Husbandry: Chapter 1
by: Max Burbank


Everything's happier with Vaseline on the lens.

It's a crisp, New England Autumn day as Dave and Collette sit down to share breakfast and the Sunday paper. Two years into their marriage, things are going great. They both work, share the household chores, manage their finances together and their love life is pretty darn good. Sure they fight sometimes, but who doesn't? They talk it out and make sure they never go to bed angry. Collette's doing great on Paxil, and now that she understands her hereditary tendency toward depression, she can meet it as a great life lesson instead of a problem. They both see kids in their future, but they want to be certain they're ready. Dave thinks Collette would really like to go back to school and while he's always dreamed of being a dad, he could wait a little bit longer if that's what it takes to get his family started on solid footing.

How do I know all this? Simple. Dave told me. And why would he lie? It's not like he told me he was a Nascar Driver. And how likely is it that Collette is going to shoulder Dave aside and tell me their sex life is infrequent and awful, Dave sleeps in his underwear and wears it the next day, they're already carrying significant debt and yet they're still going to have kids 'cause that's what everyone does? Not likely at all! She hardly knows me! All I've got to go on is Dave's story, and if anyone asks me, I'll tell them Dave is a swell guy and a great husband.

Dave and Collette don't really exist. They're a composite of several couples I've observed over the years. When I mix them together, I get a generic couple that I can discuss without violating confidentiality or any of my restraining orders. In addition, I've subtly tilted the story in Dave's favor, especially with the whole thing about Paxil. She's actually on Calmex, and it's a rage disorder, not depression.

Now get ready for a shocker. Dave and Collette aren't a composite. I totally made them up! Why? Because actually spending years observing the dynamics of several married couples would be a whole lot more work than just telling you I did and wouldn't make writing this series one penny more lucrative. I mean, come on, 'Collette'? I just picked that name because I thought it would be hot and sophisticated to have a wife named Collette. Do you even know anybody named Collette?

I bet you think I'm a jerk right now. And I know why. Because I told you I lied. If I'd stopped after the first paragraph, you'd still think I was pretty smart. What do I like better - if people think I'm smart or a jerk? Are you starting to get the picture?

Lets face it, married life will go a lot more smoothly for you if everyone thinks you're a great husband. But why not just be a great husband? Well, the sad truth is, being a great husband in no way insures everyone will think that's what you are. Even your wife! Plus, actually being a great husband is all about self-improvement and if you're in the target demographic of this series, chances are you like yourself just the way your are. A little overweight, pleasantly ignorant, afraid of spiders and very comfortable in sweatpants. If you do everything I say, things are going to stay that way and everyone will talk about what a fantastic husband you are. Except your wife.


Tell people that folks say you're the most trustworthy man in town.

The simple answer is no. Lying is not work. It is a craft. Mastering a craft is a source of pride. Just ask any accomplished Fly-fisherman, Cabinet Maker or Lonely Dork Wearing an Engineer's Cap Who Has a Really Cool Model Train Layout in his Basement.

Let's take a quick quiz:

A.) If you don't you're a weirdo.
B.) I want to have kids.
C.) For the awesome tax benefits.
D.) I fear facing my inevitable death alone.
E.) Ready access to good sex.

Since your answer was "E", we can move on to the next section.


Forget pre or post marital. There is no such thing as sex.

I mean, sure, yes, fine, of course there is such a thing as sex. I'm not dumb. I know where babies come from. What I mean is, there's no such thing as sex the way you imagine it. There's no movie sex, no TV sex, certainly no porno sex. Here's what there's a lot of. Lackluster, groping, fumbling, embarrassing, furtive, sometimes slightly painful sex. Every once in a rare while there's okay sex. Rarer still? Okay sex that involves another person and is okay for them too.

I'm not lying this time.

Have you ever had really terrific sex? The kind you see in movies, where the camera pans down and the woman's fingers kind of grab the sheets and knot them up? Of course not. No one has. You've read about it, you've fantasized it. People have told you they've had it, but here's the thing. THEY. LIED.


Because they are miserable. Why are they miserable? Because they believe every one else on God's Green Earth has had AMAZING sex except themselves, probably because they are in some way sexually repulsive.

After about the first year of marriage, you'll have found out so much more horrible crap about your spouse and yourself you'll be scared to masturbate, much less anything involving your 'other half', a term exactly as frightening as it ought to be.

Now go back to the quiz.

