Saturday, November 15, 2008

Sex and Suburbia, an introduction

SEX AND SUBURBIA, an introduction
By Julie Stankowski

Okay, I admit it, I am a complete Carrie Bradshaw wannabe. I was addicted to Sex and the City when it originally aired as a series on HBO, continued to be addicted to reruns on TBS and now, after seeing the Sex and the City Movie (which, by the way, did not disappoint!) am even more in love with Carrie Bradshaw than ever. No, I’m not some crazy nut who heads Sarah Jessica Parker’s internet fan club. I’m just a wife and mom of two in Westlake Village, California who, even though I love being a wife and mom, misses (and sometimes even yearns for) the fabulousness of Carrie and her friends in New York City.

That got me to thinking . . . How different, really, are the single thirty somethings in NYC than the married 40 somethings in the throws of suburbia? Um, let’s see . . . There’s taxi cabs or convertibles versus SUVs or minivans. There’s dinner at Mario Batalli’s newest restaurant and then off to see the Matisse exhibit at the MOMA versus dinner at Chili’s and then off to see Kung Fu Panda at the Mann. There’s the burning desire (and the extra spending money) to have those fabulous Manolos in the window at that very chic store on Fifth Avenue versus the utter excitement that Costco finally has cute colored Crocs in sizes for the whole family. There’s pole dancing exercise classes with a martini and Botox shots at the end (oh wait, do we have that too?) versus mommy and me classes with poopy diapers to change at the end. Okay, point made.

So, the question becomes: Does going from single sex in the city to married sex in suburbia totally change who we are and what we want? Can we have that feeling of sexy fabulousness (and fabulous sex, for that matter) and at the same time have the proud feeling of being the cupcake baking Brownie mom? Can we seamlessly meld the two, like an apple martini? Or, once we make that journey from city to suburbia, do we lose our right to occasionally be selfish, spur-of-the-moment cosmo-drinking fashionistas who still want romantic sex? A complete division, like (310) and (818)?

I, for one, think (wishfully or realistically) we can have both. We may have to study our daytimers, line up all the kids’ activity schedules and our husband’s work schedule, scramble for some babysitters, change our carpool schedule and dip into our household account just a little to ink in some Carrie Bradshaw time for ourselves, but isn‘t it worth the effort?

Recently, for the first time in 7 years (when my oldest child was born), I decided to leave the kids alone with my husband and fly to San Francisco to visit one of my closest, most special friends. My “Charlotte” or my “Samantha” so to speak. Actually, she’s my “Miranda,” since she is not domestic enough to be on the cover of House Beautiful and she is not sex-crazed enough to sleep with the check-out boy at the supermarket. She also, by the way, is a lawyer. So we’ll call her Miranda.

Anyway, I was completely freaked out about leaving my little ones alone with my husband, able-bodied as he may be. Would he give them chocolate cake for breakfast? Put sunscreen on their pale, soft skin? Make sure there was paper on the toilet seat in the restaurant bathroom my daughter inevitably needs to use? Or God forbid, lose one of them at the amusement park he intended to take them to while I was away? Despite my neuroses, I bit the bullet and made reservations for one night and two full days in the wine country to hang out with Miranda.

All I can say is from the moment she picked me up at the airport to the moment she dropped me off in the same spot just 32 hours later, Miranda and I experienced suburban fabulousness in our forties (minus the sex). We stopped off to see her new house and say a quick hello to her husband and kids. I called my husband to make sure our kids were wearing hats; it was really hot here. We grabbed her overnight bag (definitely couldn’t stay at her house; there were kids there) and headed out. I called my husband to remind him that my daughter was not old enough to go into the girls’ bathroom by herself and he had to take her into the oh-so-gross men’s room. We headed to Healdsburg to have a fantastic lunch with, of course, a sumptuous glass of Pinot Grigio, shopped around the upscale square with the upscale people (think the Hamptons in July) and had some heavenly dark chocolate from an adorable candy shop. I called my husband to remind him the kids needed to drink lots of water so they didn’t get dehydrated.

