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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Overheard

A recently overheard a portion of conversation between two twenty-something guys while standing on line in a store.  I'm not usually in the habit of eavesdropping on conversations around me, but since making aliyah I've started doing so... not to glean prurient details of the private lives of others, but rather to practice and improve my Hebrew comprehension without the pressure of having to formulate a response.

On the one hand, I was proud of myself that I understood pretty much every word.  But on the other, the content of the conversation keeps playing over and over in my head, and I can't decide how I feel about it.

I'd be interested in your thoughts:

Guy 1:  I'm thinking of getting a few couples together for a week up north this summer.  Do you think you and Shifra [not her real name] would want to come?

Guy 2:  We broke up.

Guy 1: What! You broke up?!

Guy 2:  The truth is I broke up with her?

Guy 1:  Why? What happened?

Guy 2:  I went into her purse looking for gum when we were out the other day, and I found a pack of cigarettes.  She never told me she smokes!

Guy 1:  You didn't know that?  Everyone knows that Shifra smokes!

Guy 2:  I didn't.  When we started going out she specifically told me she didn't smoke.  There were plenty of occasions that I've mentioned how much I hate the smell of smoke and how I would never want to live with a smoker.  Forget the fact that the house would smell like smoke and our clothes would stink.  I'm more concerned about the health risks, to her, to me, to our kids!

Guy 1:  You have kids?

Guy 2:  Don't be a moron... of course I don't have any kids.  I'm talking theoretically about my future family.

Guy 1:  Oh.  Okay, you had me worried for a second.

Guy 2:  But wait... you said everyone knows she smokes? 

Guy 1:  Yeah, I've seen her with her friends at clubs plenty of times and she's always been smoking.  You mean you never even smelled smoke on her clothes?

Guy 2:  Yeah, but her roommate smokes so whenever I've complained about the smell she blames it on her. 

Guy 1:  So maybe she only smokes when she's out drinking?

Guy 2:  That's what she started to tell me when I found the cigarettes... that she only smokes when she's out having a drink with friends.  But when I asked her why she never smoked when we were out having drinks she didn't have an answer!

Guy 1:  You have to admit, knowing how much you hate being around smokers, she'd have to be an idiot to smoke around you.

Guy 2:  You don't find that just a little dishonest?  She knows I don't like being around smokers, so she pretends she doesn't smoke.  What did she think, that we would get married and then she'd tell me when it was too late for me to do anything?  I mean, what kind of guy divorces his wife because she smokes, right?

Guy 1:  I see you've thought this through.  So when you gave her a choice between quitting smoking or breaking up, she chose the cigarettes?

Guy 2:  No, I didn't give her a choice... I just told her we were done.

Guy 1:  But what if she would have quit?  You two have been together since the army... I can't believe she wouldn't choose you over smoking?

Guy 2:  You don't get it.  She lied to me.  Someone who will lie about a little thing will lie about a big thing.  And besides, smoking is no different from drugs or alcohol.  You can't tell the difference between someone who uses them once in a while socially and someone who has a problem. Even the people themselves sometimes don't know the difference until they try to stop. 

I lost track of the conversation at that point because they'd paid for their order and I was stuck waiting for the cashier to ring up my stuff.  But even though I didn't know the two guys ahead of me in line, I spent the rest of the day thinking about their conversation... and feeling personally conflicted about the decision that Guy 2 had made.

I'm not sure why I shared this.  Feel free to comment or not as the mood strikes you. 

One request, though.  Please don't make this a discussion of the evils of smoking or your gripes about smokers (or non-smokers, for that matter).  That's not what this is about.

Posted by David Bogner on May 14, 2009 | Permalink

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Guy 2 seems a bit extreme. It wouldn't have hurt to discuss the issue a bit more. Then even if I don't like the smell of smoke and don't allow it in the house, I don't think smokers are akin to drug addicts!

Posted by: Ilana-Davita | May 14, 2009 4:07:10 PM

I think guy2 has a very good head on his shoulders. It's not about the smoking, it's about the lying. First of all, he is viewing his relationship as something with a future rather than "just hooking up for a while", that's really quite mature in a young guy. Second of all, had the girl approached him differently, explaining that she smoked and is stopping, he might have reacted differently than he did when she lied to his face. Repeatedly. Bottom line, he is making the right decision.

