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The Mind of the Married Man

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JC: I didn’t really think about marriage—in fact, at the two-month mark with the woman I married, I tried to break it off. I’d just gotten used to that 60-day expiration thing, and I felt like, this is it, time to move on. I tried to pull that on her when we were on a trip to London, and, well, she wasn’t having that. She was pissed, she got back to New York on the next flight, leaving me in London to think about it. I definitely had fears, and they were all based around monogamy and could I pull it off? Before then, the longest I’d been monogamous was just a few months. And nine years later, so far, so good.

How many of you are not the main breadwinner?

P: I’m not. My wife has a great job. She earns three times what I do.

Do you find that emasculating?

P: Are you kidding me? I’m a musician and a composer, and when I met my wife she was getting divorced from her first husband, who was an artist. Not a very good one, I don’t mind telling you, immature, limp dick, couldn’t give her a baby. But be that as it may, my future wife said that she had no problem being married to an artist who made less money than she did, and I was like [strokes chin], “Really?”

CJC: Sugar mama.

P: Precisely! So maybe I’m not wired that way, but when I hear about this machismo type of neurosis like, “Oh, who am I, my wife earns more than I do,” well, I think that setup is fantastic. Let’s not kid ourselves—they are every bit if not more smart, accomplished, and capable than we are, and it’s such an outdated mode of thinking. In fact, if she didn’t make triple as much as I make, frankly, we’d be fucked.

Breadwinners: Do you thrive in that role?

JC: I fantasize about quitting my job every day and having my wife go back to work. In fact, it’s been a big topic in our house over the past two weeks. I would love to stay home with the kids. I suppose the grass is always greener, and it’s not as fun as it is in my mind. My wife gets a little nuts staying home with them, taking them to school, preschool, gymnastics—but I have to say that the days I work from home are far more interesting to me than any work I’m doing.

B: My wife likes making a home and then having me come back to it. She’s a natural mother, and she’s very good at it. I just had my second child three weeks ago. I think that people underestimate just how much hard work raising kids is. That kind of job should pay three-hundred grand a year. I couldn’t do it.

DW: Being the stay-at-home parent seems so crazy tedious to me. I was on the subway the other day, and there were these three mothers from Park Slope.

P: Careful what you say: Park Slope is in the house.

DW: Listening to these women was driving me absolutely insane. The only way that I could get through the ride was to visualize them as chickens. This motherly cluck.

B: I know the type—they’re even more annoying over e-mail. They use too many exclamation points and send you twenty pictures of their kids with an apple.

DW: The monotony of that dialogue that goes on between mothers—my God.

B: My wife was telling me yesterday about this German woman she knows whose kid bit this other kid, and so the German woman apologizes to the other mother out of courtesy, and the American mother said that “I think your son is troubled and needs therapy and you’re doing something wrong and you’re not a good parent.” It was just this crazy psychotic American parenting thing that I really hate.

CJC: Maybe the kid was an anti-Semite.

B: Maybe! Both of them are 2 years old, by the way. One time, another kid bit mine, and the mother e-mailed me apologizing. I told her that it’s okay and that I’d never again send my son to school covered in savory spices. It’s easy to get caught up in the mommy stuff and go nuts.

Did your relationship, including your sex life, change a lot once you were married?

JC: I don’t think marriage changes it to anything like the extent that children do. I mean, you’re worn out, and you’re more guarded because you don’t want the kids to hear or see anything. But marriage—not so much.


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