State of our unions

19 February 2007

The first-ever, nationwide Maclean’s Love Poll

Maclean’s, Lianne George and Barbara Righton

Have you heard this rib-tickler? My husband went to a mind reader and he only charged him half price — as there was so little to read! It’s among the dozens of old chestnuts featured in The Tiny Book of Marriage Jokes. Or this one, from Rodney Dangerfield: “I haven’t spoken to my wife in years. I didn’t want to interrupt her.” We roll our eyes at the hackneyed gender stereotypes, but over the years, millions of dollars, billions even, have been spent producing and consuming a broad range of cultural products — from self-help books to Mel Gibson movies — all devoted to the premise that women are from Mars. (Or was it Venus?) It’s clear that, despite centuries of analysis and a never-ending stream of academic treatises on the subject, the relationship between men and women remains fascinating and utterly elusive. These days, it also seems somewhat endangered. Not only does marriage continue to be on the decline, the New York Times recently reported that last year, for the first time ever, more American women were living on their own than with a spouse. Surely there are any number of reasons for this trend, but at least one, the story suggested, is that men and women are finding it increasingly difficult to negotiate their relationships with each other. In an effort to bridge the gap, and to gauge the state of Canadian unions, Maclean’s canvassed men and women from Victoria to St. John’s to find out who’s more faithful in marriage, who lies more about money, and who’s really better in bed. Herewith, our Maclean’s Love Poll.

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