June 1997
s m u g
smoking jacket
by Jack Smith

Going to the Chapel?

My mother's been bugging the shit out of me to get married. As moms go, mine is a great one. I guess all moms like to harp on things they'd like to change about their kids. It used to be things like, "Can't you be a little less cynical?" and "Why don't you get a real job and forget this whole media thing?" But being the oldest and the most unmarried of her offspring, she's still got a jones to marry me off.

I've tried for years to understand this. It's not like I'm sponging off mom and dad and living at home with my parents lying in bed at night wondering when I'm going to stop littering the living room with beer bottles after an all night cable TV infomercial binge. I have a "real job" (as real as a media job can be) and haven't lived at home in years. I rarely think about this anymore resigning myself to bachelorhood at least for the time being. But I attended the marriage of one of my college pals, Scott, over Memorial Day weekend and had too much free time on the train ride home. After much conditioning by my mom, this is a disastrous combination. Everyone I know is now married so I tried to figure out why I'm over 30 and unmarried.


I've been in a couple of long term relationships and in love, even, but none ever turned into forever. My high school sweetheart and I dated into college but we both lost interest after we learned that there indeed were other reasonably smart people in the world outside our small town. The most that I got out of that relationship was a few bad sweaters for Christmas and some great oral sex.

My next big flame, we'll call her, Miss X, and I had a four-year relationship. We talked about marriage and planned on spending the rest of our lives together. But we both grew up and changed. I became a Midwesterner and she, a psycho bitch who cheated on me with a French guy.

The most recent long termer ended only because I was an idiot. I had the chance to marry a wonderful woman who was in love with me, but I was "confused." (i.e. I was scared shitless of the responsibilities that would come with marriage. Thankfully, this fear has since dissipated into self doubt and occasional bedwetting.)

After going through my past relationships with little clue as to why I'm not betrothed, I moved on to get some grasp as to what I was looking for in a woman that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.


My needs were much simpler as a teenage boy. I needed sex and lots of it. But I like to believe that I'm more complex as a man. I now need an expert slide guitar playing, UNIX guru supermodel. Some would say that's too much to ask for, but I believe my marriage "problem" can be explained in analysis of my requirements and I can justify each of those qualifying factors.

First, slide guitar players know the blues. It's more than understanding the musical form. To be a virtuoso slide player is to empathize with the common man/woman and his/her struggles. It's emotional, baby. I want a woman who can covey passion in non-standard tunings with a long neck beer bottle. (Access to vintage instruments is a bonus and a good guitar collection would only make me love her more.)

Next, UNIX gurus are hard to find when you need 'em. I can't count the number of times I've accessed my shell account only to forget proper grepping syntax. Plus, you've got to be smart to be a guru and intellectual girls are a definite turn on. I'd like to come home after a hard day at the office and find her writing code while listening to Robert Johnson. When we finally decide to hit the sack, she'd be able to work the nuances of the different UNIX flavors into the fantasy stories she'd whisper into my ear. These stories would begin with phrases like, "We go to a party and meet a girl with a Louise Brooks haircut and a Todd Oldham mini. She's compiling pdksh for NetBSD..." I'm getting wood just thinking about it.

Finally, the supermodel thing... I guess some things don't change with age. All guys want to marry a hot chick and to be a supermodel you've got to be foxy. Plus, supermodels, like the Chauncy Gardener character from Being There, have their every simplistic utterance assigned elaborate meaning. They live constantly in the moment without the baggage of thinking about anything too deeply. Supermodels just be. It's important for my mate to be living the Tao.


This little list was pared down a bit. I used to have requirements like, "Stand up comedienne with her own network TV show" and "Martha Stewart." Thankfully, I recognized how insignificant these conditions were and dispensed with them appropriately preferring to have my prerequisites for a mate fit neatly into Maslow's hierarchy.

My train ride back from the wedding only lasted 90 minutes. But in that hour and a half, I got straight to the meat of this marriage thing. I just haven't met the right woman. I'll meet her someday and settle down. She'll be someone who can make a National steel resonator talk. She'll hack. She'll walk the runways of Paris and New York. She'll be just like dear old mom.




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