Sex and Suburbia, Fantasy v. Reality, by Julie Stankowski
Me, staring out my window daydreaming about me being Carrie Bradshaw . . .
In her fabulous walk-in closet the size of most people’s apartments, Carrie is searching for that vintage Ralph Lauren dress that is so over the top sexy it makes even her drool. The couture number she bought right off the runway has a tight black baby doll bodice with a high waist and a mini, mini smokey gray taffeta skirt reminiscent of a prima ballerina. This dress, she thinks to herself, paired with her ever-so-glamorous Calvin Klein stiletto Mary Janes, will make Big loopy, which is what she is hoping for. Having just completed a three week book signing tour for her latest bestseller, “Sex in the Posh Penthouse,” she misses her man and is looking forward to a romantic, sexy Saturday night, just the two of them.
Me, still staring out my window daydreaming about my husband being Mr. Big . . .
In his over sized regal man cave, the fireplace is roaring, the music is just right (the best of Etta James is playing) and Big is looking in the mirror straightening his tuxedo’s bow tie. Guessing he has a few extra minutes to relax before they go out (Carrie always takes much longer to get primped), Big decides to mix himself a drink from the well stocked bar and smoke a good stogie. He chooses a hand rolled Cuban from the humidor. He sits down in his royal looking leather chair enjoying the jazz tunes and looking forward to the evening ahead. While he had been planning tonight to give Carrie the little gift he picked up for her “just because” he missed her (a seven-carat diamond tennis bracelet from Tiffany’s), he decides that the best way to surprise his love is to buy her an adorable teacup Maltipoo and put the bracelet around the cute puppy’s neck. He’ll make a few calls and make sure that his plan is ready to execute by morning. Tonight, he will show her how much he loves her with his undivided attention and a sensual massage.
Me, being jolted out of my daydream by the sounds of screaming children . . .
“No more fighting,” I tell the kids. I have to get ready to go out. “Daddy and I have plans to go to Red Lobster.” (Sidenote: My friends all make fun of me for liking Red Lobster and the only reason the other couple is going with us is because they lost a bet. I don’t care what they all think. They are completely missing out on the best bargain in town for delicious Alaskan King Crab!) My husband and I have been home with the kids for most of the day, but I don’t think my husband has said more than five words to us today. “I’m going in the bathroom,” is all I can remember coming out of his mouth. I decide that he is saving his words for our big night out. You know, they say men only have a certain number of words they are willing to speak in one day? I think my husband had to reserve his so that he could participate in some dinner conversation.
I go up to my cramped closet to change. I just want to wear a pair of cute jeans. No can do. Every pair of jeans I own must have shrunk a size or two the last time they were washed. I cannot zip up one pair. I didn’t think I gained weight, but . . . For my own sanity, I will continue to believe that the pants shrunk and my body form is just redistributing itself as part of the aging process (my story, my delusions), causing my jeans to not fit. I pull out a pair of “cute stretchy pants,” as I call them and continue to get ready while my husband decides to use some of his words that were supposed to be being stored for later, “Julie, do I have any laundry at the dry cleaner? I can’t find my black pants.” After I tell him that I had picked up all of the dry cleaning, he lets out some sort of moan or groan or something, making me feel like I don’t have his clothes properly taken care of and I must have done something sinister with those black pants because they are not in his closet.
Then, just before we are about to leave, I ask my husband how I look. He says (I guess not wanting to use up too many more words), “Fine.” Okay, a word to the wise for all you husbands out there. The word, “Fine,” does not mean fine to a woman. Women have their own definition of “Fine,” not found in Webster’s. To us, “Fine,” means not so good, maybe even bad, maybe even fat, maybe even horrible-but-I-don’t-feel-like-waiting-for-you-to-change-anymore-so-I’ll-deal-with-being-seen-with-a-woman-who-looks-terrible-and-I’ll-tell-you-that-you-look-fine. “Fine,” is one of the most abhorrent words in a woman’s dictionary. Do not use the word, “Fine,” when speaking to women.
So we finally are in the car with our friends heading to Red Lobster, four lawyers, two of whom are retired mommy lawyers, one is a judge and one is still simply a very stressed-out lawyer. Sounds like a boring group, but it’s not. We had a great time. I guess the cocktails before, during and after dinner at my favorite chain restaurant didn’t hurt. Yet despite the great time, there did not seem to be any deep-seeded passion going on between the husbands and the wives. Just a lot of group laughter.
When we get home, my husband sits down on the couch and passes out about one minute later. It never ceases to amaze me how he can fall asleep in the wink of an eye. I need to come down from all of the day’s hoopla, which usually entails going up to my secret room (the master bedroom retreat, but I have donned it my secret room), pouring a glass of wine, perusing my emails and the internet for a few minutes, watching a Tivo’d episode of Grey’s Anatomy and taking an Ambien. When I do finally hit the pillow, I still can’t fall asleep because I’m thinking of all of the things I need to get done tomorrow. It usually takes about an hour before I am in La-La-Land and it is usually an hour from then that my son comes in and has to go potty. Potty taken care of, it takes about another hour to nod off again and it is usually an hour or two from then that both my children end up in my bed for one reason or another. Very romantic.
But during my few hours of shut-eye, I go back to dreaming about me as Carrie and my husband as Big . . .
Carrie is finally primped and ready to go. Looking like the fabulous power couple they are, Carrie and Big call their driver to bring the car around. They are ready for their night on the town. Carrie and Big go to dinner and to hear a jazz band in this cool little hole in the wall in Tudor City. At 1:00 a.m., they take a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride home (through Central Park, of course). In their Eastern king bed adorned with 5,000,000 thread count Egyptian cotton linens, Big gives Carrie that sensuous massage and their evening ends with quite a bang, so to speak.
The next morning, Big brings Carrie breakfast in bed and next to the fancy platter of food his chef prepared, he places a box on the bed with a big red bow on top. Carrie is smiling and excited. She opens the box to find her new puppy, “Diamond,” and the sparkling diamond collar the cute Maltipoo was named after. Big crawls back into bed to enjoy the gourmet breakfast with his very happy and sparkly sweetie and they make their own dessert.
Back in Suburbia, I am suddenly awake as I think we are having an earthquake. I am wrong. It is just my babies jumping up and down on my bed telling me they are ready for some Apple Jacks and a riveting episode of Handy Manny. When my husband strolls down stairs, I am doing the dishes and I look like hell frozen over from such little sleep. But I remember my dream and, yearning for some Carrie and Big fantasy, I tell my kids they can watch the Handy Manny all-day marathon while they play Wii and I ask my husband if we can have upside down day and start the morning off with dessert. Back upstairs, I’m thinking, “Nothing is as yummy as dessert for breakfast, even without baubles from Tiffany’s.”