26 Sep Friends on the Fringe, Part I
Word reached my ears through the proverbial grapevine.
“Did you hear?” the Grapevine called me up and asked.
Did I hear what?
“The real reason Mrs. Jones retired,” said the Grapevine, “is because she and Mr. Jones are (decrease voice to whisper for maximum effect, insert dramatic pause)…swingers. And,” the Grapevine continued, clearly scandalized by this last bit, “they do a podcast about it.”
I had not heard.
The Grapevine, perhaps not realizing that my husband and I had become good friends with the Joneses, went on to explain that one of their neighbors had found out, circulated a letter, and generally made things extremely difficult for them. This, it appeared, had caused them to abruptly make some major life decisions they would not otherwise have made at this time.
My reaction was not exactly what the Grapevine had desired. I didn’t feel shocked or mortified or appalled or indignant. I felt bad for my friends who were probably going through a hell of a time with this – the Grapevine being a merciless thing – and also a little sad that they hadn’t felt they could tell us about this, themselves.
After I got the Grapevine off the phone, I sat for a bit and admitted to myself that I also felt intrigued and excited. Yeah. You read that right. Excited. Because the thing that neither our friends the Joneses nor the Grapevine knew is that my husband and I had been fantasizing together for quite some time about how we might introduce other couples or singles into our bedroom. Suddenly, it occurred to me – and to us, once I shared the news with him – that we had good friends who might be able to tell us a bit about it. And, we had questions.
Those of you who know Mr. & Mrs. Jones as Mr. & Mrs. Jones of We Gotta Thing will probably find this very, very funny.
See, we only knew Mr. & Mrs. Jones as the friends we hung out with from time to time doing things like having dinner or drinks, and playing card games (no, not that card game). Super “vanilla” stuff. We were (and are) vanilla friends with the Joneses, but once we learned they were swingers, we got kind of enthusiastic that our friends might (might!) have a little bit of inside information about swinging that they’d be willing to share with us. Yes, you can laugh now.
Though the Grapevine had not told me anything specific, it wasn’t hard to find We Gotta Thing online. A quick Google search for “swinger Jones podcast” did the trick. And then it wasn’t long before we figured out that our good friends are not only swingers with a podcast; they are more-or-less famous swingers with a famous podcast. Our friends are some kind of swinger celebrities. Holy shit. This was a lot to take in.
The next couple of weeks, we just sort of sat on this bit of information, not having any idea how to approach our friends with our newfound knowledge. I mean, what does one say?! We knew we didn’t want to pretend not to know. It seemed wrong to just go on navigating our friendship, not allowing them to know that we knew. That would be weird and wouldn’t feel genuine. But saying something would be weird, too. This was all new territory.
Some other thoughts and feelings started going through our minds, too.
We had just been to their place for dinner not too long ago and they didn’t hit on us even a little bit! What the heck?! Were we unattractive? Did they not want to sleep with us? And…why not?! For a hot minute, we wondered if we should feel rejected and offended. (Clearly, we didn’t know much about how LS couples work at this point).
And then there’s this: The way my husband and I had imagined inviting other couples into our sex life had been to discuss, every now and then, which of our existing friends might be down. Yeah. I hear you laughing again. Simmer down. We just didn’t really know how lifestyle stuff goes. But it gets even funnier when you hear me say that the Joneses were top of our list of married friends who were both attractive to us and possibly game for something adventurous. There had been more than one conversation in which “Do you think the Joneses would?” was uttered by one of us, followed by, “Yeah. Definitely. Oh, I dunno. Maybe. Yeah. Yeah, I dunno. Probably.”
So then we found out that they would. They did. They do. They know a lot about it and they help other people learn about it.
In the end, one day while I was sitting in a pedicure chair with a glass of wine in me and my phone in my hand, I just sort of decided to throw it out there. What the hell. I texted Mrs. Jones:
“So. I hear you and Mr. Jones have gotta thing.”
To be continued…