What do These Commercials Say About Men in Relationships?

Men in relationshipsCommercials often try to use humor to grab a viewer’s attention. Often times, in commercials, men are the butt of the jokes. I’ve seen so many commercials lately that feature a man doing something dumb and then getting in trouble with his wife. This is troubling to men such as myself, as it may show a dramatic shift in the balance of power in relationships.

I’m going to show you two commercials that will further explain what I mean. I will spend way too much time breaking down these 30 seconds TV spots than I should. But they all lead me to my point at the end. So bear with me…

In this commercial, some guy and his wife are having a nice breakfast at McDonald’s when the woman decides she’s gonna start trouble. She tells her man that her sister’s boyfriend does nothing but watch football on Sunday and then looks to her man for a comment as way to test him. If he says the wrong answer, he’s dead.

First off, this is a bullshit tactic. Why start trouble? Their relationship has nothing to do with yours, so why even test him? You seem to be enjoying a nice breakfast together. Is it really worth bringing this up? Maybe she’s just pissed that he took her to McDonald’s instead of some place nice.

After she seeks her husband’s opinion on the matter, the guy begins to freak out. Sunday’s are absolutely for watching football but he’s too much of a pussy to be honest. So he desperately tries to come up with an answer that won’t result in him getting kicked out of the house tonight. So what does he do? He makes up a lie and sells out a fellow bro in the process by calling him a jerk.

It’s obvious that the woman does indeed “wear the pants” in this relationship. This guy loves football and NFL betting, like any other man, but because he’s too big of a vag to stand up for himself, he’s now going to spend every Sunday shopping at Whole Foods and watching Desperate Housewives with her.

But to him, lying is better than the alternative, which is having sex and dinner withheld and being kicked out of the house (Though there’s a good chance when he makes his move in bed tonight, his wife will claim she’s too tired anyway).

His problem is that he let things snowball until it got to this point. This woman clearly runs the show. This man is TERRIFIED of his own woman. He lives in fear of saying or doing the wrong thing to the girl he chose to spend the rest of his life with. It’s pathetic. Somehow, over the course of the relationship, his nuts have gradually ascended inside his body and he has lost what little hand he had in the relationship to start with.

In this commercial, our protagonist Steve is excited to tell his wife that he just got the family unlimited mobile-to-mobile minutes on their cell phone plan. Before he can even explain himself, his wife chimes in out of turn, complains about him spending more money and then mutters that she should have married some other guy.

First off, can you imagine a guy saying something like this to his wife? We would get smacked so hard. If I told my wife that I wish I married someone else, it would be a minimum of a week before she would even acknowledge my existence. Yet somehow a woman can get away with this?

Secondly, she’s complaining about spending too much money as she waters a room full of plants in her fancy greenhouse. Anyone else see the irony here? This dude is just trying to get a better cell phone plan, and she’s bitching about money, while she throws away cash on an expensive greenhouse that provide zero value to the family. Steve is working his ass off, trying to provide for his family, even though she probably wasted lots of money by taking out a home equity loan to “pursue her passion.” This man’s first mistake was not shooting down that idea in the first place.

At least this dude has some semblance of sack. You can see the look on his face. He desperately wants to call her a stupid cunt after she makes that comment but he holds back and just reveals that it didn’t cost any extra money, thus showing that he was right, leaving his “better-half” speechless. The man, for now, can enjoy a small victory in the battle for the upper hand. Unfortunately for him, it’s a battle he will ultimately lose.

Despite his victory here, it’s pretty obvious that the wife controls the relationship. The fact that she has the hubris to even make that comment proves that is the case.

This man also hates his wife. He used to love her and would do anything to get things back the way they were. He thinks telling his wife that he got free mobile-to-mobile minutes would—at least for a brief moment— bring the smile he once fell for back in college. But quickly, that hope is dashed, as he once again is reminded that his wife has become some person he tolerates living with and not the woman he couldn’t be with out.

And yes, I got all that from a 30 second spot about a wireless calling plan.

So what do these commercials say about men? Have men lost control of the household? Do women “wear the pants” now? It seems like we are no longer masters of our domain.

Back in the day, men were the rulers of the castle, if only because women were dependent on men for survival. A man was often the sole breadwinner in the family and therefore provided his wife with a lifestyle she could not achieve on her own. Women had to put up with men out of necessity, which as a result gave men the upper hand in relationships.

But things have shifted dramatically now. Women are no longer dependent on men for survival. They are independent and sometimes are making more money then their significant others. They no longer need to put up with us. They also have the power to withhold sex from us (which men can’t pull off), and that gives them the edge.

Ideally, this isn’t how it should be. Marriages are certainly challenging, but it should be an equal partnership. We should be honest with each other and not fear that the wrong answer will put us in the doghouse. But if one of us has to have an upper hand, I’d prefer it to be men.

Perhaps this is just the way we are portrayed and these types of moments are not the norm in real society. I don’t really have a definitive answer. I could probably do a dissertation on this if I wanted to. I don’t really feel like doing all that work so I thought I’d pose these questions to the readers instead.

