The new film with Kate Winslet and hunky Patrick Wilson, “Little Children,” reminded Smartmom of something she’s known for a long time: extra-marital sex just isn’t worth the bother.
The film, which follows Sarah and Brad, two dissatisfied parents in a high-end suburb not unlike Brownstone Brooklyn, makes hanky-panky seem even more transgressive than Smartmom ever expected. Why, it’s right up there with being a pedophile or something.
Sure, “Little Children” is meant to be a broad satire about marital infidelity among the stroller set. But it’s also a watershed cultural moment for parents of small children: a referendum on what happens when privileged Yuppies let their mid-life blues and marital blahs get the best of them.
And the unmistakable conclusion is this: Don’t let your libidinous selves get carried away, Slopers. It won’t solve any of your real relationship issues: kids, money, sex, career unhappiness or bad communication.
In the film, Sarah married the wrong guy, an older man who’s obsessed with Internet porn. When she falls head over heels for Brad, a former jock, who is easy to talk to and easier to land in the sack, it’s just lucky she has a gigundo suburban house with a tiny attic room with a mattress on the floor.
There, Sarah and Brad can hump and moan as loudly and passionately as they want because their toddlers take long naps in the afternoon.
But life doesn’t imitate art.
When Smartmom’s pal Tofutta had a massive crush on a stay-at-home dad she met at Tots-on-the-Go, she barely had enough time to go to the bathroom, let alone plan an afternoon interlude.
And there was just nowhere to go for their intimate interactions. His wife worked at home and “doing it” in her marital bedroom would have been just plain weird. Plus, Tofutta’s husband’s dirty socks on the floor were probably not much of an aphrodisiac.
She considered trying the new Holiday Inn Express on Union Street, but realized that it was too close to the school where Mrs. Kravitz sends her children — and Mrs. Kravitz, with her vivid imagination, is always be walking by that hotel.
Too bad The Lincoln Hotel got turned into condos. That old mansion/brothel between Seventh and Sixth avenues was no Brooklyn Marriott, but it did the trick. A friend (really, she was a friend) frequented the place when she was having an affair with You Know Who.
See, it’s tough keeping secrets in chatty Park Slope because all everyone does is talk, talk, talk and write, write, write. You can’t even have a juicy, tell-all conversation in the back room of Sweet Melissa’s without someone (sometimes even Smartmom herself!) running home and blogging about it.
Take what happened to Big Foot, when her husband had an affair with their babysitter while she was pregnant with their second child. She was devastated. But when she got back on her feet again, she started blogging about it big time. Everyone laughed — except her, of course.
Not everyone gets caught. But some get smart.
Stayathoma had a fling with that cute freelance writer with the lonely, bedroom eyes who picks up his third-grader at PS 321 every day.
Big mistake. They used to do it in his two-bedroom apartment every fourth Tuesday afternoon while his wife was doing a double shift at the Food Co-op and his son was at school.
Trouble was, Stayathoma knew three people who lived in his building and the walls were wafer thin. But that wasn’t all: the spark went out when she started to wonder why her lover wasn’t doing his own Food Co-op shift. She soon realized he was just as much of a do-nothing creep as her own husband. And not even as cute.
It would be so much easier to have a fling with another parent of the same sex. Who would suspect a couple of dads going off to “play tennis” at the Parade Grounds or “take a jog” in Prospect Park?
Or take the case of Jaded Mom and Lonely Mom, two heterosexuals — at least they were, until they became disciples of Sappho while their workaholic husbands were working late and their toddlers were asleep.
They took a much-deserved “mom’s weekend” at a Dutchess County B&B for some R&R. Aroma therapy, pilates class, hotel sex, facials.
But then Lonely Mom’s husband found a torrid email from Jaded Mom on the computer desktop.
Things got ugly. Fights. Divorce. Loneliness. And to this day, Lonely Mom says she’s not gay. She just wanted a little love and attention.
And that’s pretty much what any marital infidel wants (plus, perhaps, the thrill of doing what you’re not supposed to be doing).
Still, Smartmom doesn’t need a movie to tell her that, in the long run, it’s plain stupid to fool around. Having an affair is a cowardly way to deal with the real problems in a marriage (and we all know Smartmom does the right thing, what with her once-a-week couples therapy and twice-a-night Cabernets).
Marital infidelity is really just a temporary escape from what ails a marriage. And boy is it tough to recover from such a tumultuous breach of trust.
As for the sex, the illicit thrill wears off after a while and then it’s just another relationship with all of the inherent problems that come along with that.
So Smartmom is going to stick with her “until-death-do-us-partner,” whom she loves and adores anyway.
It’s hard enough adjusting to someone new. Especially when you’re just getting used to your spouse’s snoring, toenail clipping, and annoying habit of leaving his dirty laundry on the floor next to the hamper rather than in it.
Imagine getting used to a bunch of new bad habits.
Tough to admit it, but marital life is much like it’s depicted in “Little Children”: the person who seems so right from a distance is probably an awful lot like the person you’re already married to.