Sunday, 27 May 2007

Sex and the single mother

I just want to say to you marrieds out there – and it does seem to me that a lot of you treat your relationships as eminently expendable – that it’s worth quite a bit to have familiar, safe sex on tap.

I can find sex in most places I look, although for reasons of convenience I obviously look most often in my local pub (where it is ridiculously easily available), but do I really want what I find? Inevitably, no. (And there I go, insulting your intelligence by answering a rhetorical question.)

There are loads of pro’s to being a single mom, and I’m not saying this because I’m being defensive. It’s quite frankly a joyous experience shipping your kids off occasionally to their otherwise absent father for the weekend, and taking the time out to swing from the chandeliers. Which I would definitely do if that old running injury in my hip didn’t give me so much gyp.

And I quite like not being bothered to make real food and sit down at the table for dinner like a real family. I’ve managed to convince my children that popcorn is an actual food group, so a giant bowl of that and a mindless DVD filled with V and L (violence and language, for those of you not familiar with the Film and Publications Board’s terms of reference) do nicely for us. I want to see that in a family where Daddy has been out selling garage doors all day comes home expecting flat meat and three veg.

And obviously I am a fan of the ‘what I say, goes’ method of parenting. There’s no running off to Father for a second (or different) opinion in our household. I never even have to say, ‘Because I’m your mother and I said so,’ because it’s implicit. What heady power!

I also enjoy lying diagonally in bed, watching Oprah at 11pm because there’s nothing else on and I can’t sleep, having unsuitable people around for dinner (who’s going to stop me?), not showering for three days just because I don’t feel like it, wearing outlandish clothes without some tosser saying, ‘I’m not going out with you looking like that,’ and occasionally getting drunk at 10am (only occasionally, I promise).

But the sex thing is, I have to admit, a problem. When I wake up out of a sweaty dream that involves Ashley Judd and Johnny Depp in a hot climate and not many clothes, and feel a strangely disturbing itch deep in my lower extremities, what do I do? I make a cup of tea.

When I get home after an evening of flirting at the pub and feel the need to round off my night with something robust and spectacular, what do I do? I make a cup of tea.

When I find myself with time on my hands and nothing specific to fill it, what do I do? I make a cup of tea.

You clock the problem.

In a nutshell, everything about life as a single parent appeals to me, except for not having sex on tap. And if you’re married and are having to make daily sensible meals, have your kids play you off against your spouse, go to war for duvet coverage, endure someone else’s mastery of the remote control, wear something modestly frilly when your instinctive choice was a sparse but achingly sexy plunging top, and keep your friendship with the florid owner of the ‘Just Gorgeous’ boutique a secret, think about what you do have.

It may not be much, but it’s more than I do.

PS Okay, you’ve got sex on tap but there’s a significant lack of fireworks. (For what the fireworks should be like, read any of Tony Park’s books. Tony, is the cheque really in the mail?) What now? Watch this space.

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tonypark said...

Cheque will arrive with the flowers.

tonypark said...

PS: Extra fireworks in soon-to-be-released Book 4.

The (female) publisher asked, having read the first draft: "Have I emasculated you, Tony?"

"Yes," I replied, "You have." The earlier books were full of annotations such as 'cut' and 'sleazy' (and, poor Muriel, you thought the end product was bad!!).

I told the publisher she had broken me, but she told me to get back out there on the old horse/bike (unsure of least sleazy analogy) and 'ramp it up' again.

So I did. There's some chandelier swinging in there for you (antique sideboard, actually, but why let the facts get in the way of a rude story?).