From the Department of Duh

Now that‘s science!

NEW YORK – Men tend to behave better when they’re married — both because marriage likely helps improve their behaviour, and nicer men are more likely to be married in the first place, according to a U.S. study.

S. Alexandra Burt and colleagues at Michigan State University also found that men with fewer nasty qualities were more likely to eventually end up married.

Among men who did marry, some showed signs that bad behaviour — specifically traits associated with antisocial personality disorder such as criminal behaviour, lying, aggression and lack of remorse — decreased after they tied the knot.

Burt said that married men “are just not as antisocial to begin with. And when they get married, they get even less antisocial.”


We remember


I’m listening to people call in with their recollections of war on 580 CFRA in Ottawa. One fellow recalls how his father went to war and his mother was home with nine children from age six months to 11 years, eight boys, one girl. He said he remembers his dad today, but he also remembers his mom. Very moving.

There is a skunk in every lot

Forgive me for ruining the week’s feel-good story. But this guy needs a serious kick in the pants.

Two-timing miner Yonni Barrios surfaced yesterday as the world watched breathlessly to see if his wife or his girlfriend was waiting to fall into his arms.

It was the mistress.

Barrios, one of 33 trapped Chilean miners, brazenly had invited both women, but his wife of 28 years, Marta Salinas, had too much pride to show up. In fact, she had even vowed not to turn on her TV to watch her husband emerge.

Apparently, his sister claims, “He loves them both. They are both important to him, and he wants them to be friends with each other.”

Oh, well, then. He loves them both. Now that he’s rescued, he’ll have the opportunity to see exactly how well his system works out.

Conflicts of interest

On the one hand, medical science is working hard to cure infertility. On the other, sexual and reproductive health providers are working hard to sterilize as many people as possible.

What does this mean? It means that the infertile, and the fertile alike, are feeling increasing pressure to ride the conflicting roller coaster of reproductive treatment.

While women tend to be more vociferous about fertility treatments, men are not excluded from this ride. Vesectomy campaigns have been running in various countries around the globe for decades. The largest of these is possibly the campaign run in India in 1972, where 221,933 vasectomies were preformed during an eight week period in over 1,000 camps. However, the most recent campaigns are more subtle…

Leading UK family planning specialist Marie Stopes International is running an innovative vasectomy advertising campaign throughout the World Cup tournament. Football-themed posters encouraging men to seek information about vasectomies will be placed above urinals in men’s toilets, on tip seats in taxis and in pubs and bars around the country.

Each poster features a special vasectomy call number and an SMS address giving interested parties the option to ring or text for an information pack.

The campaign is aimed primarily at men who are in stable relationships and have completed their families.

“By placing these advertisements in men’s loos we’re hoping guys will consider the matter when they, quite literally, have the matter in hand,” said Julie Douglas, Marie Stopes International’s Marketing Manager

My concern is that marketing vasectomies in this way may lead to men considering the surgery at increasingly younger ages (there are currently no concrete restrictions on the procedure for those over 18 in North America). In packaging a vasectomy as a flippant and “easy” procedure, men who simply fear unwanted pregnancy may resort to surgery (which may also create a false sense of sexual security) and their partners may also feel more justified in pressuring them to have such a “simple” operation.

The initial vasectomy is relatively low cost and straight forward, but reversal is far more complicated.

The chief advantage of vasectomy — its permanence — is also its chief disadvantage. The procedure itself is simple, but reversing it is difficult, expensive, and often unsuccessful.

The cost for reversal surgery in Canada?

As you may be aware, the Ontario government (OHIP) and most provincial health-care providers do not cover the costs of a vasectomy reversal. We try to keep costs as low as possible.

The cost of a vasectomy reversal is approximately $4,880 including the surgeon’s fee, hospital and anaesthetic fees. There are no charges for pre-operative and post-operative clinic visits and testing as these are covered under OHIP and provincial healthcare plans.

So while the medical field works away in labs curing infertility, young men are being met in the loo by adverts that promise sexual freedom but could ultimately lead to their never having children at all.


There’s a cover story in Newsweek called Man Up! (my link is to a critique of the article I appreciated), there was a story in Friday’s Globe and Mail called the Emasculated Male and I’ll be giving a talk on Tuesday night called The Status of Men:

Canada has a Status of Women department. Guest lecturer, Andrea Mrozek, asks if we need to create a Status of Men department instead. Our general lack of concern for men (and marriage) will spell the end of fatherhood and families as well as the social and economic prosperity we enjoy. Ms. Mrozek reviews the decidedly politically incorrect Men and Marriage by George Gilder (1986) placing it in the context of the new millennium. Tuesday, October 5th, 2010, Laurentian Leadership Centre, 252 Metcalfe Street, Ottawa, 7:30 to 9:00 pm

I’ll be more or less presenting Gilder’s thesis, which I thought was pretty interesting, but which also gives me cover from the ensuing criticism. (As in “Gilder said it! Not me.” I’m still trying to weigh who Gilder offends more, men or women, and thus far, it’s a toss up.)


Rebecca adds: Correcting injustices to women is important not because they’re women but because they’re people, and healthy marriages, families, organizations and societies can’t exist if half of their members are treated badly. But the solution isn’t to treat the other half badly. And we need to hear more about the tension between the sexes from happily married people, and not from bitter divorce(e)s – the tone of any given book about men, women, marriage, divorce, parenting, heartbreak, etc tends to telegraph the author’s sex and marital status pretty reliably from the opening pages.

Set the bar high, my friend, set it high

Today I was about to set out on a jog when my iPod up and died. It did not respond to CPR (reset, plug in, pull plug, plug in) so I rummaged through my drawers to find an MP3 player from an age when dinosaurs walked the land. It worked, but only radio (no volume control) and frequently no control over the station. So I was subject to the whims of said dino-MP3 player.

This led to some hits, if I do say so myself, like Africa and Living on a Prayer.

But then there was this more modern song (what are the kids listening to these days??) And I could swear the lyrics were “All I ever wanted was a one night stand.”

And I thought two things. 1) Young man–with standards like that there’s nothing but a bright, shiny future ahead! And 2) Now there’s words a woman would never speak.

(File this one under Love and Romance.)

Dad gives life to save his kids

What a horrible tragedy:

TORONTO — In one of two fatal GTA fires Sunday, a Toronto dad handed his baby son to a visiting neighbour — then gave his life in a desperate bid to find a second child in the family’s North York home.

Toronto firefighters waded through heavy black smoke and pulled the man and his 12-year-old daughter from the second floor of their 1 1/2-storey postwar Kemp Square house shortly after 3 p.m.

Neither had lifesigns, but Toronto Fire District Chief Stephan Powell said paramedics revived the girl.

This man was a hero. May he rest in peace.