to do with your abysmal argumentation skills than with teh eevul feminists.

  91. Sheelzebub says:

    Vincent’s wife isn’t happy? Oh, how shocking.

    Learn to be a little less entitled, Vinnie dear.

  92. Vincent says:

    To Chris Clarke:
    You are ignorant and obnoxious. You obviously did not read my post made a 6:50 am this morning, because if you had you would not speak so ignorantly. I was a trial lawyer in my former jurisdiction and I successfully litigated cases as an associate in the millions of dollars. Having no reputation locally in my new jurisdiction and as an accommodation to the hours my wife works and to be there for our kids I stopped being a litigator. I could bury you in a court room. Most judges I have argued before do not countenance nasty comments. There is no doubt in my mind if you tried to say some of the things you have said here you would be found in contempt and deservedly so, because you are contemptuous. You will get nothing but contempt from me. I do not wish to consign an entire gender to second class citizenship. If the playing field were level I would have no complaints, but it hasn’t been for years. In the interest of “diversity” the playing field has been titled slightly in favor of women. One can only hope that with this new Supreme Court the playing field will finally and truely be leveled. I have walked the walk and talked the talk in favor of the feminist agenda and I have paid a heavy price. What I am trying to do now is prevent my children from paying a price by avoiding a divorce. My wife’s career dissatisfaction and unwillingness to return to our former state of residence leaves me with the choice of leaving my wife and children (which I will not leave my kids) and returning to our former state of residence to resurrect my career or do what I can to advance my career here, which is limited because of the hours my wife is putting in someone has to be home with the kids and hope my wife gets over her resentment and anger at me and her own career dissatisfaction. You clearly have no understanding of my situation and I really don’t appreciate your nasty remarks. So please if you have a constructive comment or suggestion I welcome it, otherwise keep it to yourself. I would like to retract a comment made to Jill that she was ignorant. After reading her bio I realized she is not ignorant, just naive. You are young and intelligent and you will learn the ways of the world.

  93. Sheelzebub says:

    Oh, and Vincent, absent sexism, many women like your wife could pursue their careers unencumbered. When you’re married, you have to realize that you can’t have it all.

    What makes you more important? Your Y chromosone? Think again.

  94. zuzu says:

    I could bury you in a court room. Most judges I have argued before do not countenance nasty comments. There is no doubt in my mind if you tried to say some of the things you have said here you would be found in contempt and deservedly so, because you are contemptuous.

    And you’re an asshole.

    So, Vinnie, these million-dollar cases you litigated — first chair? Second? Or were you behind the rail, dealing with the exhibits? Because the way you talk, man, you shoulda had a big book of business all ready to go instead of having to take a pay cut to go work as an associate at another firm in another jurisdiction.

  95. zuzu says:

    And going back and reading — you practiced 10 years, then another 6 in your new location, and you’re still an associate?

  96. Chris Clarke says:

    Damn right I’m contemptuous. Guy blames his being a big-ass loser on feminism, that’s worthy of contempt.

    Of course, if he’s clueless enough shocked that a blog comment thread doesn’t follow courtroom decorum then it’s no wonder he feels like he’s having trouble getting along in life.

    Having no reputation locally in my new jurisdiction

    I’m betting that’s wrong.

  97. Vincent says:

    Sheelzebub: You are missing the point. My wife having been so career driven for all these years now wants to be a stay at home mom, which is fine with me except because of the sacrifices I have made in my career for her to do so would result in a step down in our standard of living because I am not in a position to earn what she is earning and what I am earning combined which has made her unjustifiably resentful and angry. Exacerbating the situation is her refusal to consider a return to our former jurisdiction where it is not completely clear that I would return to the level of success I had before moving here. This is a problem a family in the 1950’s would not need to confront. Marriage is hard enough. Complicating it with competing careers only adds to the friction and when kids are involved we have duty to create as stable an environment as we can. Competing careers don’t do that. Try to think outside yourself for a minute, because you might see my point.

