Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin split: The pitfalls of marrying an American woman
By Tom Cowell (Telegraph)
As Gywneth Paltrow and Chris Martin announce their split, Tom Cowell, a long-serving British husband to a gorgeous American woman, runs through the lows and highs of an international union.
As news of the Gwyneth Paltrow/ Chris Martin split sinks in, it’s clear which half of the couple will get more press sympathy. Gwyneth is a Hollywood superstar with a megawatt smile, bewitching charisma, and a figure so perfect it could drive a sculptor mad. Chris Martin plays the piano at a school-play level, looks a bit sad, and displays all the animal magnetism of a Carphone Warehouse.
The media picks sides, and it won’t be his. So who is going to stick up for poor old Chris? Marrying an American can be absolute torture (I have eight years experience and counting). Let’s run down some of the awful attributes that Mr Martin had to endure for 12 long years:
Here are some of the pitfalls:
Obsessed with Mexican food
For some reason, Americans believe that the constant and dirt-cheap availability of Mexican food is a human right. Tell them there is nowhere to get an affordable burrito in, say, Merthyr Tydfil, and they will gape in shock, like you just sang the national anthem in Klingon.
The idea that their country has a lot of Mexican food because, er … they share a 800 mile border with Mexico, simply does not compute. Mexican food should be everywhere. Like oxygen, or laughter. If it is not, the universe is fundamentally misaligned. Chris, Gwyneth is gone. But at least you don’t have to put up with this ridiculous behaviour anymore.
Will believe in any new age BS
There is no vaguely hippy “thing”, or laughable spiritual “practice” that an American won’t fall for. Chakras must be in alignment. Ley lines must be consulted. And at all times, one must drown any vestige of reason or logic in one’s head with gallons of kombucha. Is there any beverage more perfect for the gullible?
It tastes like balsamic urine, looks like toxic waste and costs more than champagne. Therefore, it must be good for you! Mr Martin, you’re lucky. You can junk all that gong-ringing, yoga-farting, macrobiotic nonsense and get back to your roots: solid English scepticism, served with a Cornish pasty.
The word “woo!”
To marry an American is to accept the word “woo!” into your life. The word is not in any dictionary, but is written deep inside an American’s heart and soul. To an American, if anything vaguely good is happening, one must emit a “woo”. Perhaps a baseball team has hit a baseball. Or a tray of cupcakes successfully made it from the kitchen to a living room table. Anything dimly positive can be greeted with a overly-loud, obnoxiously out-of-context: “WOOO! YEAH! Cupcakes! Awesome!”. It is insufferable.
The “I’m An American” excuse.
Americans demonstrate a perverse pride in not knowing about the rest of the world. What’s more, they justify their ignorance with a maddening defence: “I don’t know: I’m an American”. As if it’s their birthright to think Spain is part of France. Or think that Malaysia isn’t a real place.
Swapping hands with cutlery
For a nation supposedly all about efficiency, the American way of handling cutlery is enough to drive a decent person mad. They don’t hold their fork in their left hand and knife in their right, like any normal human. They cut their food that way, then put both utensils down, then switch their fork into their right hand, and only THEN begin scooping food into their mouths. And this happens dozens of times per meal. And they have the nerve to think the way WE eat is weird.
Absurd conception of distance
Americans are blissfully unaware that their country is, by any standard, rather large. Therefore, for them, driving six hours to visit a favourite music venue is perhaps not unusual. FOR THEM. But to us, travelling for six hours is the purest hell, like enduring an open wound dredged with salt while sitting in traffic on the M25. They will mercilessly mock any attempt to complain about long distances, and in the process, look and sound like idiots.
On the other hand, Americans do have wonderful qualities that can make for enormous improvements in one’s married life
And, just in case my wife reads this, here are some benefits ...
Down to earth
Americans are so wonderfully, sincerely down-to-earth, we have trouble believing it. To the cynical British mind, any genuine pleasure in meeting a new person is a sign of potential mental illness. But Americans actually want to make new friends. They want to get along with you, stranger. It makes one’s like infinitely more interesting to have an American around, because you meet EVERYONE. It’s like permanently going through life with a puppy, or the latest iPhone.
They actually enjoy sex
Every British man is scarred by adolescent experiences with some haughty deb, with more passion for her childhood horse than any part of the human male. The chance to be with a woman who actually enjoys the hanky-panky? Instead of infantilising the glorious sex act with hideous British euphemisms like “hanky-panky”? This is a gift that lasts a lifetime.
Seriously. Where are the British orthodontists? Why do we let them get away with the substandard job they are clearly doing? An American can say silly stuff, do silly things, and annoy you more than nails down a chalkboard … but at the end of the day, one flash of those perfect, pearly white chompers and you fall in love all over again. You’ll do anything for that American. Learn to like “football”? Check. Invade Iraq on false pretences? Check. Stop spelling colour with a “U”? Anything, my darling. Anything.
Chris, we both know the truth. Gwyneth may be old news. But your next girlfriend? I bet you dollars to doughnuts – she’ll be American.