Mary Wakefield: A testosterone-filled brain cannot cope with an Oscar-winning wife

A chap may think he wants to bag one of the world's most beautiful and talented actresses, but marrying her will most likely drive him to despair

Share
Related Topics

Even lovely Sandra Bullock and lovelier Kate Winslet must be wondering if there's actually is a curse attached to the Best Actress Oscar. If they've caught a glimpse of a newspaper this week, they'll have seen the endless pics of those other actresses who've won the Oscar but lost their man: Julia Roberts, Hilary Swank, Halle Berry, Susan Sarandon, that nice Reese Witherspoon. Well, I'm sorry to point this out, especially when Jesse James (Mr Sandra Bullock) has just apologised so nicely and publicly for his affair with a tattooed lady, but I think it's worse than a curse. A curse can be reversed. If it were just a curse, the contenders for best actress could make a pilgrimage up into the Hollywood hills and beg some shaman – Shirley MacLaine perhaps – to break the spell.

But what we're dealing with here is irreversible biology. The more you look at studies done on male brains, usually rat brains (pleasantly apt), the more obvious it becomes that though evolution has equipped this awesome organ to triumph over many fearsome challenges, it just can't and will never be able to cope with having an Oscar-winning wife. It's an underexplored field, celebrity neuroscience, but given the acres of expensive, glossy paper devoted to scrutinising every move any actor makes, I think, perhaps, I'm on to a winner.

The first thing to know is that male brains, even the smaller ones preferred by celebrities, really do get most of their kicks from success. A woman's brain is built to take pleasure from a variety of different things: work, family life, good friendships. So Sandra Bullock, though pleased with her Oscar, will also feel content if her husband's happy (though maybe not right now). Not so Jesse James. A bloke's testosterone-filled brain compels him to get ahead – that's what makes him happy. But success is relative, especially in LA. And what's your own TV show when your wife's face is on billboards worldwide? For a man, being married to an Oscar-winning actress is to be trapped as the underdog in a two-man hierarchy, forced to smile for the cameras and for your adoring wife, while inside you crave dominance, perhaps carnage.

Don't believe me? Just Google that Sarah Jessica Parker, and watch for pics of her miserable, white-faced husband, the much, much less successful Matthew Broderick, trailing behind, muttering pleasantries, plotting murder.

So pity the poor Hollywood love rats. To add to their misery, there's the impossibility of ever being able to express it. A man's relatively shallow limbic system means that he's unlikely to understand his emotions, let alone be able to articulate them. And even if he could, there's no hope of a solution. It's not as if Jesse can say to Sandra: well look, darling, it's your success that's making me suicidal – can you quit the day job and run a cake shop instead?

So-called "friends" of Kate Winslet and Sam Mendes explained their split as a difference in temperament: when they got back from work, Kate wanted to pour a glass of wine and yak on, whereas Sam wanted to watch baseball. But that's not temperament, that's just gender. A woman's brain releases delicious, calming oxytocin during a nice heart-to-heart; a male brain relaxes only when switched off entirely. And whereas a normal couple might reach an unspoken compromise – you babble away dear, while I pretend to listen – a male celeb always has other options. Any husband of an Oscar-level actress will be besieged by girls, all driven out of their monkey minds with desire to sleep with a more famous woman's man. Sam, Jesse, Brad, Ryan, Chad, Benjamin – did you think it was just your personal appeal?

Perhaps celebrity neuroscience isn't such a good idea after all; it leads you too soon to the universal chemical truth behind what looks like individual decisions. And also to the awful catch-22s inherent in celebrity life: a chap may think he wants to bag one of the world's most beautiful and talented actresses, but marrying her will most likely drive him to despair. An actress will inevitably want to be successful in work and in love, but the nearer that golden Oscar comes, the more compelled her husband will feel to stray.

Big isn't always better in hospitals

Sometimes it's best not to read the awful reports of disease-ridden hospitals, and the deadly viruses inspectors find in the corners. If you do end up in casualty, it'll only add anxiety to injury. But in this case it's worth taking in the latest report by the Care Quality Commission, not so much for its findings as for its conclusions.

The CQC is a new health watchdog, and it's sniffed out evidence of substandard services in two NHS trusts – Mid Staffordshire and Milton Keynes. In the hospitals run by these trusts, the CQC found dirty instruments and unflushed toilets, rampant disease and overworked staff. So what does the CQC do?

To universal approval, it has threatened the two hospitals with hefty fines, up to £50,000 each. But for the life of me, I can't work out what good a fine will do. These hospitals are grubby and unsafe because they're vast and short-staffed. Won't less money make them worse? Perhaps a better question is: why are none of the major political parties brave enough to admit that the era of big hospitals may be over?

Across the country there are clean little clinics (run for the NHS by private providers) which treat patients so well and efficiently that far fewer of them end up on bug-infested wards. Why not have more of them and fewer hospitals, and solve the problem by helping people to avoid MRSA altogether?

Not everyone would kill for immortality

Robert Pattinson, aka Edward the Twilight vampire, has been out and about getting wrecked. Even so, he turns out to be a more sensible man than most. "Would I want to live for ever, like Edward? No way," he said to one interviewer. "Not under any circumstances. I don't think anyone would want to, would they?"

Over the years, I've done a bit of unofficial polling on the subject of immortality and made an odd discovery. Whereas about 90 per cent of women say they'd rather be dead than have to live for ever, 90 per cent of men say they'd leap at the chance. Can it really be that much more fun to be a bloke? Or do they think it's wimpy to admit to being daunted by eternity.

Take it from Tina

The wisest words of the week come from the excellent Tina Fey, the American comedian whose impression of Sarah Palin is almost as famous as Palin herself. On the endlessly disputed subject of plastic surgery – is it worth it? How young should I start? – Tina has the final word, a crushing and inescapable truth: "You've got a simple choice, girls," she said this week. "Either look old or look creepy. That's it."

React Now

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

C# Developer (HTML5, JavaScript, ASP.NET, Mathematics, Entity)

£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Integration Developer (.NET, Tibco EMS, SQL 2008/2012, XML)

£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows, Network Security)

£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Trade Desk Specialist (FIX, Linux, Windows...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor's Letter: The final instalment of our WW1 series

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
 

Simon Usborne: The more you watch pro cycling, the more you understand its social complexity

Simon Usborne
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice