Thursday, May 3, 2012

Marge Maintenance

Do you remember the "Marge Maintenance" part of The Talented Mr. Ripley? Dickie, Marge, Tom, and Freddie are sailing and Marge goes below deck because she and Dickie have been arguing. Dickie shrugs to the other two men and follows her below for a little afternoon delight. In case you haven't seen the movie, Marge Maintenance is what Dickie calls the sex with Marge that he uses to soften her up, or manipulate her.

I remember being so outraged when I saw that scene. I was in college, not having a lot of sex (okay-- not having any), and I was highly susceptible to the suggestions about relationships between men and women that I saw in movies and read about in books. This was one instance of many in which I internalized the message that sex was a tool, a way to win a fight.

Much to my chagrin, I've realized that sex is indeed a softening agent in my life. I have a hard edge and if I don't have sex with my husband, I pick fights with him and get irritated over stupid things. A couple weeks ago, when I was really ready to come out of Sex Drought II, but my efforts at getting some were frustrated, I sat him down and said, "I need to have sex. It makes me a nicer person. Haven't you noticed how I walk around all sweet and docile for days after we do it?" Bless the man for looking like that was news to him.

So how did I get from angry, uninformed feminist to being able to live with sex being an essential part of Me Maintenance? More on Monday.

What does she see in him anyway? Oh, wait...

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