Aug 30, 2012

My Wife Made Me Sell the Bike

All Rights Reserved © 2012 Thomas W. Day
I hear at least one version of this story in every beginners' motorcycle class:
  • My wife made me sell the bike when we had kids."
  • "Now that we have kids [my motorcycling] has increased her anxiety and she is telling me I HAVE to sell the bike."
  • "I am finally getting back into motorcycling after a [fill in the blank] year break. The wife made me sell my old bike when we found out she was having a baby. The kid's grown up and my wife finally gave in this year and let me have a new bike."
  • "My wife made me sell my bike before she would marry me. I guess it was the right thing to do, but I loved that motorcycle."
  • "When I sold my motorcycle, my wife made me promise not to ever buy another one. That's how I ended up with a sailboat. I hate sailboats. In fact, I don't like boats."
And my favorite:
  • "The wife wasn't too happy about my motorcycle and, after my crash, she made me sell it. You know what they say, 'Happy wife, happy life'. Now we're divorced and we're both happy."
There are so many things wrong with those statements, I can't even properly punctuate them. "Happy wife, happy life?" That might be true for the wife, but there is no man in that statement. By that I mean, there is no sign of a pair of testicles on a guy who says "Happy wife, happy life." The happiest people I know are single, but they do have a motorcycle and they ride any time they feel like it. And I don't mean happiest by a micro-measured photo finish, I mean happiest by the diameter of the planet. The "satisfaction" men are supposed to receive with marriage and family is more rooted in reproducing the species than some improvement in quality of life for men (and women?).
People who marry other people with the intent of "improving" them are about as fun to be around as the Shoe Bomber. It doesn't take Edgar Cayce to predict that most of these fix-it marriages are headed for the dumper. Taking away someone's favorite activities is an act of control and power, not love. I guess some folks feel the need to live with a parent figure, but I think that sounds suspiciously close to mental illness. I haven't wanted to live with my parents since I was fifteen and the feeling was mutual.
The guys with the "wife made me do it" stories are total Sad Sacks. They are old, worn out, unhappy and, usually, broke. Some of those guys look twice my age at half my age. Any good thing a bad marriage might bring, divorce takes it away twice. The problem with trying to be someone else is that you aren't someone else. Sooner or later, you are going to be you and if your spouse wanted someone else you will be a disappointment.
In the aftermath, living in their parents' or a friend's basement, these deluded half-men imagine that sitting on a brand new Harley is going to rejuvenate their lost precious bodily juices. Two years later, they Harley will be posted in Craig's List, listed for 50% of the financed price and selling for 30% of that astronomical sum. The bike wasn't a miracle worker. The child support didn't go away and either did the debt. When you throw away your youth and vitality for a pipedream, those precious commodities are gone forever. You can't go home, get younger, or grow a pair in the empty sack where you snipped off the original two. The women the bike attracted were both expensive and cheap and stuck around long enough to figure out the Harley was window dressing on an abandoned building.  Motorcycles are not miracles on two wheels. They are just transportation.
Nobody has asked for my advice, but I am here to give it, anyway. If you want to ride a motorcycle, fly a hang glider, jump off of a cliff with a parasail strapped to your back, bicycle across the desert, volunteer with the Peace Corps in Uganda, or learn how to play a ukulele, I say, "Do it." In fact, I say, "Do it now!" I might have some reservations about the ukulele, but if it's good to you it's good for you. Just don't play the damn thing in my house and warn me if you're going to pull that thing out in public. 


  1. The illusion of the sales hype, that a vehicle is more than transportation...
    My brother in law bought his vmax based on seat height,not knowing how much illusion is already built into the bike. There is much irony in watching that vmax being used for camping trips and ridden w/out any knowledge of the vmax scene. Just that like goldilocks the seat was just right.

  2. Seat height. The most important criteria of any motorcycle selection.

  3. Hey, I wish I'd paid more attention to seat height when I bought my Rebel. Another three or four inches of seat height would make that bike SO much more comfortable...

    Anyway, what bothers me in all of this is the same thing that bothers me when the folks on the woodworking forum talk about "sneaking [some purchase] past the wife." Really? You married someone who doesn't want you to have hobbies? You married someone who won't let you buy the things that make you happy? What the heck were you thinking?

    Same for the bike... Wait a minute, you married this woman WHY? Unless the reason is "Her father was pointing a shotgun at me," you may have made the wrong choice. (And if that was the reason, your wrong choice may have been made some time earlier...)

    Forget marrying someone and trying to "fix them." Why on earth would you marry someone who wants to change YOU?

  4. And that is the point of this whole rant. Grow a pair guys. If the woman doesn't like you on a bike, find one who does or get on with your life as a bachelor. It's not like the world needs more babies and anyone who's had teenagers knows that all that cuteness dissolves into sullen passive aggression and may or may not sort itself out when the kid is 250 and on his or her own. I will never, never understand guys who get married, get divorced, and get married again (sometimes, again and again). Learn to cook and do your own laundry. Why buy when you can rent? Stuff like that.

  5. "Motorcycles are not miracles on two wheels. They are just transportation."

    Well said, there is way too much 'image', 'sport', and 'lifestyle' attached to two wheels.

  6. In a television interview, Alexei Sayles, said, "I don't want to be sold a lifestyle. I want to devise my own." 'nough said.

  7. There is one good bloglet post on that subject of Western marriage:

  8. That's a pretty complete story about marriage. No matter what the loony wingnuts imagine, marriage is a financial contract. Nothing more, nothing less. As your lawyer, if you don't believe me. There is good reason that old world arranged marriages are more likely to hold up over modern romantic marriages; parents are better judges of who is a good fit than their hormone driven children.

  9. I was thinking you'd like my youtube video "You're The One Who Made Me Sell My Bike". Here's the link:

  10. Chris,

    I like your song so much I embedded it into the blog page. Thanks. You rock (or country, whatever).


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