I'm sorry to be a downer, but sometimes the best way to take a band-aid off a scraped knee is to kick the person right in the teeth and while they're rolling around screaming they hardly notice you taking the band aid off their knee.

Chances are, even knowing this, you will probably still get married, or worse yet, you already are. It's hard not to. So, barring easy access to good sex, what's left?


A winner never quits, a quitter never wins and winter never knit a sweater ever.

What do these phrases have in common?

"It's not whether you win or loose, but how you play the game." "It's an honor just to be nominated", "I truly enjoy eating horse crap"

Simple. They are all lies. Winning is better than losing. Period. In this series, I will show you how to win your marriage. You'll know you've won because everyone, everyone will tell you what a great husband you are. Her friends, her family, her co-workers, that wino who lives next to the dumpster behind Kentucky Fried Chicken, everyone. Except maybe her.

But don't feel bad for your bride. She's your soul mate, your number one gal, your 'evathang'! Do you want people going around saying she married a creep?

You're really doing this for her.

COMING SOON: CHAPTER 2 or "So You're Thinking of Tying the Knot: A Long Term Strategy for Getting Married Without Changing One Damn Thing About Yourself!"

If you enjoyed this piece, be sure to check out:

Your Anger Management FAQ

Reader Comments

Flash Game Programmer
Jan 15th, 2008, 05:08 AM
Your wife must be one proud woman Max.
Jan 15th, 2008, 05:15 AM
"there is no sex" priceless
Jan 15th, 2008, 09:29 AM
This is why I'm into Polygamy.
Jan 15th, 2008, 10:34 AM
That was enlightening. Electrifyingly enlightening. Like lightening. I guess. Well I'm going to go ahead and postpone the engagement until I've read chapter two.
From the Home of MST3K
Jan 15th, 2008, 12:43 PM
My father is the first man on his side of the family to have remained loyal to his life. Considering the horrible, painful divorce that happened when I was five, this is clearly not the way to go.
Can't even THINK straight
Jan 15th, 2008, 01:31 PM
The sex is a lie.
The sex is a lie.
The sex is a lie.
The sex... Is a .... Lie....
Forum Virgin
Jan 15th, 2008, 03:28 PM
i knew everyone was lying when they were talking about how great sex is. i lost my virginity when i was 16 and havent really wanted to do it again since then. max, you are truly a god among men.
God I Hate my Username...
Jan 15th, 2008, 05:09 PM
I know someone named Collette. She's my English teacher.
The Moxie Nerve Food Tonic
Jan 15th, 2008, 05:36 PM
My wife and a friend of hers deserve credit for the idea for this book. They teased the idea out of jokes I was making at her expense.
frappez le cochon rouge
Jan 15th, 2008, 05:36 PM
You're no Puritan, Max.
The Goddamned Batman
Jan 15th, 2008, 07:33 PM
Whew! Thanks for showing me that marriage is a terrible mistake! That was close! Well, I mean, it would be if I was dating anyone.

Or had in the last year...but still, thanks for the tips! You can never be too careful!
An Arizona Horror Company
Jan 16th, 2008, 01:25 AM
We laugh 'cause it's funny, and we laugh 'cause it's true.
Waiting for the worms.
Jan 16th, 2008, 01:27 AM
Marriage? Wayne told me it was a punishment for shoplifting in some countries...
CEO Boobs
Jan 16th, 2008, 01:51 AM
But winter is the best time for sweaters!
Jan 16th, 2008, 02:36 AM
Now now, there is really amazing sex out there, and you even said the source. People who star in porn get to enjoy, and they spend their entire lives rubbing it in our faces (someone get me a paper towel or something) Some other people such as presidents and CEOs also get to enjoy such things occasionally. Other than that you seem to be dead on the spot man, lookin forward to ch.2
Jan 17th, 2008, 08:31 AM
Thank for this article, made me realize my current relationship was a sham... She's still pounding on the front door to get in...
The Moxie Nerve Food Tonic
Jan 17th, 2008, 11:47 AM
Don't let anyone see! It's way better to infuriate her into locking you out and then allow neighbor to overhear you sympathetically telling her through the door that you understand her need for space. Once this is done, you can climb in a back window you've left open.
Your Illegitimate Child
Jan 17th, 2008, 06:08 PM
Who needs marriage when there's always Mad-Libs and replacing every blank space with "poop?" It's everything people say marriage is: fullfilling, ecstatic, and purely joyous... you know... Just without the annoying other person.

Click here to return to the Editorials homepage