Monday, May 07, 2007

Marketing divorce

From my friend and co-blogger Holly at The Point:

"Life's short. Get a divorce." That's the tagline being used by a Chicago law firm to promote their divorce "services." The huge billboard, which hangs in Chicago's ritzy Gold Coast neighborhood, features two scantily clad bodies. It screams sex. The law firm is defending the "cutting edge" ad. Divorce attorney Corri Fetman audaciously says, "If you're unhappy, that life is too short to continue in an unhappy marriage, those images provide hope."

Follow the link in Holly's post, if you dare, to the Fox News video story on this tasteless ad and you'll see the billboard: a catchy tagline and contact info for the law firm, flanked by the scantily clad torsos of a woman on the left and a man on the right.

OK, so the real message here seems to be that life is too short to be with a dumpy loser like the one you're holding hands with as you stroll down the street and see the billboard, and that if you would just get a divorce, you could hook up with a model-licous hunk or babe like the ones pasted overhead. Really? Come on!

This ad and the notion behind it reminded me of an old article at Boundless. In "Brother, You're Like a Six," Scott Croft lamented a similar fantasy that plays out among the unmarried crowd:

I once counseled a Christian brother in his dating relationship with a great woman. She was godly, caring, and bright. She was attractive, but not a supermodel. For weeks I listened to this brother agonize over his refusal to commit and propose to this woman. He said they were able to talk well about a lot of things, but there were a few topics he was interested in that she couldn't really engage with, and sometimes the conversation "dragged."

He also said that, while he found her basically attractive, there was one feature of hers that he "just pictured differently" on the woman he would marry. I would ask about her godliness and character and faith, and he said all those things were stellar (and he was right). Finally, he said, "I guess I'm looking for a 'ten'."

I could hold back no longer. Without really thinking, I responded, "You're looking for a 'ten'? But, brother, look at yourself. You're like a 'six.' If you ever find the woman you're looking for, and she has your attitude, what makes you think she would have you?"

Exactly. This law firm is trying to sell the ridiculous notion that all of us ordinary Joe's and Jane's deserve better, that we deserve to be with the hottest thing around. Because life would be so much better if we were arm in arm with someone better looking. Well, maybe for the first five minutes, until the person you're arm in arm with realizes that they deserve someone better looking than you.

And where in all of this do we find character, honesty, kindness, depth, compassion, love? Those are the things life is too short to be without; those are the things we can all display, with a little work and discipline, and the things we should hope and pray for in a spouse.

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