Mad Men Always Leaves me wanting....

So they're back.

Those smooth operators clad in their skinny legged dark suits. Those short-haired oh-so-sexy boys and girls kidnapped from the sleeping 60's and transplanted into our bedrooms and living rooms.

Mad Men (and women). How I missed you.

But every single time I watch this show I am left with an almost insatiable desire for something....something more.

Something besides a feverish urge to stalk Jon Hamm until restraining orders are written up and Child Protection Services are called to my house....

And yes, I do feel an undeniable craving to go out to every thrift store and estate sale for miles around just to amass a complete 60's wardrobe.

But that's not what I want most.

I want to smoke.

Every single time I watch this show, I am left feeling like a tweaker on Day One of treatment. While I watch it, I notice how they pull the packs out of their pockets, out of their desk drawers, out of their purses. So nonchalantly, almost like they are scratching an itch. Pull, light, puff.

I can taste the smoke in my mouth, smell it in my hair. See it in the air and feel it in my lungs.

I wonder if anyone has done a "study" on the sales of ciggies since this show first aired? Someone needs to get on that, pronto. Just so I know I'm not alone.

I used to smoke. A lot. I used to sneak them from my mom, hide them in the lame berets I used to wear, trying to make a statement that I was different and unique from the lemmings I went to school with (no offense, SLP peeps. Love ya.). Started out on Virginia Slim Menthol 100's, soft pack. After that I switched to Merit Menthol, hard pack.

In college I thought I'd try to keep up with my Skoal head boyfriend and his cronies, and switched to Camel Lights. Back then a pack of cigarettes was about $1.25, and I remember going through purses and jeans pockets trying to scrape up smoke money.

Late 80's and early 90's, I was the smoking flight attendant. We could smoke on international flights back then, and I clearly recall trips to Tokyo where the cabin was so hazy you couldn't see three rows ahead. I remember some of the healthier flight attendants bitching about the "hazardous working conditions" and laughing about them as I buckled into my jumpseat and lit up a smoke.

I smoked, and I loved it, right up until the second I found out I was pregnant with my Charlie.

I quit, that second. Cold turkey.

I didn't light up again for almost 12 years.

I had a little backslide, while going through my divorce. Stress makes you do silly things. Eat cream cheese with a spoon, buy wine by the box, bawl during your kid's conferences, pick up smoking again a decade after quitting. I'm not going to blame anyone or call anyone out for being a bad influence. I'm chronologically a grown up, I am the only one responsible for my actions.

Poverty and the fear of getting caught by my kids have nipped this awful habit in the bud. I haven't had one for a long, long time now, and up until Don and Betty and Joanie and all of their toking buddies showed up in my bedroom tonight, I hadn't even thought of them.

There is no bigger hypocrite than a former smoker. Those of us who have worshiped the tobacco stick are it's worst critics once we kiss it goodbye. We regard those who still puff away as weak, smelly slaves to the cig. We complain loudly and incessantly about having to walk through clouds of smoke at every office entryway. We like to announce to our smoking friends that we haven't had a puff in XXXX days and BOY DON'T WE FEEL GREAT.

All the while quelling an urge to rip the butt out of their hands and suck it down with the force of a Dyson.

Nicotine is a bitch to quit. And I, for one, believe that you really never lose the craving. Yeah, you may think you've kicked its ass. You may sit there, chewing on your Eclipse gum, pawing through your iPhone apps, eating your organic baby carrots and smugly reminisce about the days that you couldn't handle not having something to do with your mouth or hands, but you're a sucker.

And by you, I mean we. I was, and am, right there with you. I go to my mom's house and when I leave I tell the kids to smell their hair...that's right, it stinks, you know why? Cause Grammie smokes, and smoking is bad. It makes your hair smell! But if they looked closely they'd see that I smell my hair just a tad bit too long. And although it really does gross me out, I am also taunted by the smell. It's like a siren beckoning to me. "Hey there Jenny....you sure look stressed out. How about you put down those Skittles and take a long sweet drag off of me? I won't make you fat!".

But I can't. And I won't. I double talk to my kids about so much. I tell them not to worry about what other people think about them, all the while thinking about how frumpy and ugly I look in whatever I'm wearing at that moment. I tell them not to drink, while I excuse myself and have a glass of wine out on the deck. I tell them not to swear, and then I have a grand mal tantrum and find myself dropping f-bombs like Al Pacino in Scarface.

And here I am, it's after 1:00 in the morning and all I can think about (besides how agonizingly hot Jon Hamm is, with his dickhead smile and playah ways...and of course my oddball crush on bearded Kinsey) is how much fun it would be to just smoke the day away like they do.

I won't smoke, of course, that's not an option for New Jenny. Instead I sit here, finishing my Scrabble games and hammering out a long-winded rant about how much I miss smoking.

Because that's what it really boils down to, isn't it?

Things we miss. My mom watches Mad Men and she misses her days in the advertising biz, back before she had me. She tells me about parties they had, office parties like the ones they have there at Sterling Cooper. She longs for those days.

I miss the days when "the future" didn't loom so damn close. When it was like a far off destination, a thing that we'd maybe stumble upon a million years down the road. I miss the days when I could sit down on my pleather couch with my old roomies, puff away on our Marlboro Lights and get all googly eyed over Andrew Shue on Melrose Place. Smoke our lungs out and not worry about cancer, being busted or people judging us.

I miss smoking, some days. Not all days. In fact, if you run into me tomorrow, or later this week, and ask me about ciggies, I'll scoff and tell you that I was just feeling melancholy about life in general. There was a full moon, for God's sake. But tonight, I miss it. I don't miss the smelly fingers, the wrinkled butt mouth you get from wrapping your lips around a smooth white filter...but I miss the release, the first big exhale. Tapping the ashes off into the ashtray or pop bottle or onto the ground. Taking that last puff before snuffing it out and carrying on with your day.

And tonight, I am giving myself the go-ahead to miss it. As long as I don't actually do it, it's all good.

Just don't be surprised over the next few months if you wake up on Monday mornings to find that your facebook friend Jenny has started 42 or so new Scrabble games.

I need the distraction. Humor me.


  1. My sister in law lit up yesterday on our back deck and it smelled great. Sometimes it's just so appealing. It's been at least 15 yrs. since I smoked one. gf

  2. I've been 19 months this go-round, so I feel you! There are folks that I'm around on a pretty much daily basis that still smoke though, and I've been known to get a little too close and snort a snootful of second hand smoke. Mmmmm! On the other hand, I know that I am perfectly capable of picking it up again at any time. When I talk about it, I acknowledge that. Yep, I still crave them (though oddly, the first time I quit I didn't actually crave them for almost 5 years, and when I did, I went quick!). I think the best thing to do is acknowledge it and make the choice to not give in. Puts you in the driver's seat. You're the one in control, not the nicotine. At least for now...


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