Apparently U.S. women do not enjoy listening to their partners swear at people who can't parallel park, rant about energy bills, or grouse about the neighbor who mows his lawn at 9 a.m. on a Saturday.
According to a newly released 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair telephone poll of 1,186 U.S. adults, temper is the primary trait many American women would like to change about their primary man.
Before I got married, I asked my now-husband what it would look like when he got angry. We were still in that red-carpet premarital stage, and his man-temper stood politely behind a velvet rope. "I'm a flasher," he said. "I'll get mad, yell, then it will blow over."
Turns out he was right. But while outbursts easily blow over for him, they linger for me in the same way that a single drop of red food coloring changes the color of a glass of water.
Still, moderate levels of man-temper would not have been a marriage deal breaker; I'm pretty sure that most women whose partners seldom bluster about the traffic, their jobs, or the price of gas are married to other women. (When I once asked unmarried women what their deal breakers were, they replied with "a tightwad," "into spanking," "a guy who wears cowboy boots and chains around his neck" and more. No one said, "moderate man moods.")
When women in the 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll were given a choice of six things to change about their man, 29 percent picked his temper, beating out changing his friends (11 percent), his mother (9 percent), his sense of humor (8 percent), his physique (7 percent), and his hygiene (2 percent).
Amazingly, 30 percent said they would not change any of those things. As this was a telephone poll, I imagine these women were standing beside their husbands when they answered.
Perhaps the danger is focusing on any trait that rises no higher than the level of irksome, whether it's his short fuse or the way he talks with his mouth full. If you find yourself wondering, Did he always do this?, the answer is yes--you just didn't have to witness it.
Meanwhile, we're still waiting to hear what men would most like to change about their women. It could be the fact that we're so bothered by their tempers.