Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Cheating



Last week I kissed a man who is not my husband on the mouth. He was gay, and drunk, and he actually did the kissing, and I told my husband, and he laughed, but I still feel a teensy bit guilty. Not because I wanted to be kissed, but because I did get a bit of a thrill out of it. Not that the thrill was due to attraction, because it wasn’t. This guy was clearly not even in the same ballpark as me, let alone on the same team. (I don’t know what that means.) I think the thrill was a result of being married too long and being stuck home most nights with a child and not getting to do the crazy sexy things I did in my youth. This is the closest I’ve got to dancing in the foam pit at Senor Frog’s or making out on a pool table in a long time. And it’s not even close. And it’s all because of Cookie.
I’ve had this urge for a while now. Not specifically to kiss a strange man on the mouth; just to get irresponsibly drunk and make bad choices. In this case, I was merely a tad tipsy and I let someone else make a choice that was rather out of character. But in all the scenarios in which I imagine myself indulging this urge, my husband is there, so in my mind I’m not cheating. Which is great, right? That I fantasize about doing naughty things (although not those naughty things, but that’s another story) with the person I’m supposed to do things in general with. Still, no matter how much I rationalize it, I can’t shake this urge. Once again, it’s all because of Cookie.
Before Cookie, I wasn’t a party girl (although I did enjoy a good, or even a bad, party) or a bar fly (although my favourite seat anywhere is a barstool) or a slut (full stop). But I enjoyed my relative freedom, and enjoyed it well into my thirties, so to have had it so abruptly taken from me is still a bit of a shock. While I was pregnant, but before I knew it or even suspected that it was possible, my husband and I drank our way across Britain, from whisky tastings in Scotland to pub-hopping pints in Yorkshire to a champagne- and Pimm’s-soaked wedding in Ascot. Spirit of the West’s “Home for a Rest” comes to mind. Cue the immense guilt a month later, when I finally figured out why the bike ride to work was taking five minutes longer than it should. Not to mention the nagging concern, despite my doctor’s repeated assurances. (“We really only worry about binge drinkers” — well, it was a good vacation, so define binge again?)
I think I’m still looking forward to the next party, and over two years later I haven’t got to it yet. And I want to, I so want to! But any time I’m out, I just know that if I have more than a couple of drinks, the following morning will be intolerable. If you’ve seen that show Up All Night, with Christina Applegate and Will Arnett, you can imagine the scenario. In the first episode, they go out, decide to stay out way too late just like they used to, and sure enough they are woken up a mere two hours later by a screaming child. They’re fully dressed, hung over, and faced with a nasty diaper that they can barely change between the two of them without hurling. I know that scene; I’ve lived it. Once was enough.
So my fantasy goes something like this: Cookie stays for an entire weekend with someone. Don’t care who; sometimes you just have to let the details slide in fantasies, just as in sitcoms. Hubby and I go out Friday night with our best friends. First stop is pre-dinner cocktails, then dinner accompanied by buckets of wine, then a bar for drinks made with Malibu rum or blue curacao or something equally ridiculous and ill-advised. Then we do something stupid, like go to an after-hours club or make out with the wrong spouse or take a cab to a casino a hundred miles away. On Saturday we sleep it off. On Sunday we go out for a very greasy breakfast, then clean the house, then pick up Cookie, and then life returns to normal.
Some people would call that a weekend. I used to, occasionally. (Except for the bit about making out with the wrong person, I swear.) But now that I’m a parent, I call it cheating. On Cookie. Because it just feels like one of those fantasies where you’re hooking up with Daniel Craig, but in order to convince yourself that it’s even possible you’ve got to theoretically get rid of your partner, so he suddenly turns into an irredeemable asshole or you kill him off or something like that. And even though it’s a fantasy, it still feels a bit like cheating. As does the thought of abandoning my child with a family member so I can go off on a lost weekend — cheating on parenthood.
So for now I stick to my two-drink max and the occasional bizarre incident. And someday, someday, when Cookie can take care of herself, I’ll get to Ibiza. Man, will I look out of place by then.

-East End Mama


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