I have to admit, I haven't read any of the Fifty Shades books, nor have I seen the movie. In fact, I chuckle a bit (in both amusement and confusion) whenever I hear the frenzy of moms turning their bedrooms into dens of dominance after reading the books. And then, I always have the same thought: How the hell do these women have the time or energy?!
After being together with my husband for almost 20 years, I'm tired. It has nothing to do with not loving my husband (I do) or not being attracted to him (I am). Instead, it has more to do with the thing that happens when you've been married for a while and you get comfortable and then the frantic pace of life takes over.
I mean, these women still have time to get sexy? For real?
I was at the beach with our oldest daughter, a young adult, when I realized that I'm so over the trying to be sexy thing. I really don't care about being sexy anymore. (Yes, of course I realize how sad that sounds. Whatever.) The daughter, however, was annoyed that she forgot to pack her flat iron to do her hair.
"We're going to THE BEACH," I rolled my eyes, fanning my sweating self with a piece of paper in the 600 percent humidity in an un-air-conditioned cabin where we had to turn sideways if two people wanted to use the kitchen. I mean, she was really going to spend an hour each day holding a hot iron to her head in this heat, trying to look like one of those beach beauties you see hanging all over each other on the Abercrombie and Fitch bags? (I mean, there weren't even any boys around her age to look good for. It was just . . . us. And we really didn't care what her hair looked like.)
The truth is, there was a time long, long ago that I would've spent hours grooming to go to the beach, too. When you're young and single (or newly married) and hot, you still care. I spent two hours (two hours!) getting ready every morning before high school by placing tiny curls all over my head with a curling iron so that it looked like I just got out of the red carpet makeup chair.
When you're old and married and . . . less hot, you don't care as much. Well, it's not that you don't care, it's just that life has beaten you down to the point where you barely have energy left to pick the dried morning oatmeal you made for the kids from your own cheek, let alone get all dolled up to feel sexy.
I haven't felt "sexy" in years. It probably sounds sad to some, but I really haven't missed it. I know it's no one's fault but my own. I can't blame my husband for not making me feel sexy when, in truth, I haven't really wanted to feel sexy. I mean, it's just so much work. And, who has that kind of time anymore?
Look, I've spent a lot of time in my life looking and feeling sexy--both before and after marriage. What did it get me? It got me a newborn at 40 years old, that's what. So, if you don't mind, I'll pass on the thongs and red lace teddies now. And, I don't even want to know what that Victoria chick's secret is anymore. I have my own secrets now -- and they're mainly about what trashy reality television I watch.
But, it's not just me. The Husband and I have both let ourselves go a bit. It doesn't make me love him any less, but recently it did make me realize that his attempt to dress sexier is as painful as mine.
"What's in that Abercrombie bag? Did you get something for the girls?" I pointed after one of his recent shopping trips.
"No, I bought some t-shirts for me," he shrugged his shoulders.
"You bought some t-shirts . . . for yourself . . . from Abercrombie?" I was perplexed.
"You do understand that they make those super slim cut, form-fitting shirts for ripped college boys who want to show their muscles, right?" I raised one eyebrow.
"I bought the biggest size," he countered. "They'll be fine."
"Try them on," I laughed, and pointed to the bag.
"What?" he pretended not to understand.
"Go ahead, try them on," I crossed my arms and waited.
He sighed and glared at me as he pulled his shirt over his head. He removed one of those tiny trendy tees from the bag and shook it out. He gave me another dirty look pulled the shirt over his head and tried to smooth it down over his paunch. When it didn't work, he whipped that shirt over his head and back into the bag in one movement.
"Damn it! I guess I'll have to take them back." He gave me an accusing look, like I magically used witchy ways to shrink the shirts right in the bag.
"Good idea," I said, and smiled smugly when he turned his back.
I guess there will be no sexy den of dominance in our bedroom tonight.
A version of this essay appeared in Jacqueline's book, 50 Shades of Frayed: What Happens When 'I Do' Becomes 'Not Tonight,' now available on Amazon. Follow Jacqueline as @WritRams on Twitter and Facebook.