I just discovered the television show Scandal on Netflix.
Yes, I know that I’m coming (pun intended) to the Oliva Pope/President Fitzgerald party waaaaaay late. But I’ve come to the party with a vengeance. I’ve managed to watch all 40+ episodes that have aired to date in the last six weeks.
I forgot to brush and floss, make kids’ lunches, take my meds, shave my legs, kiss my husband, let alone hob his knob (I know, that’s not a saying, but it should be). I have basically been useless because who can be bothered to hob your husband’s knob when you can watch the ridiculously chiseled, delicately be-chest-furred Tony Goldwyn get his knob hobbed by the gloriously, salubriously magnificent Kerry Washington (preggers or no)?
And the way he wants her. He’s willing to give up being the most powerful man in the free world just to be able to park his Caddy in her garage.
How the heck can any of us in the real world—where we have psoriasis, halitosis, shingles, dandruff, athlete’s foot or are simply more soft, round, old and poorly lit than these gorgeous glamazonian thespians—compete with that?
We can’t, and, unfortunately, an image is worth a thousand words. Maybe Tony Goldwyn has halitosis? Maybe Kerry Washington has irritable bowel? We can certainly hope, but all that we see is passion, desire and perfection.
It was with a sense of inertia that I climbed into bed with my husband of 13 years, Henry, after viewing my umpteenth Olivia Pope/President Fitzgerald tryst—this one occurring in the stunning Vermont country home he built for her tricked out with stained glass windows from freaking Valhalla or some such gobbledygook—and I was feeling a bit uninspired to discover my husband lying asleep, his body sprawled across the bed like a gut-shot Secret Service Agent, twitching spasmodically due to his Restless Leg Syndrome.
Why bother even trying to have sex with someone who is not the philandering president of the United States (married to a cold ladder-climber, so who can blame him for cheating?) who is willing to throw away his presidency just for me? What’s the point? We already have our kids. Maybe, if sex can’t be off-the-charts hot, hot, hot, we should just hang up our anal beads and leather lariats? We’re obviously performing sex inadequately. But then I reconsidered.
Here are the two reasons I decided married couples shouldn’t give up on sex, no matter how un-cinematic it might be:
For the men...
Men don’t care about having sex that’s as hot as it looks on TV. (Yes, I’m generalizing, but I dare you to tell me different, men?? You’ll take sex any way you can get it. Just admit it!)
Sure, men wouldn’t mind if we looked like Kerry Washington with those pink, flotation device lips, and lustrous, obsidian pools for eyes (I think I might be turning into a lesbian), but mostly they just want sex.
Any kind of sex is fine. Good, bad, tepid, awkward, lazy, drunken, self-righteous—they’ll take it. It’s us women who are the problem.
Yes, feminists (I count myself one), we are suckers for impossible romance!
We are devourers of movies like Twilight, where the carnivorously handsome bad boy loves us so much he’s willing to change his ways, yet somehow remain dangerous and sexily bad, albeit monogamous. With only us. (By which I mean “me,” because “us” implies plural, which doesn’t dovetail with “monogamous.” I think I need more wine to finish this post. Be right back.)
We ingest books like the 50 Shades of Grey series by the bucketload, even if we’re Rhodes Scholars with Ph.D.s in Nuclear Physics. Who can resist Christian Grey, a man who flies his own jet, plays effortless piano concertos while signing in Austronesian Tagalog, and knows his way around a leather harness which he straps you in while flashing his 12-pack abs (six is so yesterday)? Who can resist this lie???
Not I, I can assure you. Not. I.
For the women...
We’re far more difficult to please than men in the bedroom. It’s because of the connection between our right and left-brain hemispheres, which makes us capable of multi-tasking during sex.
Which means collecting, categorizing, and collating all of the ways in which our man isn’t doing what Fitz does to Olivia... like missing our body so badly while running the free world that he has to bite our arm flesh, or being able to dexterously shed our panties with just a flick of his pointer finger, or, well, there’s that 12-pack.
Here’s the thing. Once we ladies can get past all the ways sex with our husband isn’t like the sex our TV, movie, and book heroines enjoy, then we can step into a world of possibility. This world is real. You can touch it, taste it, feel it and it can still surprise you. The transition from fantasy to reality can be difficult and we can choose to be lazy and live in our heads, but more often than not it’s worth the effort.
So last night I slipped into bed, naked as Miley Cyrus on a wrecking ball, and lifted up my sleeping husband’s T-shirt, pressing my naked flesh against his back. He wasn’t asleep after that.
I suspect, had a camera been in the room, we would not have inspired the fantasies of any Scandal aficionados like myself, but today we both have smiles on our faces.