No, Eva Mendes, Sweatpants Don’t Cause Divorce

Yesterday, while being interviewed on Extra, Eva Mendes made a comment that made me do a double-take.

“No, no, no! You can’t do sweatpants,” she said. “Ladies, number one cause of divorce in America? Sweatpants! No, can’t do that.”

Never mind that Eva Mendes isn’t married. Never mind that she can likely afford a clothing stylist, hair and make-up team, personal trainer, and all the domestic help in the world. Never mind that she just had a baby with arguably the sexiest man alive, Ryan Gosling, who has been made even more attractive by a series of memes projecting a feminist attitude on him that would make even the blondest of Fox News hosts swoon.

Mendes wants women without all the fringe benefits that come with her life to worry about what they wear at home, lest they risk the dissolution of their marriage.

You would think that Mendes, the new mom of a baby girl, would instead be advising other women not to marry men who care what they wear at home. You would think that a strong woman would advise partnering with someone who finds you sexy because, first and foremost, you care for their child with tenderness and devotion. You would think a proud mom would demonstrate for her daughter how attractiveness on the inside — strength, integrity, compassion — is preferable over the external variety.

As a former new mom, I can attest to the fact that the very last thing I would have ever wanted to hear as I struggled to figure out how to keep a tiny, helpless person alive, wondered if I’d ever sleep again, constantly needed to be reminded to breathe (and, you know, work full time), was that I also needed to worry about what I was wearing at home while all of this was happening. You know, if I wanted to keep my marriage in tact. To my husband’s credit, he denies remembering many of the gruesome things I know he saw while I birthed our children. While I easily wasn’t at my sexiest in those moments, he’s that much sexier to me by being a gentleman and focusing on the prettier memories from those days.

There’s definitely something to be said for working at your marriage, and that includes keeping the romance alive. But it also works both ways. Men who stop shaving, start devoting their post-honeymoon weekends to football, and develop a beer habit instead of a sending-flowers-just-because one might also risk becoming a bit less attractive to their wives.

Putting the onus on the superficial, though, to keep a marriage healthy, seems to be a larger signal that the relationship problems are bigger than sweatpants and the Super Bowl. Find me a husband who ever filed for divorce and listed “my wife wore sweatpants” instead of “irreconcilable differences” as the reason on the court documents and I’ll show you a marriage that had much more serious issues. Then again, maybe that’s how marriages work (or don’t) between Hollywood stars.

Perhaps Mendes never read The Velveteen Rabbit, wherein Margery Williams wrote:

Weeks passed, and the little Rabbit grew very old and shabby, but the Boy loved him just as much. He loved him so hard that he loved all his whiskers off, and the pink lining to his ears turned grey, and his brown spots faded. He even began to lose his shape, and he scarcely looked like a rabbit any more, except to the Boy. To him he was always beautiful, and that was all that the little Rabbit cared about. He didn’t mind how he looked to other people, because the nursery magic had made him Real, and when you are Real shabbiness doesn’t matter … Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.

For Mendes sake, here’s hoping Gosling finds her more real than she sounded when speaking about marriage and sweatpants.

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