Endorphins: chemicals in the brain that instill feelings of well-being or euphoria.
They’re the reason we keep going back to the gym for those punishing workouts. They’re the reason even the most uptight man on earth can fall asleep after a good lay. They are also responsible for a little phenomenon commonly referred to as The Honeymoon Period.
You know what I’m talking about. It’s the beginning of a relationship—when everything is all sweetness and light. Everyone’s on their best behavior.
Guys don’t pass gas; women don’t eat.
Or, if they just can’t help themselves, even the worst habits seem like the most adorable thing since Punky frigging Brewster. His cute little snore, her delightful nail biting.
Humans are not the only ones who go through a Honeymoon Period. It’s an interspecies experience. In fact, without it, sharks would cease to exist. See, sharks are natural predators. They’ll eat anything—including their own offspring.
Right after giving birth, however, the mother shark’s brain is flooded with endorphins, putting her into a kind of ecstatic coma. This gives the baby shark about ten minutes to swim away.
Because if he’s still around when Momma wakes up? He’s lunch.
Which brings us to the other universal characteristic of The Honeymoon Period:
Eventually, it ends.
It’s Saturday afternoon. Matthew and Steven are over. We’re in the living room, watching the game.
And we need beer.
Sure, she’s in the office working, but the Yankees are on. And I’m a New York boy—born and raised. Which means there are only two teams I like: the Yankees and whoever’s playing the Boston Red Sox.
She appears at the entrance to the room, arms folded, hip cocked. She’s wearing a sundress—short with a sexy floral pattern and buttons down the front for easy removal. I worship the creator of the sundress.
Her voice is annoyed. “What is it, Drew?”
I toss her a smile. “Hey, babe…could you grab us a few beers from the fridge?”
Animals are non-verbal. A girl dog can’t tell a boy dog, Screw me now; I want to have your puppies. So instead she sticks her ass in the air. Now, if the boy dog happens to read her signals wrong? If he jumps on her ass before it’s raised?
He might just get his balls bitten off.
Women are a lot like female canines—or bitches, if you want the correct terminology—and God help the man who misreads them.
We’ll get back to that later.
As for now, when Kate raises one eyebrow at me, I know she’s looking for an explanation. I gesture towards the television. “Jeter’s about to beat the all-time hitting record.”
She sighs. Pacified. “Okay.” Then she heads off to the kitchen.
A few minutes later, she comes back with her arms full of beer bottles. She hands one to Matthew.
And one to Steven. “Thank you.”
And one to me. I take a sip. And flinch. “Ah, this is piss warm.” I hand it back to her.
“I just took it out of the refrigerator.”
With my eyes still on the game, I flick my wrist, shooing her back to the kitchen. “You have to take them from the back of the fridge. That’s where the cold ones are…Come on, A-rod! Get your head out of your ass and in the game!”
And we should pause here a moment.
Remember those dogs I was talking about? The cues? While I was watching TV, I missed a few. Take a look:
Steven is smiling, almost laughing. After all the punishment he’s received from my sister over the years, he’s developed quite the sadistic streak when it comes to other people getting their asses handed to them.
Then there’s Matthew. God only knows what kind of sick and depraved penalties Delores has inflicted on that poor bastard, because he just looks scared.
Kate, on the other hand, is staring at my hand like it’s a cockroach. That she wants to squash. And then she gets an idea—a wonderful, awful idea. If you look hard enough, you can see the light bulb go on above her head. She smiles and leaves the room.
I missed all this the first time.
A few minutes later, Kate breezes back in carrying an ice bucket filled with beer. Nope, not beer bottles. Just beer. She stands next to the couch, and I—eyes still on the game—hold out my hand for my drink. And she proceeds to take her bucket and dump it over my fucking head.
I jump up, dripping and choking. “Jesus Christ!”
She asks me sweetly, “Is that cold enough for you, honey?”
I wipe my face with my hand and glare at her. “Are you crazy!”
She glares right back. “No—and I’m not a waitress either! Though I would hope you’d show a little more courtesy to them.”
Matthew stands up. “I’m going to head down to McCarthy’s Bar and watch the game from there.”
Steven gets his jacket. “I’ll come with you.”
I wring out the bottom of my shirt. “Hold the cab for me, guys. I’ll be right down.”
Matthew laughs. And pats me on the back. “Sure you will, buddy. Bye, Kate.”
She doesn’t answer them. She’s too busy trying to kill me with her eyes.
And with that, Matthew and Steven make their escape.
While Kate and I glower at each other.
Yep—that’s the bell. Round one just got started.
I begin calmly. When verbally sparring with an adversary, it’s always better to stay levelheaded. Choose your words carefully. Be smart.
“What is this about?”
Apparently, Kate does not share my philosophy.
“You tell me, Drew! Tell me why the hell Matthew and Steven can say please and thank you and all I get from you is a…” She flicks her hand dismissively, mimicking my earlier action.
And once again, I stay composed. Still dripping—but composed.
“So you’re telling me you wasted good beer and ruined my Saturday afternoon because I forgot my manners?”
“Why couldn’t you just say it?”
