Do Men Want a “Hall Pass?”

I saw the movie Hall Pass on Saturday night with a couple of my married guy friends. I like the Farrelly brothers because their movies are slapstick funny, occasionally smart as a whip and—let’s face it—I’m a guy who loves scatological humor. So a movie about frustrated 40-ish married guys getting a permission slip for a week off of marriage and fumbling miserably along the way seemed perfect.

If you’re looking for a movie review that’s not my intent. I’ll just say that if you go into it with minimum expectations and the realization you’re about to see some stupid-funny shit, you’ll like it. But it wasn’t the gags and gross-out scenes that prompted this post. It’s the message.

And the message is “Married guys crave a Hall Pass because they’re bored with their wives and want a week off from marriage to fuck other women.”

But I just don’t think that’s true. I mean sure, there are married guys out there who want to (and have) cheat. But I don’t think they’re the majority. I’m totally in love with my wife and I’m not bored with her at all. If anything, things in the romance department are better now than they were five years ago when I married her.  Likewise, most of the guys I know are still very much sexually attracted to their wives. So telling us to stop being with the person we already love being with really doesn’t make much sense, and the whole idea of a sexual Hall Pass becomes moot.

I think the Farrelly brothers made a mistake by focusing on the sexual part of the Pass. I want a Hall Pass of a different variety. I crave not the temporary freedom to have sex with other women. I have no interest in going to the hottest club and flirting, dancing and grinding up on attractive women to feel better about my advancing years. You know what I (and many married men) want?

I want a Hall Pass that gives me the freedom to shirk my responsibilities for a week.

The immediate question is what would guys do with that week. It’s gonna depend on the guy. I have married male friends who would use it to prepare for their fantasy football draft or play video games the whole time. Others would go to the bar for a week-long bender, or gamble at the casino. Personally, I’d gather all my friends in an RV and drive across the country, hitting up different baseball stadiums along the way. I wouldn’t work, I wouldn’t have a kid to take care of or a wife looking over my shoulder. We’d eat junk all day, tell all our old stories, crack very inappropriate jokes and have the time of our lives. Would that RV resemble a testosterone-fueled, drunken (except for the driver), ass-reeking,  mobile shit storm? Hell yes it would. And it would be utterly fantastic.

Not to spoil the movie, but at first that’s exactly what Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis do (minus the RV). Although they talk a lot of smack about bedding as many members of the fairer sex as possible, their first two days of the Hall Pass are spent with their friends. They eat to their heart’s content at Applebees. They go on golfing excursions. They get drunk together at bars. That is exactly how I’d want to cash in my Hall Pass. Basically reliving my college years for a week with my friends, minus all the sexual escapades.

Although I enjoyed the movie, I think the Farrelly brothers didn’t give men enough credit in general. Most of us don’t truly believe we can bang supermodels, and I can only speak for myself but I wouldn’t want to even if I could. Maybe we’d like to have more sex with our wives, but we certainly don’t want to step outside of our marriage for physical intimacy. But what we do want is a small taste of the carefree life we lived years ago.

And I don’t think that’s such a bad thing.

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13 thoughts on “Do Men Want a “Hall Pass?”

  1. i agree, i think that’s what my husband would do too if given a hall pass haha =) u make a good point, i’d like a hall pass myself to live my carefree young days!

  2. I’m not married yet, but I think you’ve gotten this exactly right. When my sister and I were little enough to need taking care of, my parents both took occasional weekends with their friends and left the other to take care of us and the house for a few days. It was a little different from your situation because my mom didn’t work, so what she needed was a break from two bratty little girls and a dog and laundry and dishes, while my dad needed a break from the stress of providing for a family on a single income. But now that I’m older (almost your age) I see how important this was for them. They’re still the happiest married couple I know after 35 years.

  3. I don’t think it’s just husbands that deserve such a ‘Hall Pass’…the type you portray – week long spa vacations with a batch of awesome girlfriends, drinks that are brought to us, not prepared by us…the list goes on…oh, to drink to excess without having to wake up with a hangover and hear a high-pitched “MOMMY” before the sun rises…opps…I meant to say “oh to dream”….

  4. Totally. Just want a weekend or week off of having to be responsible. Would give anything for a week to dick around the houseband get projects done, drink beer, watch sports, read the paper.

  5. The whole trailer is about them pursuing women outside of their marriage. Why would a married man even go to see this film after knowing the content upfront? You’re right that they got it wrong, but I also think that families should find ways to give each other breaks without having to take time off from their family.

  6. Chantilly: Well, we’ll have to agree to disagree.

    First of all, your question of why a married man would go see this movie is a little silly. Movies are an escape. I really like the directors (Kingpin, Something About Mary, Dumb & Dumber) and I thought it would be funny. I’m against murder but I’ve seen Silence of the Lambs. So I think the point you were trying to make there is, well, non-existent.

    As to your final point, I disagree again. None of us are bad parents if we admit we need some time to ourselves occasionally. In fact, I think that makes us good parents. We devote so much of our time and energy to our families that sometimes we need to recharge our batteries and do something for us. That’s not selfish, it’s self-preservation. Parents who feel this way don’t love their kids any less, they’re just being realistic about needing some “me time.”

  7. Interesting post, but considering most marriages split because of infidelity I think your premise is not the norm. I read somewhere that if given the opportunity without getting caught, would a man have an physical encounter outside of marriage, 87% said yes. I guess you belong to the 13% group. I wonder what the percentage was from that group who lied. ;)

  8. I totally agree. I have not yet seen the movie, but I know I don’t want/need that sort of Hall Pass. I would much prefer your type of hall pass. In fact as you and your RV drive through Michigan, stop and pick me up would you. I need “a vacation from my problems” as Bob Wylie once said. Please tell me you know who Bob Wylie is???

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