Wife: We wake up and cuddle in bed, deciding what to do with the day before our houseguest arrives. Weekend adventures remind me of when we first started dating and neither of us had demanding jobs, so we’d spend entire days wandering in an unshowered haze from our favorite coffee place to our favorite Mexican joint to our favorite coffee place again and then back to bed for the afternoon.
Husband: We walk around the West Village after brunch with friends, stopping often to make out on the sidewalk. This is the neighborhood where we first fell in love. This is also the neighborhood where we separately spent our promiscuous twenties. The passage of time is palpable. For one thing, she’s pregnant.
Wife: Stop by a kids’ boutique on the way home from brunch in the West Village with friends to pick up a baby gift. He says he hates this place because it’s expensive and I “always take an hour here.” I think every time we walk into a place like this, he just sees his youth vanishing before his eyes and gets scared, even though he’s come around to this accidental-pregnancy thing. We’ve always wanted kids, we just underestimated how, um, easy it would be to make that happen.
Wife: Genuinely hoping to remind him that marriage/babies aren’t all bad, but afternoon delight thwarted by visit from a neighbor. Neighbor leaves, then husband’s brother stops by, then our houseguest arrives. We all watch Game of Thrones. I’m getting tired. Thoughts of frisky afternoon sex vanish underneath a heap of work worries.
Husband: Why are there so many people here? I’m desperate for sex.
Husband: It’s a race against time. Pregnant ladies fall asleep early. Every fifth or sixth photo on my iPhone is my wife asleep on the couch with her mouth open. Finally in bed, I remind her that I’m leaving on a work trip the next day. I crack an obvious joke about how my Neanderthal friend B says all wives should F the S out of their husbands before they go away on business because “it’s fucking common sense, dude.” We talk frankly about the impossible reality of how much more sex men need than women, and how it’s unsurprising that so many guys cheat. I explain that I already feel like I don’t get enough attention, and when the baby arrives, there will definitely be less attention—maybe none. She is apparently sympathetic to this line of reasoning because her hand drifts to my business region. She gives me a loving hand job. Feels good, even though I guilted her into it.
Wife: I sneak off to bed hoping I’m off the hook. He follows me; we chat and cuddle and spoon. I can feel on my leg that he is not exactly drifting off. Suddenly we’re having a serious talk about how he’s sad that we don’t have as much sex as we used to. I tell him, for the millionth time, that fat and work stress are sapping my libido, and that in a vacuum I would definitely want to fuck him four to five times a week. He has been spooked by marriage horror stories from longer-married friends who are forced to take care of all their own needs in the shower. He says we don’t always have to have sex sex and suggests a hand job. Halfway through I get tired, so he takes over and I talk mildly dirty to him while he finishes into his T-shirt. That wasn’t hard! Make mental note that we can definitely work this into the repertoire.
Wife: He leaves for business trip. Texts me that “Shady Grady will be home with handcuffs and a red rose from the deli tomorrow.” My husband was not in a frat, but “Shady Grady” is his frat-boy alter ego, the one who occasionally (and usually drunkenly) demands sex when I am tired. Shady Grady is also a verb, i.e., last night I was “hand-job Gradied.”
Husband: Stressed at work, trying to finish a ton of crap before leaving on an overnight work trip. Two things make me particularly needy for my wife: work stress and business travel. When she’s stressed, she’s hard to communicate with—distant and prickly. When I’m stressed, I’m the opposite—I paw at her and nuzzle her boobs like a baby animal. Here at my desk, I can’t fight the urge to text her that I love her and miss her. Soon I’m demanding she text me a pic of her new hairdo … she does, and her bangs look so hot falling over her eye.