For a few days it was just Mom and Dad and the three unwed sisters.
It’s strange for me to be back in this category. I was the first of the sisters to get married, 7 years ago. The divorce was long enough ago that it doesn’t seem utterly bizarre that He’s not here, but it takes some adjusting to be back in the kiddy table, Dad paying for my meals when the family eats out together, riding up in the same car as my parents.
One sister would be coming later with her husband and child, but one sister would not be coming at all. We don’t blame her, it occurred to us not to come too, but family is like a currency system that requires mutual agreement to maintain its value. Too many absences show a lack of consumer confidence and people start wanting to come late and leave early and there is general grumbling about going back to the Gold Standard. Basically, we who are present can’t help but bear a slight resentment to those who are absent. Her punishment will not be deliberate, but there will probably be one-tenth fewer phone calls per sister over the next few months which, if amplified over time, could mean a dramatic difference in long term filial contact.
When people ask what it’s like to have 5 daughters in one family, we always give some noncommittal answer about how that’s just the way it is and it’s impossible to imagine it any differently, to mentally remove one of the sisters. But alone together this week, we single sisters began to form an idea of what our lives would have been like if there were never any other sisters at all, if it had always and would always be this way. We could almost imagine themselves as a more reasonably sized 3-child family unit. Blasphemy of thought.
On the third floor of the rental cabin, we slept together in one overheated tiny room.
At night, we discuss sex. Its a shame not to have the other sisters there for this conversation, those who are now mothers. Because how much can really be said about sex among those who have never taken it to its natural conclusion?
First, with a collective rant about the pervasive myths of sex that pervade porn-infused popular culture. That bullshit world where women come often and loudly and easily and prettily. Where cum is sexy and maybe even yummy. The one where you don’t have to talk about STDs and contraception because you both know you have “nothing to worry about.” The one where anal sex is nbd. Our experience is more often a clash between fun and morality where the shrapnel falls disproportionately toward the woman, waiting anxiously for her period every month.
We exchange stories of exes and friends’ love lives and celebrity gossip. We’ve all heard of the men who seem to apply a checklist to their sex lives, recreating scenes from X-rated websites with categories for each iteration of lust. The women are flattered to be the recipient of the man’s attention so they engage in a one-sided exchange where the man’s fantasy is inflicted on the woman’s reality.
Inevitably each checklist involves some version of public sex. So I ask my sisters- it is ever any good? Then I ask them- have you ever gone to a restaurant at the top of a tall building, or right along a shoreline? The food is always bad. Why? Because you’re paying for the view, not the food. It’s the same thing with hooking up on a beach or in an airplane or in the quad. You can go ahead and do it but please don’t pretend its purpose to maximize a woman’s pleasure.
We close out with a frustrated rant at the views of sex in the religious world. Where the man needs sex- he’s only human, after all- but knows that real sex must wait for marriage and that, even then, it exists for the sole purpose of procreation. And so he coerces the girl into an alternative tack. Before long, that couple is real hip to the anal scene. They keep one hole separate and special. The whole situation wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t so hypocritical. But it’s maddening how, with impunity, the pious fuck the loophole.
In the morning, we all sleep in later than any of us would feel comfortable doing alone. Mom, Dad, and the sister with the baby have been up for hours. But we slink down the stairs at 11:00 am with only a tinge of guilt- having sisters in crime makes it ok.