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Dispatch from Le Date de Sex

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Meredith Hoffa: For those of you on seat's edge wondering how my Sex Date went -- my first postpartum rendezvous -- let me grace you with the next installment of the story:

Young couple preparing to kiss at restaurant table
The evening of, I put the little animal to bed (i.e., bounced her intensely on an exercise ball while hissing shhhh into her ear until I was panting and sweaty), then emerged into the living room to find this scene:

1) Dim lights.
2) A blanket spread out on the floor where the dining room table normally is.
3) A bottle of wine and my favorite chocolate. Also, my husband had clearly made an attempt to hide all the baby gear from sight -- to make our house look "adult," presumably, and help get me in the mood.

This kind of madness is not usually our thing. Really? Mood-lighting?

Immediately I felt a wave of panic. Crap, I thought. Is there really no more stalling? But I also found it just so sweet and dear that he'd gone to all this trouble for the sake of gently easing me back in. Honestly, he never fails to amaze. I adore him such an absurd amount that it sometimes just completely overwhelms me, and I feel compelled to smush him into tiny bite-size bits, or punch him in the face or something. I looked at him and thought, How can I possibly deprive this man of sex? Simultaneously I thought, I wonder how much longer we can feasibly go without having sex?

Anyway, we started on the wine, and then my husband announced that we were going to play a game. "And I think you know what it is," he added.

I had a feeling I might.

OK, so let me press "pause" here to give a little background. There are these friends of ours from back East, Amanda and Dave. One of the top things about Amanda and Dave is that they love to delight us by sending ludicrous gifts through the mail; it's one of their favorite pastimes. Among the recent parcels we've received from them: Dancing with Cats, an amazing coffee table book picturing felines of all shapes and sizes passionately engaged in avant-garde modern dance routines; and Grandma's Dead, a book of postcards that break bad news (news like "I'm a registered sex offender" and "Daddy's never coming home") using adorable photos of baby animals. Another recent surprise: a coffee mug with all four of our faces on it. But perhaps one of the best things Amanda and Dave have ever sent us is this board game called Speak Love Make Love. The box features a Joy of Sex-esque pencil drawing of a man whispering sweet nothings into his ladylove's cheekbone, and below this, in cursive, it says "A romantic game of giving and receiving." The manufacturer says the game is "for any couple 18 to 80."

I can't be positive, but I think Speak Love Make Love is actually a real, non-joke game, yet it strikes us as cringe-y and icky-funny and vaguely off-putting on so many levels that it begs to be laughed at. It just seems like a parody of itself, really, like the kind of thing a sex therapist wearing drapey clothing might have you play with your lover and then process together or something. The way it works is this: each square on the board instructs you to do something different. The board's divided in two: the Speak Love side has squares that say things like "Viva la difference! Share what's good about your differences." And "Tell your partner at what times you are aware that they are sending loving feelings to you non-verbally." The Make Love side of the board instructs you to do things with and to your partner. One such square says "Go to a full-length mirror together. Tell each other what you see and want." One of my favorites is "Holding hands, look deeply into each other's eyes. Be with each other for 3 minutes."

Gross-ish, right?

For the past five or six years, this gem has been living in our game cabinet -- nestled between Scrabble and Yahtzee -- and although we've never played it, its presence in our home has given us tremendous pleasure. "Ha ha," we always say when we see it. "There's Speak Love Make Love. Ha ha ha."

But tonight my hub had taken it out and put it on the agenda. I couldn't tell if he meant it to be ironic or not.

So ... we drank our wine and we played. Not joke-ily, but not without peals of laughter, either. There we were: playing Speak Love Make Love, whilst our squishy little tiny-toed newborn slept, swaddled and snoring, in our bedroom. If someone had described this snapshot to me just one year ago, I would have been dubious on all counts.

But, actually -- it was kind of great. Kind of oddly sweet and surprising and great. Maybe it's because we were sleep-deprived and too tired to be cynical or snarky. Who knows. But we rolled the dice and just made our way through the evening -- one tiny square and then the next.

next: Michael Jackson's Body in Deep Freeze As Family Bickers
1 comments so far | Post a comment now
Ten Tees January 8, 2011, 2:07 PM

Interesting post. Nice and fun reading. I’ve got one point to submit about funny t-shirts.

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