The high jump began as a military test. Soldiers were ordered to balance a horizontal bar atop two stabilizing poles…and then leap over it.

Many men could only jump over a bar raised 30 centimeters (12 inches) or less.

Some warriors could leap so high that their feet cleared the bar set at 50 centimeters (19 ⅔ inches) with a straight hop. 

Over time, the first humans to best the bar realized that when jumping feet first from a standstill, the average body was pretty limited to how high you could go (after all, even at time of writing the number of men and women on the planet who can jump flat-footed with basketball in hand to dunk it into a regulation 10 foot basketball hoop is a pretty small number). 

However, just as more people can dunk a basketball on the move than to jump from a standing position, early high jump innovators realized that getting a running start could increase your chances of success leaping over a high bar.

That was one innovation in high jumping technique.

In the centuries since, there have been quite a few more.

In today’s article, we’d like to compare the art of being a husband with the historical evolution of the world record for the high jump. 

The reason why is simple: in the humdrum competition of husbands, that same man who statistics may say is just centimeters/inches away from getting dumped in a divorce-- or dying in an early death-- is also just centimeters/inches away from being a champion husband his wife will continue to love, adore, respect and yes-- at times LOL-- obey. 

A bit more historical context ought to help you understand, dear reader.

When it comes to champion high jumpers, we’re talking about a rapidly decreasing number of guys who could pass the test-- a smaller and smaller number with each inch and centimeter in increased height demanded.

Few men could then or can now get their feet and body safely over a bar set at 1 meter (100 centimeters; 39 ⅓ inches; 3 feet 3 inches)-- and you have to believe that in addition to a running start, pulling one’s knees up so the feet were elevated was and is a big help.

Since the beginning of high jumping, relatively very few have exceeded that height.

Still, because it was fun and men like to compete, it’s no surprise that this military testing activity evolved into a sport with competitions taking place at the Greek Olympics.

For millennia, It was a rare gent indeed who could exceed one meter. 

Yet still, somehow the elite among high jumpers kept raising the bar.

Someone managed 3 and a half feet, and then 4 feet were leapt over in a single bound. 

4 and a half feet was accomplished. 

By the 1800s-- if not before-- a height of 5 feet (60 inches; 152.4 centimeters) became the competitive height to beat.

Throughout the 19th century, the most popular technique was known as the “scissors kick”-- a high jump method whereby the jumper would actually approach the bar backwards, kick his leg up in the air with force and the other would follow in a scissors fashion, contorting the body a bit to get over the bar.

Historical records are scarce, but by the beginning of the 19th century it’s generally acknowledged that the best high jumper-- an unknown athlete-- could manage to clear a bar over 5 and a half feet off the ground. Allegedly it happened. But there’s not much proof-- and his name wasn’t recorded to commemorate what was such a mighty feat at the time.

Today, however, many high schools have one or more athletes who can best that number of 5 ½ feet (66 inches; 167 ⅔ centimeters; 1.68 meters). 

And the often-one-upped current world record is much, much, higher.


Men who compete in the high jump literally kept raising the bar.

And fellas, in Mr. Cubic Zirconia’s oh-so-humble opinion, therein lies a big part of today’s secret to being the high-above-average husband your wife deserves-- for some what might seem a large leap that may in fact be only inches away.

Bear with me as we return to our high jump metaphor a moment, ok?

In the century and decades after the first modern summer Olympics in 1896 when 6 feet was possible for the elite and 5 feet was still a very respectable height for a high jumper, a few things  became clear:

  1. There is only so high someone could go with any given technique.
  2. New techniques were tried, some perfected, and all that seemed to work were copied.
  3. After a series of continued-improvement record-breakers all using the same technique, the gains possible with any given technique would get smaller and smaller.

The original scissors kick style gave way to a popular new technique called the "Western Roll". 

Here, the jumper made a forward-facing approach, kicked his inside leg upwards, and then literally rolled over the bar belly first. The creative new way of doing the jump allowed one of the world’s best track-and-field athletes to increase the world record to 79 inches (6 feet 7 inches; 200 ⅔ centimeters; a tad over two meters).

You might compare that to the history of what made a man husband material.

At one time the technique was pretty simple: me man, you woman, I hunt, you cook, now kiss me and let’s make babies you’ll take feed and I’ll protect.

That was a pretty low bar (so low a neanderthal could do it you might say).

Women today expect something more and different from husbands, right?

Well, when it came to the evolution of what was considered among the highest of high jumps, the bar was raised once more when innovative high jumpers modified the “Western Roll” method with speed and developed what became known as the "Straddle Technique." 

A 1960s jumper using this completely non-sexual track-and-field technique not only set the world record at 2.23 meters in height (87.75 inches or 7 feet 3 and ¾ inches), but also inspired laughter in less-than-mature new fans first learning to love the sport for years to come. 

