It’s Friday night and the last of our four boys has finally drifted off to sleep and within seconds I’ve hooked up a USB slide show of Hugh Jackman stills to the Plasma TV.
Although I still have visible abs – under the right lighting and at a particular angle – and a bum that could be compared favorably to a that of a sprinter in the early stages of his career, there are other parts of me that are slipping a little and I’m hoping that my slide show will help RM, when the time is right, to close her eyes and fill in my physical inadequacies with nice pieces of Hugh.
She’s already lying on the date night mattress – who we’ve named ‘Springy’ – when I say, ‘I’ve prepared something a little special tonight. You’ll be surprised. You may even like it.’
I’m a little nervous because I love Date Night – it’s the weekly ritual that has helped to keep our sex life thriving and our hearts oonce-oonce-ooncing in unison and has survived four young children, the building of our house, a year-long spell living with the in-laws and the usual work/home/family stressors – but recently a new challenge has reared up like a startled snake to engage me in a panicky all-consuming stare-fight.
‘Don’t you think it’s weird,’ I say, as I strip down to boxer shorts with Hugh pushing a pram through a city landscape as back drop, ‘that stopping paid work to be a stay at home Dad led me to start a blog called Reservoir Dad, just for fun, that then led to enough paid work that I’m almost forced to change my Facebook status to work at home Dad?’
‘That is weird,’ she says, nodding excessively.
Because she used the same encouraging tone she uses on our four year old when he holds up a piece of art made of uncooked pasta and glitter I lose the little bit of courage I took the past few hours to muster and so gush out with, ‘I’d like to introduce a threesome to Date Night.’
‘Hello!’ she says. ‘Tell me more.’
‘Um,’ I say. ‘Well… I’ll just dim the lights.’
‘We don’t have a dimmer,’ she says.
‘We don’t have a dimmer,’ I say, like a parrot on her shoulder, as I switch off the lights.
When I look back her eyes are locked on Hugh and she’s artificially illuminated by the TV and her dark hair is fanning across the pillow and her hands, so familiar to me, are resting on her smooth warm stomach, and god, look at her lips and the way she breaths as she looks at him… and I really just want to have sex with her, minutes ago, but I have to communicate first – not only because women apparently love that – but also because I have something to say.
To kick the conversation off subtly I lie beside her and lodge my work laptop on my near naked body, around the pelvis.
‘What’s that doing here?’ she says.
‘So… as you know… I’ve been getting some pretty regular, pretty fun writing gigs and I’ve been struggling a bit, trying to fit it all in… you know; housework and kids and gym and pleasuring you and then writing late into the night…’
‘Yeah?’ she says.
“… and last week during Date Night… don’t take this the wrong way… I was kind of trying to hurry it along, you know, so that I could get back to writing another article…’ I stop because of the hint of a scowl in her expression, and say, ‘Wow’ so that she follows my gaze to the picture of a topless Hugh; all wet and smiley; running out of the surf on to the sandy beach. I wait until she nods appreciatively and makes a sound like a muffled cat before continuing. ‘… and of course I felt bad about that, for you and me, but then I locked myself in the toilet just yesterday to dance and de-stress to the sound of kids banging on the door and a solution presented itself…”
‘A threesome with Hugh?’
‘It’s not Hugh I’m inviting to bed tonight,’ I say. ‘The threesome will be me, you and this article I have to write by tomorrow…’
‘I’m not really that attracted to articles.’
‘Yes you are,’ I say. ‘Because this article’s about how to stay creative and committed to your art with a busy home and family. So it’s really about you and me and our life. We can brainstorm it together and… reconnect emotionally before getting to the most important…’
‘So this is foreplay?’ she says, sitting up to remove her t-shirt.
‘I’ve reinvented it,’ I say, swallowing, suddenly feeling a little drunk on the TA-DAAAH of RM’s yummy skin.
‘Well, let’s get on with it then,’ she says, looking at a picture of Hugh as Wolverine as it merges into a picture of Hugh from the hit musical Boy From Oz. ‘Let’s brainstorm.’
Wow. I’m feeling a little jittery and nervous because having a threesome with the article has made Date Night feel brand new – just like the time RM wore her reading glasses to bed for the first time – but when I raise my fingers to the keyboard to type in a title for the notes she starts shimmying out of her slacks which affects me in such a way that I’m forced to shift my laptop further up my stomach.
‘So, I thought I could call the article ‘How To Maintain Artistic Focus At Home.’
She kisses me on the lips, in a sweet way, and says, ‘I don’t think you need too much inspiration for this subject,’ before biting my lower lip until I squeal and turning back to Hugh – who’s in a gym holding a two hundred kilogram barbell in his hands – and snapping her bra open. ‘You just have to keep doing what you’ve always done. Write about what’s happening in your life right now.’
Wow. I’m distracted by her full wisdoms but so inspired by her infinite bosom that a new title presents itself to me, ‘My Wife Or My Laptop: An Artist’s Dilemma. I think this article’s just written itself,’ I say.
‘That’s good. Now get your freaky laptop right out of the way,’ she says.
‘Okay,’ I say, ‘I’ll move the laptop away. But… if it’s okay with you, I’d like the freaky to stay.’