I was at a function the other day. Are you imagining a soiree with frou-frou cocktails and men in tuxedos waltzing with women in sequin-covered dresses and heels? Sorry to disappoint. The function was a yearly sale next to the hot dog stand at Costco. The crowd was energetic, diverse and quite unassuming. As I was waiting to enter this "sale of sales," I found myself becoming entrenched in a conversation that a group of women were having. That's a gentle way of saying I was eavesdropping.
The women ranged in age from their late twenties through 45ish. They were discussing their relationships and the ups and downs that inevitably go with them. One woman was certain her husband was surprising her with a summer cruise while another was ready to move out and leave the kids with "him." And then, the 45-ish woman began to speak of her.... (drumroll) lover.
I choked on my hot dog at the sound of that word. A lover? The woman had a lover? Maybe it's me, but that's a term I've only heard in songs from Air Supply circa 1984.
I was in full Yenta mode. She was my age (truth be told, I am not 25) and she had a lover. Wow. I began repeating that word in my head between hot dog bites.
My lover. Hmmm. Where do you find these "lovers"? Do you rent them? Buy them? Do they come in different sizes and require batteries?
I have never used the term before. I have said "I love you," to my parents, kids, husband and pets, but never used "lover" to describe a person's relationship with me. Is a boyfriend a lover? How about a bed buddy? Does that count? Is your husband your lover?
I thought about this for a moment and before I knew it, I was starring in my own James Bond flick.
I pretended my "lover" was sending me text messages as I looked at my phone and giggled. The women glanced my way as I smiled at the pretend sweet nothings my "lover" was texting to my Goofy-covered iPhone. I seductively reapplied my cherry-flavored chapstick. (After picking a piece of potato chip off -- daughter must've used it). I let out a raucous laugh as my lovers texts became suggestive and R-rated.
I wondered what my lover's name should be; something exotic like Vincenzo or Jacques. Maybe I had many lovers; one per country or time zone depending on my mood. Jon Paul would whisk me off to Paris for the weekend where we would frolic in the countryside amongst the daffodils and enjoy a picnic of pink champagne and escargot.
A week later, Antonio would have his driver fetch me for a quick getaway to Rome, where we would dine along the Venice canals sipping sweet sangria and feeding each other tiny bites of pistachio gelato topped off with an evening of unbridled passion.
I guess if I were in a country-western mood, my Levi-wearing, flannel shirt lover would take me to his dude ranch for a weekend of horseback riding (be creative) and ribs. This led me to wonder if all lovers were wealthy and lived in fancy estates adorned with imported marble and butlers. Maybe they were struggling musicians with tattooed arms and piercings. Perhaps my struggling, misunderstood musician declared his love for me in a song or by getting his nipple pierced. The possibilities were endless, as was the vibrating I kept feeling in hand. (It was the phone -- keep it G-rated, please). I was soon transported from a steamy hotel room with Roger Moore to singing snowmen who wanted to live in the springtime.
When I stopped my reverie to actually answer the phone, it was my 6-year old daughter wondering why it was taking me so long to come home. I heard my husband and the other kids in the background all waiting for mom to get home so they could eat dinner. (Why is that always the case? I have an endless supply of Vanilla Chex).
And that's when I realized: I do have lovers, many of them. They have different names, styles, likes and dislikes. They come in different shapes, sizes and enjoy a variety of hobbies. One of them even gets to take me out on special dates which (if he's lucky) leads to an even more special night. Right at that moment, I got that mushy feeling us moms get when we imagine our home life peaceful and serene like a Norman Rockwell painting.
As my group was about to enter the sale of sales, I quickly did an about-face. One of the women asked where I was going, "This is a once in a lifetime sale!"
I casually replied, " I have to go, my lovers need me."