And I agree that smokers are not like drug addicts. Rather, they are tobacco addicts. One is legal and sold everywhere, one isn't and is only sold by unsavory lowlifes.

Posted by: Mark | May 14, 2009 4:19:36 PM

He fears commitment?

Posted by: Alice | May 14, 2009 4:20:00 PM

Lying to someone when you're in a serious long-term relationship is a big issue, in my mind. How can he trust her again when one of the premises of their relationship was a lie?

Posted by: tnspr569 | May 14, 2009 4:23:18 PM

Ilana-Davita... I agree. But one of the things that kept running through my mind after hearing this exchange was the 'Jamie Buckman' character from 'Mad About You'. She had promised her husband that she had quit smoking before they got married. But whenever she found herself in a stressful situation... or if she wanted to exert her autonomy a little when they were having a fight... she would light up. It was one of the reasons I stopped watching the show. I have no idea why, but it drove me nuts.

Mark.. Tobacco (or more correctly nicotine) is a drug. Full stop. by your definition, if tobacco were ruled illegal tomorrow, anyone who sold or used them would be a lowlife. Just because cigarettes are legal and drugs are not makes little difference in how we define drugs. And yes, alcohol is also a drug of sorts. Look, even gambling, body art or other such potentially controversial things can become problematic in someone with an addictive personality. The point is, Guy 2 seems to have been bothered at finding out that he didn't know his girlfriend as well as he thought he did. And where there is one secret (IMHO) there are bound to be more.

Alice ... You didn't hear his voice. He didn't sound relieved to be out of the relationship. He sounded angry, betrayed and devastated.

tnspr569... I'll say this to you because you're still a single guy. Everyone has secrets. When you become a couple most secrets are revealed... and when you become husband and wife, theoretically the last secrets come out (or are dragged out) of the closet. But in practice, most people retain a few secrets from their spouses. They may be silly things like sneaking junk food or buying lotto tickets on the sly. Or they may be big things like infidelity. The smoking thing as described in this post qualifies (IMHO) somewhere in between on the scale of silly to big. Obviously for him it was a deal breaker.

Posted by: treppenwitz | May 14, 2009 5:14:14 PM

I agree with Mark's "It's not about the smoking, it's about the lying." It's one thing to avoid a subject - as you noted, everyone has their secrets. It's even another to claim she's quitting or say she's "not a smoker" if she's just a social smoker and she can stop at any time, though that's more gray. But to specifically continually lie about it - it's a horrible precedent for marriage. Serach knows that there are things I won't tell her or don't tell her, and sometimes it frustrates her; but I have *never* lied to my wife like that. **

** Possible exceptions: Small lies for "shalom", but even then, rarely if ever. Offhand can't think of any times where I had to; I usually can avoid saying anything.

Posted by: Ezzie | May 14, 2009 5:32:05 PM

I think there are 3 things that struck me about the story --

1) I find it hard to believe that a guy in a long-term, serious relationship wouldn't know if his girlfriend smoked. Things may be vastly different in the Jewish/Israeli society, but when I was dating my wife, we spent 5-6 nights together each week. Either I was at her house, she was at my house, or we were out together. At any rate, I find it hard to believe the Guy #1 knew she smoked socially (while out drinking) and that he said "everyone knows she smokes" and yet the boyfriend DOESN'T know... really?

2) What give him the right to be in her purse "searching for gum"?

3) He isn't willing to discuss the situation and immediately breaks up with her? If that's how he reacts to conflict in his relationship then she's probably better off without him. Although I understand that she deceived him and he felt betrayed, I think his being a jerk is even more repulsive to me. I would wager that she (if she really wanted a relationship with him) wanted to quit and was afraid to tell him because she knew about him inflexible views.

PJ

Posted by: ProphetJoephet | May 14, 2009 5:43:48 PM

I'm thinking that the next step in this relationship would have been the Baltimore Colts quiz.

