“I’ve looked on many women with lust. I’ve committed adultery in my heart many times. God knows I will do this and forgives me.” — Jimmy Carter
Freakin’ Jimmy Carter, man, he lays it out there. Okay, so I’ve had this libidinous fixation on Gavin DeGraw who’s a singer/pianist no one seems to’ve heard of and I decided it was time to Take Action in order not to commit adultery in my heart.
Henry and I have been together 13 years. Something had to give.
When he came home from taking our daughters to soccer last night the babysitter was waiting with a surprise note from me.
It asked him to dress for-a-first-date (no orthopedic tennis shoes or white socks) and meet me in the bar at the Avalon Hotel, 8 p.m. sharp!
Signing it: “We don’t know each other!”
I’d instructed him to order me a Grey Goose martini straight up with two olives when he arrived because that sounded like a drink Mrs. Robinson would have while smoking Cuaba cigars.
Unfortunately, I arrived first and had to order my own martini. A harbinger of doom. The minutes driveled by. He was late.
Did he get my note? Did the babysitter open it, read it and quit? Maybe he just isn’t coming?
I’d floated this idea by Henry over the years and his response had been, at best, lackluster. Role playing just wasn’t his thing.
He strode through the lounge not looking at me once but going straight to the bar to order a beer. A red beer.
Henry doesn’t drink. He can’t drink. Alcohol gives him blinding migraines. Could it be my reserved, buttoned-up husband was going for it?
But why wasn’t he looking at me? I whistled at him. Just put my lips together and blew. He didn’t turn around. WTF? Was he deaf? Didn’t he see me?
Waiters and busboys were falling into my cleavage never to be heard from again. My dress skirt was so short the concierge had offered to give me a full Brazilian wax.
How could he miss me? Would I have to whistle again? Just put my lips together and blow?
Henry turned. Our eyes met. He looked at me quizzically. Wow. He was really going to go through with this. My heart melted. He approached.
“Are you Crystal?”
“Crystal?” I squawked.
That’s the best he could do? Shouldn’t we be able to pick our own names? I was going to be Judith, a techie from the south who knew how to make marzipan and drive a back-hoe.
“Yes,” I said bitterly, “I’m … Crystal.”
“I’m Paul,” he offered.
Paul. I could live with that. Pauls are tall and broad-shouldered, let’s face it, macho. I didn’t want to be married to macho, but wouldn’t mind visiting from time to time.
“So Crystal,” Paul said making himself comfortable on the couch next to me, “I feel like I know you already … from your videos.”
Turns out I was going to be a porn star. Yes. A porn star. Not exactly what I was after. So, completely ignoring Tina Fey’s advice that you should trust your partner during an improv I said, “I’m not in that business.”
“You’re not?” Paul’s eyes began to dart about confusedly.
I realized I was about to blow this whole thing, so I backtracked. I informed “Paul” I had worked as an adult performer in my misspent youth.
However, I’d been such a classy, intellectual porn star whose demographic was college-educated women who preferred erotica to misogynistic wham-bam-thank-you-ma’ams that I’d been able to create my own brand, turn it into a thriving production company that raked in so much money from people watching my videos that I was able to retire early to Tampa where I owned several properties including a baseball team.
“Oh,” said Paul. Flummoxed.
We had nowhere to go but up. And so we did.
Turns out Paul was disillusioned by his profession as a porn producer and he’d just gotten divorced from one of his starlets. Was looking for deeper meaning in life. He unfortunately made a bad porn-pun with the word “deeper.”
But let’s face it, I was a Sure Thing.
Soon we moved to the restaurant where I couldn’t help snarfing down a pizza with prosciutto and finishing off Paul’s beer.
Paul was born in Portland, Maine, apparently, but his father was a blimp operator so they moved around a lot.
In fact, his father piloted the first ever Goodyear blimp all over the country. Unfortunately Paul’s mother found out that his father had a girl in every Blimp port. They were known as “Blimpees.”
Paul thought it was his father’s duplicitous life — there are an unknown number of Blimpee kids across the U.S. — that caused him to turn to the dark business of the flesh trade.
He had no children.
I had two sons from a high school relationship with a drug dealer. My boys thought I was their wicked, fallen, older sister. I secretly paid for their private school educations with my ill-gotten, filthy lucre, but I would never tell them.
Sacrifice just came naturally to me — a Jezebel with a heart of gold.
After a while Henry and I became Paul and Crystal. We saw each other differently. We smiled at each other differently. I laughed at all of his jokes and didn’t reprimand him for eating mashed potatoes that would just add to the belly fat that was a widow-maker.
When we touched across the restaurant table it felt as though we were touching for the first time. It was electric.
In fact, it went so well that we had to leave the restaurant before dessert. This is where I’ll Fade To Black … Paul and Crystal deserve a little privacy.
(There might’ve been a freshly vacuumed mini-van involved. On a public street. This is all hypothetical.)
I learned in a whole new way that marriage takes effort. It’s easy to be lazy and tired and uninspired. I really had no idea how things would go last night. I thought we’d feel like idiots and just give up the quest.
But it went so well that Henry said he’d be the one to leave me a note the next time. I think the best thing it did for me was allow me a certain distance with which to observe the man who is my husband. I remembered why I’d thought he was so adorable in the first place.
I saw him through fresh, albeit porn star, eyes. That damned Crystal, she might be naughty, but like most ladies she’s just looking for love.