July 17, 2012 § 93 Comments
From yesterday’s Times:-
There are almost no upsides to being a plankton but one is that, boy, people tell you stuff. Friends and strangers alike. I learned decades ago – fingers badly burned within a circle of girlfriends – that indiscretion is dangerous and to be avoided at all costs. Like everyone else, I have natural impulses to be indiscreet but have trained myself to be monumentally discreet about everyone else and only ever indiscreet about myself. Then there is only ever me to be cross with me. Anyway, perhaps it is a reputation for discretion or perhaps it is because I look like a safe if nosy old bat, but I do seem to get told lots of secrets. I love it. It’s an honour and privilege.
I sat next to a young-ish, handsome stranger at a party and within minutes he was telling me that although he loves his wife, he is not having sex with her and probably never will again. I find that astonishing and probed him further. He was entirely open. He said he wants to stay with her, he is fine with the no sex status quo. He may or may not play away; he has in the past; it meant nothing; he’s not all that bothered.
A lot of people tell me about their past or current affairs – riveting – but even more people are telling me about the marital sex which is not happening. This is of some consolation to plankton who think that everyone else is at it like goats. Turns out to be far from the case. I currently have several friends who haven’t had sex with their spouses for years. One of them said to me on the telephone this morning that I appeared to be having more “fun” than she had had in a decade. Another girlfriend, when I told her I appeared to be embarking on a liaison of sorts, said, “Let me guess which one…Long Shot?” No, alas, but not a bad (though almost certainly temporary) alternative. A not entirely reliable prospect, for sure, but at least one who writes a witty email the day after the first date and wants to meet again. Sounds basic but, my, there are precious few of those around.
Yes, I am having “fun” at the moment but I still counsel caution to my not-entirely-happily married friends. Let me be an example to you, I say. Your spouse may not be a firecracker, you may not even be having sex, but you love them, and look at me. It’s a kind of edgy “fun” I’m having and which, this stage in my life and no guarantees, I’d far rather swap for history and long-term companionship. Any day.