Dear men, if you’re unhappy in your relationship, you might just have to gain some weight. Welcome to the Journal Club – real papers by real scientists. Today from ‘Social Psychological and Personality Science’: Might as well be a ‘Glamour’ cover story. So marriages are supposed to be happier when wives are thinner than their husbands. I take it this formula is not applicable to homosexual couples. Those will have to look for happiness in less important things like love or trust. But I now know that I will either have to watch my figure – or feed up my husband. So here’s what happened: In this study, they observed 165 newlyweds over the course of 4 years They observed the participants’ BMIs and twice a year, the participants filled out questionnaires about their happiness in their marriage. If you’re wondering how you can even measure happniess – that’s a very good question. This is supposed to be the formula: And you know a formula is a good formula, when there’s not one, not two, but six pis in there. This is the difference between social scientists and natural scientists, because natural scientists would never be that liberal with the use of pi – when it’s not even about a circle. Also, am I the only one who’s confused by using pi and ‘dummy code’ in the same formula? Anyways, let’s see the results, this is where it gets interesting. There are only two graphs in this paper. The husbands’ happiness on the left, and the wives’ happiness on the right. The 3 curves display 3 different cases: 1) Wives are thinner than husbands (grey line). 2) Wives and Husbands have the same BMI (black/square line). 3) Husband are thinner than wives (back/triangle line). Alright, now let’s remember the paper’s title is ‘Marriages are more satisfying when wives are thinner than their husbands.’ So that’s supposed to be the takehome message of this research. But let me point out a few things that I find a lot more interesting: 1. According to these graphs, men are generally unhappier in their marriages than women. 2. Women seem to be better people. Men, whose wives are thinner than they are, are happier in their marriages to begin with. Women, however, don’t seem to care about their husbands’ weight at the beginning of their marriages. Because they love him just the way he is. But after 4 years, those who are heavier than their husband appear to be unhappier. Possibly, because they realize their husbands are unhappy themselves. Dear men, you either have to look for a thinner wife to begin with, OR eat more and work out less. or MAYBE you should rather look for a connection that is deeper than just looks. HA! Yeah right… I know you would never do that. Oh please, we all know a woman’s look is the only thing that matters, we’re not in kindergarden anymore. And last but not least, the most shocking conclusion: 3. Marriages make you unhappy, apparently. No matter how thin you or your partner are, happiness drops in any case. There only seems to be one way, and that’s downwards. After 4 years, nobody is as happy as they were in the beginning. Considering the level that happiness drops in general, the effects of partner’s BMIs is really not sigficant at all. It’s really only about figuring out who’s slightly more unhappy than others. The title of this paper really SHOULD be: All of this is very depressing – both the fact that marriages seem to make you miserable or the fact that women always have to watch their figures, while men can confidently grow a beer belly. BUT the important thing to note is: This study – as many studies that the media likes to cite – is not exactly comprising, let’s put it this way. Determining a marriage’s happiness by BMI is kinda like… determining a burrito’s quality… by the quality of the beans. Although EVERYONE KNOWS that guac is the most important ingredient of a burrito. In other words, you may carry out such a study – but you might as well leave it. In summary, we’ve learned that we still have no idea how to find the love of our life and that there won’t be any scientific study to tell us any time soon. because in the end, things are not always as they seem For example, why are there only 2 of 4 data points displayed? and where are the error bars? and what about changes in relative BMI during the 4 years? and does this scale even mean? Are these realtive values? Absolute values? etc. etc. etc. …. ……..