Staying Married: Brief Encounters - Interviewing: Marriage - Who the Women Are

Playing Around: Women and Infidelity - Linda Wolfe 1975

Staying Married: Brief Encounters
Interviewing: Marriage - Who the Women Are

“Why was it all so complicated?” asks the married heroine of Erica Jong’s Fear of Flying in a moment of satiric bitterness over the difficulties inherent in adultery for women. “Why did you have to risk your whole life for one measly zipless fuck?”

Brief, riskless extramarital encounters, the kind that bring pleasure to the participants but no harm to unknowing family members, are an old and even venerable pursuit of men. For women the pursuit is newfangled, but even so its history goes back at least as far as its expression in fiction in Kate Chopin’s 1904 story “The Storm.” Today it dominates what I found to be the most common kind of female extramarital adventuring—seize-the-day brief encounters, one-night stands, vacation adultery.

These experiences occurred in marriages that were described to me as good, as well as in those termed bad or difficult. Some women I spoke with told me they found such experiences thoroughly enjoyable. But it was more common to hear that brief sexual encounters, while riskless, were not altogether pleasurable, that their reality fell short of fantasy. All sorts of things went wrong. The men some of the women had chosen—or the men who chose them—proved inconsiderate or inadequate. The women discovered that secret illicit sex, counter to our society’s mythology, was not an aphrodisiac but an inhibitor. Or they found themselves thinking of their husbands at the very moment of intercourse when, with their husbands, they were fantasizing lovers.

I found that the women I spoke with stressed the funny or ironic aspects of their affairs. They would smile self-deprecatingly at their own antics, or make me laugh by comically imitating the faces of overly sober or overly hasty lovers. I concluded that even when an extramarital encounter had not been altogether pleasurable, many women tended to be pleased with themselves for having had the experience. In part, this was because they felt daring. But it was also because they seemed to come away from their experiences reassured of the wisdom of their marital choices. The less pleasurable an extramarital encounter, the more a woman was convinced that her own marriage, even if it was rough going, represented a safe harbor.

Some of the women were planners. They spent both time and effort divising unusual techniques for ending up in bed—briefly—with someone they barely knew or didn’t yet know. One woman accomplished it by the imaginative roundabout scheme of sharing her entire life for a day with a foreigner anxious to learn American routine. Another had a letter-writing campaign for meeting out-of-town strangers. But for the most part, the brief encounter was not a premeditated one. It happened. It was over. It had more to do with spontaneous adventure than with manipulation. Writing in The Encyclopedia of Sexual Behavior, psychotherapist Robert A. Harper has described such adultery as “a supplement to more generalized flight-from-reality devices, such as motion pictures, radio, television, ataractic drugs, and alcohol.”

Jeannette Giddings / If My Husband Only Knew

Jeanette Giddings, a suburban housewife, age thirty-six, mother of two, told me, “I married at twenty-two. My husband is a teacher and for the first years of our marriage we lived in the city, but then, when the children were of school age, we moved out. We have our fights, but they’re nothing special. The usual stuff. He’s bossy and very meticulous and I’m not the best housekeeper in the world. He sometimes complains that I’ve let my figure go since we married, or he gets annoyed with me because I’m not making use of my education. I was going to be a teacher, too. We met in college. But I like staying home. I can’t see what’s so great about a job. It’s true I spend a lot of time daydreaming. But what’s so bad about that? Anyway, these are just little things; little quarrels; they happen in every marriage.

“One of my favorite daydreams is about old boyfriends coming back. I’ll bet it’s universal. I always fantasized about that sort of thing. But I always stopped short of actually doing anything about the fantasy. I even, you might say, have made sure nothing along those lines could ever happen by keeping myself in a physical condition that isn’t very inviting. As my husband never fails to remind me, I am overweight—I weigh in at one-sixty-five—and I don’t pay the right attention to how I dress. So the fact that I ever had any sort of an affair is really quite surprising, even to me.

“It happened only once. It was a short while after we’d moved to the suburbs. I still hadn’t quite adjusted to life there, hadn’t yet made very many friends, and one time in the spring I took my children and we came back to New York and spent a week staying with friends who lived in Greenwich Village. We went out one day to see one of those art shows they have there; sidewalk displays of jewelry and leatherwork and paintings. My friends stopped to talk to a man they knew, an artist who was doing pastel portraits. I didn’t talk to him, but a few days later, I saw him again and he recognized me. I am a little hard to miss.

