Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 4 October 2015

A ring on her finger, a ring through his nose ...

By Robert McNeil

Published 10/08/2012

If one more married man giggles to me that he has “a pass for the weekend”, I will be forced to poke him in the eye.

Once, I watched a footer game in a pub with some fellows, and at least three came away with this cliched bilge. And they were so proud of it. So proud of their servitude.

They say the family is the bedrock of society. Yet it’s the most anti-social institution in society. It shuts its doors on the rest of the world. In its earliest years it creates a new internal social order based on nappies.

Men disappear now when they get married. You hardly see them. Hence, on the rare occasions when you do, you get this giggly tripe about “a pass”.

In families now, the women get out far more on Saturday night than the men. Men aren’t asked to do DIY. They’re ordered to do it. That’s when they’re allowed to get the babies off their knee. Every married family man is now half a mother.

It’s sad, and it begins with the voluntary surrender of freedom for security. Freedom is difficult to handle, and most folk give it up quickly. They must work in an office, get married, chain themselves to the woman and chain themselves to The Man.

Of course, love comes into it too. But since when did marriage have a copyright on that? Despite all the coverage of celebrities and the Ibitha set, before they marry the vast majority of people don’t “put it about” at all.

They settle gratefully for the first person that’ll have them and escape into marriage with a huge sense of relief. I’ve seen umpteen hundred office romances, and all bar about two ended in marriage.

And that’s when it starts. “I’m a husband and I’ve got a pass. Titter, titter.” Titter away, you twits.

This week, a devastating report revealed that under-the-thumb men — estimated by the United Nations Unfairness Commission to be 88.53% of the species — are having to sneak out of the house to eat chocolates and crisps.

That it has come to this! The need to sneak out is caused by diet regimes forced on them by women influenced by media images of Derek Beckham and the like. Well, if we all had a job that involved running about all day we’d be in pretty good shape too. According to retail analysts Kantar Worldpanel, men are scoffing 41% more crisps and 37% more chocolate outside the home than they did a year ago.

I’m not clear how this relates to married life, and it could be KW have put two and two together and got bilge. However, I’m happy to twist the research for my purposes. It’s another brick in the wall separating man from freedom.

While men languish with nappies and celery sticks, women have manned up. They rule the roost, and drink the town dry on Saturday nights. They’re having their cake and shoving it into the faces of their men. No one wants a return to the bad old days of grim men keeping the little woman chained in the house. But how did it come about that grim women now keep the little man chained in the house?

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