It was time. I could tell it was time because Henry, who usually traverses the house with the stealth of an experienced hunter tracking a herd of jittery American Bison, had begun stomping around and inadvertently slamming into furniture as if he'd become a gut shot version of one of the American Bison he was tracking.
(Henry doesn't actually track American Bison. It's a metaphor. For something. In this story. Good, right?)
Bottom line. Henry needed sex. I know when Henry needs sex for these reasons:
1. The aforementioned slamming around the house like a punch-drunk buffalo.
2. He eats cereal in the dead of night. I find the corpses of empty Cheerios and Captain Crunch boxes scattered all over the kitchen floor in the morning.
3. I annoy the crap out of him. Like when I ask him, "How come you put so many sugary items in our daughters' lunches?" he cries, "Why don't you do the lunches, if you're so worried about it? You try to get them to eat grilled chicken breasts and a Thermos of warm tomato soup, because they won't f*cking do it!"
4. He goes to bed at 7 p.m. with one pillow slung over his head so you can only see his right shoulder sticking out. And his right shoulder is blaming me.
Just looking at it I know it's saying, "You are a bad wife. This worthy man brings home the bacon, fries it up in a pan and is so exhausted by all of his Giving that he collapses into bed without asking anything for himself. And frankly, Shannon, he shouldn't have to ask!" Yes, his right shoulder says all of that.
5. He stops shaving. Because what's the point? It's a No-Sex self-fulfilling prophecy. Because Henry has a heavy beard. (He's an Irishman. They need foliage to combat the frigid Irish rains of January, February, March, April, May... oh who am I kidding? It's rains all year on that f*cking little island!) If I try to kiss Henry with that prickly stubble it's like kissing razor blades. And no kissing means no Horizontal Mambo.
6. He starts to observe me intently as I tell stories at social gatherings. Admittedly, some of these are stories he's heard before. (Like when I danced for INXS. And if he ever hears that one again, he says, he may have to end it).
If he's been recently sexed up, his eyes will simply glaze over in a benign fashion. But if he hasn't been laid in a while, his eyes narrow -- like a sniper's gazing down the scope of his rifle -- as if to say, "Are you bragging again? Is this yet one more story of how irresistible you were to movie stars and drummers? Why does it always have to be about you, you, you! If alcohol didn't give me migraines I'd have a double Hennessey 1000 neat right, the f*ck now!"
7. He tears-up watching The Battle of Stalingrad on The History Channel. You just know those guys were getting laid all over the place! They had a girl in every foxhole! Is he going to have to enlist to see some action?
8. And finally, he won't snuggle any more. Oh sure, he says he gets too hot when we snuggle and that incites his twitchy Restless Legs Syndrome, but I think it's tit for tat. No tit? No tat. And I really do need to hold his body to fall asleep. Sigh.
It all came to a proverbial head on Saturday night when I was, yet again, accused of selfish assholicry by that sanctimonious right shoulder of Henry's.
Something had to give.
I had a brief conversation with my... how to put it delicately... vagina? Yes. Vagina. That's inoffensive. And accurate.
So I had a chat with my vagina, who has really been keeping her own counsel of late, smoking thin cigarettes and getting gel manicures, and asked her to put out.
She explained her hormones were really bugging her and that she, quite simply, wanted to be left to her own devices a bit longer. I threatened her. Reminding her that she's no spring chicken. At almost 49, how much longer did she seem to think a penis would be interested in her? How many good years did she think she still had left?
She was unimpressed with this tactic. She reminded me that Helen Mirren's almost 70 and is most certainly still getting laid, which left her, at the very least, another 20 years of alluring irresistibility. She really is on her high horse, that vagina of mine. Thank goodness my roundish tummy is humble.
I sighed. What to do? Suddenly, I remember there's more than one way to make a man happy and that intercourse was only one of them. And sometimes, not even the best one.
So, I made the next hour about Henry. Without going into too much detail, there was a certain amount of limb stretching, back cracking, hot yoga-ing involved. And then one part of my body that was quite happy to please.
Let me tell you.
The next day I found all of the cereal boxes tucked, full and tidy, in the cupboard where they belong. Henry overheard me telling our neighbor the story of when my blonde wig fell off at the VMAs as I performed for INXS and he didn't even roll his eyes! He shaved and smells like delicious sandalwood. And he was so quiet coming into the bedroom last night that it wasn't until I felt his lips on the back of my neck that I knew he was there.
Henry, you deserve to be feted every day! I love you. S