What are your thoughts?

6 comments for “What do These Commercials Say About Men in Relationships?

  1. October 13, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    Men have never been masters of their own domain. Of course the lady wears the trousers in a relationship. Some wag once said that the female of the species owns five per cent of the world’s wealth, but has a controlling interest in the other 95%. The reason is simple – SEX. As long as we men have a penis and the women have a vagina, the women are in control. Remember the old game ‘You show me yours and I’ll show you mine’? The man gets his penis out and says to the girl, ‘you haven’t got one of these.’ Then the girl shows him what she’s got and says, ‘No, but I have one of these, and with one of these I can get as many of those as I want.’ This makes the battle of the sexes a losing one for us poor downtrodden men.

  2. Eric Waters
    October 14, 2011 at 11:43 am

    Gentlemen, there is hope, at a price. I’m currently in my late 50’s. This happened 20 years ago. After bouncing from one co-dependent girl to another, throw in a couple of sorority queens and girls with the “there’s our money and then there’s my money” attitude, I made the bold choice to go celibate until I thought I had a chance with a partner that didn’t want to change me, rob me, or use me. The remaining question is could I have done this in my 20’s? I think not. As Johnny wrote in an earlier column, get all you can while you’re young.
    After 2 years of self imposed exile, I felt oddly liberated. If I met an attractive enough girl who then revealed a bad attitude, my thought was, “I went 2 years, I can go another day.” I was empowered; she doesn’t like me liking sports, see ya’; “gee, I really like diamond earrings,” gotta go; “I’m sure you can see the game at Mother’s”, I’m thinking tell her I said hi.
    Are there drawbacks, sure. Telling your guy friends gets them looking at you oddly. I started at 2 years, deciding to end it and actually ending it were some time apart. You lose you muscle-memory for “closing the deal.” I’d rather not say how long I went.
    But in the end, I’m in a 14-year relationship with a woman who accepts me and my baggage, as I do her. Have I changed, yes, but not through fear of not getting laid, through reason and maturity. Am I suggesting that others follow my bizarre path, no. What I am saying is, “Grow a pair, there are worse fates than not getting laid. A woman that continues these tactics is not worth it!”

  3. October 14, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Hey Eric. Interesting comment. I think you make a good point. I don’t think men should necessarily be celibate but I think many men get into relationships for the wrong reasons.

    Like you said, not getting laid isn’t the end of the world. You’re better off holding out and waiting for someone you really like and not just being with a girl because you like having sex with her. This may suck in the short-term but it will be worth it long-term. If you end up in a truly healthy relationship, you won’t have to deal with situations like the ones above.

  4. Mr. Cleavage
    October 24, 2011 at 9:33 pm

    LWB and I have always been on the same wavelength…this article is a great example.
    Mrs. Cleavage has, for the past 15-20 years or so, had to listen to me rant incessantly about “Stupid White Guy” commercials becoming the norm. I was a marketing major, and even I would be hard-pressed to pinpoint when, exactly, it became unacceptable to make fun of ANY minority in ANY way, but it obviously happened while I was looking at Playboy.
    if you see the commercial about who was smart and bought from the dollar menu, it will be a woman or a minority. The “Stupid White Guy” is the one who HAHAHAHA!! HARDEE F*CKING HAR!!! paid too much for his greasy lunch burger!!! CAN YOU F*CKING BELIEVE BILL WAS SO STUPID??? Another one:
    Opening scene: woman speaking into the phone (obviously to another life-support for a vag) that she just bought “pineapple upside down cake” and “peaches and cream” and a bunch of other YUMMY things at the supermarket… in the background, “Stupid White Guy” (who undoubtedly paid for said trip to supermarket, not to mention her botox and tennis lessons) is tearing apart the fridge looking for the described delectable treats, only to come up empty. Of course, the commercial fades out on the front of a container of Dannon F*KING yogurt, insinuating that “Stupid White Guy” is too dumb to figure out that this is the treat the stupid cunt is talking about.
    I could list 100 others but you get the idea…keep an eye out for it. White Guys are the only demographic that advertising agencies feel they can safely dump on without getting into any trouble. Slowly, “Stupid Black Guy” commercials are coming around too, but invariable, in commercials today, if someone is portrayed as the smart person in a group, it will be a woman or minority.
    Well, guess what Madison Avenue, “Stupid White Guys” built this country into the Arsenal of Democracy, fought and died in every war to protect your freedom of speech (allowing you, of course, to call them stupid), and still own 80% of the world’s wealth…so go f*cking stuff it!!
    OK…I’m off my soap box…let’s see some nice titties and drink an Oberon.

    Mr. C

  5. October 27, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Brilliant comment as always Mr. Cleavage. If you ever want to write your own blog post here, let me know. Your comments always crack me up.

  6. man wall
    November 22, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    We’re not gonna take itttttt

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