Friday, September 19, 2008

"Saran Wrap Isn't Cheap and I'm a Size Twelve"

I plucked this book off my shelf because I was sure Marabel Morgan was the one who famously recommended that wives greet husbands at the door wearing nothing but Saran Wrap. I reread it on the subway (and by doing so, won a round of the game I mentioned in this post) but the quote I wanted wasn't there. I feel like I come across it all the time, but now I can't find out who originated it. I'm sure it's in my collection somewhere. Do any of you know?
My internet search for the answer led me to Perfect Bodies Equal Perfect Sex on Christianity Today. Teri Looney (which would totally be my pen name if I wanted to write about keeping sex alive in Christian marriage) writes:
"I remember feeling queasy the first time I heard the idea: if your love life seems stale, send the kids to a neighbor's house, prepare a candlelight dinner, and greet your man at the front door swathed only in Saran Wrap. First of all, Saran Wrap isn't cheap and I'm a size 12. Second, do I really want to send my husband the subliminal message that I'm just 'leftovers'? And third, what happens if I get too close to those candles?"

Despite the lack of shrink wrap, Mirabel Morgan offers plenty of her own charming advice on marital revampment:

"The outer shell of yours is what the real estate people call 'curb appeal'-- how the house looks from the outside. Is your curb appeal this week what it was five years ago?
Many a husband rushes off to work leaving his wife slumped over a cup of coffee in her grubby undies. His once sexy bride is now wrapped in rollers and smells like bacon."

But oh, the early days were different. Mirabel reminisces:

"Remember how immaculate you were each time he came to call? Remember those long baths and then the powder, perfume, and pizazz? You felt so confident, and you were so excited you could hardly wait to see him. Dazzling, you floated out to meet him, knowing he would be pleased just seeing you and being seen with you."

So Mirabel, how do we go about getting the spark back?

"Have you ever met your husband at the front door in some outrageously sexy outfit? I can hear you howl, 'She's got to be kidding! My husband's not the type, and besides, we've been married twenty-one years!'
... Costumes provide variety without him ever leaving home. I believe every man needs excitement and high adventure at home. Never let him know what to expect when he opens the front door; make it like opening a surprise package. You may be a smoldering sexpot, or an All-American fresh beauty. Be a pixie or a pirate--a cowgirl or a show girl. Keep him off guard.
...My first costume, the pink baby-dolls and boots, was among my more conservative outfits. For a corn-fed gal from a small Ohio town, I must admit I've branched out quite a bit since then. "

It's all so adorably naughty. Her advice has been recycled into about ten magazine articles and seven books a year since 1973 when the book was written, but Marabel's readers were nice Christian ladies like her, and this stuff was racy. Marabel went on to write more books on marriage, and even made the cover of Time.
But The Total Woman at one point takes what I find to be an uncomfortable turn:

"You may not wish to parade around in nylon net at half-past five with your fifteen-year-old son all eyes. But the children will love your costumes. It makes life exciting. Can't you just imagine Junior on the sandlot, telling his friends, 'I've got to go now, guys. Got to see Mom's outfit for tonight."

Do you know that sound cartoon dogs make when they do a double take in surprise? That is the sound I made when I read that last part.

Doesn't mean I'll stop loving her. I just ordered another book by Marabel , The Electric Woman, mainly for the cover graphics.