Ben, 40s, reasonably attractive, well spoken.
Chocolate cake with chocolate sauce, what does that say about our host?
We’ve all heard that women use chocolate as a substitute for sex. I think a more accurate comment on the matter would be that after a while, chocolate becomes not the substitute for sex but the reason you’re not having it in the first place.
I need to be physically attracted to my partner – let’s be honest, we all do. You can tell me looks are only skin deep as much as you like but, isn’t the skin an integral part of the human make up and therefore rather important in the grand scheme of things?
You wouldn’t buy a rusty car would you? Beauty may well be in the eye of the beholder but rust is rust, there’s no getting away from it! It’s a sad truth but there it is.
That’s why, when you are first getting to know somone you are not you, you are your representative; the best version of you. The truth will come out eventually, always does. It sounds counter-romantic but loving someone, for a long time, is all about knowing the very worst things about that person, the annoying things, the things that make you shudder in the street when you even think about them, things you didn’t even notice at first, and finding a way to ignore it all. Its not glamorous, its just tolerance.
And that’s why people cheat…… I haven’t. Yet. Thought about it? Yes, and I would, if, I knew I could get away with it, that nobody, no-one, would get hurt… then yes, absolutely. And I’d challenge anyone who says they wouldn’t – they are simply not being honest with themselves. We’re all the same, dying for excitement and in the cold light of day after day after day, after day, monogamy gets boring.
It starts off great. You meet the woman of your dreams, who’s like no one you’ve ever met before and fall in helplessly love. You have wild and passionate sex (for 8 months to a year) until the time comes when you become acutely aware that she’s probably the best person you’ve ever been with and if you don’t marry her she’s likely to walk away.
Now you have to think about mortgage payments and matching curtains, and suddenly the incredible woman you thought you’d die without, is starting to blend in amongst the ivory and the beige in your living room. And one day, when the conversation has well and truly run out, and you don’t know what else to do, the only way to escape the monotony is to have a couple of kids. And that’s is, you’re well and truly done; no more surprises, no more excitement, just everything in its place, all the time. Life becomes predictable, regimented; I have a wife, two children and a schedule.
Scarlett’s nine and on Mondays I pick her up from string quartet practice at 5.40 while my other half takes Max to cubs, he’s seven. Tuesday Scarlett has brownies, which the Mrs helps run, so I’m in charge of dinner, bath and bed for Max. Wednesday they both have swimming lessons and on Fridays Scarlett has gymnastics which Max likes to go and watch so I get to have a drink after work. I can squeeze in two and a half pints and still get home in time for our Friday night take away.
I coach the local under 9s on a Saturday – for which Max is the reserve goal keeper, not quite good enough but a real trier. Then, if the Red and Whites are at home we go to the game and watch them lose more often than not. I got Max his season ticket for his fourth birthday, but if I tell the truth he doesn’t seem that interested.
Saturday nights is family film night and my turn to do dinner. Sausage casserole and mashed potato is my gourmet specialty.
Most Sundays the wife takes the kids to church with her mother and I get in a round of golf. I used to play of 8 before the kids were born but now my handicap is round about 15.
The kids go to bed early on Sundays and if she gets the ironing done and there’s nothing on telly, and we’re not too tired, so do we if I’m lucky!
I know it doesn’t sound like anything special, its not, but we have a good life. We have two nice holidays a year and the kids go to a good school. We eat well, drink well and live well.
Am I madly in love? No. Not anymore.
Am I happy? For the most part, yes. I’m content. And so is she.
We make each other content and that’s “okay”. Its been enough to get us through the last 13 years, I assume it’ll get us through a few more.
We get on well most of the time, our tastes aren’t so dissimilar. We both quite like university challenge, and Italian food. We’ll never agree on a radio station in the car but we don’t argue.
And we still have sex, sometimes … more than most as I understand it. So I don’t complain… too much. It doesn’t take long. We know all the short cuts and preferences that make it more like a strategic maneuver than a romantic communion of bodies.
Sometimes I wonder if she feels the same. I assume that because we have a good life, decent house, nice things that she’s as ambivalent to romance as I am. Don’t get me wrong, I get her a card on Valentines day, and so far (touch wood) in 13 years I’ve never been caught out by our anniversary.
I’ve never been one for romance. The last romantic thing I did for her, really romantic, Hollywood style romance was surprising her with a trip to Paris three weeks before we got engaged. I knew she’d think I was gonna propose and when I didn’t she was livid. I could see the sheer disappointment in her whole body from her eyes to her elbows.
Two weeks later, on a Wednesday over a chicken chow mien and a cheap Pinot Grigio, I finally popped the question, and surprised wasn’t the word.
We should do that again. Probably wouldn’t work now though. Things are different. Love changes, it normalizes. And I’m okay with that. We should probably make more of an effort to spend time just the two of us, but our baby-sitters keep finishing school and going to university.
We do go to book club on the second Thursday of the month, although its should really be called wine club for all the reading we get done. It’s nice to be around adults for the night and pretend we are still modern and ‘hip’.
I’m not a big reader and I prefer a cold Guinness to a glass of shiraz but book club is my guilty pleasure for a different reason.
Amanda Shepherd. Single mother of Alfie, four and Daisy two and a half.
She is divine.
She’s got short red hair that falls across her face when she laughs and the kind of figure that says she’s a woman who enjoys life to the full but still cares about how she looks; all curves and nail polish. She’s got a little scar just here, under her chin, and it’s the sexiest thing I’ve ever seen, just imperfect enough to make her perfect.
I have this dream where we are together and I’m kissing that scar and it tastes like nothing I’ve ever tasted.
I woke up the other day and Max had come into our room crying He’d had a bad dream……..and I tell him what I tell myself: it was just a dream.
I wouldn’t risk what I’ve got, which is real, which is okay – it is, for something that doesn’t really exist.
I remember that nervous, butterfly feeling, it was great… it was exciting. But suppose I’ve got security instead. And that’s better I think.