“This time we chatted. One of my kids was fiddling with his chalks and I swatted her, but this guy was so nice about it. He said, ’Your kid must like drawing.’ He invited us up to see his studio. I said no, but then, we went anyway. And while we were there, he said why didn’t I come back that night without the kids, and I said no, and then I said okay.

“I went back and we went to bed. He was not particularly great in bed, but I dug it. My reaction was very strong, out of proportion. He was someone very talented and he was someone who wasn’t my husband. But I couldn’t come. I was very excited, but just hovering on the edge of my climax. He came, and he was masturbating me, and still I was just hanging there. And then I closed my eyes and imagined he was my husband and that was what did it. I came.

“There was never any question of our getting together again. I was on my way back upstate the next day. He said he was about to get married to some woman who was in Paris but was coming home the next week. We exchanged life histories but not addresses. I went home feeling surprisingly good about it, and for a long time afterwards, whenever my husband would get angry with me over some household trivia, I’d sit there and just smile to myself and I’d think, if he only knew.”

Rita Hemp / In Those Days I Never Had Orgasms

Rita Hemp, a suburban housewife, age twenty-eight, mother of one, said, “My husband and I get on very well. I like everything about marriage. I like having someone to go out to dinner with and to go to the movies with and to worry about me when I’ve got the flu and to fuss over when he’s having work troubles. I always felt this way about being married, but in the first two years I had a sex problem and sometimes I wondered if I should have gotten married before solving it.

“In those days I never had orgasms, and in fact I didn’t start having them until I had my baby two years ago. No matter what my husband and I tried, I didn’t. So one of the things I tried was another man. I was working then as a reporter on a magazine and sometimes I had to go out of town to cover stories. This one time there was a correspondent from an Italian magazine covering the same story. We got to talking and eventually we got onto the subject of sex and he said to me did I know that, according to statistics he had read, some huge percentage of American women didn’t have orgasms. He sounded surprised, unbelieving.

“I don’t know what got into me. Usually I’m very reserved, even stand-offish with men I don’t know very well. Maybe it was being away from home. Anyway, I said, ’What’s so odd? I don’t have them either.’ He came on after that with lots of European macho stuff. If I didn’t have them, I must be sleeping with the wrong man. He could make me have them. So I went to bed with him, just to see.

“Well, of course I didn’t have an orgasm with him either. It was no big blow to me. I’d only half-expected it might happen. But he was deflated and irritated. In fact, he insisted I was lying. He said, ’Don’t tell me you didn’t. I could feel the contractions.’

“’Well, I didn’t,’ I said. I laughed. But it was no joke. After that I figured European women must be the world’s biggest liars. Otherwise why would these European men think they knew what an orgasm felt like. Now that I have them, I know the man can’t always tell.

“I went home from Chicago annoyed but content. At least my husband believed me. If I wasn’t going to have orgasms, I wanted to not have them in the comfort of my own bed and with a man who believed what I had to say about my own body. I decided to make do. My husband was more upset about my not having orgasms than I was. I just figured sex wasn’t everything in marriage, but since it wasn’t everything outside of it either, I might as well enjoy what I had. Of course, there’s no telling what could have happened, if eventually I hadn’t started having orgasms. Maybe I would have tried another man again. Maybe my husband would have gotten fed up with me and tried another woman. But it never came to that since after the baby—not right after—about a year after, I started having them—not all the time, but often enough.”

Amanda Greenough / If He’d Looked, He’d Have Seen No Lipstick

Amanda Greenough, a suburban college instructor, age twenty-seven, mother of one, said, “All my life I always had this thing about older men. Or they had a thing about me. In college there was one professor who was crazy about me. He used to take me to the theatre. He said I was a brilliant student but unsophisticated and that I needed more exposure to thoughts and trends. He took over my education, like a private tutor. And he always made passes at me, but I always put him off. I had a very moralistic upbringing and he was a married man twice my age. I kept myself aloof. I suppose you could say I mostly live by principles. I consider personal happiness a libertine luxury. But I’m human, too, and there are times I wish I was like other people I know. Freer.

“I married right after college. My husband was at school with me and he and I are very much alike. We intend to raise a big family. It won’t stop me from having a full life. Even before I got pregnant, we planned that I would continue graduate school, no matter what, even if we had triplets. And that’s what I’ve done. My husband is a painter and he works at home in a studio we built, and we alternate the babysitting.

