A couple weeks ago I wrote about a friend whose husband had turned his back in bed, seemingly for good. As you would imagine, that state of affairs sparked discussion among readers of both genders, with the males, typically, offering a series of excuses. First, the feller might be on “incapacitating” medication; second, he had “gotten used to” the wife and couldn’t get excited anymore; and, third, he was getting satisfaction elsewhere.
Anyway, as you know, Sisters, we women think differently, and so the female conversation turned from not getting any to getting – but not enough. So let’s talk about that a little – no pun intended – today, shall we?
Last Saturday morning, as I listened to the radio, a minor debate erupted out of a 70s calypso, by Singing Francine, titled Cool it Down. As the story goes, she is admonishing her man – men, in general – for spoiling women’s fun, just as it gets going, because they cannot keep up. You know the scene: A couple goes out for a rare night of fun, and just when the woman is hitting her stride on the dance floor, her husband, out of step or out of breath, decides he’s had enough and is ready to go home. As I sang along, I smiled, thinking of how the lyrics paralleled the discussions my friends and I had been having.
Specifically, we had discussed – with admitted amusement and a dash of pity – how fellers as they get into their waning years try so hard to convince themselves that what was still is. Most of the women I know can sit and shake their heads regretfully at the things we are either losing or have lost, whether hair or muscle tone or libido. Some, taking The Desiderata at face value, gracefully surrender the things of youth, while others fight, with vitamins, make-up and workouts, to keep them. But even the most valiant warriors will concede that, at most, these are just delay tactics, because the years will have their way, regardless.
But is not so fellers stop. They will whistle in the dark even when they have forgotten the tune. As one sister tells it, when her man starts his talk she will smile, under cover of the darkness, trying to recall the lines of Dionne Warwick’s Promises, Promises. In order not to burst into laughter, she will bite the corner of her pillow by the time he’s worked himself up to “next round, we will…,” for she knows – and he knows, too – that, at his age, there will be no second round. At least not that night. Or tomorrow night, either.
We agreed that this must be particularly galling for a man who, in his 20s, could saddle up four-five times a night and still rise at 5:30 next morning. And while he could accept, though not necessarily with grace, that the recuperation period had begun to last a bit longer in his 30s, and to drag in his late 40s, he still could not break himself of the “announcer” habit, even when, practically, he knew he ought to be quiet. And women, who simply cannot stop loving men, instead of boofing them up and asking them who, exactly, they’re trying to convince, will just lie there, agreeing that “after this one” we’ll try another position, and “after that one,” we’ll try another room.
A man-friend of mine has a favourite joke about an old mouse who harbours the fantasy of making love to an elephant. After he shares his feelings with a kindhearted pachyderm, she accedes to the mouse’s request and he runs up a tree to execute the deed. In the midst of the bout, a coconut falls, hitting the elephant on the head, and she groans. Immediately, the mouse asks, “Did I hurt you?” … Sisters, why rob a feller of his fantasy when, already, he finds reality so hard to take?
Someone once asked, on radio, why it is that a man goes into his sexual decline at just about the same time a woman is coming into her peak; and I phoned in to say maybe it’s because God has a sense of humour. Some people were gravely offended, but the God I know loves to laugh. Anyway, it has long been accepted that Nature is a woman, and, accordingly, she has to do something, sometimes, for the sisterhood. So I’ve concluded that this is her way of evening-out things a bit; of compensating for all we have to put up with in the early years.
This is why a Christian friend, now in his 50s, told me some time ago about paying his “wife insurance.” Piqued by the phrase, I had to ask for an explanation. When you’re young and able to work, he said, you have to pay in your insurance premiums regularly at home. Because, as the Gospel of John prophesied, the night cometh when no man can work – and what will a feller do, then, if he has not paid in his contributions against that time? Verily, verily, I say unto you that if a man has made no deposits into the account, then his spouse will have to make withdrawals elsewhere.
I believe that if we were to look around with a discerning eye today, we would be able to determine who, among the men we know, made sound investments and who did not. We could look in their yards and figure out, by the bitter fruit they are now reaping, those who sowed every garden but their own. You would remember that feller I told you about some time ago who, as age crept up, declined to get a prescription; he had accepted that he had “enough oil only to light one wick,” and so he was keeping it to stoke the home fires.
That kind of investment pays dividends. And so, out of an abundance of the love I mentioned earlier, women are willing to coax the flame along, to fan it where possible, and shield it from any harsh wind that might put it out altogether. No matter how little warmth it actually gives… .