Birth of the Single Married Guy

Posted on November 14, 2011

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By Geoff Ratliff

This is not a marriage or relationship advice column! Well, that’s not entirely true, but it’s an important disclaimer. Another thing it is not, is a tasteless way for me to announce I’m getting divorced by changing my handle on Twitter (I was actually asked this question by a couple of close friends). I’m an extremely happily married guy, with a beautiful wife, and a wonderful two year-old daughter. Even if I my marriage was on the outs, I certainly wouldn’t announce it to the world via a Twitter name change. I’m not that guy.

So what’s with the name then? It’s quite simple actually. My wife has always given me a tremendous amount of freedom in our relationship, especially when it comes to my social life. This has become even more apparent in the two years since my daughter was born, as she has allowed me to pretty much maintain the lifestyle I had when I was “single”, thus the name Single Married Guy (I put single in quotes because my wife and I are college sweethearts who have been together for the better part of 16 years, married for six, so the idea of me being single at any point during my adult life is a relative term). So there it is, but what does any of that have to do with sports or pop culture? Great question.

Like a lot of guys, my social life tends to revolve around sporting events. Many nights out begin with me meeting up with some friends to watch some game at someone’s house or a local sports bar, and then it often evolves into something more interesting. If you’ve read our first post explaining the genesis of the Pop Fly Boys, you’ll recall that I have often been referred to as the World’s Greatest Wingman. I’ve earned this title for two reasons: 1) I’ll always fall on the proverbial grenade to help a comrade in need and 2) I will say just about anything that comes to mind, be it PC or not. Some people have said that I have a certain swagger (their word, not mine) or charm about me that makes me fun to be around. I just think that being funny, honest, and not taking yourself to seriously are refreshing qualities to find in a person, and I’d like to think I possess all three. Or maybe I’m just a buffoon that says utterly ridiculous things that people can’t help but laugh at. Whatever the reason, I’ve had some epic adventures over the past few years, some of which I will share with you in this blog.

Story behind the name? Check. Relevance to sports and pop culture? Check. So at this point you’re probably itching for an example of one of these epic tales and likely thinking to yourself “Who does this guy think he is? His social life can’t be that great.” Well if you’re single, you may not think much of the stories. Single people do stupid, funny, unbelievable stuff all the time. If you’re married however, you’ll be amazed. Guys will wonder how I do it, while women will mostly declare that they would never let me get away with this crap. I’ve heard both so I know this to be true. I don’t necessarily believe that what works for me and my wife will work for everyone, which is why I started this piece with a disclaimer about the relationship advice. I do, however, believe that, in general, the more freedom and trust you give your spouse or significant other, the less likely they are to abuse it. No one wants to be forced to become a completely different person once they get into a serious relationship, so let each other breathe, and your lives will be the better for it. That’s about as Dr. Phil as I’m going to get here, so without further adieu, a day in the life of the single married guy…

Vegas. Where else would you expect this story to begin? Maybe a strip club, but the SMG is not a fan (I don’t have any moral objection to them, they’re just not fun for me, but that’ll be discussed in another post I guess). I was in Sin City last summer for a Young Adult Career Symposium for a professional fraternity that my father is a part of. The basic idea is to get the sons and daughters of fraternity members together for three days of career development training and networking (read partying) in the hopes of developing life-long relationships – my sister met her husband at the first of these in Denver in 2008 – and grooming the next generation of fraternity members. They put about a hundred of us up in the Bellagio for four days, paid for us to get into the hottest night clubs in town for three straight nights – XS at Encore on Thursday, Tao at the Venetian on Friday, and Vanity at the Hard Rock on Saturday if you’re wondering – and provided shuttle service to and from the clubs. This conference occurred over Father’s Day weekend, and my wife allowed me to go on the condition that I make it back early enough on Sunday to spend my first Father’s Day with her and my daughter who was not quite a year old at the time. Done and done.

Now I love to play poker, and I actually planned to arrive in Vegas early on Thursday so that I’d have plenty of time to play before the conference kicked off, but as has happened every single time I’ve gone to Vegas, I never made it to the tables. The weekend started out great. A couple of my boys from the inaugural Denver trip had also gotten in early, so we decided to do a little shopping (needed to get some Celtics gear to prepare for NBA Finals Game 7 against the Lakers) before hitting the pool for some midday people watching and cocktails. We hit up P.F. Chang’s for dinner where we were joined by some new friends, and by the time Game 7 rolled around, I was in top form.

