News that Walmart is peddling a "Training to be Batman's Wife" T-shirt to juniors has raised ire for its retrograde bullshittery. Lost in the ruckus is the fact that it's not just offensive for its sexism — it's offensive because Batman is the type of douche that no woman would realistically go for. Surely there's a better superhero to aspire to love? Nah, doubt it.
Here is the T-shirt.
Of course, any T-shirt suggesting a woman would rather be a wife-in-training instead of a superhero herself (or literally anything else) is patently stupid. But I prefer my sexist insults to have some basis in reality if at all possible. Seriously, what woman in her right mind would actually want to marry Batman? Sleep with him? Sure. Marry? Hahahahhahahhaa. Suckers.
Over at PJ Says, author PJ Curtis makes a good point:
Batman Doesn't Have a Wife
Batman isn't the marrying kind. He has too much baggage for a successful relationship. His life is too dangerous. So "training" for that position is just stupid.
Let's be fair. He wouldn't be worth training for even if he were willing to marry on account of his inability to form actual, emotional human attachments. But that's a lot of words for a t-shirt.
Pros: Hot, rich, brooding
Cons: Cut-off freak who is INCAPABLE OF LOVE. And a real douche.
Matt Taibbi said it well in an old review of the The Dark Knight Rises:
Batman's a brooding, self-serious douche who lives in a mansion, drives a Lamborghini, and acts like he can't even imagine wanting to get laid unless it somehow helps him fulfill his mission of protecting Gotham from its lurking proletarian community.
But as far as I'm concerned, the most accurate portrayal of what it would be like to date actual Batman is in, of all places, The Lego Movie. Batman, voiced by Will Arnett, finally achieves his true self as a frat boy douche who likes to party, play pranks, and is a sulking teenager obsessed with his own pain, which he expresses musically in a terrible, lurching industrial metal song called "Untitled Self Portrait."
In an interview with Hero Complex, Arnett nails it:
HC: It has occurred to me in the past that Batman would not be a great boyfriend, which is another area you explore in this movie. What do you think it would be like to date Batman?
WA: It would be terrible on most levels. The one area that would be great would be if you were ever in any kind of danger. Apart from that, most of his nights are taken up.
Conclusion: It's probably not going to work out with Batman. It's not going to work out with any other superheroes, either. Look, superheroes are terrific fun, but they are mostly sprung from the minds of men free to imagine and create characters who are above the law, above morality, above physics, and often suspended above the ground, looking down at us. These very traits make them great at saving people and making out while upside-down, they are not so great at saving themselves or hanging out when you get your period or need to go to the DMV. They are not even capable of being available for annual vacations, or of lazing around on a Sunday, reading aloud from the New Yorker. Breeding might not be in the cards either, if that's on your to-do list.
As a result, and thanks to their origin stories, they are also pretty much all emotionally damaged, tortured weirdos who would not make good partners over the long haul. Let's consider even a few at a glance based on the popular understanding of their characters (hint: no, I'm not a comic book expert, but I do understand fantasies):
Pros: Swings around the city. Is loyal and sweet.
Cons: Too dorky. Already in love with that other chick.
Pros: Rich, gadget-y, hot.
Cons: Arrogant. Womanizer. Medical condition. Prolly sleeps real late.
Pros: Good-looking. Nice. Loyal. Humble. Flies.
Cons: Always saving someone, somewhere. Too aw-shucks. Already in love with that other chick.
Pros: Fast. Probably doesn't mind cleaning up a bit around the house.
Cons: Too speedy to be an attentive lover.
Pros: Is a genius. Reads. Releases hott pheromones.
Cons: Can't take a beast to a party. Or anywhere.
Pros: Personal furniture-lifter.
Cons: Kind of a dick when he's mad. Bad dresser.
Pros: Patriotic, hot, loyal. A lot of people think Captain America is the best boyfriend candidate out there in superhero land because he's so nice.
Cons: Patriotic. Blond. Boring.
The only answer is to date Catwoman. But I know I left out some perfect, lesser-known superhero boyfriend/husband out there. REVEAL HIM.
Illustration by Jim Cooke.