Muzak—an untold benefit of marriage?

Phoebe Connelly

In a particularly intriguing choice of content, the New York Times ran an article in today's House & Home section entitled "It's Cold on Mars." The article reports on the lonely state faced by older men whose wives have left them. It focuses on three long-time friends who have recently found themselves single."Hal Klopper calls it house talk," the article begins, "the steady murmur of married life, the low hum of conversation and connection that he craved after his first wife, and then his second, by his account, walked out on him. 'It's like Muzak,' said Mr. Klopper, 58, a landlord on the Upper West Side. "Sometimes it has no meaning. Sometimes you're not even listening. But it's there all the time, and I miss it."The "reluctant bachelorhood" of these three men came unannounced -- all three were "surprised to learn that their wives were unhappy." According to an AARP study cited by the article, this astonishment is common amongst middle-aged men faced by divorces. Divorces that at this age are usually initiated by the wife.Another of the three, Mr. Frietag, "wonders if he is too weary for a new relationship, which demands that he 'not space out.'"I don't know gentleman -- between the Muzak comparison and the spacing out -- perhaps we've solved the mystery of why you are alone?And why, exactly, is this in the House & Home section?

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Phoebe Connelly, a former managing editor at In These Times, is Web Editor at The American Prospect.
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