In happier times, hours before the Game 7 fail!

Anyone who has had a deeply emotional experience while drinking knows that the results are often not pretty, especially when they involve a sporting event. Ain’t nothing sexy about a grown ass man crying over a basketball game. So it cut me deep to watch my Celtics blow their last good shot at an NBA title, and there were plenty of Lakers fans around to pour salt into the wound. I needed to hit the club and party the pain away. The formula was mostly a success as we shut XS down, however, my emotional pain was replaced by that of the physical variety at around 3am when one of the young ladies in our group stabbed me in the ribs with a fork. Given our previous interaction that night, I did not see that coming, and more than a year later, I’m still trying to figure it out, mainly because she declined my Facebook friend request.

Friday night was slightly more subdued, but infinitely more important, for it was then that I met my now good friend Lola. It’s possible that we had actually met the previous night, but between drowning my NBA sorrows away in cocktails and getting stabbed, I really don’t remember. I do know that the two of us hit it off instantly at the dinner and cocktail reception that was held for us at Tao. I don’t think it’s possible for two people to reveal more personal information about each other within an hour of first meeting, but we put it all out there. It was honest, it was real, and it was funny, and we ended the conversation sort of wishing that we had each other’s lives (don’t read too much into that as every married guy at some point wishes he could be single again, if even for a day). After dancing for a while, we left the club with a few others in our group – well past the time that the shuttle had left – and the night ended in bizarre fashion with Lola frantically searching for her brother, to the point where she cursed out one of our friends who had the nerve to question why she was so concerned. The rest of the weekend was fairly uneventful, accept that I missed my original flight back home and the subsequent Father’s Day festivities. As she always does, my wife played it cool, and my social life was not restricted. Since Lola and I were both in New York City, we stayed in touch after leaving Vegas and have become close friends, proving that what happens in Vegas, doesn’t always stay in Vegas, nor should it.

Fast forward eight months to February of this year. I had never seen my Celtics play in person and I picked out back to back home games against the Lakers and Heat as a perfect excuse to head to Boston for a few days, catch some live hoops, and hang out with my homie Lola, who was now in her second semester of grad school at Boston University. Did I mention that Lola is single and attractive? Did I also mention that I was staying at Lola’s place during my visit? Que the record skipping and the crowd going silent.

This is exactly the point in the story where every single woman hollers “Not my man!” I can understand how, on the surface, allowing your husband to visit a woman (women will ignore the fact that the primary purpose of the visit was to see the Celtics, not to visit Lola) that he met in Las Vegas less than a year ago and stay at her place might seem incredulous. That, ladies and gentlemen, is the essence of the Single Married Guy. I can do things like this, with my wife’s permission, because she is a wonderful and trusting person who does not try to keep me from being me.

I have a lot of wonderful, attractive female friends, and 95% of them say emphatically that they would not allow this to happen. My question is why not? It’s worth noting that I’ve never really gotten a good answer to this question. I usually get some variation of “I just wouldn’t”, but I challenge women, and men, to really think about that. If you truly love and trust your significant other, then your actions should demonstrate that, right?

Needless to say, the trip was awesome and Lola and I had a great time. Although Boston lost the first game, I got to witness Ray Allen break the all-time three-point FGs mark, and participate in the rousing ovation he received. The Celtics won the Miami game in the closing seconds as a game tying three-point attempt by Mike Miller was off.

In between games, we went on a nice pub crawl, ate some good sushi, and had a fun time hanging out with this incredibly fun married couple (shout out to Monica and Aaron) at the famous watering hole Drink, where they bought us lots of cocktails and provided a great example of how marriage can and should remain fun more than fifteen years in. Sunday rolled around, I bid my friend farewell, and returned to my lovely wife and child, ready to resume my family life. And lest you believe that there is some residual, unspoken, resentment or uneasiness from my wife about my new friend, here’s a lovely picture of the three of us celebrating Lola’s birthday about six weeks ago. All is good on the home front, and the Single Married Guy lives to share another tale.

Lola, my wife Jasmine, and Me

Contact Geoff at geoff@popflyboys.com and follow him on Twitter @snglemarriedguy