Posted by: Yehuda | May 14, 2009 7:33:56 PM

I agree with Prophet Joephet. Yes, the lying is a problem, but we don't know that she actually did lie. Having been a social smoker myself, I can attest to the fact that this girl really may not have been smoking for months on end, years even, and then might have just slipped up that one time (though I admit, it does seem she smokes more often, given that others have seen her smoking at bars). If he had really never realized she smokes, my guess is she wasn't smoking much, if at all, during the time they were together. If it was just a one-time slip-up, his reaction seems extreme. Also, I find it extremely odd that the guy wouldn't realize that his longtime girlfriend smoked, and that he'd be so willing to break up with her so abruptly, without any discussion or finding out more about the situation. This guy seems to have acted very unilaterally and rashly. I feel bad for the girl, but I think she might be better off without him. ProphetJoephet is right, that's not the right way to handle conflict. I'd be willing to bet that his "my way or the highway" attitude spills over into other things too.
I can see why he would be upset by the lying, but if this girl was truly not smoking almost all of the time except when she'd had a few drinks, I feel for her. I'm not saying she did is ok, but I also don't think that it would mean she lies to him about all kinds of other things. I think rather than break up with her on the spot, he could have at least discussed it with her and offered her some support, since it seems like she doesn't really want to be smoking either.
I'm also guessing there might be more to this story that Trep didn't overhear or that the guy didn't reveal.

Posted by: caro | May 14, 2009 8:08:29 PM

There is ALWAYS something you don't know....in every situation, every relationship, etc. The basic piece that is missing from this story is the part about judging favorably........giving the benefit of the doubt, and so on. He is probably better off without someone who lies about something important; she is probably better off without someone who does not even attempt to judge favorably. I am sad that there was no discussion and no real closure.

Posted by: lynne | May 14, 2009 8:25:45 PM

I agree with ProphetJoephet's take on this.

Posted by: val | May 14, 2009 8:38:46 PM

I would have suggested relationship counseling, but I can also understand it being a deal-breaker for Guy #2 - both in terms of the smoking, and the lying about it. Trep is right - smoking is an addiction. And it's scary to be in a relationship with an addictive person - more so, someone who is trying to hide the addiction from you. And in this case, she knew that smoking drove him nuts, but she did it anyway, and hid it from him. Bad stuff.

Should they have tried counseling? Sure. But in this case, I have a feeling that it would only have delayed the inevitable. And yes, I have seen relationships - even marriages - break up over the smoking issue. So I'd say Guy #2 is a bit too rigid, but he's not crazy. And I feel bad for the girl, but she goofed. Big time.

(Of course, I say this confidently, not knowing either person or having heard her side of the story. So my opinion on the matter is probably worth a couple of hockey pucks.) :)

Posted by: psachya | May 14, 2009 9:31:45 PM

Her (repeatedly) lying about her smoking seriously weakened the foundation of trust necessary for a healthy relationship. I strongly suspect that her lying about the smoking served to confirm concerns he had about her trustworthiness.

Posted by: Drew | May 15, 2009 2:14:09 AM

I dislike cigarettes, but it would seem that the fellow made a rash decision. If he cared so much about her, then he would have forgiven her or tried to help her quit. My guess: other issues were in play.

IMHO, this shouldn't be a dealbreaker when they are contemplating a family and deep in a relationship, although it could have legitimately been a dealbreaker when they first met. Now, she certainly seems to have exploited this unspoken rule to her advantage, but it's not a reason to be shown the door.

There are always secrets between husband & wife over the course of a long marriage. He was either too naive or rigid to realize this.

Posted by: Ari | May 15, 2009 2:55:05 AM

I would have felt and done the same had I been Guy 2.

Posted by: rebecca | May 15, 2009 2:59:18 AM

There was more wrong in this relationship than lying and smoking.

Posted by: Bob | May 15, 2009 4:37:37 AM

Someone who will lie about a little thing will lie about a big thing.

The guy hit it right on the nose. Given the details, I wouldn't recommend he marry her, and why else keep dating?

As for secrets, there are some things I don't tell my husband, for various reasons. I wouldn't lie to conceal them.