Since Miranda and I didn’t want to drink and drive (one great and important difference from one’s thinking in her early thirties to one’s thinking in her early forties), we checked into our hotel and headed (on foot) to the cute town of Petaluma for some more shopping and cocktails! I called my husband to make sure he hadn’t yet lost a child at the amusement park. Miranda and I found some great antiques and some great martinis! I didn’t call my husband anymore since he had, during the last phone call, expressed his extreme irritation at all my phone calls (and I was otherwise occupied by the world of Martiniville, Miranda and minute upon minute of fabulous girl talk).

The next morning, we sobered up at this old world Manhattan-like diner with the best cornmeal pancakes ever (didn’t even know there was such a thing). I called my husband and much to my delight (and relief), my kids were home and happy and couldn’t stop talking about going to Camp Snoopy with their Daddy. Feeling full, well-rested and secure knowing that my kids were not abducted by Snoopy, we headed to the local theater for the morning showing of Sex and the City. OMG, it was so much fun - - we loved, loved, loved it! With a few more hours left of our girls-only weekend, we were off to a hip Mexican restaurant for more food, drink and catching up. Off to the airport, via Miranda‘s SUV, we still couldn‘t stop talking until we had to; a moment longer and I would have missed my plane.

Admittedly, we didn’t go to some new, hip night club filled with hot twenty somethings who we no longer find interesting or even sexy and we didn’t buy any Manolos (because we now spend our extra cash on camp, karate, baseball, ballet and hip kids‘ clothes), but we had the most incredible time! Just two great friends able to have a whole conversation without hearing, “Mommy, mommy, mommy.” I’m not saying you need to get on an airplane to get some alone-girlie-fabulousness time, but I am saying that with a little planning and effort, even an hour or two of being able to act like our younger selves goes a long way in rejuvenating our mind, body and spirit.

Yeah so, we‘re in suburbia and not the city. A house next to a playground rather than a loft next to Barney’s. But we can still have fabulous girl time, relaxing alone time and hopefully, romantic sex. Perhaps, we just have to change our vision. Instead of spontaneous passion (which almost always is interrupted by somebody needing to go pee-pee), maybe we get a babysitter and a local hotel room with blackout curtains?! How romantic is that?! And let’s be honest, even a bottle of Two-Buck Chuck, shared with the mom of your kid’s play date, can be utterly fabulous if you make it that way.

P.S. My husband is a fantastic Daddy; I’m just a neurotic, paranoid Mommy.

This is the first in a series of columns addressing the topic of sex in the city versus sex in suburbia. Stay tuned for my next column - - “Never say Never.” If you have any questions, comments or stories you would like to share, I would love to hear from you!


Anonymous said...

I LOVE it! You so succintly (did I spell that right, not time to check!) got it down in words...that we can have that Sex in the City feel even in suburbia but most of all good friends exist where ever you are!

Thanks Julie! I look forward to the next blog and no critisims from me...I am a total computer dork, in fact this is the first blog site I have ever been to! Thanks for opening me up to another new world in cyber space!


Anonymous said...

You are amazing! Lawyer, realtor, writer! You should change that to WRITER, lawyer, realtor! Loved the truth in your humor!

Congrats... on one more accomplishment!


Anonymous said...

Wow Julie! I can just picture the smile on your face and the passion in your words as you wrote your first blog (which is the 1st I've ever been on, too!). You are an amazing writer and I hope you get published one day so all the mommies in suburbia can enjoy the wit and humor in all our everyday lives! Good luck with your next journey.....luv, gail

Anonymous said...

u r my hero!
luv, M

Anonymous said...

Hey Julie

I really enjoyed reading your first column and you are a fantastic writer. I think so many of us can identify with what you are saying and I look forward to your next blog.


Joslyn said...