A Day of Consent
It started as it always does, “do you want some coffee?” My husband knows that I want coffee. I am not sure I have ever said “no” to coffee. And I know that if I lay in bed long enough and wait, pretending to not really be awake, he’ll bring me coffee. But he asks anyway. It’s a habit, at this point.
Later, he was going to make breakfast for himself, and he asked if I wanted breakfast. I didn’t. So he made breakfast for himself. I drank coffee and talked to him while he ate. But he asked.
We talked about the day, he asked if I wanted to go look at bikes with him. I did, but I had other plans, so I couldn’t. Same with the walk he offered me, with his mom, earlier. He asked if I’d be around later to play with the girls after school. I will.
On my way to run errands, the woman making my coffee asked if I wanted an extra shot. I did. (Duh.) The woman at the optical place, after handing me my contacts, asked if I had any other questions. I didn’t.
The friend I had lunch with asked if it would be okay if she asked me some pretty personal questions that might feel emotionally heavy. I said it would be. And at that time the waitress asked if I wanted more ice water. I wanted more water, but can you hold the ice, please? (I was already cold. I’m always cold.)
When I got home, as my husband was leaving, he asked if I wanted to meet him and the girls at a pizza place after lunch. Nope, but I was still on for hanging out after that.
I asked myself if there was any way, by bribe or by threat, that I could get myself to work out today. Nope. But hey, I checked in with myself and am aware of my bullshit games, so at least there’s that.
I’m going to take a stab at the rest of the day now:
I’m meeting a friend for dinner. If he gets there first, he’ll ask “is this table okay?” I’ll say sure, because, duh. The waiter will ask if I want another Scotch, and I will. They’ll ask if I want the same one, or a different one? I won’t be sure, so I’ll ask them about my choices.
I’m guessing there will be consent acquired for the upcoming conversation there too. “Do you mind if we talk about….” Or, maybe “do you mind if we don’t,” ‘cuz sometimes even the friends with whom you talk about the hard things don’t have bandwidth for hard things. You never know, so you ask. And don’t think twice about it, really.
I’ll get home, and very likely be horny, cuz good friends and scotch tend to hit my insides in a way that makes me want to celebrate being alive. Which often means playing with my husband’s magnificent body.
Been playing with that thing for years now, and we generally still ask. Sometimes it’s hysterical, he’ll roll over, wearing socks and nothing else, and say in a Jack Nicholson voice “who wants a ride on the nookie train?” I usually say “yes,” but not always, which is why he still asks. Sometimes he’s the one who’s too tired, so I ask too.
When either one of us says “no,” that’s the end of the discussion. Snuggles, promises of next time, which we both know we’re good for.
Sometimes there aren’t words. Sometimes spooning turns into forking, briefly, and then there’s a pause. We know that in the pause is when someone is going to say “yes” or “no.” You can’t always get what you want, ya know. But you sure as hell can’t give it to someone if they don’t want it, so you have to find out.
Being the old married folks that we are, we have a pretty steady repertoire. What it sometimes lacks in creativity it more than makes up for in intimacy, love, and general joy. But sometimes, ya know, you want to shake it up a little. That’s when the questions become more direct, and serious, and hot. The questions are so hot.
“Do you want me to…..” “Now I’m going to…….” “You’re making me crazy, let’s……” Every step of the way, that look, the suggestion, the promise, the tease….. the chance to back out, or plow forward. “What do you want me to…..” “What can I give you…..” “What would make you……”
And then, it all starts again. In the morning….
“Do you want a cup of coffee?”
I do. Thanks.
It’s those little questions, all of them, that make me feel secure in my world. Cared for and about.
It’s not hard to ask. We ask people what they want and what we can do for them all day long. Most of the time it’s totally mundane.
But all those mundane patterns are what teach us how to do it when its truly necessary. And seriously hot.