Wednesday, February 28, 2007

marriage, pro sports-style.

Given the recent news of Amani Toomer's impending nasty divorce following on the heels of teammate Michael Strahan getting taken to the cleaners and Nets guard Jason Kidd likely suffering the same fate, I feel a need to offer unqualified and out of my league advice to all athletes preparing for marriage, despite terminal single-hood and lack of a legal background.

1) Know what you're looking for.

Mr. Toomer is making his particular claim because he feels he was lied to; his wife allegedly aborted his children, wouldn't change her name, etc. Again, the couple were married in Vegas. I doubt there was that much consideration. As the Head Chick notes, you can get a wife or you can get a chickenhead. Know what you have.

2) Make sure you know the difference between devotion and worship.

Pro athletes, by nature, seem to have a need to feed the ego -- they've had most things given to them on a platter due to freakish athletic talent, and sex is one of them. Before you go through with this, if you want her to wait on you hand and foot, make that clear. No need to give up half because you didn't define the terms in advance? Unromantic? Yes. But we're here to protect YOU. We advise devotion -- less likely to ditch you after the first few years and cry for half. Something about that, isn't it?

Today's worshipful groupie is tomorrow's gold-digger.

3) Come to terms with various indiscretions.

You're gonna have groupies throwing themselves at you left and right. Either work into an agreement a number of indiscretions per year, or keep a side account that can be agreed on for a faux "Honey, I'm sorry" gift -- Kobe Bryant keeps a spare couple mil on hand just in case, and it worked for him. Mr. Kidd, however, apparently played cheapskate with the apology jewelry. The sincerity of your apology as a star athlete is measured by how much you spend.

Or, do it the Andrei Kirilenko way -- remember, his wife gives him one indiscretion per year, but we suspect it only lasts as long as he keeps playing well, and he's never used it yet (Would you? This isn't the best picture, but I wouldn't.)

4) Get the Massey Pre-Nup.

Or its real-world equivalent. You want something so iron-clad a whole semester could be taught on it at Harvard Law. Of course, unlike Mr. Strahan, you want to make sure that Massey is written in your favor.

If you really want to be thorough, spell out every possible expectation: sex, kids, housework -- anything you can think of. Weeds out the unqualified applicants. Again, unromantic, but best for your interests, and it keeps you from having to come back to see us in five years for less pleasant experiences.

(Side note: Intolerable Cruelty is really one of those movies that is gang-busters, laugh out loud funny for the first half-hour and then falls completely off the rails.)

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