“I love my husband very much. I love making love with him. We did it before we got married, which was hard for me. It didn’t seem altogether right. We’d done everything else, even had oral sex. But intercourse was something else. I know it sounds unbelievable, but there are still women who feel this way about sex—at least in the Midwest, where I grew up. I used to talk about my feelings with some of the women I knew at school. They all felt it was all right to have intercourse with a man if you loved him. And I did love Tim. And I was sick of being odd woman out. So we had intercourse, and it was fine; I loved him just as much afterwards, and he loved me just as much, and we got married about a month after graduation.

“The only extramarital affair I ever had was three years ago, during graduate school. It was with a professor of mine. I told you older men had this thing for me. Or maybe it’s that professors go into their line of work because they figure that way they can surround themselves with pretty young women who look up to them, or have to pretend they do. Now that I’m teaching I can see what power it gives you.

“The professor I had the affair with was just like the one I didn’t have one with in college. He would take me to lunch to further my education. I was marking papers for an undergraduate class of his, and he set up a regular lunch schedule so he could direct me in the work.

“Once when his wife was away we had our lunch up at his apartment. He said we had to meet there because he was expecting an important phone call. During lunch, he started stroking my leg under the table. Just like that. He did a whole number about how young and bright and unique I was; he’d never met another student as perceptive. All my life this kind of thing was happening to me. This time I decided to see what would happen if I went along with it. I couldn’t see any harm in it. My husband would never know. My teacher’s wife would never know. I had married women friends who had done this sort of thing, but I’m always the last in any group to give up convention. So I said to myself, ’Why not, just this once?’ and got into bed. I walked to it. He didn’t have to snuggle me over to it. I said, ’Okay, Let’s do it.’

“It was okay, but afterwards I felt angry. I didn’t like the expertise with which he cleaned up after me. I was still lying on the bed while he was checking to see if I’d left lipstick marks on the water glass or any hairs on the pillow slip. What annoyed me most was that if he’d really looked at me, he’d have noticed that I never wore lipstick. I decided he was deceitful and the whole thing made me feel dirty. I felt that what had been a spontaneous adventure for me was a customary and sneaky event for him. And it made me despise him. If he went in for this sort of thing frequently, why did he stay married? He wanted me to meet him there the next week, but I said no. That was the only extramarital adventure I ever had. I might have another some day, but it’s been three years since that happened and the occasion just hasn’t arisen.”

Madelaine Leffert / Everything Seemed So Frivolous in the Sun

Madelaine Leffert, New York City owner-manager of an import gift shop with her husband, age forty-one, mother of three, reported, “My husband and I have what has to be a model marriage. We not only spend a lot of time together evenings and weekends, but about six years ago I went into the business with him and began helping him run our shop. At first we thought this might make for tensions between us, but actually we handle it very well. We really like each other.

“We almost never fight. There are one or two gripes between us, but they’re little things. I can’t think of any. Oh yes, there was the matter of the lock. I wanted to put a lock on our bedroom door. All these years we’ve always felt uncomfortable about making love until after the children are asleep, and as they’ve gotten older they go to sleep later and later and we have so little privacy. I thought of a lock, but my husband objected because he felt that if there was an emergency during the night or even if one of the children had a stomachache, it wouldn’t be right for them not to be able to reach us quickly. I do think he places the children’s needs ahead of ours a lot of the time. But you really can’t fault a man for that.

“The only extramarital experience I ever had was when I went on a vacation trip to Jamaica about five years ago with my children. My husband was to fly down and meet us on the weekend. On the plane going down I got to talking with a handsome black businessman from Kingston. To my surprise, he rode over to see me and the kids at our Montego Beach hotel two days later. I went to bed with him that night. Everyone around the place had seemed so free, so loose and frivolous in the sun. Even the water was sexual. The kids were occupied and I felt free. So that night I went to bed with him. I liked this man a lot. In a peculiar way he reminded me of my husband. It was the way he fussed not only over me but the kids. He brought them toy steel drums.