Climb aboard the high jump train and chug with me to the fateful year of 1967.

That’s when Dick Fosbury introduced an unconventional technique that came to be known as the "Fosbury Flop". 

Running toward the bar, the jumper twists his body and arches his back as he goes over the bar in a sideways flopping style that often means a back-first crash landing on the other side (good thing there’s now standard a soft mat for high jumpers to land on). 

If you’ve watched the Olympics in person or on television in the last 6 decades, that’s the exact same technique you’ve probably seen athletes use in the high jump competition.

Not everyone can do The Fosbury Flop, of course.
  Or the Straddle Technique, Western Roll, or Scissors Kick either.
    But a guy who can do run and passably attempt ANY of those modern techniques might as well be standing head-and-shoulders above those old military grunts hopping off two feet from a standing still position.

There’s just no comparison.

Do you get what I’m telling you, men?

All these techniques for a higher high jump have been discovered, perfected, observed, filmed, and copied in the last 100 years and change.

In the same way, the things that made a great husband 100 years ago have also changed. The bar has been raised. And I for one think we have to challenge ourselves to KEEP RAISING THAT BAR AS HUSBANDS.

Since Fosbury’s first flop, the official high jump world record has inched upward, the top recorded jump having now been topped two dozen more times-- and every single time the highest height has been topped since 2.23 meters, it’s been by a single inch or less (0.01 meters or less, often just a half-inch or even a quarter-inch).

We’re talking about a number about as high as your fingers would be apart if you were holding four quarters stacked in between two of them.

In other words, not much difference between the best and the second-best.

The history of the high jump reflects an interesting pattern: each time the bar has been raised, a new technique to get over it had to be developed.

To state it another way: a bold man willing to try something new has been required many times to successfully raise the bar.

Cuban Javier Sotomayor set the record in 1988, and since then only he HIMSELF has beaten himself-- twice, with the most recent attempt having been the current 1993 official world record. That record is still standing with high-raised bar 3 plus decades later at 2.45 m (245 centimeters; 96.25 inches; 8 feet 1⁄4 inches).

I want you to think today about that next quarter inch.

So far no man (or woman for that matter) has managed to top Sotomayor in an officially-recorded competition.

Yet in the last 150 years thousands upon thousands of men and teen boys-- women and young girls, too-- have bested what was once thought for thousands of years to be the highest of high jumps. 

That’s what happens when a community of people Raise the Bar.

You want to set a record and do the world’s highest high jump. Go for it. 

You want to somehow be acknowledged the world’s best husband. 

You do it for you, man (I know I have no damn chance).

Here’s why I’m cheering for ya: the rest of us guys who are at least above average and working to get better will get to ride your coat-tails higher and higher when we see how you did it.

Not too shabby, this modern world of transparency we live in.

Just as the most elite high jumpers using the now most popular bar vaulting technique have continued to raise the bar, well someone out there just might perfect the art of being a husband. Good for him. I ain’t worried about that goal. The advantage of a ridiculously ambitious goal is that it sets the bar very high (so even in failure it may be a success-- because your best may not be THE best, but measured against the ordinary, it’s pretty awesome).

Nah, don’t sweat winning the world’s best husband award. 

But I DO want you to think about those last 3 feet in world record high jump gains.

In high jumping, you don’t have to exceed Javier Sotomayor’s 2.45 m (245 centimeters; 96.25 inches; 8 feet 1⁄4 inches) to be considered a great high jumper relative to thousands of years of history.

Just 5 feet (60 inches; 152.4 centimeters)-- which was not much more than 100 years ago thought to be so exceedingly difficult that only a handful of men ever did it-- will put you in the top high-above-average tier today.

The same thing goes for being an above-average husband.

Because most husbands aren’t very good at being a husband.

Frankly, in my opinion women just haven’t expected much of their mates for millennia.

I’m an optimist. 

So while I know statistically that the average man is 

  • a single bullet, vehicle accident while taking dumb but ‘manly’ risks, case of beers, carton of cigarettes, or one final pre-funeral buffet fistful of unhealthy finger foods away from an early death...

And while I also realize that the average husband is

  • a single lie, caught-with-pants-down moment of infidelity, major couple’s financial challenge, screamer of a parenting argument, or one final multi-day pile of dirty dishes away from his irritated and feeling-under-appreciated wife leaving his below-average behind...

I nonetheless believe in my gut that if you’re reading this:

  • you’re NOT an average man 
  • you are an ABOVE AVERAGE husband (or will be)
  • you too will learn-- if you haven’t already-- that the historical bar for husbands has been pretty damn low
  • you still can (and should) IMPROVE.

Men, it's time to raise the bar in our relationships.

Frankly, we owe more and better to our wives than as a group we’ve been giving.

Improved sexual knowledge?

