Henry and I had been married for 10 years when I made him meet me for a blind date.
I’d been nursing an inexplicable obsession with the singer Gavin DeGraw and felt I ought to refocus my energy on real-life sex before I ran off on Gavin’s tour bus to serve Lime Rickeys wearing nothing but a rhinestone thong and a smile.
So I scheduled the date, which came with a simple requirement: We had to pretend we didn’t know each other. After initially balking, Henry agreed. We called this seductive pas de deux The Game. Four years later, it’s become a constant in our lives.
The rules are simple:
- We must not be in the company of our two kids, ages 11 and 13.
- We must be in public.
- We must assume identities we concoct on the spot.
- When one of us says “The Game,” that’s our cue to separate like operatives on a train platform in Gstaad, then reapproach as strangers.
We’ve played The Game in a New Orleans cemetery (he was visiting his dead bookie; I was there to see my ex-con boyfriend who found himself on the wrong end of a Saturday Night Special) and an Italian railcar (he was a Montepulciano wine scion visiting his orchards; I was an expat looking for love after discovering my husband in bed with the Doublemint twins).
We’ve played at butchers’ counters and farmers’ markets.
We’ve played in ways that end in public sex (like, for example, in that cemetery — I confess, we desecrated a grave), but more often our hijinks simply get the juices flowing for a more private rendezvous later on, as ourselves.
There are, of course, long stretches between Games when life is about our kids’ remorseless needs and my spastic colon and Henry’s restless legs syndrome.
But the possibility of an unscheduled trip to Buenos Aires to compete as Elizaveta and Hidalgo in the World Ballroom Dance Championship overrides the ignominies of daily life and reminds us that married sex can be magic.
This article was first published in the October 2015 issue of The Oprah Magazine.
If you enjoyed it you’ll love Bradley-Colleary’s book, Married Sex: Fact & Fiction.
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