“In bed, he came very quickly and I didn’t, but he didn’t know, and he congratulated me on my orgasm. Then he began confiding in me about how much he wanted a wife. He’d had one, but she had left him. His apartment in Kingston was half-furnished. He wanted someone to pick curtains for it. He himself hadn’t the time or the taste. He wanted someone to help him pick his ties. He asked me if I liked the one he’d worn on the plane. I was touched by all this, but it set me adrift. He was just like my husband, but black. I had hoped for adventure.”

Betty Riesling / I Love the Game of Seduction

Betty Riesling, New York City librarian, age thirty-two, mother of two, said, “I’m not very happy with my husband, and playing around gives me something to take my mind off my troubles. I think that when the children are a little older, I’m going to leave him. But for now, I can’t afford to. My husband is always borrowing money and failing to pay back. We’ve had to borrow from my parents more times than you could believe, and he never even tries to pay them back, though he knows my dad is nearing retirement. If it wasn’t for the fact that I was working, we’d really be in trouble.

“My husband is very inventive; he studied business management in college and he’s started more businesses than you can shake a stick at. But none of them has taken off. Once he was going to sell miniature alarm clocks; you could wear them and set them if you had an appointment to remember. For a while he was getting mummy beads out of Egypt and making necklaces, but paying for someone to go over there and buy them proved terribly costly. For a while he was friends with the man who was promoting the idea of raising minks in your own home, by caging them into your bathtub. Thank God he stayed out of that one.

“The kids think my husband is the best father in the world, because he is so imaginative. He’s also very easygoing. He’ll let them get away with anything. I couldn’t possibly disillusion them, so I’m just holding on until they’re a little older, when maybe they’ll see my point of view too. In the meantime, I keep myself occupied by having affairs. Nothing too serious. I wouldn’t want anything serious until I was ready to make a break.

“I never see the same man more than once and I never let these things keep me away from my children. But I love the whole game of planning seductions. I never run out of ways of finding men. Some I just get talking to at the library where I work. Sometimes it’s a neighbor. If a guy around here helps me home with packages, I always ask him up for a drink, and one thing leads to another; you know, everyone’s on the search. Sometimes I write letters to guys I want to meet. Like if I read an article in some professional publication, I write to the author and tell him how much I liked the article and if he’s ever in New York could he contact me so that we could discuss the fine points. It’s amazing how many academic types will respond to this. I’ve had five one-night stands that began through some sort of correspondence.”

Maggie Berk / I Became My Old Self Again

Maggie Berk, a suburban housewife, age thirty-four, mother of three, told me, “When my husband and I started seeing each other I’d already had a lot of deep sexual relationships. I’d started having sex when I was sixteen. When I was still in college I almost married a French actor. I’d spent my junior year abroad, studying pantomime in France and really getting into the life there. I fell in love there and would have married except I couldn’t see leaving my friends and family forever, living in a foreign country, being an outsider. I broke off the love affair, but I always remembered those days in France as the happiest in my life, even though after I came home I had exciting love affairs. One was with an assistant district attorney. Another was with a dress manufacturer who used to arrive for our dates with a box full of clothes for me each time. Not just dresses, but shoes in my size to match them, and expensive stockings and the most gorgeous underthings. I’d pick what outfit I wanted, and we’d go out, and I’d wear the rest of the clothes on other nights with other men.

“I met Jerry when I was twenty-three, and I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted to get married. Jerry seemed a little pale to me after some of the men I’d met. He wanted to settle down, raise kids, have a big house. That wasn’t really my style. I had planned to be an actress. But I felt safe with Jerry. He was very protective. He fixed up my apartment for me practically the first week we met. He put in a new lock because he was worried that my building wasn’t safe. And he built bookshelves for me. He really looked after me. And in those days, he’d take phone calls from me in his office no matter how busy he was, even if he had to be called out from a conference. So I said yes. I bought the whole package. A husband with an office job. Kids. A house in the suburbs. But marriage changed Jerry. He wasn’t there for me so much. Now when I called, his secretary would say, ’I’m sorry, Mr. Berk is in conference. Can he call you back?’ And he’d keep me waiting. For phone calls, even for sex. And eventually I started doing the same to him. That’s just one of the facts of marriage mothers don’t let their daughters in on.