  98. Vincent says:

    zuzu you don’t have a clue. These were not cases I brought in, but was assigned to lititgate because I was good at it. The guys who make the big bucks aren’t the litigators they are the guys who bring in the business. While I did generate some business I did not generate enough to warrant partnership. And here I knew no one so my ability to generate business is virtually nill and because I was ostensibily not familiar with local judges and procedures I had to take a pay cut. I have a feeling that everyone who is responding to my posts is under the age of 30 because they are demonstrating a profound naivete. You don’t have to believe anything I have said here, obviously, that makes it easier to reject the points I make. Of course, if you do believe what I say then it becomes more difficult to reject the point Michael Noer made in his article on why a man should not marry a career woman.

  99. Shankar Gupta says:

    Vincent:

    Paragraphs.

    That is all.

  100. Vincent says:

    Chris I will not respond to your obnoxious attacks and I will respect feminsts enough to not associate you with them because you argue by personal attack and I will not stoop to your level.

  101. Chris Clarke says:

    Shorter Vincent: “No, the giant ‘L’ tattooed on my forehead stands for ‘Lawyer.'”

  102. ilyka says:

    Vincent, if you want people to engage you, it really, really helps if you don’t begin every comment with either an assumption or an insult, i.e.:

    “I am amused by your outrage in response to Michael Noer’s article.”

    (People who are disgusted seldom enjoy being mocked for it.)

    “Jill: You are ignorant and ascerbic.”

    “To Chris Clarke: You are ignorant and obnoxious.”

    And so on and so forth. No one invited you here specially, you know, and I really don’t know why you’d think, after pugnacious introductions like those above, that anyone would be dying to hear “your story.”

    Never even mind that your story amounts to one data point and doesn’t prove or disprove anything about Noer’s article in and of itself. Sour wife’s unhappy? I’ve been acquainted with you two whole minutes and I’m already unhappy. Maybe it’s your obnoxious personality?

    At least have the basic courtesy to address others as you’d like to be addressed. Otherwise, don’t be surprised when everyone addresses you “Return to Sender.”

  103. Vincent says:

    Look I don’t assert that I was some phenomenal litigator in my prior jurisdiction, but I was pretty good. I did litigate milllion dollar cases, not alot, and most of them settled. I did it essentially alone with the assistance of a paralegal or law clerk, there was not first or second chair (you watch too much TV). The fact is the vast majority of the cases I litigated were worth less than $100,000.00 and that is because that is the value of most cases that are litigated. Bigger cases settle. Smaller ones don’t.

    The fact is I earned more there than I do here. I earn less here because I am essentially a six year associate in my new jurisdiction after practicing for 16 years and that is because I made a move to accommodate my wife’s career ambitions. If a man wants to avoid that kind of thing he should avoid marrying a career woman.

    Is that paragraphed enough for you Mr. Gupta?

  104. Thomas says:

    While I did generate some business I did not generate enough to warrant partnership.

    At all but the smallest firms, some lawyers make partner with little or no business just be doing good work and doing a lot of it. That’s how I got to file the K-1.

    So, I think we can say that you were a trial lawyer of moderate ability, who neither generated enough business nor added enough to the firm’s firepower to warrant partnership. That’s fine, and there are a lot of lawyers like that — each of whom becomes more disposable with every raise. Up or out; you either knew that when you got into the practice of law, or you could have discovered it with reasonable inquiry.

    Then, you and your wife bet your financial well-being on a dot-com. Lots of people did, and so many of them were frauds through and through. You have my sympathy. You should be angry at the people who defrauded your wife.

    But instead of blaming the people who actually did something wrong, you have decided to pine for an age that never was and whine that your wife wronged you. She gave up a lot for her career, and you did too. Her career topped out unexpectedly in part because choices she made did not work out at she planned. The same is true of you. Both of you want to work out a parenting arrangement that you like and also to have a lot of money, but the parenting arrangements you want are mutually exclusive. That’s the sort of conflict that most marriages have. Most of us work it out. Your wife is talking about divorce, so you two are not working it out.

