Whoopee don't

Dec 6, 2000 at 12:00 am
Q: I am 39; my wife of nearly 10 years is 46. She's the stay-at-home mom of our 7- and 9-year-old boys. Before we got married, we would hump like bunnies. These days, she isn't interested in sex or even in going out to dinner with me. I can't figure out why. I don't think there's another man. Neither one of us is obese. She has every possession imaginable, including a huge house and a pool that she prizes. I bring her flowers and jewelry, cook, do dishes, take care of our kids — maybe I'm a little too Alan Alda? She tells me, "It isn't you; I simply have no desire." She also refuses to go to counseling. I do love her, but I have started to seek cybersex and the occasional illicit kiss. I want my boys to grow up in a two-parent home, but the day the youngest graduates high school, I'm history. Is there any hope for us? —Cold Spell

A: Suppose that in the middle of your wedding ceremony, the minister informed you that getting married would mean that you'd never have sex again. Scientific possibilities aside, you probably would have grown a jet pack and blasted out of the church, never to be seen or heard from again. Now that you're deep into daddying, you find that your wedding ring has become a semieffective miniature chastity belt, and sneaking one of those blue ice packs into bed with you is starting to look like fun. (At least they thaw out by morning.) Although you are raising your boys in a two-parent home, I'm counting one half-dead wife and one disgruntled husband. I'll bet your kids are too. Now, for a lot of people, especially a lot of female people, getting married and popping a couple of buns out of the oven is akin to nabbing a one-of-a-kind copy of the Holy Grail from the Franklin Mint, complete with bonus dancing Elvis soup tureen. So, how come your wife isn't turning nude cartwheels in wedded bliss? Probably because nobody read her the hidden warning label: If you want to turn your brain and soul into a big boiled turnip, devote your days to folding laundry, stacking juice boxes and wondering where you can get 50 cents off on Stove Top Stuffing. Although some people rank stay-at-home mommery as the pinnacle of womanly goodness, when it's the woman's sole pursuit it tends to be good for everybody but the woman. (Perhaps that's why even Dr. Laura has the cackling good sense to sink her sharp fangs into a couple of side jobs.)

If marriage and mommyhood aren't the beast that ate your wife's libido, the culprit could include hormonal problems, prescription drugs she's taking or disease. Instead of giving up and hopping the adultery express, give everything you have to persuading her that she's letting her end of the marriage deal sag, then persuading her to agree to get poked and prodded by members of the medical and psychiatric professions. Be kind, be gentle, but be relentless in your quest. And finally, for best results, be sure to keep pointing to your boys and their welfare, instead of to the billboard-sized "out of service" sign dangling from your favorite organ.

Q: My boss and I used to be close friends, plus we had a really smooth working relationship. About five months ago, we went to a party together, had too much to drink and ended up having sex. Afterward, our friendship and our professional relationship changed. I'm willing to forget about the whole thing, but at this point, he barely makes eye contact or says two words to me. I just want my friend back. How I can clear the air? —Office Impolitic

A: It's hard to go back to business as usual after a subordinate has seen your Speedo-style Tweety Bird-print Underoos and heard you yell "Yahoo, mommy!" at the moment of truth.

To turn the time-clock back pre-Tweedo, you or he would need to have the memory center of your brain surgically removed. As this option is sure to have many inconvenient repercussions, I suggest you opt for plan B: Send him a note asking him to chat with you, friend to friend, after work. Over drinks, let him know that you've poured Wite-Out (cq) all over that night, and invite him to do the same. Bring a bottle of Wite-Out with you and give it to him as a symbolic gesture. If that fails, go for plan C: Get a new boss, then pledge to yourself that you'll never be able to truthfully answer the question, "boxers or briefs?" (Especially if that boss is a woman.) Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave., #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or e-mail [email protected]