Oops She’s Single Again

Britney Spears, courtesy Wikipedia.

Britney Spears, courtesy Wikipedia.

Britney Spears and the people of Connecticut both voted Independent this week.

But Britney captured my interest in a way that Senator Joe Lieberman never could, even if he is a nice Jewish boy.

Sure they’ll both have plenty of party invitations, but I’m more concerned for her. A recent study found that if you’re a woman, divorce is bad for your health.

Granted, dumping an unemployed, 28-year-old father of two babies who spends more time changing hairstyles than changing diapers is probably not the biggest “Oops!” in the world for Britney–that would have been hooking up with the loser in the first place. K-Fed? A cross between K-M art and Federated? Classy written all over that guy.

At first glance, both divorce stories made me laugh out loud. “Britney Spears has filed for divorce from her husband Kevin Federline, citing irreconcilable differences, like Britney is the only one with a career.” And “Stand by your man or get sick, study says.”

What a load of hooey, I thought, thinking of how many women I knew who were far better off once they’d lost a couple hundred pounds of husband. Maybe Britney can get back together with Justin Timberlake. They were so cute on the Mickey Mouse Club.

As I pictured them spawning a whole chorus line of belly-baring, head-popping, break-dancing babies, I couldn’t help wondering about that other story. The one about real women getting divorced, without a record deal and a few hundred servants to keep them warm at night.

Conducted over a ten-year period at Iowa State University, the study found that women who were divorced were not just husband-less, they also had less income, less help around the house, and less–and sometimes no–health insurance.

“What we found was that the act of getting a divorce produced no immediate effects on [physical] health, but it did have effects on mental health,” said co-author Fred Lorenz. “Ten years later, those effects on mental health led to effects in physical health.”

Now granted, these women all lived in Iowa, which has got to be the most depressing, schizophrenic place on earth. How would you like to be wined and dined and complimented and courted like crazy by presidential hopefuls once every four years, and then completely ignored until someone had a craving for potatoes? I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole state eventually developed some mental health issues. Maybe the divorced women are just a bit more precocious.

And it’s not like any of those Hawkeyes–who probably kept the house but lost their season tickets in the divorce settlement–had Britney’s $38 million bucks to help mend their broken hearts. When they were interviewed a decade later, the divorced women reported 37 percent more sickness than the married ones. Do they not have match.com in Iowa? Or are they putting something funny in the Happy Hour Cosmopolitans in Des Moines?

Personally, I think Britney and those women from Iowa ought to get together for a few cocktails. I’ve always found that the best cure for any kind of man trouble is a night out with the girls.

Even us happily married people (gotta throw hubby a bone here) need a girls’ night out every once in a while. And while Lieberman can probably count on plenty of new friends when he returns to the Senate, we’ll still save him a seat at our table.

Originally published in the Santa Barbara Daily Sound.

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