Sociologist Considers Own Behavior Indicative Of Larger Trends

BOSTON–According to the findings of a paper published Monday in The American Journal Of Sociology, the behaviors and experiences of Boston sociologist Dr. Stephen Piers are indicative of a host of wider societal trends.

Sociologist Dr. Stephen Piers.

"My observations indicate that the typical married American man has had increasing difficulty relating to his spouse over the last two and a half years, ever since she started taking those yoga classes," wrote Piers, 56, in his Interpersonal Connections Within The Marriage Paradigm: A Study In Causality.

In the paper, Piers asserted that the most pressing issue for American men is maintaining healthy sexual relations with their wives.

"Back in 1999, American men's frustration derived mostly from the infrequency of sex," the paper read. "Recently, however, that trend has shifted as husbands report a decreasing interest in intimacy, particularly if there is a Celtics game or a new NYPD Blue on TV. While many men cite increased job responsibilities and stress as possible catalysts, many more blame the affair their wives had a year ago with some textile salesman during a training conference in Seattle."

Though the paper originally focused on U.S. couples' growing intimacy problems, Piers was compelled to write about other issues, as well.

"Often, wives' repeated verbal requests, or 'nagging,' aggravate their husbands so much that they choose to spend every evening in their basements, listening to Miles Davis records and polishing their model train collections," he wrote. "Many often report muttering 'castrating bitch' when listening to her shrill voice from upstairs."

Though Piers is well respected within the sociology community, some colleagues charge that his paper breaks no new ground.

"On page 73, Piers reports that 'the married American male can no longer stand his wife's hyena-like laugh,'" said Boston University sociology professor Dr. Theodore Muncie. "I don't know if Piers keeps up on the literature, but I reported that trend almost three years ago. By the time Piers released his findings, the American husband's general attitude toward the laugh had long passed into the stage known as 'icy acceptance.'"

Continued Muncie: "Piers also reports that American men seem to enjoy an after-dinner, single-malt scotch for the purpose of relaxation. Yet, as almost any reputable sociologist will tell you, that is inaccurate. The prevailing trend is to enjoy a glass of Merlot or possibly cognac, and it has been ever since upper-class U.S. males finished grad school."

Piers' 1974 paper, Domestic Situationality: The Fortunate Male In American Society, was hailed as a landmark work almost immediately upon publication. Published one month after Piers' wedding to college sweetheart Angela Beckman, Domestic Situationality reported that American males were "blissfully happy, despite lacking the freedom of single life." However, in his 2000 paper, U.S. Wives: Lying, Cheating Whores? he found an enormous upswing in infidelity among American middle-aged wives and a parallel rise in the risk of fiery death among single male textile salesmen from Seattle.

"When that report came out, everyone told me I was imagining things, that it was all in my head," Piers said. "But the evidence was clearly there for American men–the late nights, the secret phone calls, the way American wives seemed to be getting a lot more dressed up every time they left the house. All I can say is my wife Angela sure was upset when that report was released."

Piers added that the average American male is unsure whether to get a chicken-parmesan sub at Luigi's Pizza or shrimp lo mein at Hunan Garden when they go to lunch in the next 45 minutes or so. He said that his paper on the subject, Gustatory Cognitive Dissonance In The American Male: 12 p.m. To 1 p.m., will be published later this afternoon.