Friday, August 12, 2011

Of butter, and Julia, and romantic pauses

I had two chocolate scones last night, spaced decently to aid digestion, and two cups of skim milk - one cold and one not which always turns me off. I won't drink milk if it's not chilled and accompanied by at least a humble cookie, and to drink milk with anything savory would send me into convulsions of disgust, I suspect.

But I had to have the two scones, because I was watching Julie and Julia, and butter is mentioned an ungodly amount of times in that tale. It's a movie that makes even a reluctant cook like myself think of possibly, remotely in the future, maybe, eventually delving deeper into the culinary arts just to eat the delicious meals in Julia Child's cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Plus, my dad has so exalted French food since his vacation to France with my mother that I am sorely tempted to feel that I have not truly experienced life if I do not find a way (and soon!) to have French food on a semi-regular basis.

But honestly, I don't have a yearning to master the art of any cooking, and French cooking makes me think of being chased by an angry mob through Paris' streets in my underwear; I imagine the result of my efforts would make me feel similarly desperate, outmaneuvered and exposed. Just watching shows about competitive cooking, like Gordon Ramsey's Master Chef tv series, sends me into spasms of chills and makes me involuntarily curl up my limbs in awkward tension. If by some cruel conspiracy of the universe, I ended up on such a show, I would army crawl out the double doors silently while everyone else was viciously whipping their egg whites into clouds, terrified that the cold, skinny Italian guy might spot my escape and throw a supercilious dart of parting pure disgust my way.

But back to the movie. I needed a good movie last night. My poise, patience, selflessness, and compassion were tapped out by evening time. That's not such a problem if one can be alone at the end of a long day, but if you have four children to put to bed it is a serious deficiency. I turned into "a grumpy bear" according to my eldest girl. I was not the gentle lullaby-singing, child-cradling, laughing, long-hugging mother that I do truly try to be as much as possible. My frustration had climaxed, and it had rushed forth to its denouement which left me, after my children were finally in bed, feeling guilty about my lack of motherly softness. So I cried it out to my husband on his birthday when he came home from having drinks and dinner with friends, and I apologized for not wanting to make love on his special day, but added wolfishly, "Well, would you want me like this?"

And by that I meant sniffling, puffy-eyed, looking like a pacing animal in my stress-induced wildness.

"No! Not like that," said Matthew with a shake of his head and a chuckle, but with disappointment hanging behind the words.

So we turned on the movie, and I began to relax. We sat together in the recliner. That is quite a feat, because my hips are so voluptuous that I have to fold up the lower part of my body at a strange angle just to accommodate anyone else. But we fit, and once the movie had begun, it was so lighthearted and sweet, especially the parts concentrating on Julia Child's life, that the tension seeped out of me. Matthew held my hand, something I don't get often in public since he has a blanket policy about even little PDAs (except for the surreptitious bottom pat when he feels he can get away with it). I began to play with Matthew's thick, dark hair that I love so much which he took as an invitation to caress back, of course.

There's a scene in the movie when Julia is writing a letter to her sister or a pen pal, and in the missive she describes her husband coming home for lunch and how she cooks for him. Then next you see him pull her to the bed in a playful embrace, and Julia is writing "and then Paul takes a nap..."

"That's about right," I said to Matthew with a smile. He agreed with an answering, mischievous grin.

Men will zonk out right after lovemaking, and women will be awake, all keyed up and energetic regardless of how tired they may have been beforehand, and it is my solemn belief that if we made love as often as men want us to we could literally rule the world, because we would be so unflagging in our productivity.

The unexpected, somewhat disjointed chemistry on screen between Meryl Streep as Julia Child and Stanley Tucci as her husband made me giggle and made Matthew bolder in his advances to me, and he soon found he had warmed me up sufficiently to receive the birthday gift he wanted.

He kindly offered to rewind my movie after our romantic interlude, and then he stretched himself out full on the couch and, as was only expected, fell asleep. I meanwhile had replenished my energy stores enough to get through the second half of the movie, had my second scone and now too warm milk, and thoroughly enjoyed my alone time while the sleeping presence of my husband a few feet away sent off friendly, warm, comforting vibes.

Julie and Julia

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