Saturday, March 15, 2014

Hail Marys and Late Life Pouts

The New York Times ran an article titled “The Hail-Mary-Moon.” The phrase is a take off on the Hail-Mary-Pass. For those who need it, I give you this definition of the football play from Wikipedia. “The Hail May pass… is a very long forward pass… made in desperation with only a small chance of success, especially at or near the end of a half.”

Wikipedia tells us the phrase originally meant “any sort of desperation play.” The long-pass meaning became popular thanks to Roger Staubach, then quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys. After his 1975 playoff-game-winning touchdown pass, Staubach (a good Catholic boy) was quoted as saying: "I closed my eyes and said a Hail Mary." The pass was thrown from midfield with just 32 seconds left in the game. My thoughts on reading this: “Wow! There were playoff games in December in the seventies.”

Getting back to that “any sort of desperation play” definition, we return to The Hail-Mary-Moon (also sometimes called a save-cation). The article’s author, Carrie Seim, reports that for some pairs: “egged on by couples’ therapists and travel agents, the best way to address a rift in the marriage, and to see whether it can be healed, is to take a last-ditch vacation.” Having therapists and travel agents pushing these trips raises a red flag in a relationship battle for me, not a white one.

Seim provides an example of a couple married 20 years who saved their marriage by taking a cruise to Mexico. Other couples fared not so well. One pair who traveled with their best friends not only got divorced after the trip, they wound up trading partners. It seems the swaperoo was kindled during the stay-cation for two of them. The tossed aside spouses eventually found love again—with each other. Someone needs to make up a clever moon name for that outcome.

It seems a few folks try the Hail-Mary-Moon because they think it will be cheaper than a divorce. Talk about something done “in desperation with only a small chance of success.” Call me a cynic, but if you’re doing this because of your wallet, I think you need more like a Novena-Moon.

Apparently it’s not just the authors of newspaper articles that noticed this trend. Screenwriters are onto it, too. A new film called Le Week-End follows an older British couple who decide to spend their 30th wedding anniversary where went on their honeymoon—Paris. Their expectation is to either refurbish their frayed marriage or face the fact that the music is over. I’ve not seen the movie, but it sounds like they go on a roller-coaster ride of emotions and expectations.

The site awards the film three and a half stars (out of four), but the snarks that it is “sour and misanthropic” and “unremittingly bleak.” This contrast in reviews strikes me as an apt metaphor for many marriages that are coming unraveled: one partner finds the daily familiarity to be peachy, the other picks at the sour grapes of predictability.

To up your chances of success rekindling a fading romance, check out’s “Real Beauty.” The subject of a recent email read: “How to get the perfect crimson pout.” tells us: When it comes to makeup, nothing rivals the power of a red lip. A crimson pout will… up your sex factor.” I’ll bet. The article lists the red lipstick choices of ten celebrities, but not much else.

I found helpful advice on From makeup artist Emily Kate Warren: "Gently rub lips with a warm, wet washcloth before you apply any color." The site tells us to “let your lips go a bit slack” to get an even application. According to CoverGirl makeup artist Molly Stern, "Puckering too much makes it hard to get a perfect finish." I don’t know about you, but I’ve always avoided over-puckering.

The take away from all of this seems to be that, if your marriage has become too comfortable, you need to escape your daily rut to get a fresh start. Other than the clever “moon” label and new lipstick colors, I’m not sure why this is newsworthy. It stands to reason that if a relationship is no longer working, you need to change things up. Either get away separately, or go away together. And call it whatever.

Frankly, I’d be happy to claim that my marriage is on the rocks if I thought it would get me a trip to Paris. I’ll go with or without my husband, though I’d prefer with. If it will help make it happen, I’ll say ten Hail Marys. Glory be and hallelujah! Excuse me while I go practice my pout.

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