    You are on your way to becoming the person we most like to mock around here: the embittered antifeminist MRA Nice Guy (TM). You’ll sit around, looking at your old photographs and wondering where it all went, and blaming that overpowering social force, FEMINISM!!!one!. You’ll try to prolong the divorce to maintain some hand in your wife’s life; possibly contest custody and ruin both yours and your ex-wife’s relationship with the children. Or maybe just yours. You’ll blow all your money on a divorce lawyer, and then you’ll start representing yourself, and the judge will read you right away as an embittered “crazy pro se.” And the only friends you will have are your MRA buddies, but you won’t like them because they’re really skeevy and crazy and all they ever talk about is how the sexual abuse allegations are made up and they don’t understand why their pre-teen daughters don’t want to see them anymore. You’ll die old and alone, bitter and probably drunk.

    Don’t be that guy. You and your wife have kids and careers and you’re both unhappy; that’s the boat you’re in and you had better both straighten it out and start rowing together or you will be miserable for the rest of your life. Blaming feminism and wishing the world were a way it isn’t will just make you crazy.

  105. Thomas says:

    (you watch too much TV)

    I know Zuzu’s background. What she knows about litigation is not from TV. She’s been involved in plenty of cases where the stakes were rather bigger than the PI/insurance defense stuff that you’ve apparently been involved in.

  106. Sheelzebub says:

    Vincent, both of my grandmothers had to work in the forties and the fifties. It’s simply wrong to say that two incomes weren’t needed. And because married women weren’t “supposed” to work, my father’s mother was fired from her job at the phone company, and rehired as a temp. They kept her on as a “temp” for twenty years. No pensions for bitches–I mean, temps.

    Complicating it with competing careers only adds to the friction and when kids are involved we have duty to create as stable an environment as we can. Competing careers don’t do that. Try to think outside yourself for a minute, because you might see my point.

    I suggest you take your own advice, since you preach sacrifice from women for the good of the family, but none for men. Bull. It’s telling that a woman who has a career complicates things, but a man is simply entitled.

  107. Vincent says:

    Thomas: Your point is well taken, but not completely accurate on the facts. I was with a small firm that had a few million dollar cases and my compensation arrangement allowed me to split fees on cases I was exclusively responsible for bringing in in addition to a base salary. I was not exclusively responsible for bringing in any million dollar cases. There is little doubt in my mind that I would have done financially better in our former state of residence. I think it is unjust for my wife to consider divorce in light of what I have done to support her career. Further she is unwilling to consider a return to our former state of residence. The point I sought to make here is that what has happened to me is a peril of marrying a career woman. If you want to avoid such a peril, do not marry a career woman which is the point of Michael Noer’s Forbes article.

    I also believe it will not turn out the way you predict. Because I love my kids and I will do everything that is necessary and appropriate to maintain my relationship with them. The fact is I spend more time with them now than I ever have and more time than my wife does. I am not familiar with family law, but I presume the courts will protect my parental rights in the event of a divorce which I seek desperately to avoid. My wife might find out what hundreds of thousands of primary breadwinning husbands who divorced their wives already know, that alimony and child support can get expensive. That is assuming the courts deal with me fairly. I hope that is all avoided though and we work it out. In the meantime, if I were single I would heed Mr. Noer’s advice.

  108. Jill says:

    Vincent-

    Your personal experience is certainly valid, and I can understand your feelings of frustration, hurt and betrayal. But blaming feminism, or your wife’s career, isn’t the answer.

    Another personal anecdote: My parents got divorced when my father had an affair with a co-worker. It sucked. The divorce was messy, and even though my sister and I were in our late teens (I was 18, she was 16), we were still deeply hurt by the entire situation. It continues to affect both of us five years later, and continues to shape our relationship with our father.

    My father was the primary breadwinner in the family. My mom worked as well, but put her career on hold so that my father could pursue his legal career. She didn’t get her BA until both her kids were in school, while my dad was able to graduate from college and get his J.D. while they were seeing each other. And then she got left, without a whole lot to fall back upon. (And, speaking from personal experience, child support/alimony laws are not nearly as generous as MRAs make them out to be).

