Our Decades of Open Marriage: Part 53
Just a snapshot of Paula from this time period
This chapter is made up of short anecdotes I posted as "updates" in my blog from the month of October 2013. That particular month was extremely busy for both of us. With my newly minted PhD, I was teaching four different classes of graduate students at Clemson University as an adjunct professor (more than a tenured professor taught in a typical year). That required hours and hours of prep work each week, plus grading papers, assisting my students, and of course, the time to actually lead eight 90-minute classes each week. Additionally, I was working hard to secure interviews to find a tenure track position which involved writing essays and reworking my own research for publication. Beyond that, I was still operating my little glamor photography business.
Because of all that, I had a hard time keeping up with (let alone recording) all the things my wife was up to. You see, by the fall of 2013, Paula was very, very busy. First, she had “acquired” two long-term boyfriends with whom she developed a full, dynamic loving relationships, far beyond simple ‘fuck buddies.” For over half a year she talked/texted with those two men nearly every day. In that time, she went with them on as many dinner dates as hotel dates. To put it simply, these relationships were not all about sex.
Just a side note, by the time of these events, we had long used the euphemism "dinner date" for her dates where sex in a bed was not on the agenda. Even if the date ended up including sex in the car, a park, or some other make-shift location, we still referred to it as a dinner date. Whereas a "hotel date" was when the plan for the date included sex in a bed even if the sex was at the man’s home and/or they had dinner before (or after) sex. It's not exact, but we found it an easy shorthand.
The fact Paula had two regular boyfriends did not mean she was not seeing other men. It was at this time I coined the phrase that Paula was in love with being in love. I could always tell when she was falling in love, she positively glowed. She liked sex a lot, but she loved being in love. So even while she had real relationships with two men, she continued to see other men on a weekly basis. So, in addition to those two “boyfriends” she had a couple of guys she saw on a semi-regular basis and she continued to go out with new men as well. Very few weeks passed in the fall and winter without both a hotel date and dinner date (that often turned into a hotel date). During that time, it was not unusual for her to have two hotel trysts in a week. One Sunday in October she spent the afternoon in one hotel bed with one guy and the night in a different hotel with a different guy.
When she went out with a man for the first time (actually before she saw him face to face) she made two things clear: first that she was happily married and would not let anything or anyone threaten that. She made it crystal clear that her marriage and family came first no matter how much she got out of being with him. Secondly, she made it clear that no matter how successful her relationship with him became, she would continue to see (and have sex with) other men on an ongoing basis.
She was quite happy, if busy. She was quite pleased that she’d finally achieved her goal of having active romantic and sexual relationships with a number of men. In truth, as often as not she didn’t even bother to tell me much more than “I had fun.” It all was so common and I was so busy with teaching my classes that I simply didn’t have time to write up what she told me about every time she went out or got laid. And, as had always been true, she was under no obligation to tell me each time she had sex. And besides, it had become so regular that it seemed boring to keep writing the same stuff over and over.
I am not exactly sure why I took this snapshot of Paula on the phone in the living room, naked... but since she seems to spend more time on the phone than doing anything else, I guess that is why. It is dated June 2013
Looking back, I wish I had at least noted more of those times she told me she’d had sex and with whom. It would be nice to know how many different men she asked to fill her that summer and fall… but I don’t. My best estimate is she had sex with about a dozen different men (excluding times at Timberline lodge) and was doing it with one of them twice per week (on average). Even by the beginning of October, we had ceased the habit of me giving her oral sex when she got home from doing other men simply because I was too busy to do it.
Here are a few of the incidents from October of 2013 that I did take the time to record.
One afternoon in the first week of October, I was sitting at my desk focused on preparing material for that night’s class. My dear wife came into the study and asked what the name of the hotel was on a certain intersection of two highways near us. I told her I didn’t know but would get to it in a bit and she said “That’s OK, you do your work, I’ll take care of my sex life.”
Well, that disrupted my work anyway. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. I looked back at her and said, "You know, we just have too much fun."
That night she saw the inside of the newly constructed hotel at that intersection.
A few days later Paula and I were talking and she told me of a conversation she had that morning with one of her lovers. He had called while she was putting on her make-up. When she told him what she was doing, he responded, "You don't need make-up to look beautiful."
She shot back, "You have never seen me without make-up."
He says "Well, I've seen parts of you that you don't wear make-up on."
She replied "Oh, you don’t know if I wear blush where I used to wear my bush."
He died laughing.
On another day in October, Paula and I were driving into town and the conversation topics went something like this:
Her mother’s health
Our son-in-law’s job.
Some excitement that one of her boyfriends, the EMT, had the day before while on a call at work.
A health problem the child of her other regular boyfriend was having.
Our plans for the weekend.
Back to her mother’s health.
The location of a tentative overnighter with the EMT.
