Like many other people on planet earth, you may be thinking of settling down with a nice, fertile person of the opposite sex who would like to mush their parts with yours and spark the miracle of life. Sounds simple, right?
Any old sop can go out back behind the Dairy Queen and drop trou, but you want to do it right, don’t you? The single, absolute RIGHT way? There is only one correct way to live your life and only one path to real joy and womanly satisfaction, after all. But how can we find that singular, shining path? What must we do to shape our pathetic lives into some modicum of true success?
Good news for you, all the vaginas! Writer and successful business-lady Penelope Trunk is here to advise you!
For those of you not in the know, Ms. Trunk is a prominent author and blogger who specializes in doling out interesting career advice, including gems for women like “plastic surgery is a must-have career tool,” and, “get a male business partner so they’ll put in the hours and you can get married early.”
And according to Trunk’s most recent extolling of her expansive wisdom, choosing your future co-parent isn’t a matter of love or profound connection, as dolts like myself previously supposed. Noooo, it’s actually a spreadsheet full of abbreviations and strategy! Turns out, you first need to run each potential mate through an intense personality and income potential equation verified with independent statistics, THEN shake hands and skip the condoms. How could we all have been so blind to not have seen the truth of this before?
Read on my friends, and learn the error of your previously ineffectual “life plans” according to Ms. Trunk!
First things first:
There are actually only two choices: be a breadwinner or marry a breadwinner.
Got that? Only TWO choices. You thought feminism opened doors for women and made our options virtually limitless? HA! SUCKER!
Be a Breadwinner: If you want to work full-time when you have kids then you had better plan on having a huge job that you love. If you’re not an INTJ or an ENTJ [Myers-Briggs personality types] you probably won’t be able to compartmentalize enough at work to choose this scenario. You will feel bad about not being with your kids. You cannot control this. It’s how women are wired. I’m sorry. INTJ is the most uncommon score for a woman. ENTJ is the second most uncommon.
You hear that, ladies? YOU ARE MOSTLY DOOMED ALREADY. For most of you it would be wise to just accept your “wiring” and get back in the kitchen already.
(Lucky for me, I am an INTJ. Or as we shall henceforth refer to it: “The Statistically Irrelevant Unicornlady.”)
From here our ambitious (and EXTREMELY rare) lady-breadwinners have two choices: Marry a stay-at-home-dad -OR- Nannies, and lots of them. But how does one find a man who will stay at home or live peacefully with the help (hopefully without going full Jude Law on her hot young azz)?
If you are picking the two-nanny route, you will need to find a husband who earns more than you. Statistically your marriage is high risk if you and your husband are both in the workforce and you earn more than him because surveys show that you will resent him. This is not logical, or social, it is primal. Statistically, you will marry a guy who does not make as much as you and then you will have kids and get a divorce. Because women hate the feeling of out-earning their husbands.
How to pick a stay-at-home dad. If you want a stay-at-home dad type to complement your big job, pick a guy who has an F in his Myers Briggs score which makes him most likely to be fulfilled taking care of kids. … And, bonus: these guys probably weren’t going to make a lot of money anyway, so it’s good for them to be with a breadwinner.
Trunk is all about emphatically stating her own opinions as facts, so that with a little luck they’ll actually be mistaken for facts. There’s no room for individuality, uniqueness or improvisation in relationships, everything comes down to statistics – to letters and numbers – which is apparently all human beings are. If you earn more than your husband you’ll resent him! Women hate the feeling of making more money than their husband! FACT FACT FACT!
And since numbers and personality-distilling letters are the only thing that matters, whether you like it or not, you’d better get your butt down to Kinkos and print up some Myers Briggs tests to hand out at the bar, ladies (and bring extra pens because people are always losing pens).
(Pro tip: Don’t marry the guy who loses the pen. He’s a PENFAIL. Very bad for sperm count and 401k.)
The other option, should you decide you are unsuited for the workplace, is to choose to be at home with the kids:
Pew Research finds that about 60% of all working women with kids want to work part-time and be home with their kids part-time. (Note that Macleans magazine reports that women with kids who work part-time are the happiest in the world.) Gallup reports that about 40% of women don’t want to work at all. (Note that this leaves a statistically irrelevant number of women who have kids and want to work full-time.)
Numbers, numbers, numbers, math, math, PEW! That’s some great “data,” am I right? I love how we can capture the desires and needs of all women and cram them into these handy, compact categories with no overlap or extenuating circumstances! Now I know what you’re thinking here, because I’m thinking the same thing: that there might be more to successful child-rearing (and happiness) than statistics can depict… but then what do I know – as an INTJ mom who works full-time, I don’t even exist! FACT!
But presuming you do exist and you’ve decided to be at home with the kids, you can either work part time -OR- not bother earning money. Take up a nice unassuming hobby to pay for your zumba classes, or fully devote yourself to wiping noses and butts. Look at all these choices you have, ladies!
Finally, and most importantly, Ms. Trunk lends her insights on How to find a husband who is a breadwinner (since women who want to work are extremely rare and/or destined to crash and burn in a blaze of misery and divorce):
The first thing to be aware of is that everyone looks like a breadwinner in their twenties. … A capable breadwinner—someone who does not require a second earner to support a household—usually does not have an F in their Myers Briggs score. I’m sorry to burst a lot of bubbles here. Not that there aren’t exceptions, but marriage is a big deal, so statistics matter.
Statistics matter. There you have it, ladies. BOOM. Plug in some personality tests and get a-pickin’. He lives with his mother and doesn’t cut his toenails? IRRELEVANT. He’s an ENFP! RED ALERT! Lock those sperm down ASAP! (‘ASAP’ is a business acronym you won’t need in your “majority of the population” new life, by the way. Don’t worry your pretty head about it.)
While I appreciate that Ms. Trunk cares about each of us enough to try to guide us towards statistically well-founded lives, I’m not convinced that instituting a rigorous and emotionally vacant system of procreation pre-screening of this sort is going to create more lasting relationships than picking a mate based on the cut of his pants or that wiggly thing he does with his eyebrows. Divorce and marital strife are issues that plague even incredibly wealthy people with zero financial worries, and though match.com might say you’re a perfect fit on paper, sometimes you just don’t like somebody. Coldblooded calculation can only take you so far, and creating long-lasting connection isn’t–and can’t ever be–purely a numbers game. Call me old fashioned, but where finding a life partner is concerned it seems important to turn one’s attention away from dry formulas and statistics and toward finer things like romance, fun, chemistry — and yes, even love.