Pavlov Don’t Live Here Anymore!

Photo Source: Spalding Grammar School

Wow! I can remember the feeling like it was yesterday. I was married and I could indulge in the more *ahem* primal perks of relationship with my beautiful gal without the guilt of violating my morals (albeit, loosely held at that time in my life). One of the things I loved most about my bride during this, the “honeymoon” phase was how meticulously feminine she was when it came to shower gels and lotions and keeping her skin soft. My wife was huge into a store called “Bath and Body Works” and regularly made pilgrimages to pick up scents and potions. I have to admit, I didn’t care if she spent billions in that place because SHE. SMELLED. GREAT! Matter of fact, to this day, 15 years later, I don’t think that I’ve ever caught any malodorous emanations wafting from my well scented sweetheart.

Over the years, after seeing my love exit the shower, go through her full body moisturizing ritual and imbibing the sweet scent of her beauty potions, I became a living study in Pavlovian conditioning! As any man who, hopefully, finds his wife attractive would be, I was excited by the vision of my beauty exiting the shower, then proceeding to moisturize… and obviously, there were many times those exits lead to some “quality time” (which is always hard to come by with three children), and so it went that eventually I didn’t even need to see her anymore to experience that level of “excitement.” If I went for a morning run and came home and the scent of her post shower ritual filled the room, a wave of excitement would come over me as my mind replayed the film. The ritual.

And it was good. Unfortunately though, good things often don’t last and the Pavlovian conditioning which filled my daydreams with visions of a freshly showered cutie would soon require some “re” or should I say, “de-conditioning.”

Fast forward fifteen years: one morning after sleeping in, I rise and I’m greeted by that sweet scent of Bath and Body Works awesomeness. It’s coming from down the hall… any second, the Mrs. will round the corner. My mind was already racing, moved to action by the smell and BAM!!! IT’S MY DAUGHTER! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! Record scratches, the music in my head stops, I get sick in the pit of my stomach. Damn maaaan! That wasn’t supposed to happen. I was not happy. I’d become so accustomed to that and now I had a rude awakening. My baby girl is growing up now and has taken upon herself the mantle of the loyal Bath and Body Works patron like her mom, my wife. But, but, I don’t wanna except this! “She needs to get her lotions and potions elsewhere” I whined to myself like a big spoiled baby. I mean, come on! My kids are all pre-teens now and long gone are those toddling days when I could count on me and my wife’s nocturnal activities being interrupted by a child with near perfect timing. This is the stage where we’re supposed to be getting back to at least some of our intimate enjoyment of each other with a little less interruption right? Wrong! So, what’s a dad to do?

What can be conditioned, can also be “unconditioned” and that was the task set before me. I could no longer allow my mind to wander at the intoxicating scent of my wife fresh from the shower, or fresh from her post bathing moisturizing regimen. Fortunately it wasn’t too terrible a transition, but it still sucked. I enjoyed those moments when my mind wandered. Sometimes, my wife being the morning person and I the night owl, I would lay in bed as she emerged fresh from her morning shower and just allow my senses to be bathed by the post shower ritual, even though I was half awake, but no more.

Funny thing is, I recently told my wife about this whole epiphany and she fell out laughing. She found it hilarious! It was then I told her that that is also the reason I’m adamant about the underthings she buys my daughter. I like Victoria’s secret. I like Victoria’s Secret on my wife. I have no desire to be in the middle of washing clothes and comment to her about some sexy new under garment I saw in the wash and how I can’t wait to see it on her, only to have her tell me it was our daughter’s *shudder*

She also found that quite hilarious.

About Tshaka Armstrong

Tshaka Armstrong is the husband to one awesome wife, dad to three awesome children. On any given day you may find him posting internet & tech family safety info here and on his personal blog, or chatting with his tweeps when he's not dadvocating here. Join in the conversation, drop a line, share a joke and join him in encouraging each other to be awesome!