And besides, smoking is no different from drugs or alcohol. You can't tell the difference between someone who uses them once in a while socially and someone who has a problem.

Caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, Vicodin, and cocaine are all drugs. And they're all different. And having known people who are addicted and who aren't, it is possible to tell the difference, though some people are right on the line. I'd be concerned about this statement from the guy, but it doesn't sound like this was the real issue.

IMHO, this shouldn't be a dealbreaker when they are contemplating a family and deep in a relationship.

Smoking shouldn't be. Lying should.

Now, she certainly seems to have exploited this unspoken rule to her advantage, but it's not a reason to be shown the door.

Exploiting that rule, if that was her intention, was manipulative and is another reason to break up with her.

There was more wrong in this relationship than lying and smoking.

Probably.

And now I think I've talked more than the host. I better shut up.

Posted by: Kiwi the Geek | May 15, 2009 7:40:24 AM

he's a smart cookie. you cannot build a life with a partner who feels it is acceptable to hide, deny and lie about such an important topic for one other person in the relationship when it directly impacts the current situation. how could you ever trust them?

Posted by: ahuvah | May 15, 2009 12:27:57 PM

What's with all the questions? (channeling Seinfeld)

Posted by: Wry Mouth | May 16, 2009 7:21:04 AM

Coming out of Lurker status to comment: Guy #2 is right. This isn't a little fib about something told once--it sounds like a long-term, serious relationship during which she lied repeatedly about an addiction. He's better off out of it. Someone in my family once lied to a future spouse about wanting to have children, knowing perfectly well that Spouse wanted a family, but my relative had no intention of having children. A decade later, the marriage broke up with much grief, anger, trauma and bitterness. There's nothing to talk about folks--you don't lie about major issues in your future partnership.

Posted by: aliyah06 | May 16, 2009 9:19:15 PM

Why was he going through her purse? That is such an appalling invasion of privacy! I'm very surprised that more of your commentators don't view this point as worthy of discussion.

Posted by: hoskas | May 16, 2009 11:06:13 PM

Re Guy #2 going through his girl's purse: I think it depends how far along they were in their relationship. For example, there will be times I will go through my wife's pocketbook to find something without asking her first, just like she occasionally does the same with my wallet. Of course, we've been married ten years, and are comfortable enough with each other that it's not an issue. Bottom line - we really know nothing about this couple. How long were they going out? Were they living together? Did they share expenses? How much of their day-to-day life did they share? How much space did each one require? It's not so simple to just accuse the guy of invading her privacy.

Posted by: psachya | May 17, 2009 8:20:18 AM

FWIW, re what I'm about to say, I'd say it were I not a smoker. In fact, I did say the same things in those periods I didn't smoke. Now, I'm sorry but his reaction is a bit daft and disingenious. I smoke, and smoking is vile, has terrible consequences, agreed. Even I loathe the smell, which is not particularly hard to pick up and, above all, neither is the taste. Unless they had a non-kissing relationship he knew, how could he not have known? HE KNEW and probably had to work very hard to 'not know'. And one more thing: it's not the quitting that's hard, for me, it's the staying quitted, as it were. Even with nicotine patches it can e very difficult and it's not just the mental crutch, it's the physiological dependency, all those nicotine receptors used to a good life. If you have added motivation to not resume smoking, that's when you kight actually survive the first few weeks, it becomes much easier after that. I understand his shock, since it is such an important matter to him, but a) he knew and b) surely if the relationship is that important to him he could have given her the chance to quit? It might have been the trigger she needed - and I am ready to claw out the first person who mentions 'willpower', btw. Also, the lying repeatedly about an addiction? My God, it's not as though she were smoking heroin! There is an addiction, granted, but smoking must never be lumped together with alcoholism or drug dependency, if only because the latter raise social and relational issues that are absent from a smoking dependency. There are gradations and they need to be ackowledged, I'm tired enough as it is of seeing parents berated for *gasp* drinking wine or cocktails in front of their children, is that a joke? In Portugal everyone does it and our children actually grow up not thinking of alcohol as a forbidden pleasure, and you certainly don't see the same sort of college party you see in, say, the US. Also, relative importance of one subject for one of the partners is a valid point but you also have to look at the absolute importance and smoking is not like doing hardcore drugs or lying about having children, as far as I'm concerned. Everyone hides something from their partner, and what seems small to me may be humungous for someone else, surely if it is worth it, it is worth trying to work on it?

