How to Have a Husband & Live with Your Lover (at the Same Time)
Did you know that the verb "to die" was Elizabethan slang for to have sex? It stemmed from the quaint French belief that every orgasm shortened your life by one minute. So do your calculations. In Shakespeare's time the word "nothing" also had many connotations the act of having sex, the female sexual organs, and the male ones. So the play "Much Ado about Nothing" now takes on a whole new meaning and in fact the play does revolve around who is getting it off with whom, and whether women marry only to have affairs. Think of Hamlet's very flirtatious tone when he spies Ophelia. "Lady, may I lie in your lap?" he requests. As they are sitting in a crowded hall, waiting to watch a play, it is hardly the time for him to expect a quick tumble with his woman. She is duly shocked, or pretends to be. "No, my lord," she protests. "I mean my head upon your lap," he explains, and she acquiesces. "Ay, my lord," she says, relieved. "Did you think I meant country matters?" he persists, using the word "country" much as we do today though we drop the second syllable. "I think nothing, my lord," she replies, demurely. "That's a fair thought to lie between a maid's legs," he retorts. "What is, my lord?" she asks, though she knows exactly what he means. "Nothing," he replies with great innuendo. Bawdy talk indeed from the heir to the Danish throne. Somewhat reminiscent of the time poor Prince Charles was caught on tape talking to Camilla on the phone, from Australia of all places. Princess Di was still alive then, and still his wife, and with him on an official trip. "Oh, Camilla," the unscrupulous journalist heard him say, "I wish I was a tampax and you were using me!" What is it with these men? The famous story is told about the businessman coming home from a trip. He popped a Viagra half an hour before he got home, expecting his wife to be there. She wasn't. The agitated man was feeling terribly uncomfortable, and phoned his doctor for advice. "Go down to the neighbour," suggested the doc. "But," objected the caller, "for the neighbour I don't need Viagra." Funny, huh? Or not so funny? What's happened to matrimony? When I was young I longed to be married. I believed that marriage gave you legitimization. Once you got that ring on your finger you could buy a home, choose a dinner service and get sheets and towels to match. A husband could change light bulbs when they fused, and tires which went flat, and tell you every day how beautiful you look. A husband could walk a dog, and give you children, and soppy cards on Valentine's day. As I grew older I learnt that it doesn't always work that way. The parents of the prettiest girl in my school got divorced. We heard that the father of the ugliest girl was sleeping with his wife's sister and that she had moved in with the family. "Having an affair" those were the words my mother used. The very phrase glowed with illicit love and lust and loveliness. At fourteen I longed to be married and then have affairs. When I got married, and introduced my sheets and towels to my husband he pronounced them "cheap and cheerful" and said we would use his. We bought a house, and got our first mortgage, and he changed light bulbs and tires and I told him how handsome he was. He walked our dog, and gave me my girls and wrote me sonnets on Valentine's Day. I looked at him sleeping next to me at night, and thanked my lucky stars. Twenty years, three kids and a dog later, I still do. With marriages dissolving faster than stubborn stains in detergent commercials what is the trick to living together in sickness and in health, till death do us part. (And not in the Shakespearean sense of the word "death.") My father once told me that he could have been happy with any of a hundred women he knew he chose my mother and then chose to adore her. I think my dad was right. Choose your partner, turn him
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