So a friend was lamenting that we are getting kinda old, he’s never had the menage à trois he’s always wanted, and he’s afraid he never will. He’s having a late-mid-life crisis kind of thing, I suppose. We both came of age just after the free love hippie era had passed by and he’s always felt a little cheated by that. Well, a lot cheated if the truth be known.
Which makes him an easy target. I couldn’t resist.
“Yeah? The menage à trois is so last century. I’m a big believer in the lavage à froid. In fact, I had one just yesterday.”
“Really? No shit! With your wife?”
There was a bit of hesitation in his voice. He didn’t know what the hell I was talking about but didn’t want to let on, so he faked it. A “worldly” guy would be assumed to know this stuff and he’s not about to admit any knowledge deficiencies in the sex department.
His menage à trois fantasy doesn’t include his wife. Never has. I think he’s torn between wanting her to be an enthusiastic participant versus thinking of her as, frankly, somewhat saintly. That’s definitely how I think of her. She has, after all, put up with him for many years and done so with elegance and grace. As far as I know, anyway. In any case, leaving his wife out necessarily complicates the fantasy. This is partly because he would struggle with the infidelity and partly the practical matter of keeping the event secret. He’s now dying to know if I solved these problems and how. Naturally, I kept tweaking him.
“No, she wasn’t anywhere around. In fact, I’m pretty sure she would have objected.”
“You sly dog, you!” He was perversely proud of my supposed infidelity and all too happy to be taken into my confidence.
The one thing I’m known for, my “brand” if you will, is integrity. My rules include never saying anything about a person I would not tell them to their face, answering honestly or not at all, and avoiding the kinds of actions that I would not want to answer to if my wife, friends, colleagues, clients, or anyone really, asked me about them. My long-time friend knows with utter certainty that if I cheated on my wife and she asked me point blank, I would admit it rather than lie. At this point he’s thinking that these revelations could be devastating blackmail material, and probably wondering whether he ever really knew me at all.
“I’ll tell you what else,” I continued, “you have a lavage à froid and you won’t want a menage à trois. I gar-ant-tee it.”
Just FYI – I live in what we in the US call “The South.” The “The” is part of the proper noun and so properly capitalized along with South. That way non-locals can distinguish The South from a general compass direction and places located below your current position on a map with north pointing up. There is no “The” north, east or west. There is only The South and everything else is inferior and in lower case if at all possible. I never really bought into this, but I don’t get a choice in how it works. Among the other linguistic requirements of living here, you have to put an accent on EVERY syllable of the word guarantee and words like “gym” are two syllables: gee-um.
But I digress. It was now time to set the hook.
“In fact next time you start to get all bothered over wanting a menage à trois, I think you should reset your sights and go for the lavage à froid,” I enthused. “Not only will it make you not want a menage à trois, but there’s something about it that makes you feel very refreshed and invigorated afterward. People have been known to get the shivers from it. Some even pass out, so there’s a bit of a physical fitness requirement that often is overlooked by newbies.”
“Well, I’d heard they can be dangerous,” he lied. “That’s why I haven’t done it. Up to now. I always planned to. One day.”
He had crossed over into full B.S. mode now and was now just improvising. What do you do when in this position? You probe for more info, of course. You hope to glean a definition by making the other person use the term in a sentence and then study the context. And you try to do it without letting on that you haven’t got a clue, so you ask a lot of neutral questions.
“How long have you been having these,” he asked.
“Oh geeze, I don’t know. Pretty much forever.”
“Seriously? When was your first time?”
“I was just a kid.”
“Like high school kid?”
“No. Like grade school kid.”
“NO FUCKIN’ WAY!”
“Yes, fuckin’ way. We went camping a lot.”
“Yeah, it’s sort of a camping culture, hippie kind of thing. Everyone does it.”
“Even the kids?”
“ESPECIALLY the kids. If they get used to the idea of being naked in public early, they aren’t so self conscious. It actually has benefits that last a lifetime in terms of mental health and body confidence.”
“IN PUBLIC?” He was incredulous now.
“Well yeah. Lavage à froid isn’t exactly something you can do in a pup tent, ya know? You need facilities and when you are camping those facilities are public and generally accommodate 5 to 10 people at once.”
“Duuuude,” he said, drawing out the vowel with more than a hint of newfound respect in his voice, “I had no idea. Every time you tell me something about your childhood it tops the last thing you told me. You oughtta write a book.”
I ignored him and kept going.
“Look,” I said, “you’ve been harboring this menage à trois fantasy forever but take my advice because it will make you MUCH happier in the long run. Whenever you start thinking obsessive thoughts about a menage à trois, substitute a lavage à froid instead.”
“Okay,” he said. “I’m not sure if I’m ready for that, physically and mentally you know, but I’ll think about it. You always give me good advice.”
Then it seemed like he couldn’t wait to hang up, presumably so he could go Gooogle lavage à froid. About 10 minutes later I get this text. I love it when a plan comes together.