Wednesday, July 13, 2005

The Magic Number

My husband and I have never discussed the total number of sexual partners we had prior to meeting each other. Of course we discussed the issue overall and had the very sexy but necessary of late conversations about diseases and our successes in avoiding them as proven by the applicable tests. We even got tested for syphilis together, as the District of Columbia could not give a damn if you are marrying your brother (nowhere, on any form or application, did we have to prove we weren't related) but it does mind very much if you marry a person who might someday have syphilis induced dementia.

Nevertheless, I am entirely too curious about the number. Specifically his, as I know what my number is. Well, roughly.

Anyway. There really is no way to ask this question without in turn being asked, and my husband has made it clear that he would rather not know. Given that I came into the marriage with a child, it's clear that I had either had at least one prior sexual partner or was an as yet undiscovered really integral part of the Christian religion. So he knows that I have at least one pair of boots under the bed, and knowing my husband, he probably avoids conjuring up those images (if you met my son's father, you, too, would avoid conjuring up those images. But I digress).

Why do I want to know how many people my husband boinked so bad? One reason is that my husband can be a little bit of a drama king when it comes to discussing his past loves. To listen to him, he wandered the earth solo (queue up the Incredible Hulk closing sequence and music), full of pain and agnst and unrequited love until he met me (queue technicolor sunset and screen kiss). He told me these stories of rejection and I believed him. He was my gentle giant, unappreciated by the opposite sex, how lucky was I to have discovered him, how evolved to really 'get' him (queue my clothes falling off in his presence).

Once time passed and we began to have those ad hoc conversations, entirely different stories began forming. Cleaning out old paperwork in the basement, he discovered a pile of old postcards and love letters. Silly man, he tried to unceremoniously put them into the trash. So of course I had to read them out loud, with flourish. The things women wrote to this man!

"I can't wait to be back in bed with my teddy bear...."
"My arms can't wait to hold you again...."
"I miss our pillow talk...."
"Of everything I miss, nothing compares to you...."

My teddy bear? Permission to vomit, your Honor?

The letters didn't quite match up to his description of unrequited love. "How, exactly, are these cards from women who didn't love you?"

"Well, I never said no one ever loved me," he replied, and then pushed the rest of them really deeply into the trash can, along with various pictures of different women clawing I mean hugging him. Uh-huh.

Over time, the 'no one ever loved me' story evolved into the 'this one girl didn't love me' story. Let's call her Tracey. Tracey, from what I've pieced together, was a fellow graduate student with the eyes, hair, face and body of an angel, over which my husband made a fool of himself for several years. According to Casanova, he fell immediately for this woman but she rejected him. They were in a multi-year game of cat and mouse until one day a mutual friend clued him into the fact that he was, in fact, becoming a stalker, and he left her alone.

This is the story I got from my husband.

Then the other night, in my ongoing and slightly embarrassing fascination with this previous sex life, I asked if he'd ever had sex in a hot tub (we don't own a hot tub, nor have we ever had sex in one, so I have no idea why this question popped into my head). He said that he had, and then I asked who, and after rolling his eyes he concentrated, trying to remember which girl he might have been boinking in that hot tub memory. Because you know, he was always so rejected and all, yet he'd been with so many women they were all running together now in his brain. Nice.

After a few moments, he decides it must have been Tracey.

Me: Tracey?!
Him: Yeah, I think it was Tracey. We were at this party, and....
Me: You slept with Tracey?!
Him: Of course.
Me: What do you mean, 'of course'? I thought Tracey was the one you practically stalked?
Him: Well, that was after.
Me: I can't believe you slept with her.
Him: You do realize this was ten years before I met you, right? Honey?

That is not the point.

Here I am, thinking I was gently conquered by this loving and misunderstood brooding man, when in reality I was seduced by a smooth talking drama king who found it prudent to add that he found his hot tub tryst to feel "quite warm". And I still don't know how many!


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