Thursday, February 14, 2013
Desire Under the Tums: Valentine's Tips for the Middle-Aged
JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Happy Valentine's Day! Every newspaper, magazine and website will be offering a Valentine theme today, and we, dear readers, are no different. Except for this: much of the advice proffered for Valentine's Day is oriented to, shall we say, the novices of love. People dating, or wanting to date, or hoping to make a commitment. Newlyweds and harried young parents wondering if the bloom is off the rose (1)
Where are the love secrets for those "of a certain age," as the French say? Why, right here. If you're already certainly aged, you know things are different. "Feeling hot in bed" means it's time to ask your doctor about hormones. When your man is getting up in the middle of the night, it's to go to the bathroom. Forthwith, some tips and tricks to keep things popping (and I don't mean your knees.)
1. Take your glasses off. Mother Nature has created a beautiful plan for us: just as our faces start sprouting unidentifiable spots (2), mystery hairs and crow's feet, we lose the ability to see anything closer than two feet away without the aid of powerful lenses. Take those glasses off and watch your beloved's care-worn visage blur into the same fresh-faced youth you met at the disco.
2. Speaking of mystery hairs, most of us ladies know what to do if we want to defoliate. The same can't be said for the men in our lives. Guys who at twenty-five are as smooth as Michael Phelps become Yeti look-alikes at fifty. If you find flinging your arms around your husband reminds you of bear wrestling, slip him a gift certificate to a local spa for some manscaping. (3) If he resists going, pull out the beard trimmer and tell him to lie down, it won't hurt a bit. (4)
3. Of course, hitting middle age means discovering sometimes it does hurt a bit when you lie down.(5) There's nothing that can douse the flame of love quicker than hearing something go SNAP in the heat of the moment. Not to mention the bad knee, dicey shoulder or tricky lower back you and your beloved are probably sporting. How to get around the fact you're falling apart at the joints? Try gazing into each others eyes and toasting as you down your prophylactic ibuprofen. Consider making "Ben Gay" part of your foreplay.(6) And take a leaf from college kids: ask before you proceed. Questions like "Does this hurt?" "Can you bend like that?" and "Mind if we just forget it and watch Elementary?" will help things run much more smoothly.
4. Finding privacy for those intimate moments can be a challenge if you have teens still at home or twenty-something "rebounders" (7). When they were toddlers, you could stick them in front of a Barney tape and dash off for a twenty minute quickie. Now, they stay up later than you do, and they know about S-E-X (8). What to do? It's difficult to order them outside to play in the fresh air when they're 19 and 22. Try bribing them with money to go to the mall. Some couples find it helpful to play loud, teen-repelling music in their bedrooms. Try 1980's country. (9) A final alternative? Be truthful. A friend of mine swore he could clear the house in under three minutes by loudly announcing, "Mom and I are going upstairs to have sex now."
5. Don't forget the little, tender moments that create a sense of love and intimacy. Consider taking your morning pills side-by-side together. Help each other remember what the hell you came into the kitchen for. Compliment your partner on his sexy relaxed-fit Dockers or her stylin' orthopedic shoes. Take the time to text something besides "Pls pick up dogfd, lghtblbs on way home." Marvel together about the up-and-coming generation's inability to walk three steps without sticking earbuds in their heads (10).
Despite that fact that you're getting weekly AARP solicitations in the mail and you still don't understand Google+, these can, indeed, be the good years. Secure in each other, you don't need to sweat the cards, the flowers, or the overpriced Valentine's Day dinner. Simply take a moment to let your sweetie know that, in your eyes, he or she is the same sweet person you fell for all those years ago (11). Then whisper the words your beloved is longing to hear:
"Want to watch Elementary tonight?"
(1) It is. Just go with it for a few years.
(2) Go see the dermo.
(3) Of course, if you're a "bear daddy" fan, this could be a huge plus.
(4) Who knows? You may find out you both like playing The Naughty Inmate and the Stern Prison Matron.
(5) And not in that 50 SHADES OF GRAY way, either.
(6) But for God's sakes, watch where you put it.
(7) Yes, they have their own name, now. Lord help us all.
(8) Although they still suspect their parents have only done it as many times as necessary to make a baby. If you adopted your child, he or she is happy to consider you may NEVER have had sex.
(9) This means, however, you'll have to learn to find Kenny Rogers singing "Lady" a turn-on.
(10) Seriously. What's up with that?
(11) Pro tip: don't say, "You look weathered, like an old barn." Which is a real thing my husband said to me. And then had no idea why I got mad.