July 27, 2001
Would Genghis Khan have conquered so
much of the world if he had a wife? That's the question two Toronto
researchers asked themselves, and came to the conclusion that
he probably wouldn't. They believe wars are caused by a surplus
of young men and a shortage of wives.
After looking at the figures for more
than 150 countries they found that the more unattached young
men a country has wandering around, the more likely they are
to get up to no good in their spare time. And that the more of
us who take a walk down that aisle, the more peaceful we become
as a country.
Well, this doesn't come as a surprise
to any of us married men. After all, who has time to invade small
countries when there are china patterns to pick out and thank-you
cards to address?
They point to Ireland for example, which
until recently has had - statistically speaking - too many single
men hanging around street corners at closing time. As the young
men there get older, so the theory goes, Ireland should be in
for a period of calm. Pretty soon everyone in the Emerald Isle
will be settling down for a cup of milky tea and Coronation Street
So back to Genghis Khan. How would history
have been different if this 13th century Mongol warrior had decided
to get married young and settle down instead of bloodily carving
himself an empire that stretched from Korea to Kiev?
"Are you going out dressed like
Genghis looked at himself in the hall
"Why, what's wrong with it?"
he asked his wife. She was clearly not happy with him going out
for the second night in a row.
"In your best fur vest? If you get
one drop of blood on it, it'll be ruined."
"But it makes me look tough."
Genghis sullenly took off the vest and hung it up next to the
keys to the mini-wagon.
"And what about that hat?"
Mrs. Khan pointed at the fur-trimmed hat with a metal spike that
framed Genghis' fierce face.
"What's wrong with it?" the
mighty warrior roared quietly, since the kids were already in
bed. "It's my old one."
"Exactly," said she who must
be obeyed on pain of death or at least a night on the couch.
"I thought I told you to throw that ratty old thing out."
Genghis sighed. She was always throwing
out his favourite stuff.
"So when will you be back?"
Her hands were on her hips.
"When my last enemy is dead and
the wails and lamentation of their womenfolk join the howls of
the wind." Genghis slashed at the air with his blade blackened
by the blood of thousands.
"Well, you know we're going to my
sister's wedding this weekend, so you better be back by then.
Or had you forgotten?"
"Yes dear, I remember." Genghis
dragged his mighty sword in the dirt behind him as he shuffled
out the door.
"Since you're going out, would it
kill you to take the garbage with you? Honestly, you have time
to rape and pillage with your friends, but you don't have time
to hang those blinds in the kitchen."
"As soon as I get back, dearest."
"And don't forget to pick up a quart
of goat's milk on your way home."