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Gender Wars, Courtesy Forbes?

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Guys: a word of advice. Marry pretty women or ugly ones. Short ones or tall ones. Blondes or brunettes. Just, whatever you do, don't marry a woman with a career.

Well, before you bite my head off for the obvious male chauvinism that's reeking in that statement, let me clarify that those are the words of Forbes editor Michael Noer and not yours truly. The editor, in this "Point-Counterpoint" styled article, goes on to describe how the "… more successful she is, the more likely she is to grow dissatisfied with you."

We are told that the spouse's parents' marital status is a very important consideration, as is the greater likelihood that she may meet someone better than you while working. While you are left wondering if this is pushing us to an era of female subjugation a la Taliban which forbids women venturing out for similar reasons and begin to sympathize with the opposite sex, the counterpoint comes by and misses the mark by a zip code (albeit still better than Mr. Noer).

It is about how guys need to start out by going to the gym and how they need to be "connected to the world" by sampling movies and books. Point noted, but will someone talk about the two people involved in a relationship here? The only noticeable mentions are when they are talked of as cheating and running off with nymphets. Makes it seem like an everyday happening and there are not very many respectable relationships around. Maybe they are talking of Hollywood? Or maybe I'm hallucinating.

Statistics is a wonderful tool when used well. But when used to justify things like these, they become a laughing stock. There's probably research available on the web on any given fickle issue and statistics to back it as well. But that definitely does not make it right.

In my humble opinion, this is one of the silliest articles I have read, and a good way to start a ruckus. Both sides couldn't be more wrong. For some unknown reason, we as humans have the need to slot things and expect everything to conform, more so, here in the USA. What works for one might not work for the other. There are numerous cases where successful working parents (both) have taken lesser roles and pay to support the family needs. On the opposite side of the spectrum people have had to re-tool and start afresh after long gaps. So be it a career mom or a stay at home dad, it's entirely an individual family's choice. To say one is better than the other without considering the variables, constraints, and parameters of each individual situation is naive at best. Few things in life are black or white — almost all of it, always, is grey.

I need to admit I do not know much about the authors, but I have had to squirm many a times when they get the so-called experts to opine. It's usually some dude that has read and published a paper with almost no practical or pragmatic experience. Please bear with the digression, but in a recent Newsweek article about Bollywood (India's Hollywood, with 900+ movies a year and one billion fans) the front page was graced by Padma Lakshmi. Exactly. "Padma who?" Lakshmi is an actress/model who is married to author Salman Rushdie. Does she even know the ABCs of India ? Well, being linked to Rushdie, who has Indian roots, should be enough. Karma and yoga are two other overtly misused and misinterpreted topics. People who cannot even utter Omkara are yoga experts. Every other fitness center boasts of a yoga program that's essentially calisthenics marketed as yoga.

In all of this, the Forbes authors seem to have lost the essence of marriage. The pillars of trust, honesty, faith, and love seem to have been unceremoniously tossed by the wayside. Both talk of how so many silly things are important but fail to realize that eventually, it's the two people involved that can make it or break it. When they do want it to work, all other things won't matter. Marriage needs work, and consistently at that. Roadblocks always appear. But when you are in a ditch and providence provides you a rope, you can either use it to get out of the ditch or hang yourself. What you choose defines you. These authors are definitely looking at hanging themselves — the easy way out.

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