A young friend of mine recently met the man of her dreams. In the whirlwind courtship that followed, they quickly got round to the conversational games that lovers play.  And so it was that Mr. Right asked Miss Right; “How many men have you slept with? The sensible girl immediately reversed the question, to which ‘he answered ‘13’. She then replied with a circumspect ‘10’.

“How many is it really?” I asked excitedly. `Somewhere between a hundred and a hundred and ten’, she said, not batting.an eye lid.  “So why did she say 10?” ` I just thought that whatever he said, mine should be less’. How brutally honest can you get? 100 to 110 guys in how many years?!

This little story got me thinking what most latter day emotional, Shylock Holmes, think they are letting themselves in for when they seem bent on digging into past histories of their new lovers! It is a really funny question when you are faced with that kind of a quandary.

“As a regular rule,” continued our woman-of-the world, “a woman would do well to gauge her answer from a man’s. But what happens if he says 400? Would a response of 308 show a charmingly coy sexual reticence or elicit an indignant ‘you’re not the mother of my future children” from her shocked partner?

“One thing you should avoid saying is that you can’t remember because that could reflect badly on you. I can’t remember? That many, is it? She continues: “As a rule, men, automatically double the real figure and women automatically half it. Factual information backs up the theory. There are lies, damn lies and statistics and then there are sexual statistics which must be special kind of double lie. ‘Whatever lies you tell, you need to get your head above the proverbial troubled waters!

“How many people you sleep with is a private matter. How many people you admit to having slept with is a social matter and, therefore, a question of manners. What you tell your friend is different from what you tell your lovers. People want to feel special, not as though they are part of a sprawling number game. A white lie isn’t necessarily a wicked deceit, but could be simple courtesy. Why tread on someone’s dreams when you can just as easily not?”

Good common sense, that is, if you ask me. Only it is amazing, how many good relationships are put in jeopardy in the male partners’ quest to find out how promiscuous their female partners are. Are they as promiscuous as ‘friends’ say they are? At one of our ‘old-students’ renewals recently, we reverted to nostalgia, asking about old boyfriends. One of us looked particularly – sad and it expired that after her studies, she became pregnant and planned excitedly for a wedding with the love of her life. She was more than bewildered when the boy practically disappeared from the face of the earth.

He surfaced again years later to discover that she’s not only had the child but got married to one of his friends. You guessed it! The friend who warned him that she was no wife material as she’d practically slept with most of their friends. “Sex”, continues our ‘expert’ “is the final frontier when it comes to lies and hypocrisy and that’s why the word ‘promiscuous’ was invented. It is a pointed finger of a word and it only ever refers to other people but us.

Come to think of it, when in your sober moments, you try to count the number of ‘lovers’ you’ve slept with, who really counts? The ones you had to struggle with and give in just to get them off your back? Or the ones you really like and you pray fervently for him to have more staying-power in the bedroom that never comes? Or the ones that go on and on that you pray for the punishment

to be over soon! Believe it or not, when you get to a certain age, you even lose count!

Years ago, when diplomacy was a strong word in my dictionary, a guy I was crazy about recounted his escapades with the various women he’d slept with and told me arrogantly he thought he should be honest with me in case some of his miffed ex-lovers want to embarrass me, seeing he was now mad about me. I scoffed inwardly at his conceit. Calmly, I told him a few of the lovers I’d had ‘meaningful’ relationships with and mentioned a few names for good measure. Names with muscles that would make his look puny!

“You mean they all meant that much to you?” he wanted to know. I nodded. “Like you feel the same way about me now?” Again, I nodded. “You’ve said all these erotic things you say to me from time to time during love-making to them?” I squirmed. I didn’t ask for the blow-by-blow account of his escapades, so why the third degree? A few weeks later, one of the “lovers 1 mentioned with whom I’d remained very good friends paid me a visit. We were on the front porch, nattering over refreshments when lover boy showed up unexpectedly – he’d been doing that a lot since we had our ‘true confession’. His face was like thunder.

As I made to introduce my guest, he flared up. “I know who he is,” he yelled. Turning to the poor man he asked: “What are you doing here, you good-for- nothing moneybag. Agbaya. Why don’t you run along to your wife!” He was a no-nonsense man and before I knew it, they were both having a shouting match. Enraged, I asked my boyfriend to leave if he was going to be violent. He went for my throat!

So, ladies, don’t be fooled by all these men telling you they need to wipe the slate clean by knowing all about your past. Tell your man what he wants to know – remembering this would be one of the occasions when white lies are allowed, otherwise, what you say honestly might be used against you in future!




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