Harsh are the moments when my vision of myself crashes into the pane of reality, like a soaring sparrow hurling through a kitchen window. Like that stunning moment I realized that, like millions of other working mothers with two children under the age of five, I may have lost touch with certain aspects of my former self.
Like my libido.
It started with an invitation to a lingerie shower. How fun! I remember lingerie. I took my role as a lingerie-shower-attendee seriously. Weeks in advance of the gathering, I scrolled through countless websites looking for the perfect gift. I sifted through all the porn-y looking get-ups that looked uncomfortable or itchy. I read reviews, rejecting anything that had less than four stars.
Ultimately, I settled on a replica of my favorite sleeping outfit. I should have known that would be a terrible idea because (1) it’s roughly eight years old, and (2) it’s not actually a nightgown– I bought it at the Gap Outlet in September 2006 in the deeply discounted Swim Section. Ya’ll, it’s a bathing suit cover up, not a negligee. Still, in my own head this choice made sense. What newlywed doesn’t want to sleep in a two-ply heavy cotton dress designed for women who want to sit under an umbrella in the sun? And what new husband doesn’t want to see his Beloved dressed like a pioneer?
When the bride started opening the gifts after a lovely luncheon, I didn’t have the good sense to be ashamed of my Amish-ish gift. Nope. I watched her open luscious red silk items and shimmering ivory sleepwear designed to hang from her shoulders from delicate spaghetti straps with nary a care. After five gifts which were entirely appropriate for a young newlywed, she got to mine.
She had the good graces to oooh and ahhh over it as if it was in the same league as her other loot. (She also has a theatre background so it was very convincing.) When she unfolded it, she stood up and we could all see that it came down past her knees and the straps looks impossibly fat and relentlessly cotton after all the silk and lace.
One of my friends looked at me with an expression like you’re joking with that Carolyn Ingalls get-up, right? I shrugged, my mind too slow to pull off an impression of someone who’s quirky enough to give gag lingerie gifts.
Another friend, sensing my impending shame spiral, salvaged the moment with the supportive comment: “Everyone needs an outfit that says ‘we’re NOT having sex tonight.'”
Right. I bought the lingerie that is actually sex repellent. The gown that says, “Not tonight, honey. I have to get up and churn butter before dawn.”
Awesome. Just what I meant to do.
Except it wasn’t. While I wasn’t audacious enough to think I was bringing sexy back, I was totally unaware of my over-emphasis on comfort and my comical lack of emphasis on what lingerie is actually for.
But soon enough she’ll cross over and join the rest of us in the Land of Cotton, over-sized, ratty sleepwear. Post-shower, I considered embarking on a long journey to reclaim the parts of me that once upon a time knew that a lingerie shower called for silk and satin and skimpy. And I just may do that, but I won’t be writing about it here. You’ll just have to use your imagination.