I never dreamed that I would be swept away by such lust again — at least not in this lifetime. I was sure that my days of being feverishly aroused in the middle of the night by heart-thumping fantasies were long over. But I can't help myself. Even as my husband of 29 years lies softly (and sometimes not so softly) snoring beside me, I can't stop thinking about my latest heartthrob, imagining all sorts of steamy scenarios in which the two of us are together.
My new kitchen and me.
I'm certain it's hormonal. I'm positive there's a hormone in women of a certain age just waiting to be discovered by scientists—a line of research, by the way, in desperate need of funding. I am speaking here of the renovation hormone.
Ever since I hit my late 40s, my libido has strayed from its inner chamber of desire to a passion for interior design. All those R-words — renovation, remodeling, redecorating — get my heart racing and my blood surging. No more worries about finding my G-spot; these days I'm obsessed with satisfying my R-spot.
If you had told me back when I was in my 20s and 30s — when the majority of my home furnishings were dragged in off the street or, when I was feeling flush, purchased at yard sales — that I would someday yearn for the perfect sofa, the perfect kitchen or, god forbid, the perfect house, I would have shrieked with laughter. In those days, I was still too busy rebelling against my mother, whose jones for redecorating was legendary. I was also preoccupied with the other kind of passion, the sexual kind, whose hormones have been well documented.
Not to mention the fact that, as a poet and free spirit who rode in on the '60s, I was unconcerned with the material plane.
Which brings me to my highly unscientific theory regarding the three stages of desire in a woman's life: 1) sex; 2) good hair and nice clothes (in order to look hot so that men — or women — will still want to have sex with you; 3) renovating. Now, it must be said that all three stages may overlap and take precedence at various times. Still, generally speaking, renovating doesn't kick in until the first two are on the wane.
And if you happen to find yourself downsizing to a condo or moving into a new house — as I am — well, all I can say is: Look out! The renovation hormone is likely to gobsmack you upside the head, not to mention in the wallet.
For me, it happened like this: When the husband and I fell for the new digs, we congratulated ourselves on choosing a home that was "move-in." Hooray! We spent years renovating our previous house, which we also believed was "move-in" but turned out to be a major fixer-upper. We were determined not to repeat that mistake. No siree, Bob! Especially the husband, who was ready to move right in.
But, somehow, after we signed all the papers, a mysterious force — like a golem or possibly the spirit of my dead mother — suddenly took possession of me and rendered me as powerless as a teenager with her first crush. Suffice it to say that we now have a full-service team — an architect, a contractor, an engineer and an interior designer — on the payroll while we ourselves are camped out in a tiny hovel for god knows how long as our "move-in" house gets a fresh paint job inside and out, new hardwood floors and carpeting throughout, an added powder room and gussied-up laundry room, plus several walls blown out to make way for the kitchen of my dreams. But, hey, I'm holding off from having the team redo the bathrooms, which I think shows admirable restraint.
Still, just this morning, when I told my husband that the contractor said it would be "no big deal" to extend our deck by several feet, my beloved got a murderous glint in his eye.
"I can't help it, honey," I shrugged. "It's hormonal."