    Shitty? Certainly. Do I blame my father’s career, though, or argue that because of this experience, no woman should ever marry a career man? Not in the slightest.

    Bottom line is that these situations suck. But they’re also individual situations, and while they may be operating in a greater social context, taking one personal story and blowing it up as evidence as to why no person should ever do x strikes me as a little simplistic.

  109. bluefish A says:

    I agree with Thomas’s eloquent post.
    It sounds really weak when a person attributes the downfall of his/her marriage to an -ism. Feminism is such an easy scapegoat for men with unrealistic expectations. Chances are, feminism isn’t what is really threatening this guy’s marriage, nor is it his wife’s desire to work outside of the home. Maybe if the two of them could effectively communicate about what each of them wants/expects from the marriage, a compromise could possibly be struck.
    It’s just that women are always the ones who are expected not just to compromise, but to bend over backwards to accomodate.

  110. Thomas says:

    If you had married a woman without a career, you would have had to carry much or all of the financial burden by yourself, and nothing about what you have told me suggests that, at a firm where you got a piece but neither made enough rain nor were enough of a star to make partner, your wife’s situation would have significantly increased your prospects. You could have avoided moving and taking the pay cut, but you also would have done for years without your wife’s paycheck, and you probably would be behind where you are today. Add to that whatever stiffling dissatisfaction your wife might have felt at sitting at home. (The Feminine Mystique, for all its flaws, was entirely a response to that dissatisfaction among the rather narrow group of women who could and did eschew employment in favor of homemaking.) I doubt you would have been better off.

    What probably would have made you better off is if you had not gambled on a bubble company. In the alternative, you would have been better off if the gamble had worked and your wife had vested and exercised her options in the money, as a few people did. But life involves a series of calculated risks. The one that put you in a bad spot has little to do with feminism and a lot to do with the economics of the securities markets in the late 1990s, the SEC, Alan Greenspan and the “last mile problem.”

  111. zuzu says:

    I earn less here because I am essentially a six year associate in my new jurisdiction after practicing for 16 years and that is because I made a move to accommodate my wife’s career ambitions.

    Must not be much of a negotiator if you couldn’t negotiate a lateral move.

  112. Chris Clarke says:

    The point I sought to make here is that what has happened to me is a peril of marrying a career woman. If you want to avoid such a peril, do not marry a career woman which is the point of Michael Noer’s Forbes article.

    Of course, this peril can be mitigated by not being a self-absorbed dickhead.

    Of course, I’m ignorant. My only experience here comes from 17 years of living together, most of it wedded, with a driven and committed career woman, while not neglecting my own career, and each of us nonetheless managing to make the other happy.

    Wait a minute! That just proves you CAN be a self-absorbed dickhead and work things out. I’m certainly as self-absorbed a dickhead as anyone here. So there’s hope for you too, Vincent. Just give up the adolescent preoccupation with money as a testosterone replacement and you should be fine.

  113. Vincent says:

    By the way is ZuZu a lawyer? And she called me an “asshole”? That’s nice, but not deserved. Lawyer’s don’t have such a great reputation generally and use of that kind of language doesn’t help us either.

  114. zuzu says:

    So take it up with the Committee on Character and Fitness.

  115. Fat Doug Lover says:

    Of course, this peril can be mitigated by not being a self-absorbed dickhead.

    God, next you’re going to tell him there’s no Santa Claus. Ask a man to be a grown-up? Not all men are like you and me, Chris.

  116. Vincent says:

    zuzu: I practiced in the state courts of the jurisdiction that I used to live in, I did a little bit of Federal Court work, but not alot. So when I arrived here short of falsifying my resume I could not claim to have alot of Federal Court experience and I had no state court experience in my new jurisdiction. So it wasn’t a pure lateral move. You can understand that right?

  117. Chris Clarke says:

    By the way is ZuZu a lawyer? And she called me an “asshole”? That’s nice, but not deserved.

