I’m going to be doing some pampering over the next few days, in preparation for the holiday and the reunion taking place the following night. I don’t have the money to be running around getting pampered, but I’m doing it anyway. The past week or so has been so stressful – so many phone calls to my dad asking for his advice on how to solve these problems that have no solutions. I feel like I deserve to feel pretty, especially given that I’m going to be in situations that will let me try to look pretty: I’ll be wearing dresses instead of my usual jeans-and-work-tee-shirt deal.
Of course, I’m trying to be reasonable. I’ll be painting my own nails, as usual. I’ll be wearing shoes that I already own, and of course, thanks to this project, I have my necklace picked out for me. So besides the dress itself, which I bought months ago, and a pair of $16 earrings, all I’m really spending money on is a haircut and a wax.
Which brings me to my point. I started getting bikini waxes several years ago, in preparation for my wedding. The idea, which I probably don’t need to spell out for you, was that if someone was going to be seeing me in lingerie (or less), I didn’t want to have to worry about hair, or shaving, or razor burn. And now, I’m pretty attached to the idea of not having to worry about hair, or shaving, or razor burn: I’ve been getting monthly waxes for almost four years. (I’m not telling you how much they cost, except to say that the girl I see is both the cheapest and the best, but you can do some imaginative math if you like.)
Now that Doug and I are sharing money, though, I feel like we are essentially buying everything together, including things like my waxing. Granted, personal extravagances should probably come out of my personal money (the “allowance”), and once I get all our direct deposits and bill pays and transfers set up, they undoubtedly will. But for the time being, I can’t help but think about what business Doug might have paying for me to go get a bikini wax. Or, more accurately, why he would want to.
It all comes back to this: we don’t have sex like we used to. I don’t parade around in lacy lingerie. Occasionally, we go down to the jacuzzi in our complex, and then I’m in a bathing suit, but it’s not like we sit there and I let Doug feel me up. In short, Doug gets no benefit from my bikini waxes – no one does, except for me and my dislike of body hair – and whether he’s technically helping to pay for them or not, that sucks.
It’s hard for me to imagine what my sex life would be like now if I hadn’t gotten pregnant and miscarried – because that series of events really did put a spoke in the wheel of my libido. But I also know that, over time in a long-term relationship, that initial, can’t-keep-your-hands-off-each-other stage fades and gives way to more meaningful connections. Perhaps the lessening of our sex life was inevitable and just would have happened more slowly. Perhaps we would be in the same place we are right now, only instead of having gotten there by way of a sharp fall followed by a slow climb, we would have gotten there by way of a slow descent, like a normal couple who hasn’t suffered a tragedy so early in their relationship.
Sometimes I tell people I’m dead inside, that I am completely un-sexed. And that’s not true. I still joke about sex with my friends, still read books about it, even still occasionally want to have it. (Yes, with Doug.) I just can’t – articulate? manage? – it very well. When Doug suggests sex, I panic. When I’m contemplating suggesting sex, and he beats me to it, I instantly shut down. When we’re actually engaged in the act, and I want to try something different/change positions/give encouragement or feedback, I pray that Doug has developed mind-reading powers, because I can no longer, for the life of me, speak my desires out loud. And then there’s that occasional feeling, after sex, of guilt and regret.
This is stupid. I have resolved here, so many times, to fix my sex life. So tomorrow, when I go to my therapy appointment, and she asks whether I’m “coming in with anything in mind,” I’m going to say sex. And devote, like, the whole hour to it. (Because otherwise, I’ll just spend the hour complaining about how stressful things are at work and with extended family right now – see the unsolvable problem reference, above.)
I need to earn my right to monthly bikini waxes. And then make them worth my while.