Too many insecure men assume they know what they’re doing in the bedroom and pout or get defensive when she gives feedback on how he might give her a better and more sensual experience. 

Genuine medical and physiological challenges aside, over time, this “I must know what to do with my penis since I was born with it” attitude of men is how way too many unsatisfied wives go 40 years without an orgasm.

Let’s put our ego aside and learn how to PLEASE HER better.

Raise the Bar!

Increasing the likelihood of greater life longevity?

It’s time to get serious about our health and fitness, make smarter CHOICES and demonstrate with ACTION that we actually WANT to live another 20, 30, 40, 50+ years with her by our side.

Personally, for me this meant the third time being the charm on quitting smoking. 

I’m proud to declare that I am now smoke free for going on two years. Two times before I quit for a year or more and went back to the habit. Never again. I promised Mrs. Cubic Zirconia I would not smoke again and that I wanked many more years of life with her than I was on track to get by being a tobacco user. I will not break that promise. 

A challenge to any man who’s read this far with me today: What promise have you wished you could but not given your wife-- even though you know doing so would make her very happy-- because you’re anxious you might not be ‘man enough’ to keep that promise?

Raise the Bar!

Help with household chores? 

Bro, it’s 2024. You can’t just mansplain why all the to-do’s around the house are ‘WOMEN’S WORK’ anymore: no woman worth a wedding wants to feel taken advantage of -- and a guy who plays games, watches television or jerks around on the internet while his wife unhappily handles all the housework is in my opinion a lazy jerk taking advantage of historical norms that just aren’t relevant today. 

And yeah, that goes for working and non-working wives. And working and non-working husbands, too. Don’t matter. The only exception in my view is if your marriage contract was explicitly negotiated along traditional lines that require the man to provide all financial support for the family while the woman not working outside the home takes care of that family and that home.

While I don’t do much cleaning myself, you too can HIRE A HOUSEKEEPER if you’re not gonna help do the housework. Bottom line: expecting your wife to handle 100% of that ish ain’t cool-- and is only okay if you did indeed create that as part of your marriage contract before the wedding.

Raise the Bar!

Continued dating and courtship?

This is one area where personally I’ve had challenges. 

How to keep it FUN, FRESH, and FLIRTY when you’ve fucked her five hundred times and forgotten more about her than you ever even learned about anyone else?

I’m still figuring this out, honestly.

The things I’m trying to do personally may be of value to any man brave enough to have gotten all the way down here in the last lines of this article:

  • Live as if I haven’t “won her” yet
  • Be responsible for planning dates
  • Give her a varied experience of different fun things to do together
  • Surprise gifts, love notes and acts of service

Raise the Bar!

The risk of running and jumping vs the risk of standing still

I’m gonna close this article simply.

As noted earlier, the average man and husband makes choices and does things that put his sorry behind at risk-- he indeed might be just centimeters/inches away from these unpleasant fates-- of getting dumped in a divorce, or dying in an early death.

But in a weird historical quirk that parallels the historical evolution of the world record for the high jump, I personally believe that same man at risk of death or divorce is also just centimeters/inches away from becoming a champion husband his wife will continue to love, adore, respect and yes-- at times LOL-- obey.

In the humdrum competition of husbands, it isn’t hard to be below average.

It’s easy to be average, too, considering how husbands have sucked so much throughout history.

But frankly, being so above average that your wife KNOWS SHE HAS AN AWESOME MAN isn’t that difficult-- IF a guy will man up and put as much effort into being a great husband as some guys put into their fantasy football, video game or collectibles-collecting hobby.

If you made it this far, I’d be willing to bet you’re already an above-average husband-- or running and jumping on your way to being one.

If not, and the guy is content to be an average asshole too lazy or too afraid to raise the bar …well…(there’s zero chance he’ll read this so I’ll be harsh: the risk of standing still is that you look pretty dumb when your lady sees someone leap right over you. In that case, don’t be surprised to lose her. An irritated, under-appreciated wife has every right to leave a guy mentally stuck in with limiting beliefs how man/woman relationships were done hundreds of years ago. And that unhappy and unsatisfied lady may leave her standing-still man for the single life-- or replace the bum for another above-average man who can make her feel like a lucky woman-- again or for the first time. Hell, she may feel far more satisfied choosing to ride the current polyamory wave and become the second or third wife to an amazing guy who’s already married (after all, what red-blooded lady wouldn’t agree that Channing Tatum or Christian Bale probably deserve -- and without laws restricting the practice, and they wanted it, would likely have-- more than one wife?).

Either way, that first guy lost because he didn't realize that the secret to being the husband our wives deserve may be just a few extra inches.

I pity the fool.

(And no, I wasn’t talking about THOSE inches. Though to be fair, you could be excused for thinking that-- considering I wasn’t able to cover the high jump “straddle technique” without at least one sex joke).

Raise the Bar,

Mr. Cubic Zirconia