And so the conversation went on. Her lovers were just a normal part of our life milieu. No shock value, just part of the things that made up our daily existence. It was only later I thought of how profound the banalness of that conversation had really been.
On a fairly regular basis that fall, she gave me email addresses of guys she might be interested in dating for me to send photos. But she, having learned some lessons, made sure photos sent to new guys showed her fully clothed. However, one morning in October, she asked me to shoot a iPhone pic of her nude standing in the living room after her shower to send to two of her “boys”. I objected strenuously. Not because I minded her sending nude photos, but that she asked me to lower my artistic standards by using a phone camera.
Her EMT boyfriend worked all sorts of long hours and as such they had to find time and places for lovemaking,. One evening he snuck her into the EMT station. In our community, the EMTs and firefighters work two-days on two-days off shifts. The EMT station had a single very large room that was divided into both cubicles for sleeping and a common area “day-room.” Each EMT based out of that facility had his/her own cubicle with his/her own bed as a home away from home. So while the rest of the squad were either resting in their own cubicles or watching TV in the day room area; Paula and her guy made love in his cubicle, very quietly.
A few weeks later, during the daytime, he just moved his ambulance out of the big bay onto the parking lot and they had sex right in the vehicle. Needless to say it was not a long and tender moment in that at any time a call could come in and his colleagues would rush out and find them.
A large part of the satisfaction she was getting from her job was because she had the opportunity to mentor a good many young women. Most of the “girls” with whom she worked were our daughter’s age, in fact for over a year our daughter worked part-time with her mom at her Victoria's Secret store. So while Paula was the age of most of her co-workers mother’s, she very clearly did not act like their mothers did. She was very open about the fact that although she was very happily married and talked about her husband in very positive terms; she was equally open about the fact that she dated, and had sex with, other men. Since I would come up to her store from time to time, they all knew me too, and there was universal agreement among the girls that they want to marry a guy just like "Miss Paula's husband." Still they razzed her about how she would often be found in the break room “sexting” on her phone.
While this was an apparent contradiction to what they expected in a woman her age, Paula did not act as if it were. They thought it was terrific that "Miss Paula" was the most sexually active "girl" in the store. Yes, they all called her Miss Paula out of respect. Even in the 21st Century, this is the American South and it would not due to just call an elder by her first name. Her age and long happy marriage gave her credibility when talking about relationships and sex that nothing else would have. Consequently she found herself often the person these young women would come to for personal advice. She liked to say her work at Victoria’s Secret with both her young co-workers and her clients with their bra’s was her “supportive ministry.”
We were out to lunch one day and she laughingly told me how a week or so before, one of her lovers came into their Victoria's Secret shop. The girls knew who he was since he'd been there before. Whenever one of her lovers comes in, Miss Paula introduced him to everyone. And to the guys, there is a certain cachet about dating (fucking) a Victoria's Secret girl. Her lover asked one of the other girls to help him pick out a sexy outfit for Paula to wear on their next hotel date. Of course, by the time it was all over, a whole group of the girls had joined in to help in such an important project.
When she told me the story and how she had indeed worn it that night at the hotel, I asked if I’d seen the outfit. She said I had not but promised to show it to me when we got home. As we ate, she went on to tell me how that the night before, after the store had closed, a couple of the girls were having a conversation about whether or not one of them should have sex with a particular guy. One of them looks over to my wife and says “Well Miss Paula, you sleep around a lot, what do you think?” then the girl covered her mouth and said “Oh, I’m so sorry I didn’t mean to say it that way.” Paula said “Well, it's true. I do sleep around a lot. Don't worry, my feelings aren't hurt." then she gave the girls her thoughts.
One night when Paula was spending the night with one of her lovers… well actually they were still having sex when her cell phone rang at 1:00 AM. It was our son's ring tone. Without showing any concern she just leaned over from where she was riding her guy to answer the phone.
Lamar told Mom he'd had a car wreck.
Only then did he get her full attention. After he assures her that he's all right she calls me. Well, it seems she (for some reason) had taken my car that night and had not thought to leave me her keys. SO .... I called our nineteen-year-old son, and after a few minutes of talking, I ascertained that he had not actually had a wreck, but someone had backed into his car in the parking lot and there was a dent in the door. He had just overreacted to seeing the damage to his precious car when he'd called Mom. So, there was nothing we needed to do.
So, I called Paula back. Though she was still in bed with her date, she had dismounted him. I told her that "Everything is OK. It is just a dent from the parking lot.” Without planning to say it that way I said “So, you don’t need to come home, You two can go back to fucking and sucking." We both laughed at how that sounded.
The next morning when she came home, she assured me that she and her date had gone back to fucking and sucking as soon as she'd put down the phone. I thought about how she and I were still first and foremost parents, even if we were screwing like we were teenagers ourselves.