But above all, he sounds young.

Posted by: Lioness | May 17, 2009 2:15:03 PM

Oh, I forgot the purse: if he was looking for gum and they're together, I don't see it as an invasion of privacy and cannot imagine that an Israeli does. 'Privacy' is a highly cultural construct. However, I do think that it is possible that he was 'looking for gum' - as I said, she smokes, he can taste it regardless of how many times she brushes her teeth so he knows, no other way around it. And if it is so, oh, the irony of the self-righteousness, which would also not surprise me at all because those who are the most inflexible often have the worst double standards. Again, young. Very young.

Posted by: Lioness | May 17, 2009 2:20:33 PM

Ezzie ... That's more along the lines of what I was thinking.

ProphetJoephet... Regarding #1, smoking is still widespread enough here that it would not be worthy of mention if mutual friends saw her smoking. Re # 2; There are many guys (not me, mind you) who have both open permission to go into the purse and the nerve to do so. The way he was talking it sounded like he was one of those. Lastly, re #3; If one of the few things this guy has mentioned that he can't tolerate in a partner is smoking... and it turns out she's a smoker. Game over. She knowingly kept doing something that she knew was a deal breaker.

Yehuda... I admit that while I'm usually up on pop culture stuff, this one eluded me. link please.

caro... I feel bad for her as well. But my sympathy for her is much the same as it would be for anyone who has made a decision to do something they know is wrong based on the mistaken assumption that they will never be caught.

lynne ... So they are both better off in the end. kinda like a reverse O'Henry story. :-)

val ... I'm sure you do.

psachya... We're all in the same boat. I asked for people to form opinions based on scant little information.

Drew... I'll admit to being a little one-sided on this issue since I was always hesitant to go out with anyone who had ever smoked in the past for fear of one day waking up married to a relapsed smoker. This could also be where he was coming from.

Ari ... Which begs the question: If smoking was a deal breaker when they met... and she was less than truthful about it then... why does the length/depth of their relationship invalidate the deal breaker status of the question?

rebecca ... I am leaning that way too, but still feel sympathy for the unknown woman.

Bob ... you know them? :-)

Kiwi the Geek... You are always welcome to talk until you've had your say. :-)

ahuvah ... The idea that she might have kept her secret until they were engaged or married (by which time it would make him look shallow if he broke things off) is troubling to me.

Wry Mouth... At least she didn't have man hands! :-)

aliyah06... Sounds like our families overlap a bit. :-)

hoskas... I've tried to upgrade the quality and astuteness of my commenters for some time, but have had to make due with what I have. Times are hard. /sarcasm

psachya... I'm married 17 years and still don't go into my wife's purse. She'd let me, but I'm afraid of the contents of women's handbags.

Lioness... I was actually a bit sad when you didn't weigh in on this one right away, since you perfectly fit the bill of a smart, accomplished attractive woman who smokes (and has tried repeatedly to quit). Yes, I agree he is young and his reaction was more than a bit immature. I also admit I was also stumped as to how he could not know that she smoked (he is secular so I assume there was some kissing going on, at least). But having grown up in a home with a mother who smoked, I can tell you from experience that it took literally years for my sense of smell to return sufficiently to be able to discern such things... or even to appreciate again the taste of specific foods. It is one of the reasons I am such a rabid anti-smoker and hate being around people I love who smoke. So yeah, you are right... but I can sort of see his point. Your post actually underlines the improbability of her quitting, which may or may not have been why the smoking issue was such a deal breaker from the start with him.