“All the years when the kids were little and I had my hands full with them I would dream about my past and wish I had a few sexy high jinks in my life right then. I always wanted to have an affair, just a little something to keep my spirits up. But life was serious now, and I was a responsible person. A mother. In fact, it got so that I was more responsible than Jerry. He would go off to work and leave me with all sorts of problems at home and never bother his head about any of them. And just on the days the kids had given me the most trouble, the days I was most tired out from running after them, on those days he’d want to make love. But on the days I wanted to, sure enough he’d want to stay up late watching television or he’d drag me off to some party that went on and on until I was exhausted. It got so that we were never on the same schedule about anything.

“About a year ago I found out that Jerry had had an affair. He left a note on his desk, right out on top, from a woman who signed herself ’Forever, your Mary.’ I was surprised there was no envelope marked S.W.A.K. It got me furious. There are two Marys in his office. I told him that if he didn’t tell me which one it was and just what was going on, I’d call up each one of them until I found out. He said it was the typist Mary, and that it had been nothing, just a fling.

“After that, I really felt enraged. Here I was, all tied down with the kids, and he was out playing around. When we’d met, I’d been the frivolous person, and he’d been the down-to-earth, responsible one. I’d not only wasted my life on him, but we’d changed places so that he was the one having all the fun. We had a huge fight, a screaming fight, right in front of the children. The end of it was, I went off to France for a week. It was Jerry’s idea, not mine. I don’t think he really meant for me to do it. He’d suggested it while we were fighting. ’You’re always complaining about your lost youth! Go find it! Go! I’ll pay for your trip, just to get you out of here!’

“We’d had that sort of showdown before. In fact, he’d said the same thing a couple of times, but I’d never taken him up on it. This time I did. I said, ’Fine.’ And a week later I left for France.

“I went to all the places I had loved when I was young and full of hope. I hung around the Left Bank, went to museums and restaurants, sat all afternoon in La Coupole. I saw de Beauvoir and Sartre there. She was reading L’Humanité to him and he was eating oysters. When I first got to Paris I was planning to look up my old boyfriend, but I figured he was probably married or fat, and after just a couple of days I realized that I didn’t really care about him. It was Paris that had turned me on, even in those long-ago days. And it did it again. I felt young again. And when you feel young, you meet people. The third day I was there I met a Swedish newspaperman who was staying in my hotel and we started doing our touring together. We rented a car and saw Versailles. We picnicked and ate and drank together. And we went to bed together, high on aquavit. I was my old self again. I told him I was married. He told me he was. We didn’t feel sad when we said good-bye. I hadn’t had the affair because of him. And I imagine he hadn’t had it because of me. We’d had it because of them—his wife, my husband. But I was looking forward to seeing Jerry by then. In a way I felt grateful to him, though of course I wasn’t planning on telling him anything about what had happened.

“But I suppose letting him know was irresistible, because a few weeks after I was home I discovered I was pregnant. There was no knowing for sure whose kid it would be. So I told Jerry about the man in France. He was wonderful about it. I had an abortion. Jerry helped me decide where and he came with me, and actually the experience brought us closer. He said I must have been taking revenge on him and I said, ’Yes? For what?’ and he said, ’For forever Mary,’ and I said ’No, for forever till death do us part,’ and he said ’Well, for that, it’s small enough revenge, I guess,’ and we ended up better friends than we’d been in years. I admit it’s helped that I’ve gone back to acting school in the city and I meet Jerry after work three days a week. We also agreed that if his secretary said to me, ’I’m sorry, Mr. Berk is in conference,’ I was to say to her, ’Tell Mr. Berk it’s Miss Lovelace.’”

Sukey Dobbs / It’s Taken Me So Long to Appreciate Just Good Sex

Sukey Dobbs, a midwestern public relations specialist, age thirty-four, with no children, told me, “I’ve had a few brief affairs. I had one with a colleague about three weeks ago. It was so lovely. It’s taken me so long to appreciate just sex. People say that women don’t get sexy until they’re over thirty, that it’s something physiological, but really what it is is that it takes years to get rid of all your hang-ups. It took me eight years to realize that although I like the sex in my marriage and love my husband, I like variety too. It didn’t really become possible for me, however, until a few years ago when I started the job I have now. This job involves a small amount of traveling, and sometimes I get lonely on trips away from home. If there’s someone around who seems easy and uncomplicated—usually that’s a married man—I try to make something happen. It’s only when I’m out of town.