    And the reason for Vincent’s career miasma becomes more apparent. I imagine him played by the guy who played the priggish vice principal in Boston Public:

    Vincent: “Hey, are you fellows heading out for lunch? Mind if I join you? Where are you going?”

    New Guy In Office: “PF Changs!”

    [other attorneys groan almost audibly, roll eyes, glare at New Guy]

    Vincent: “Oh, let’s not go there. PF Changs’ food is too spicy. It inflames my pyloric valve. Why don’t we all go to Applebees?

    Just Made Partner: “Because PF Changs sucks, but Applebees sucks worse.”

    Vincent: “You know, attorneys really shouldn’t use language such as that. It is ignorant and obnoxious. But you’re smart, though naive. You’ll learn the ways of the world soon enough. So are we on for Applebees?”

    Just Made Partner: “Why, um, SURE. We’ll go to Applebee’s. But the thing is, um… oh. I don’t have room in my Range Rover. Why don’t you meet us there, Vermint… I mean Vincent.”

    [suppressed giggling]

    Vincent: “Sounds like a plan!”

    [others depart]

    Vincent, thinking, voiceover: I wonder why he did that air quote thing with his fingers when he said ‘meet us there?’ Oh, well. Bloomin’ Onion, here I come!”

  118. zuzu says:

    So? You have no transferable skills or something? So you take a hit of a year or so, but how did you get 10 years of practice wiped out if you were actually any good?

  119. April says:

    i know that in the 1950’s, my grandfather had THREE jobs to support his stay-at-home wife and 2 kids. so, the answer is obvious, vincent…..you offer to take up more than one job to compensate for your wife’s lost paycheck in order to ease the transition and hopefully help in your situation in regards of the “D” word. you have to realize, also, that sometimes a wife can feel so backed into a corner that she doesn’t know what else to say to make her husband HEAR her…and divorce pops up as an alternative to listening to her voice (what’s the point in sticking around with someone who was always so supportive only to have them suddenly stop listening to you?). i’m very curious as to why she refuses to move back (as vincent has stated in just about every one of his posts)…is there trauma there? is it about the comfort of your children (not having to move them around)? if you don’t have that answer…you are not communicating. if you are not communicating, you two will not work anything out. the most constructive thing i can offer here is marriage counselling. on a personal note, i would appreciate it if you, vincent, would stop blaming an “ism” that is clearly not YOU or your WIFE and see that your situation was born of the decisions you and your wife have made. hey, i’ve made some pretty dumb decisions, but i don’t blame anyone but myself for what i’ve done. take up some accountablilty and get another job or two or three or four, whatever it takes, to take care of your family! you want to be the “man” in the forbes article, then DO SO! don’t complain about your situation to a bunch of people who have very little sympathy for someone who criticizes their beliefs. and to hide behind insults and then request to be taken seriously? i wouldnt blame anyone for being turned-off.

  120. Thomas says:

    Lawyer’s

    Vincent, I’ve been practicing law for almost at long as you, in both state and federal courts. I’ve commented here before that I grew up on a construction site and, my more formal writing notwithstanding, I swear like a guy from the framing crew in person. But in my experience, that’s not uncommon among lawyers. Most of the warstories I have heard and told at the water cooler begin either, “so this fuckin’ guy …” or “here’s the latest bullshit story …”

    What I don’t expect from lawyers is plain grammatical error, like confusing the plural with the possessive: the former makes us look insensitive and boorish, which is sometimes true, but the latter makes us look stupid, which is a much more serious matter for one of the three traditional “learned professions.”

    Also, Zuzu has a point about transferrable skills. The substantive law is easily learned, but the abilities to take and defend a depo, draft a pleading, stand up in court and persuade a judge, open to a jury, examine a witness, and negotiate a settlement; those skills take years to learn and are worth far more than familiarity with the law of the jurisdiction. My firm takes in people who are radically changing practice areas, and we only knock them back a year or two in the progression. I have even seen people move from transactional to litigation without going back to square one. It sounds like the back story is more complicated.

