For a girl that had not even been asked out on a date this was a whole new world. I had a suspicion that their experience was more realistic than the articles I sneaky read inCosmo while getting my hair done at the salon. (I am supposed to put my hand WHERE? While simultaneously doing WHAT?) So I kept my eyes on my book, let the words blur into lines and listened closely.
“Doesn’t he know how tired I am by the end of the day? As if after the kids are finally asleep I have the energy to do anything but sit down and watch some TV.”
“For me, it isn’t even the energy it takes. I am still losing weight from the baby. I don’t feel sexy. I can hardly undress in front of a mirror, let alone in front of him. I honestly think it is selfish that he expects me to pretend to feel something that I don’t.”
“Selfish? That’s a good word. Maybe if he took care of the kids when he got home or made dinner once in a while I would be more interested. Hell, just pick up the milk on the way home from work. I am not asking for much. Now that I think about it, I don’t think we have done it in the last three weeks.”
“Yeah. It’s been at least two for us.”
Wait. These women were married … they lived with a guy … who slept in their bed. They could have sex all the time! And they didn’t want to? It made no sense. It was like turning down a zero calorie but as delicious-as-creme-brulee dessert. (Or at least I assumed. At that point everything I knew about romance was gleaned from Anne of Green Gables and Moulin Rouge.)
How sad. How wasteful. How stupid. When I got married, I would always want to have sex with my husband! And I would never be too tired. My goodness, it was just ridiculous to want him to bring home a gallon of milk just to prove he cared. Wasn’t it just like a woman to make a grocery run a test of love. As the final coat of polish was applied to my nails, I swore to never be like them. My life would be different. I would be better. I would never feel too fat or too tired. Ever.
And then I grew up.
Intercourse, carnal knowledge, lovemaking, knocking boots, coitus, SEX! is everything 16-year-old me imagined plus a little whipped cream on top. (Whipped cream, see what I did there?) And once Riley and I got married, there was lots and lots and lots of it. Then we had a baby and I really was just so tired my bones hurt. And for a while I did feel fat. Even after I lost the pregnancy weight everything just looked different. Like a cut flower that has been left out in the sun, still lovely, just a little … wilted. I became a little distant. We started to fall asleep without talking or kissing.