I was unprepared for the sudden end to my second marriage. Pain and anger aside, I was left with a primary practical concern: How was I going to get sex?
I know I’m not the first person to draw a metaphorical connection between food and sex, but I felt like someone who no longer knew where her next meal was coming from.
Despite my bad marital track record (I could hear the umpire shouting, “Striiiiiiiiike TWO!”), I still felt that being a wife was something I was good at. I hadn’t stopped packing my husband’s lunches, he had just stopped eating them. They couldn’t compete against restaurant dates with his sexy co-worker.
Back when I was 19-years-old, I’d been too naïve to see that my first husband lacked the attraction to women necessary to enjoy being married to one. I’d had a strict upbringing in a religion that taught premarital abstinence not only from sex, but also from most types of physical contact (I guess they were considered gateways to sex)—and no dating before age sixteen.
I went to that religion’s college where I saw couples whose first kiss was at the marriage altar. My first husband was a virgin I met there. When that marriage ended, I ran back to my high school sweetheart. When that marriage ended, I found myself single. Uncharted territory. New world.
Friends rallied around me to teach me how to navigate it. They suggested surgeries, tattoos and piercings; they overhauled my hair, makeup and wardrobe; they signed me up for speed dating and Internet matches; and they introduced me to new vocabulary: “hook ups,” “MILFs,” and new manifestations of the food metaphor: “a’la carte” relationships and “buffets of men.”
Single for the first time could have been a lot of fun if I had been truly single. But I was a dating-virgin who had three kids; it was tricky getting out, and awkward when I did. I wish I could go back to those hapless victims of my early dating mishaps and un-embarrass myself.
I don’t understand we try so hard to maintain the notion that women are overly emotional and men are oversexed. It’s time we admit that women are just as capable of purely physical passion, and men are equally capable of sentimental sensitivity.
At the end of a busy day awhile back, I wrote down all the errands, chores and activities I’d done since waking. I recently came across that long list. Near the end was the line, “Had a visitor over for some sex.” That may seem empty to some, but it can be quite pleasant. Like ordering in.
People assume that emotionally invested, monogamous relationships are the pursuit of all single women, particularly single mothers, and most especially middle-aged single mothers. Not true. I love my freedom. I don’t remember what was supposed to be so great about being a wife.
OK, sometimes I miss being in love and being “half of a two.” Oddly, it seems to come when I’m at Maybe it’s the music they play, or the beautiful people who shop there, or maybe it’s being around all that food and meal planning.
Usually, though, I’m quite content to be free from any serious relationship. I have fabulous a’la carte dishes; I enjoy the occasional buffet; and I am thrilled that I no longer have to face a refrigerator full of leftovers.