Posted by: treppenwitz | May 17, 2009 2:39:29 PM

Well, I didn't weigh in rigth away because I didn't read it right away. Some of us have theses to write, and much weeping in between to do. Next time give me a shout. I have a super nose, even when I smoke I can detect smokers right away, but I think you missed my point: he does not smoke and he does not live in a smoke-filled environment. It does not compare to your situation at all, and it's not all about the smell. He doesn't smoke, she does, they kiss and therefore, unless she's learnt how to live without exhaling, he knows. So for him to be this adamant about something he chose to ignore at some level is, to me, the most aggravating bit of the story, and the hypocrisy of it is, to me, far worse than her behaviour. I wonder how many people would have agreed with him if he were a health freak and simply could not date someone who ate junk food and then found out she sneaks in a hamburger and chips every so often. Same premise, "I cannot date someone who eats wrongly" and, again, something that does not directly affect him. Would everyone be so fast to agree with him? I mean, she lies in this scenario as well, right? Somehow, I think your readership would be far more lenient.

As for the improbability of her quitting, I think you're allowing your personal views to cloud your judgement, dahling! We don't know anything about her realy, and we lack the tools to judge how improbable it is that she quits. This could be the thing that helps the 'click' that every smoker needs, and it all depends on her personality, how much she smokes, in what situations, how busy she is during the day, how she chooses to quit, whether she uses nicotine patches/gum/drops or not, a whole myriad of things. That conversation doesn't make it sound as though they even really discussed it.

And good grief, counselling?? They're in their 20's, how does this situation warrant counselling? Either they can sort it out or not, but counselling for this seems like absolute overkill, reminds me of those people who demand anti-depressants and anxyolitic drugs post-breakup. We cannot go through life blunting every pain, and neither can we constantly transfer the responsibility of doing our own emotional homework. Honestly, no disrespect, but I sometimes feel that therapy is the new antibiotics.

Posted by: Lioness | May 18, 2009 4:56:18 PM

Lioness ... As always you've given me lots to think about. I agree with most of your comment. Yes, unless she was really a very infrequent (i.e. social) smoker, he should have known. That her room-mate smoked might have explained away the smell of her clothes... but if they kissed within any reasonable period of time after she'd been smoking, he'd have known. Lacking any other explanation, I can only suggest 'denial'. G-d knows I willfully ignored serious flaws in past girlfriends becasue of other things that were wonderful. I also think that your junk food analogy is spot on. Those who object to smoking (and smokers) tend to be a rabid lot... far worse than any health food nut I ever knew. It isn't fair or intellectually honest. But that's the way it is. The one thing I didn't find compelling in your comment was the whole quitting thing. He is not responsible for helping someone quit who supposedly didn't smoke in the first place. Had she been honest with him, when he told her his feelings about smokers, she should have said, I smoke, but you are far more important to me than smoking. Help me quit. Instead she decided to try to keep both the habit and the boy. Bad idea (as it turns out). I also feel strongly (as only a smug, lifelong non-smoker with no experience in such things can), that she needs to want to quit for herself. Some day they may have a fight... or their relationship may be on the rocks... or she may be angry with him for being a complete sh*thead over something important to her... or any of a million other things that happen in EVERY SINGLE RELATIONSHIP... and her resolve will falter. She'll say to herself, I quit for THIS? Screw him!!! [as she storms down to the store to buy a pack of smokes]. The bottom line is that anyone with an addiction needs to quit for themselves and nobody else. They can get help, but the reason for quitting can't be someone or something that may not be there down the road. Just my 2 cents.

Posted by: treppenwitz | May 18, 2009 5:17:43 PM

Lioness -
WADR, there is a very large difference between a non-smoker who doesn't want his/her significant other to smoke, and a health-food nut who wants the same from his/her SO. It's called secondhand smoke. And as much as I know that saying those words to a smoker is the equivalent of flashing the proverbial red flag, the fact remains that cholesterol doesn't directly affect those in its immediate environment. Tobacco smoke does. It's a real concern and shouldn't be pooh-poohed away as self-righteous puritanism, whatever your opinion on the subject. The guy has a genuine gripe. The question remains if his reaction to the gripe was too extreme. And you do make a good point about her seeming ability to pass the kiss test. I don't care how much mouthwash she used, he probably should have been able to tell that she smoked. Whether it was hypocrisy or denial (or cluelesness) on his part is something we'll never know.

