Male Call: Tats All Folks!


By James Roberts –

We have a modest proposal for a holiday gift exchange with your snuggle partner. But first, let’s consider the unsnuggling process.

Despite everyone’s belief (and by “everyone” we mean “many people we know”) that about half of marriages end in divorce, it seems that the divorce rate has actually been going down for quite a while. According to a New York Times article that we’re just getting around to, divorce rates increased in the 1970s and ‘80s, but in the last 20 years they have actually dropped.

The reasons include: more cohabiting before breaking up, waiting longer to marry and break up, more birth control, greater acceptance of single-parent households and overall fewer people getting married.

However, the downward trend is mostly for college-educated people; turns out working-class couples are still more likely to split— at near-peak levels. Why would that be? One pretty good theory is that college-educated women are more likely to have their own financial security and don’t believe that’s the main benefit of marriage.

(Perhaps not coincidentally, it seems that most divorces nowadays—about two/thirds—are initiated by women, though women and men are just as likely to end non-marital relationships.)

And now . . .our (pick your holiday) proposal: Mutual tattoos!

Given that every marriage ceremony we’ve ever been to included fervent avowals of everlasting love and faithfulness, the Male Call Advisory Board proposes that couples who wish to sustain their marriage should get a tattoo of the other’s name in a prominent place (albeit one that can be covered by clothes perhaps—we see enough face and neck tattoos on the college kids).

Alternatively, instead of that lavish, costly wedding in the first place, why not have a tattoo ceremony where you each get your ring finger tatted with a lovely ring-icon?

Consider that the average wedding cost in the United States is $26,645. On the other end, the average cost of a contested divorce ranges from $15,000 to $30,000 (the average cost for uncontested is more like $300.)

Tattoo costs, on the other hand, range from $45 to $150, depending on size.

A tattoo can’t be slipped off in a hotel bar on a business trip. It can’t be accidentally “misplaced” or lost.

Thing is, it’s remarkably easy to swear eternal love. But let’s see how many people are willing to put their money where their mouths are when they have to commit to a tattoo.

Oh, and when you do get a divorce, just get a “cross-out” tat for that ring finger . . . eliminates the guesswork on a date.

Need a guy’s perspective? Jot a note to Male Call at or check out the Male Call archives at

Photo credit: nicandres via / CC BY-NC
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