  121. Vincent says:

    The substantive law is easily learned, but the abilities to take and defend a depo, draft a pleading, stand up in court and persuade a judge, open to a jury, examine a witness, and negotiate a settlement; those skills take years to learn and are worth far more than familiarity with the law of the jurisdiction.

    How do you draft a pleading without being familiar with the procedural law of the jurisdiction? Do you do mostly Federal or State court work? How long have you been practicing law and how many laterals has your firm hired from other jurisdictions with little or no Federal Court experience? How big is the firm you work for? I have never worked for a big firm and medium and small firm practice is radically different. Your attempt to minimize my past success is a transparent effort to minimize my loss of career advancement thereby mitigating the damages imposed upon my career by the sacrifices made to accommodate my wife’s career. You’re arguing irrelevant points. At the time we left I was starting to bring in more business than I had in the past. How much more would I have brought in? I don’t know but in the last year there I brought in about 18 new clients. In the year before I had brought in only 6. At my present place of employ I am starting to bring in new clients, three this year so far, but the fee split is less, a third of a third. In my prior locale it was 50% of a third. I am not going to convince you of the merits of Mr. Noer’s article. But my experience is very clear. I made more there then, than I do now, here. My skill level is no less. I am older and therefore not as attractive to firms and I don’t have a “book of business”, at least not a significant one.

    As far as the language is concerned, you are correct, Lawyers curse worse than sailors. Does that mean its attractive or appealing. NO it is not. We work in a profession that is generally reviled. When I graduated from law school I promised I would change that one person at a time. So I avoid use of that kind of language as best as I can. I am not perfect in that regard. And by the way I won’t end up a drunk, because I don’t drink.

    Finally your last sentence-It sounds like the back story is more complicated– what did you mean by that?

  122. Vincent says:

    In response to you April, to make up for my wife’s lost paycheck if she were to become a stay at home mom I would have to take on more than three jobs. Her paycheck is significant, but if she were to stop receiving it even if I took on three jobs we would experience a step down in our standard of living. By the way I would happily work three jobs and have suggested as much to my wife. I am presently seeking a part time teaching position in addition to my current work, although, I’ll be honest I don’t like the idea because it takes me away from my kids and she is not around to make up the difference. So the kids get cared for by essentially a stranger. Not a good option in my book. My wife doesn’t want to move the kids around and that is her reason for not returning to our “home” state. My kids are still relatively young so its not an argument I am buying. I have a friend who was career military who had three kids within five years of graduating from West Point. That was 20 years ago and he has moved his family 12 times in that span. Two of his three kids are in college, one at MIT another is at UVA and the third graduates from high school next spring. We have moved once since my kids were born. They will adjust. Her reluctance to move is not reasonable.

  123. Vincent says:

    I have to divorce myself from this blog. With the problems my wife and I have been having, after reading Michael Noer’s article a feeling of panic overcame me with the thought that I had made some tragic error in marrying a career oriented woman. It is quite frankly not something that had occurred to me before. I came here in the hopes of hearing persuasive arguments to the contrary. Instead I got belittled and attacked, but have not heard a single persuasive argument that would assuage my fear. I hope and pray that when you all reach my age you are not confronted with the abyss that faces me now. Good luck to you all.

  124. Starfoxy says:

    Here’s the thing: if Vincent’s wife was happy with her career there would (probably) be no problem at all. As far as I can tell from his comments they are unhappy because she wants to stop working. They aren’t unhappy because she has a career, they’re unhappy because she has a career she hates.
    Noer’s article is saying that *even if she were happy with her career* there would still be a problem with the marriage, and that the problems would go away if women didn’t value their careers.

  125. Chris Clarke says:

    when you all reach my age

    Heh.

  126. Lorelei says:

    Oh, sweet God, Vincent, no-one’s here to convince you to stay with your wife. But by the comments by you that I’ve seen here, she’d probably be better off by getting rid of you.

    But if you do want to reverse your ridiculous thought pattern about this, your best bet is to see a therapist, not ask a blog.

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