Posted by: psachya | May 18, 2009 5:34:01 PM

Treppy, I didn't explain myself well, obviously. I agree with you, lying is not right and no one quits a dependency because of others. It is hard to explain to someone who has never smoked (reminds me of trying to answer 'But, I mean, what really defines a Jew?' in a country where there are none), what I mean by the 'click' is, regardless of how much pressure you're put under and how much you don want to do it, you really, REALLY need to want to quit for it to be effective. There needs to be that 'that's it, I'm done'. Now, no one quits for a partner, but my point was, I think she thought she could get away with it, she must be his age, right? Young. I think she thought she could have both and in that situation being confronted with losing him or keeping the fags might have been the thing that brought on the 'click'. Not because of him, but because of her. Is this clearer? I hope so. A smoker who *really* wanted to stop will not regret having quit because of a partner, ever. He was just the cathalyst for something good, even if he turns out to be a wanker. It's not like a job opportunity or anything truly valuable like that. Again, we do it for ourselves, even if others are the trigger. And you're right, I'd be wary of smokers as well, they can relapse and you really cannot tell which ones won't. If the relationship goes poof it might be very tempting to start smoking again though, for the emotional crutch value (I know I am a stress smoker) but then again it depends on the person.

Psaycha, I was waiting for someone to bring that up. :) See, if you read back people here took offence at the lying, it wasn't really about how bad smoking is for all involved, however peripherically. So I addressed the lying bit and I fully admit you're right, smoking is bad for others as well, agreed, I will never defend smoking. I was for banning it in public spaces, I voted yes for banning it on aeroplanes, I dislike the smell myself, it is a vile thing, why should you have to be subjected to it? No red flag. I have one though - I've thought about this all a lot and you know what profoundly annoys me? People who live in cities very often have smokers' lungs even when they don't smoke, even if they're not exposed to second-hand smoke. The pollution takes a huge toll and has terribly noxious, potentially lethal effects. And yet people drive cars that aren't tuned, people hop on aeroplanes without the slightest guilt or thoughts regarding the collective air, people use detergents that aren't biodegradable and further contaminate out ever-diminishing supplies of drinkeable water - this is all carcinogenic and how much does it differ from cigarrette smoke? I reckon what I'm trying to say is, smoking, especially for Anglos and especially in the US, has become very emotionally invested to the point where it becomes a blind spot, and that is the only thing that explains how much overreacting occurs, when you consider how other issues are not issues at all, as it turns out. As for cholesterol, let's take a look at that. I am lucky that I love veggies and salads and soups and it would really be hard for me to eat, say meat and rice/potatoes every day. The healthier I eat the less I crave bad food. In a relationship, I'd worry about my partner eating badly as much as he is entitled to worry about my smoking. We want our partners to live forever, and so we worry. Heart disease kills more than lung cancer, obesity is on the rise everywhere, but you don't see Big Mac eaters shunned, who would dream of walking up to them and vitriolically saying 'You should be ashamed of yourself, think about your family?'. Actually, considering the resources that fast food companie utilise, you would actually be entitled to also add 'and mine', because they are not only responsible for a staggering amount of deforestation but all those toxic compounds in the atmosphere, sea and lakes are also being absorbed by us, every day. But no one does that, no one reacts to that, no one walks up to an SUV or *Other Big Car* owner and complain about second-hand smoke, and that is very effectively what they are producing as well. If you're fond of fried food and don't recycle the oil, and in my experience people who fry everything aren't going for the finest olive oils and nor do they have recycling tendencies, what happens to it when it goes down the drain? It goes into the sewers, the rivers, the oceans - the water. My water, your water. Do you see my point? I am not defending smoking, at all, and I may be more environmentally-aware than most but I'm not a fundamentalist either. It is simply very, very frustrating when people only look at one piece of the picture - and I'm speaking in general here, I don't mean you necessarily. Our small, individual choices do impact us all more often than we're aware of or willing to admit, and it irks me that token dragons are chosen as *the* ultimate culprits, when our world nowadays sadly offers a whole plethora of winged creatures, if you see what I mean.

Posted by: Lioness | May 20, 2009 12:38:29 PM

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