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the eighteen month rule

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The Eurovision results were too late for the Sunday Papers, so I’ll get the reactions tomorrow. Quote of the day, by Annika Sorenstam, the top Ladies golfer, who hit the headlines last week when she played in a men’s PGA tournament – the first lady to do so in fifty years:

I’m competitive. I used to play chess with my husband, but he beat me, so we don’t play any more because we can’t find all the pieces.

One of my colleagues is getting married this summer, so he’s currently gearing up for the big day. The nuptial conversation ratio is at 50% and climbing, and he’s wisely refused to invite any colleagues from work, only friends. He’s known his fiancée for several years, which, according to a report in the Sunday Times today, could be a problem. A psychology team at the University of Texas have done some research and plotted courtship times on a graph against the failure rates of the subsequent marriages. They saw a clear trend curve, with around 18 months of courtship giving the best chance of success.

They use the actors from Friends as examples, so while Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt appear to have hit the nail on the head with 18 months, Matt LeBlanc has known his new wife for over five years. Leaving it too long tends to create “sleeper wives”, apparently: the ones who say “I love you, you’re perfect, let’s get married… now change!”

I don’t really know why people bother, frankly, but I also know it’s not rational. (Marriage offers tax advantages in some countries, of course.) The lengths people go to can be quite extreme. In parts of India, for example, widowers can only marry widows and vice versa. If a bachelor wants to marry a widow, what’s a guy to do? Simple: he gets married to a tree. The tree is then cut down, and he’s then a widower, with the right to marry a widow.

The late comedian Bill Hicks used to comment that “it would take a very special lady… or several average ones.”, but even he found somebody. I used to have people ask me why I’m not married, to which my response was something like “I can’t do it by myself, can I?” I don’t get asked that any more, it’s pretty obvious by now that I’d only be husband material if I was a Black Widow or a Praying Mantis. It’s one o’clock, time for lunch, dum de dum de dum…

Written by brian t

May 25, 2003 at 1:25 pm

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