Earlier this week, I posted about Zoe Foster’s new dating book and one of the points that received quite a lot of feedback was the idea of being cautious about moving in together. Zoe’s theory is that domesticity and sexy times are not always compatible. There is truth to that. You start with lofty ideas about wearing hot underwear all the time and never letting your partner see you squeezing your blackheads. And then……..you forget. Or you just…..can’t be bothered.
Kerri Sackville has written a guest post on this very subject that I thought you might like…..
My friend’s mother has a theory about marriage. She says it is vital to retain some mystery in your relationship, for example by never being completely naked in front of your partner and by always closing the bathroom door. A bit of mystery, she says, can keep the romance alive.
I told my husband this mystery idea and he loved it. (His exact words were ‘I beg of you, please!’) So I sidled up to him seductively, and whispered in his ear that I was prepared to give it a try. To my surprise, he just shook his head sadly. When I asked him why, he pointed out that I was stark naked, in full light, with one child’s snot on my arm, and another’s wet nappy in my hand. I hadn’t even noticed.
I understand my husband’s despair, but it’s really not my fault. It’s impossible for mothers to be mysterious, unless you pay someone else to feed, clean, and talk to your offspring. For a start, children rob you of your inhibition. (And they don’t keep it for themselves. Anyone who has seen a two year old boy proudly invite the world to ‘look at my big penis!’ knows that kids aren’t given to great displays of reserve.)
For instance, before children, I was very private about my breasts. I revealed them to a select few only, and in very intimate moments, none of which took place in public parks or shopping malls (well, very few anyway). However, after breastfeeding three babies my breasts have become as private and sacred as a pair of old socks (and yes, approximately the same shape).
And sadly, we mothers must grow used to baring much more than our breasts. Children have an intense fascination with bodily functions and a violent aversion to closed doors, so toilet time – once so sacrosanct – becomes a shared experience. As a mother you simply become used to doing your business with a little person standing three inches from your face, talking, asking questions, and monitoring the procedure.
Now I know that public toileting is the surest way to destroy mystery in a marriage. But I’ve grown so accustomed to being observed that I barely remember to close the door when friends come over, let alone when it’s just my husband and me. It’s not that I’m an exhibitionist. I don’t need to have an audience. It’s just that an audience doesn’t bother me like it should
And it’s not only in the physical realm that children are the enemies of mystery. Children spread an alarming candour with regard to the sharing of information. Just the other day in Coles my toddler proudly told the cashier that ‘Mama did a poo!’ (The cashier warmly congratulated me.) As a mother, you simply must learn to discuss bums. It’s what kids are interested in.
Problem is, after a day in which all things bottom are the main topics of conversation, it is hard to switch gears when your husband comes home. Now I know that it’s not necessary to tell my husband every time I do a wee. I know that, for the sake of romance, some things are better left unsaid. But when you have a son who tells you every time his penis gets ‘a little bit itchy’, and a daughter who gleefully flashes her belly button to the world, the concept of mystery starts to seem a little remote.
Still, despite all its difficulties, I am beginning to suspect that my friend’s mother’s theory is worth considering. And my husband has certainly expressed interest in the idea. Just the other day he walked through the door and found me preparing breakfast naked in the kitchen, my shower cap still on my head, a pore pack on my nose, and a foamy toothbrush in my mouth.
He stood in the doorway with a pained look on his face. There was no good morning greeting, no kiss, no hello. I asked him if he wanted anything and he answered with a plaintive cry:
‘Just a tiny bit of mystery, please!’
I’m with Kerri on so many of these points. I too have become so accustomed to a complete lack of privacy in the bathroom that I also have to remind myself to close the door when there are adults in my house.
At the extreme end of the scale, I once knew a couple who were so comfortable about sharing EVERYTHING that she would sit on his lap WHILE HE WAS ON THE TOILET and they would chat.
Dear God I wish I didn’t have that image in my mind. And I’m sorry for putting it into yours.
Whether you’re a mother or not, how important do you think it is to retain some mystery and what acts do you firmly refuse to do in front of a partner (or refuse to let them do in front of you)?