My home phone has a feature called “Call Intercept.” When a call comes in without a phone number attached, it assumes I want to screen the call. The caller gets a message alerting them to this function, and instructing them to follow a sequence of steps if they are to have any hope of reaching me. If they follow the instructions carefully and I want to talk to them, they can get through.
Coincidentally, my wife, Veronica* has a similar feature, called “Sex Intercept.” Whenever the conversation, well – my conversation, turns to sex, the subject matter gets screened in her brain before it has time to process any information. It then follows a path similar to the child's game, “Mousetrap,” where the marble goes from one crazy path to another, and the mouse in finally trapped. Except in this case, the talk of sex follows a bizarre path until it comes out of her mouth as “It's going to be 60 degrees today, do you think the kids should wear long or short sleeves?”
* I have changed my wife's name to Veronica for this article, to save my life, or at the very least one testicle.
Here's a perfect example:
ME (Speaking in appropriately hushed tones, lest anyone within 2 miles can hear)
Veronica, do you think we could get the kids to go to bed on the early side of midnight, so we can have some time to…and perhaps we can even trim your…
VERONICA (Gazing at me at though about to ask me to recite the Magna Carta)
I saw that Kohl's is having a sale on socks for the kids, and they only have 3,000 pairs. I think I'll run over there tomorrow. I have a coupon.
Has this ever happened to you? Has this ever not happened to you?
This is what I call one of the Rules of Marriage. I can't really number them because there is no order of importance. They're all important and equally bewildering. What intrigues me is how many feedback letters I receive detailing the very same trials and tribulations that I go through. Even when we go out with another couple for dinner or other occasion, there is a similar convention. The guys talk with each other first about sports, business, etc. Then they move on to the important stuff. Sex. They don't get enough of it. What they get is not good enough. It's enough to drive them to a girlfriend. In the meantime, the ladies are busy discussing children's activities, hair coloring, how bitchy the neighbor is, school, the PTA, their figures and generally everything and anything that would motivate me to order another drink – or two.
Now of course I'm generalizing and do not mean to offend. I've received many emails from women who claim just the opposite is true. They are dying to discuss sex with their husbands, who are about as interested in it as they are in an IRS audit. But discuss sports with them and hey, now were talking.
Maybe, this is an idea, these wives should combine the conversation to attract and maintain their husband's attention.
WIFE (Light in her eyes)
HUSBAND (More interested in his last fart)
WIFE Do you think you might want to bring your ball over to my playground tonight?
HUSBAND (Faintly stirring)
WIFE I said, do you think you could get your ball in my glove tonight?
HUSBAND My ball? Your glove?
WIFE Yes, dear. Do you think you might want to score a touchdown tonight. Hit a home run. Whack a slap shot. Win a set. Kick a goal into my net. Put your ball through my hoop. Am I coming in honey? Do I have to dress like an umpire and have John Madden announce the plays?
HUSBAND I understand what you mean. I'm not stupid you know.
WIFE (As if speaking to a four year old)
I know that, baby. I just want to be with you tonight. It's been…how long has it been?
HUSBAND How long has what been?
WIFE (Patience wearing thin)
How long has it been since we've been together, dear. I can't remember the last time…
HUSBAND (Still fully immersed in his fog)
WIFE (In the “I've had enough” mode)
Oh, for Christ sakes, John. The Pope gets more sex than I do. When is the last time we fucked. And when I say that, I'd mean the last time we had sex when it took more than 60 seconds and both of us had orgasms. Maybe one of us even stayed awake for two minutes afterward without the TV going on?
All right, all right. What are you getting so upset about?
This doesn't sound familiar, does it?
My friends, you have just encountered one of the Rules of Marriage. This is the Alternate Universe Rule. It means that when one of you is discussing sex, or wants to discuss sex, or even has the faintest notion of something sexual, the opposing spouse's thoughts are 1.2 million miles away. You might as well be discussing life on Mars – hence the name.
This is just one of the many rules of married sex that I've encountered in my brief (no jokes, please) lifetime. There are, of course, others. Or there'd be nothing to write about and we wouldn't be having all this fun, would we? I'd like to share some of my Rules of Marriage with you. I'd like to hear about yours. I'd like some answers. I'd like some guilt-free ice cream. I'd like, just once, for the store to have the advertised special in stock. Let's stick to one fantasy. Here are some of my rules, and the penalties for not following them. Please keep in mind that these are tongue-in-cheek rules. What I'm getting at without a lot of subtlety is that these seem to be the rules of marriage. It seems that everyone I know that is married for any length of time faces them.
My goal is to give you a chuckle as you read about with what we've all gone through and are still experiencing. But more than that, I want to know why we have to follow these rules at all. Maybe, and it's a big maybe, by identifying them and identifying with them, we can all conclude they should be changed. For the one married couple who reads this and says, “yeah, that's us, we should change that…” this article has been more than worth the effort.