Monthly Archives: June 2008

#38: Break That Saturday Night Sex Routine


I know what you do on Saturday nights. Or, if your kids are old enough to sleep in, Saturday or Sunday mornings. You have sex, or should I say, you fulfill your conjugal duty.

Let me just assure you that I agree there are lots of good reasons to corral sex into a regular, convenient time slot. I totally get it (totally, dude) that Tuesday mornings are too rushed, Thursday nights you’re too tired, that every other day is too often (it is, honey) yet you can’t let the frequency dwindle to once a month or you’d have to get d-i-v-o-r-c-e-d.

And yet, every-Saturday-night-whether-you-want-to-or-not sex has a way of making you not want to. Has a way of reducing what once was fun and thrilling and satisfying and relationship-building to just another duty, like taking out the recycling on Monday morning. It’s what you do when you’re too old and/or you’ve been married too long to listen to your body instead of the calendar.

Sorry, I was going to wind up with something pithy, but I have to go cry now.

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#37: Cancel The Dinner Party

I didn’t start throwing dinner parties until I was nearly 40. Too much work, too difficult to coordinate all those dishes, plus who was going to take care of the kids while I shopped and cooked and cleaned and uncorked the wine and lit the candles and changed into a comfortable-yet-cleavage-baring dress and led the sparkling conversation?

And then, on our tenth wedding anniversary, I asked my husband what he’d change about me if he could, and he said he’d like it if I was able to give a nice dinner party. And so I learned. In fact, I got really good at it. Moving to the suburbs, living in a house with a real dining room, having more time on Saturday once our kids got older, we came to really enjoy dinner parties — giving as well as getting.

But now I think it’s time to stop. I’m tired. Plus, they all start to feel the same. Now that I’m acting younger, I’m going to start inviting my friends over to share a keg and a bag of potato chips — if they’re really lucky, a pot of chili — on Saturday nights.

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#36: Enough With The Seinfeld, Already!

Maybe you faithfully sat in front of the TV every Thursday night (remember those pre-TiVo days?) for Seinfeld‘s entire first run. Maybe you still catch the syndicated shows nearly every night, just like your parents watch The Nightly News and your kids watch The Simpsons. Maybe you’ve gotten the boxed sets as gifts for every occasion over the past few years. And maybe you can genuinely relate nearly everything that happens in your life to a Seinfeld episode.

But listen, the real-life Jerry has moved on. He’s got a young wife, little kids, a struggling new career as a voice-over actor: When you’ve got that much money, you can buy yourself a twenty-years-younger life. Larry David has moved on with his new family, the Blacks. All the other Seinfeld players have moved on, with shows and futures of their own. OK, most of them.

Before you move on, too, though, I want you to know that the Pam, Pam, Pam episode — aka The Soul Mate, written by Peter Mehlman — is about me, me, me.

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#35: De-hyphenate Your Name

There was a brief moment when name-hyphenization seemed like the answer to all marital-equality issues. A moment when two people might have gotten married and become Pamela and Richard Redmond-Satran. (Not that we ever did that: My husband declined to take the Redmond, so I just dragged both names behind me like a big fat butt, without the hyphen connecting them.)

But back to you: The whole hyphen thing seemed like a good idea for about a minute and a half, until the jokes started about what would happen when Gabriella Redmond-Satran (not one of our real children) married Marmaduke Martini-O’Flaherty. Would their child be called Maximilian Redmond-Satran-Martini-O’Flaherty?

And then there was the question of whose name went first, and whether the husband as well as the wife would adopt the hyphenization, until the notion just collapsed. Before that, however, several hundred people got married and hyphenated their names. All those people are now over the age of 50. Or just sound like it.

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#34: Don’t Fear The Thong

All right, you know you’re not supposed to wear granny panties. But what’s wrong with bikinis? Why does acting young have to mean wearing a thong?

Thongs are…..uncomfortable. Even the ones that are supposed to be comfortable are uncomfortable. They make you feel like you have an intractable wedgie. Plus, they make you feel completely exposed. Like you’re hardly wearing any underwear at all.

But listen, that’s the next step: Going commando, ala Britney. So think of thong-wearing as a compromise in sexiness.

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#33: No Digestion Discussions, Ever

If you want to avoid acting old, do not discuss your digestive tract in any way, ever, says my friend and fellow writer Christina Baker Kline. That means no talk of bran muffins or lactose intolerance, no references to regularity or heartburn, no jokes about gas or “tummy troubles.”

We all know it happens, but the world just doesn’t want to hear about it, okay? Quietly chew on your Tums and down your prophylactic Bean-O. Silently excuse yourself to go to the bathroom and afterwards, don’t regale us with tales of what happened there. Keep all burps, farts, gurgles, acid indigestion, and reflux episodes, as much as possible, to yourself.

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#32: Avoid Avoiding Babies

I know you’re not a monster; It’s just that you’re sooooooo over the baby thing. You’ve already put in your time jollying the infant who started crying in the middle of the meal, bouncing the toddler up and down the aisle of the plane, being pinned beneath the child who refused to sit anywhere but your lap. And you’re ready for some freedom.

But avoiding babies is like admitting you hate kittens, or sunshine. It makes you seem mean, cranky — dare I say Bush-like?

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