Tom Purcell, 4/7/2008 [Archive]

Male Alimony

Male Alimony

By Tom Purcell

Hey, ladies, turnabout is fair play.

I refer to the Wall Street Journal report on an interesting trend: As more women excel in the workplace, more ex-husbands are winning juicy divorce settlements.

As it goes, the Supreme Court ruled, 30 years ago, against gender discrimination in divorce settlements. A man, if he earns less than his wife, can demand alimony, too.

Back then, however, men were much more likely to pay alimony than receive it -- no man worth his salt would accept dough from a lady.

But times have changed. There's no longer a stigma for a man to receive support from his ex-wife.

Take one fellow. Though he earned $500,000 a year, his wife earned $1.5 million. When they moved to California to advance her career, he had to take a pay cut.

When their marriage dissolved, he demanded and won a sizable settlement. It was the only way, he explained to The Journal, he could maintain the standard of living he'd become accustomed to.

Who can blame him? For years, ex-wives have used the same logic to win big settlements from their high-earner ex-husbands, a sentiment that can be summed up in two words: Heather Mills.

Besides, these days, the old sayings are just as true -- in reverse.

Behind every successful woman is a man -- a sensitive fellow who stays home with the kids and claps heartily the first time junior uses the potty to go number two. He manages the domestic chores so the big woman can climb the corporate ladder.

Of course such fellows deserve the same payouts as ex-wives have long been getting.

But some in the old girls club aren't going along with the program. These female chauvinists cling to a prehistoric double standard -- that it's OK for women to accept alimony, but men who do should be ashamed.

One woman, who earns $500,000 a year, says she can't understand why she has to send her ex-husband thousands a month just because she used to be married to him.

Another refers to the payments she gives her ex, a toilet salesman, as a social-welfare program for ex-husbands funded by working women. Her relatives are more succinct. They call her ex-husband "a deadbeat."

A third says she spits on the alimony check she writes each month before handing it over. She's especially agitated that her slacker ex-husband used her money to hire crafty lawyers who helped him seize a large share of her assets.

But I don't know what these women are complaining about.

For years, they've demanded equality at home and in the workplace. For years, they've demanded that men take on more of the domestic chores -- that men become more sensitive and caring, more like them.

Hey, ladies, you got exactly what you wanted. I'm all for it.

I'm all for men using their wiles to woo highly paid wives so they can get at their money. Isn't it about time "guy diggers" do to women what gold diggers have long done to us?

I have half a mind to give it a go myself. I'll use my wit and charm to trick a well-to-do lady into falling for me. I'll talk her into marriage, then use her means to drive nice cars and enjoy lavish vacations. I'll stick out the marriage until her stock options are cashed.

Then I'll take half of everything she's got.

I used to hold traditional views toward men and women -- I used to think it unmanly for any man to use a woman for her dough, but there's no need for manliness anymore.

In the past, I would have felt odd asking my ex-wife to support me, but I'm catching on to the new ways -- I like that there is virtually no difference between men and women anymore.

That's why I applaud the shop foreman The Journal interviewed. During his divorce, he told the judge he needed $20,000 a year just to maintain his collection of classic cars. The judge awarded him $40,000.

You go, guy!

Tom Purcell is a humor columnist nationally syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons. For more info call Sales at (805) 969-2829 or email Visit Tom on the web at or e-mail him at

RESTRICTIONS: 'Tom Purcell's column may not be reprinted in general circulation print media in Pennsylvania's Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, and Westmoreland Counties. It may appear only in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and its sister publications."

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