“Why couldn’t you just say, ‘Hey, Drew, a thank you would be nice’? Was it necessary to be such a god damn drama queen about it?”
She folds her arms and scoffs, “I am not a drama queen.”
I hold up my fingers. “Two words, Kate: Chanel suit.”
You remember, don’t you? The one I bought her from Saks, after our first screw-fest?
Her eyes narrow. “What about it?”
My eyebrows rise. “What about it? You set it on fire.”
Yep—she and Delores made like homeless people and incinerated the freaking thing in the dumpster outside Kate’s old building.
She shrugs. “So? You were nothing to me, and I wanted to make sure everything you’d ever given me was nothing too.”
And that, boys and girls, is called proving my point. I smirk. “I really don’t need to say anything else.”
She rolls her eyes. “Whatever. I didn’t throw beer on you just because you forgot to say thank you. I’m not some hysterical nagging psycho-bitch.”
Right. And if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck…it’s a horse.
She goes on. “There are a lot of things that have been bothering me lately.”
I’m actually curious. As far as I know, Kate and I have the perfect relationship. And I—of course—am the perfect boyfriend.
“Like how you never help me clean up in the kitchen. Every time we cook, you disappear while I’m stuck washing and drying and putting away!”
My voice becomes a little louder. Defensive. “You do most of the cooking. I figure you want to organize the kitchen! I don’t want to mess up your system.”
And this is partly true. But if I’m being totally honest, I’ve never seen my old man wash a dish in his life. Not even a frigging spoon. And Steven—the one time he tried to help The Bitch out with the laundry? She pissed and moaned for a week about how he ruined her gentle delicates, whatever the hell those are.
“And you never complained about it before. If you wanted my help, why didn’t you just ask me?”
Her volume reaches maximum decibels. “Why should I have to ask you? You’re a grown man! You should just know!”
And there it is, kiddies. The Famous Female Mind Fuck.
That’s short for: If you can’t read their minds? You’re fucked.
And as for that composure I was so proud of? Yeah—he took a hike. “Well, I didn’t! For Christ’s sake, don’t give me enough rope to hang myself and then cut my balls off when I actually do! You should’ve just told me!”
Kate pushes my shoulders, and my shirt makes a wet squishing sound.
“Fine. You wanna know? I’ll tell you now.”
Despite what I just said, no, I don’t want to know. No guy likes being criticized. No one wants to be told they’re screwing up. So, like any man under attack, I go on the offensive.
“You’re not exactly a joy to live with all the time either.”
That stops Kate’s tirade in its tracks. Her brow furrows slightly. “What is that supposed to mean?”
Honestly? I have no idea. I have two reactions to anything Kate does: she makes me smile or she makes me hard. Smile, hard, smile, hard, smile…hard. Usually both at the same time. You know that song “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic”? It’s a lot like that. Nothing she does turns me off. But I’m not about to let her know that. This is our first argument.
Winning is crucial. I have to set a precedent.
So, genius that I am, I spew the first thing that pops into my head. “You chew on your pens.”
Too late now—might as well go with it. “When we’re working in the office. You chew on your pen. It’s distracting. It sounds like some crazed woodchuck is trying to eat its way through the drywall. Chck, chck, chck, chck.”
She thinks about it a moment. And shrugs. “Fine. I won’t chew my pen anymore. But we’re not talking about me right now. We’re talking about you…and…and how you disrespect me.”
Hold on. Back the hell up. I am an extremely respectful person. Always. Even to my do-me-once-and-don’t-ever-talk-to-me-agains—I was a goddamn gentleman.
“What are you talking about? How do I disrespect you?”
Her tone is clipped. Accusing. “You’ve never once changed the toilet paper roll.”
She’s kidding, right? Seriously. Tell me she’s fucking with me.
“And how exactly does me not changing the toilet paper roll disrespect you?”
Her face goes blank, like she’s shocked that I don’t immediately understand the insanity that is her.
“Well, who do you think is going to change it?”
She spreads her arms out, like I just said the magic words.
I pinch my nose. Maybe if I stem the flow of blood to my brain, I’ll pass out.
She goes on, “You don’t think about it at all! You just assume, ‘Oh Kate will do it. She’s got nothing better to do’…”
I put my hand up, cutting her off. “No, no—I don’t think that! If I need toilet paper and it’s there, I use it. If it’s not, I improvise.”
Her face wrinkles. “Well, that’s just disgusting.”
So this is what it feels like to be stuck in quicksand. You kick and struggle…but you just keep on sinking.
“You know what? Okay, fine. You’re right. I’ll change the toilet paper roll from now on. Problem solved.”
But apparently it’s not.
She folds her arms. “I don’t want to be right, Drew. I don’t want you to change the toilet paper roll because I’m yelling at you. I want you to want to change the toilet paper roll.”
Okay—now I start laughing. I just can’t help it.
“Why the fuck would anyone want to change the toilet paper roll!”
She looks offended. Highly. “For me. For me, Drew! You know, I happen to like doing things for you because I love you. But only if you appreciate it. When it just becomes…expected…then I feel degraded. And it makes me not want to do things for you!”
Her lips are moving. I know she’s trying to tell me something.
