Married Alive

Congratulations to all the Iowa newlyweds, and I hope you’re ready for the long haul.

The truth is: Marriage takes work. Lots of it.
When I was married several years ago, I naively thought passion would swiftly carry my husband and me through the years. There we’d be on our 50th anniversary, lying around on a perfumed, heart-shaped bed, popping vitamin E, and sucking on compressed oxygen just so we could keep up with each other.

Uh-uh. Doesn’t work that way, my gay newlyweds.

After a few years of marriage, my hubby’s idea of foreplay was waking up in the middle of the night, asking, “Are you up?” My idea of provocative nightwear was the pink sweat pants with the rip in the back (how convenient).

It was time to spice things up. First, we tried some risqué things. The rubber mats, barbed wire, and mayonnaise body painting were OK, but that night with the oyster shooters, incense, and watching Suzanne Somers’s Thigh Master video gave me a headache.

Role-playing can be fun, too. But when you get into a game of Escaped Convict and the Warden, make sure you have a backup set of handcuff keys.

Although entertaining, these games were killing us—and illegal in 32 states.

I approached my mate with another idea: “Honey, tonight, let’s go on a date!”

“A date? We can’t date. We’re married!”

“That’s the point! Just you and I, doing something fun!”

“We can’t have fun. We’re married!”

“Take me on a date, or tonight, I’m watching Joan Rivers on QVC with nothing but our Visa card and a bottle of white Zinfandel.”

Next thing he knew, we were in our pickup.

We decided to hit a trendy gay club. It was packed with Generation Xers (are they still called Generation Xers?), and held more flannel than a lumberjack convention. I felt so out of place with my ensemble, I went in the bathroom, and peeled off my “Jacqueline Smith” labels.

The music, though, was boss! Er, cool! Uh, I mean phat! (Phat?) I couldn’t believe the Xers were actually listening to Steve Miller, The Rolling Stones, the B-52’s, and Aerosmith. Aerosmith! I wanted to rush to the closest Xers I could find, and tell them I was passing out at Aerosmith concerts 28 years ago!

I walked toward a couple of them standing near our table, ready to import my sacred wisdom. As if on cue, one came toward me, seemingly drawn by a mystic force to listen to my words.

“Out of my way, oldster. I need a brewsky.”

Well, maybe not.

Undaunted, I went to the other and casually said, “You know, Aerosmith was one of my favorites. I got all their albums.”
“That’s great, lady. What’s an album? And are you guys sure you’re at the right bar?”

So much for trying to bridge the gap.

My spouse and I even tried to dance. What a cruel evidence of aging that turned out to be. I kept commanding my body to move certain ways, but it refused. It even started to revolt, telling me, “Sit down, dork! You look like Nancy Pelosi trying to do an MTV video! You’re not even turning on your own husband!” Had I become the sad middle-ager desperately trying to cling to her youth? It was too pathetic to ponder.

Finally back home, I closely evaluated the evening. My wallet was empty, my ears were ringing, and my stomach was nauseous. I sadly realized that my partner was married to a fat, middle-aged goober with gray roots.

“Sweetheart, I had a great time tonight,” he said, as we crawled into bed.

“What?” I asked. “Were we on the same date? I felt like Gilligan at the Mensa Club meeting! I was totally out of my element.”

“But you forced me to make the effort. That’s what is really important,” he said, snuggling up to me. “Want to fool around?”

“Sure,” I sighed, obediently getting up. “I’ll get the spiced love lotion, the gorilla mask, and the leather-tipped feather duster.”

“No, no, no,” he said. “We don’t need that stuff anymore. Let me take care of it.”

You see, working at marriage does have its rewards.

So, my dear Iowa newlyweds, brace yourself for the worst, savor the best—and, consider the source here, keep the leather-tipped feather duster on hand. Just in case.

Bye for now.
Kiss, kiss.

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