“It’s often somebody I might not like if I got to know him too well. But there’s a lot of excitement in knowing I’m just going to see him this one time, or maybe twice, and never again. Casual sex affairs add another dimension to sex. They contribute to making it good because the man is really a kind of fantasy figure. I just don’t know who he is. I can create whatever I want out of it. I’m not saying I like promiscuity. I don’t. I wouldn’t want to go screwing around a lot. It’s just something I do when I feel like it and somebody comes along. But those two things don’t happen at the same time too often.

“The first time they happened I thought there was something wrong with me. I went to a marriage counselor, a man. I said, ’What’s the matter with me? I make love with my husband four or five times a week. I’m absolutely content with him. What’s the matter with me?’ I felt ashamed, and it was very important to me that my husband not find out.

“I talked to this counselor three, maybe four months. We talked about my childhood, my marriage, my job. But we concluded there was nothing wrong with me or my marriage. I just like variety. He said there were men that were that way, so why shouldn’t there be women? I said no other woman I ever knew was this way. He said maybe they are and don’t tell anyone.

“I don’t tell people. In fact, I try very hard for it to be someone far away. I feel it would hurt my husband if this came out. I’m talking about how other people would look at him. They’d think there was something wrong with him, and they’d think less of him. I wouldn’t want that, just for a fling. But as long as it is safe, what’s the harm?”

Kay Mordechai / It Was Fun and Educational

Kay Mordechai, suburban housewife and poet, age forty-two, mother of four, related, “I had an Argentinian friend from my college days who used to send me interesting people. I mean she sent them if they were passing through and wanted to get to know an American family. We’d make dinner, entertain them. It was fun for us, fun and educational for the children. One time one of my friend’s friends called during a period my husband was out of town. He’s out of town a lot for professional meetings, and although he always used to take me with him, lately he feels it’s too expensive. I didn’t exactly like this Argentinian when he called because instead of saying, ’My name is Ramón,’ he said, ’This is Dr. Ruíz.’ He was a psychiatrist. Very stiff on the phone. But when he arrived, I was surprised. He was only about twenty-eight years old and not as formal as I’d expected. It must have been having to speak English over a telephone that made him sound that way.

“After dinner was over and the kids had gone to bed we sat and talked for a while. He was only going to be around for a day or two because he was flying to a meeting in Boston. I was trying to give him what presumably he’d come for, a glimpse into my suburban American way of life, when I got this wonderful idea. I thought, he’s come here because he wants to know how his American counterparts live. Well, suppose instead of talking, I show him. Suppose I let him share my entire life for a day. He could do everything I do, go everyplace I go. Like to the supermarket. To the kids’ school. Even to my therapy hour. I think it was the thought of my therapy hour that triggered the whole experiment. Ramón knew all about classical therapy, the Freudian stuff, but he’d never seen one of our freewheeling California-type therapists in action. I had been describing mine to him and he’d expressed interest in how and whether it worked.

“At first I didn’t say anything about sex, and that didn’t happen until the next day. But it must have been there in the back of my mind. This guy was very appealing and even his accent turned me on. But at first I was just thinking of chores.

“So he got up with me real early for breakfast and helped me dress the kids. And we drove the kids to school and I let him take the little one into her classroom so he could see the teacher and the open schoolroom thing. Then we did the marketing. He’d never wheeled a grocery cart before. And then we went to my therapy. I think he hadn’t really believed the night before that a therapist would actually let him listen in on the hour. But of course, mine said it was okay. So I talked and he listened. I really believe I said exactly what I would have said whether he’d been there or not. I did my usual stuff. Anxieties over the kids. Anxieties about how come my husband and I seem to have grown a little distant, a little too independent of one another. Anger at growing old. My therapist never wants to hear childhood stuff. It’s the here and now he cares about. I did talk about how stimulating it was to have Ramón sharing my life, but I’d have said that even if he wasn’t there.

“That night he came to the poetry class I was taking. He met my classmates and commented on the poems just like everyone else. And then we came home and went to bed together. We’d agreed during the afternoon to add that experience. It wasn’t a wild sexual attraction on either of our parts. It was just that we thought it would be delightful and a little daring.

“There was some discomfort. At one point he wanted to back out. He said, ’If we sleep together, won’t you expect me to love you forever?’ I said, ’No, only tonight.’ It was lots of fun and I felt proud of myself. Anyway, the next morning we had breakfast and he caught his plane. I never heard from him again. But I always felt that if ever my husband and I were to divorce, I’d look up Ramón. That day made us like good old friends.”