What it is? No clue.
“I don’t even know what that means!”
She points her finger at me. And hops up and down. “Yes, you do! You’re just purposely not seeing my point to drive me crazy.”
No, I’m really not. Because judging from this conversation? She’s already there.
And then a thought occurs to me. “Are you on the rag?”
Her mouth opens wide. And you might want to take a step back, because I think her head might actually explode.
She grabs the nearest thing she can reach—a picture of us on vacation two months ago—and flings it at my head. Frisbee style. Lucky for me, she’s got bad aim. The shelf behind me? Not so lucky.
“Why is it that whenever a woman is justifiably upset, the guy always blames it on PMS?”
Please. I’ve been on the receiving end of Alexandra’s premenstrual-induced psychosis often enough to recognize the signs.
“Oh, I don’t know…could it be because it usually is the reason?”
That’s when Kate starts to pummel me.
With both fists.
Like a kindergartener going to the mat over his favorite color crayon.
Somewhere in between the second and the fifth punch, my dick peeks out from where he’s been hiding since the beer bath to reevaluate the situation. To see if there’s any way to turn this sorry state of affairs into something…a little more to his liking.
He thinks there is. And so I grab Kate’s wrists and back her up against the wall, holding her hands over her head.
Restrained—such a nice look for her.
Her chin is high, and her eyes are blazing. “I so don’t like you right now!”
I smirk. “I’m sensing that.”
She twists and pulls but can’t get free. Like some beautiful, exotic fish caught in a net.
“You’re an insensitive prick.”
I lean in, pressing the lower half of our bodies together. “I resent that. My prick happens to be extremely sensitive. Wanna see?”
Kate catches on to what’s coming and opens her mouth to protest. Which works well for me. I swoop in and cover her lips with mine. She tries to turn her head away, but I grab her chin and hold it tight. Which allows her to take one newly freed hand and bury it in my hair.
Before yanking with all of her motherfucking might.
I lift my mouth from hers. “Feisty. I appreciate you trying to make things more interesting, but it’s really not necessary.”
And then I’m at her neck, nipping and sucking, working my way down to her cleavage. Kate slaps at my shoulder, but there’s no real effort behind it. Which means I’m wearing her down.
“I’m still mad at you.”
“I’m sure you are.”
I rest my nose against her skin, inhaling deeply. Then I take one nipple in my mouth—over her dress—and suckle it hard.
See, Kate’s breasts are kind of like start buttons. No matter how tired or moody she may be, a little attention to those bad boys switches things around real quick.
Her head slams back against the wall. And she moans, holding my head in place.
We have ignition.
I grip her knee and hoist it up around my waist, lining us up, and grind against her. And despite my soaked clothes, I can feel how hot she is.
“You’re a bastard.”
I chuckle. “So you’ve said.”
I kiss her again, our tongues tangling in their own sensuous battle. Then I slide my hand between us, down her panties. She’s slick and smooth. Velvet wetness. When I push two fingers inside her, her voice changes. It’s all breathy and moaning—not a trace of pissed-offness to be heard.
And then she’s pulling me against her and kissing me back with all she’s got. Telling me without words what I’ve known all along: horny and angry are a fabulous combination.
I push my shorts down and drag both of her legs up around me. Pressing her into the wall.
But just as I’m about to slide into home, Kate puts her palm against my forehead and pushes it back.
What? Wait? I hate waiting.
Even though she’s panting, her eyes are round and dark with…worry.
“We have to talk about this. We can’t just cover all our problems with sex. I have some valid issues here, and if this is going to work, we need to figure this out.”
I press my forehead to hers. Thinking. Or trying to, anyway.
With my cock so close to Mecca, it’s difficult to remember my own name at the moment.
And then it all becomes clear. And I look at Kate’s face. “So, in a nutshell…you want me to stop being a dickhead?”
She mulls it over. And then she nods.
“Yeah. Pretty much.”
I nod too. “Got it. That’s really all you needed to say, baby.”
And then those lips that I love break into a big happy bang-me-up-against-the-wall smile. “Okay, then.” She scrapes my bottom lip between her teeth before moving down my jaw and nibbling my neck.
Then she whispers, “You’re going to miss the game.”
I shred her underwear and get what’s left of her dress out of my way.
“Fuck the game.” That’s why God gave us DVR, right?
She giggles wickedly. And looks me straight in the eyes.
“I’d rather you fuck me.”
Have I mentioned how much I absolutely adore this woman?
I lean back just long enough to rip my sopping shirt over my head. “God, I love you.”
Kate giggles again. And in her best Han Solo impression, tells me, “I know.”
Okay, ladies—what have we learned from this example? Keep it simple. Be broad but don’t bog us down with specifics. It’ll only confuse us.
You’re an asshole.
You’re a slob.
Stop being that way.
Any of the above should work just fine.
As for Kate and me? We had our first living-together-in-sin fight. A milestone. Go us. Overall, I think it went pretty well. In fact, if all of our arguments end like this? I won’t complain at all.
No. Wait. I take that back.
If all of our arguments end like this?
I plan on complaining a whole hell of a lot.