The fuss over physical intimacy has always perplexed me. Sex is like brushing one’s teeth, it is something we do that really does not deserve too much discussion. I believe my mother brought that to my attention when I was young, “It is something one does, not something one discusses.” That conversation was pre-Phil-Oprah-Sally Jesse and the emergence of the endless exposé.
I know people who make elaborate plans to avoid it and others who make equally elaborate plans to do it. Do you remember that? Remember when you’d be engaged in a relationship, however brief or enduring- anywhere from a couple of hours after the party ended to the beginning of the rest of your life- and your best friend would ask “Did you do it?” We didn’t really have any opinion about whether or not it was appropriate to do. We just wanted to know if it had been done; then we wanted to know, “Whatwasitlike?” There was a young man, a character from my misspent youth, that the young women referred to as “Oh. Baby…” I’m still laughing 30 years later.
Lately, I have been privy to conversations between the members of the generation after mine. Some of them are not doing it as often as they’d anticipated, others are doing it with people they shouldn’t, others can’t recall that it was done but, according to anecdotal evidence, it was completed with aplomb outside in the parking lot just before the bar closed.
The Bob Dylan Republican once told me that a mutual friend’s parents had sex while the mom read War and Peace. I believed it. I was very naive; she had 6 kids so I figured, after all of that, War and Peace must be preferable. I wondered, too, if it must have taken an awfully long time to achieve the desired objective so she had time available to tackle a chapter or two. I hope I didn’t wonder aloud but I suspect I probably did.
I’ve had good friends tell me that their husbands listened to Blondie’s Call Me or Donna Summers’ Love to Love You Baby (the original long version) prior to and during the deed until it got done. At the time the confidences were troubling because my friends didn’t know what to do about the music piped through their bedrooms. I didn’t have much helpful advice and I kept a straight face because it was a Serious Concern. Now, I’d have that problem solved- headphones, earbuds, for both.
I almost always give the same advice when women confess that they’re too tired-busy-worried-angry to engage in sexual activity (for young mothers especially, it feels like one more thing that has to be done before you get time to yourself to breathe, time that isn’t devoted to somebody else)- “Just do it. It’s a small percentage of your day to make somebody happy. Their identity comes from that. Tell him, we’re flying coach tonight, first class is full, and just do it.”