Smug married Americanos?

I read both the Bridget Jones (sp?) books and was appalled by the ‘Smug Marrieds’ depicted therein, thinking (rather smugly myself, it must be admitted) Thank goodness we don’t have people like that in the good old US of A! Looking down their noses at the unfettered and untethered, giving us the benefit of their unrequested advice, and just generally being pains in our out-partying-of-a-Saturday arses.

Imagine my chagrin when an erstwhile colleague of mine–a former reality show producer who used to specialize in getting college students so drunk that they’d boink each other in full view of an 8-cam production crew–re-emerged as a bona fide Smug Married. Not only does this guy send me baby photo albums via email, but he reads my Single-Girl-Meets-World columns everywhere they’re published (and there are more places than this modest little blog) and then sends me snarky emails wanting to know whether I’d like a “real male opinion.”

Excuse me, but when were you ever a real male? I want to ask.

But I don’t. Instead I just tell him that my girlfriends–who are variously professional card sharps, mag hags and high-ticket Manhattan pole dancers–have far more insight into the red-blooded male mind than he ever could.

He concedes my point rather graciously, having already gotten my editor’s email address. Which, I think, was all he was ever really after. Even Smug-Marrieds-with-baby need income. (In fact, they probably need it more than the rest of us.)

Yet I fume. How did I ever get roped into debating the etiquette of singlehood with someone whose only experience of it this past decade was via dailies and log books? Why does he want to talk to me about strip clubs, when we never broached the subject in four years of mutual un-marriedness? Why am I debating with him at all, in fact? If I enjoyed snippy back-and-forth exchanges, I would be an aspiring talk show host, not a columnist.

Anyway. Everyone has a right to their own opinion. However, if I’m going to have some dude’s 10 cents forced upon me, I think it’s my right to get something in return. For instance: A nice dinner. Squiring me around to Bar Mitzvahs and other family events. Failing that, maybe a few hours’ worth of household chores? I’m willing to negotiate. And I hate taking out the trash.

The thing is (the thing is the thing is the thing, as my crackleberry ex-roommate used to stutter), Smug Whatevers don’t think you should want anything in return. They think that their Smug Opinion is a treasure in its own right.

Why? I fail to see how this Smug Married man ever one-upped me. He’s 10 years older than me, not financially better off, and not living a more stimulating or more fulfilling life. He’s just…married, with a 7 month old baby.

 This is all very good, and I’m happy for him, and I hope it brings him the peace he was so lacking when I knew him. But as long as I’m not contacting him with grooming tips and querying advice and 101 Ways Not to Piss off my Times Editor, I think he should lay off the “So why do you really hang out late-night in strip clubs, Lena?” emails.

(Answer, for all you pervy but not well-read people out there: B/c I spend a lot of time in Las Vegas, where Spearmint Rhino is as socially acceptable as Starbucks.)

I think this is a fair request. Especially since I broke down my strip club reasoning in my last Times column, and if he’d really been reading it, instead of just trying to Smug Debate me, he would have his answer.

But in thinking about it, I’m realizing…maybe he’s not so smug at all. Maybe he’s just alone at home with a baby, remembering his single days, and bored.

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March 2008

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