One Guy’s Arguments Against What We Were Taught to Believe

Taking a Pass at Marriage

So I recently did something I’m not proud of: After a night of many, many, many, many drinks — and perhaps a few other components — I hit on my friend’s wife.

I only know I did this because I was informed of it, by her, the following day. The subject line of the email read “Last night,” and its body detailed my slurred attempts to make a play for this unsuspecting woman.

None of it was lecherous, just clumsy and extremely uncouth. I, of course, replied, offering my sincerest apologies and clarifying that, had I been anywhere in the vicinity of my right mind, I never would have thought of, much less attempted, such an insane venture. I sent my slighted buddy — her spouse — a text stating the same. He was cordial, though I suspect I won’t be invited to Thanksgiving dinner this year.

In the days following my faux pas, my conscience took very few breaks from tearing into me, which I was fine with. I deserved it. The last thing you do after taking a figurative whiz on a couple’s marital vows is look for sympathy. In under a week, I believe I had three marginal panic attacks, four sleepless nights, and a roughly 120-hour stomachache. Again, all of this was fitting penance for my incredible misstep.

While I was seeking counsel, some dear friends of mine, both male and female — incidentally, I refer to them as “dear” because they spared me the obvious “you fucked up” lectures — gave me open-minded guidance and advice.

They said, “You’re only human,” and “It happens,” and “This will pass in time.” Their kind words were appreciated, whether they meant them or not. My friends allowed me, and me alone, to kick myself while I was down, as they realized two pointed feet were more than enough.

But where was the lesson in all of this? What was the takeaway? Was it that, in a perfect world, you could betray a friend’s trust and he and his spouse might eventually just get over it? When posed with this question, my faithful companions should have responded with, “Get your brains out of your balls and stop looking for poetic meaning in making a pass at your friend’s wife.”

But nobody gave that, or any other, answer. So I continued to haplessly search for my own meaning in all of this and stopped pestering my pals for a life lesson in a complicated situation they didn’t cause.

This treasure hunt, at times aimless, at other times infuriating, eventually drove me to the greater realization I’d hoped for: Traditional marriage is not for me.

After years of stressing over my commitment issues, questioning my reluctance to settle down, and the idea of long-term relationships giving me the same sick feeling I had every night the weekend I headlined at a fish restaurant called Off the Hook in Marco Island, Florida, I finally understood that it wasn’t me. It was you, Marriage.

But what the fuck does this have to do with the shitty thing I did to my friend and his wife? I’d like to think there’s a profound connection. I haven’t been living my truth. Ugh, I hate that expression, even when it applies. But not living my truth led to not loving my life, led to not seeing my worth, led to not realizing my potential.

The undercurrent of discontent in my head, even though unrealized and unnoticed, is probably what caused me to attempt to sabotage someone else’s happiness, albeit inadvertently.

I’m not trying to put too fine a point on the matter. I get that sometimes we drink, sometimes we drink too much, sometimes we black out, and sometimes we hit on the wrong person: bosses, coworkers, a friend of your mom’s, a distant cousin, a less distant cousin, and so on.

But I can’t help but believe that the mom in A Christmas Story had a lengthy string of subconscious motivations that started well before she accidentally broke that leg lamp. The dad knew what was really going on. “You used up all the glue ON PURPOSE!”

The actual conception of marriage is a bit hard to pin down, but I do know its initial roots lie in legend. And that’s a fact. So it’s time I put marriage on the same shelf on which I’ve set other storied illusions to collect dust. I’ve previously let go of voting, belief in teamwork, faith in progressivism, and my chances of ever actually constructing a working light saber.  Wedded monogamous bliss must now join the aging pack.

Not to say I’ll pursue lovelessness and die alone. No way. I’m gonna get married someday. And as I ask you to wipe that “What the fuck are you talking about?” look off your face, I’ll state that I’m aware of my contradiction and, better yet, I have a solution for it: platonic marriage.

A healthy senior sex life is a nice notion if we all have the money and opportunity age like Christie Brinkley. Problem is, you’ll still end up having to fuck John Mellencamp.

Here’s how it works: A friend and I — neither of us having any interest in standard matrimony — will pledge to live and grow old together, through the good times and bad, without the bond being muddied by sex or romantic intimacy. I love the friend, the friend loves me, so we take care of one another and keep our respective boning out of the house.

To be clear, I’m not talking about a couple who swings and swaps. That lifestyle works well for certain people, but I want a union completely devoid of sex — nothing to do with making love, everything to do with sustaining it.

Besides, I don’t know about you, but I’m not exactly worried about getting laid into my twilight years. I’m tired now, for Christ’s sake. But if I really need to get some squish at eighty-four, I’ll go see a hooker … a much, much, much younger hooker.

A healthy senior sex life is a nice notion if we all have the money and opportunity to age like Christie Brinkley. Problem is, even if you do, you’ll still end up having to fuck John Mellencamp. If that’s the fate that awaits me, I’ll gladly keep my companionship separate from my coitus.

In the meantime, I’ll continue to recognize intercourse as merely a means to an end. There’s nothing sacred about it. That’s why it’s called “getting off,” as in, “I’m done here and I need to quickly abscond from this situation.” If sex were truly special, it’d be called “getting on,” as in, “I’m here for the full ride, the long haul.” When it comes to fucking, I don’t need a life partner. I need a brief cooperative.

And if you’re wondering about kids … don’t. For starters, I don’t want them. But if the unlikely day that I do ever arrives, there’s no shortage of ways to obtain them outside of the act of marital conception: laboratories, adoption, fostering, and more. Hell, I bet I could even find one abandoned on the street if I really kept my eyes open. However, in that situation, I’d do my research to be ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN the child had been legitimately discarded before I took it home.

I don’t want to deal with the issues that traditionally complicate a marriage. Do we want a big family or a small one? Are your sexual desires identical to mine? If not, do I really have to try that? Are you still attracted to me? Why do we always have to fall asleep to Top Chef?

None of these issues matter in a platonic marriage. All that matters is that I’ll be with someone dear to me — someone who’d give me advice like, “Get your brains out of your balls” — and we’ll have each other’s backs, unconditionally, till death do us part. And if someone tries to fuck my friend, I won’t care.

Also, I’ll no longer be acting out in the unhealthiest of ways. Instead, I’ll be (sorry!) living my truth.

Joe DeRosa is an L.A.-based comedian, writer, director, and actor (Better Call Saul and Louie). His multiple stand-up specials and albums can be found online, as well as his podcasts We’ll See You in Hell and Emotional Hangs. Because we were curious, we looked up marriage rate trends (via Dr. Google) just to see the results. Turns out marriage rates are less than half what they were in 1970, which probably comes as no surprise for a variety of reasons that we dare not delve into here. Divorces are near an all-time low over that period, though, which could simply mean that people are making better decisions. … Sure. Let’s go with that.

Have Something to Add?