Friday, August 2, 1996 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Erik Lacitis

Rex, Debby: Still `Visiting Tukwila' And Liking It A Lot

Seattle Times Staff Columnist

Seven years later I still get asked about Rex and Debby Allen, one of the most innocent couples I've ever met. I state that right off because of the subject matter of today's column.

I also know some of you will ridicule Rex and Debby for their unconventional quest.

But in the frenzied world we live in, in which togetherness for couples is watching the first few minutes of the 11 o'clock news before nodding off to sleep, who do you think is happier?

Every day for the past seven years, Debby, 36, has woken up to find notes such as this from her husband, 44:

"Good morning, sweetheart!

"Thank you for such a great, lovely evening . . . Thank you for making love with me. That was out of this world . . ."

Rex and Debby. Remember them? They are the "visiting Tukwila" couple whose 15 minutes of notoriety keeps being extended. I still get calls from TV talk shows about them. I still get asked about them by somebody I might be interviewing for another story.

"Say," they'll ask, "is that `visiting Tukwila' couple still at it?"

The answer is: You bet.

I did some figuring with my calculator, based on average numbers that Rex, an engineer with the city, dutifully jots down. Just a shade under 1.5 times a day is how often they visit Tukwila, Rex said. All right, let's say it's 1.48. As of yesterday, that adds up to 3,919.04 visits. That would be 10 lifetimes for some. Make it 100.

Let me backtrack a bit, to that first phone call in 1989 from Debby, then a secretary. She had read something I wrote quoting a marketing expert, who said the average American woman had gained 6 pounds in the past year. Stressed out, this average woman was substituting food for sex.

Debby and Rex had been together for a year. "I haven't gained any weight," she said. "But then I'm getting plenty of sex with my husband . . . On New Year's Eve we're hoping to go for 500 times." That was 500 times since April of that year, when they began keeping track.

Rex and Debby are average-looking people who, in all innocence, simply wanted to share their romantic statistics with the world. Both had been married before, with Debby sharing custody of a son. The couple have always been discreet about keeping their endeavors behind closed doors.

When I met them, it wasn't sex they actually talked about, anyway, but the little kindnesses they showed for each other. If Rex was working late, Debby would bring him dinner. If Debby had a tough day at the office, Rex would greet her at home with flowers.

Of course, being Rex and Debby, they showed feelings for each other in some more unusual ways, too. When they have the house to themselves, the first one home from work might will greet the other naked and with a bottle of wine.

Eventually, I decided to write about the couple. Because I felt there was this naivety about their pursuit, I decided to think up a different way of describing it. For some reason, "visiting Tukwila" typed itself on my computer screen.

Some Tukwila city officials took offense, and this made Rex and Debby even more popular. People magazine, talk shows, radio interviews and supermarket tabloid stories about "Sexy Rex" and "Dynamo Debby" were all part of their mini-fame.

They didn't mind being public about their hobby. "There are worse things we could do," Debby said.

Contacting them seven years later, it wouldn't have surprised me if Rex and Debby had joined the rest of America's stressed-out couples.

Yet Rex and Debby persist in visiting Tukwila 1.48 times a day. I'm not sure what happens during the .48 times, but Rex and Debby seem happy enough.

I wish that Rex and Debby could list some super-secret tips.

Their advice, however, boils down to such suggestions as: Take time for the other person. Have a sense of humor. Do something special for your spouse on a regular basis, even if it's a small gesture such as a short note. Set time aside for Tukwila visits and they'll become part of your life again.

For those of you who keep asking, that's the Rex and Debby story.

"Good morning, sweetheart! Thank you for the lovely evening! Thank you for making love with me! It was wonderful.

"I hope you can have a lovely day even though you have to go to work. After that we'll have the whole weekend to ourselves! Yipee! Yahoo!"

Yeah, sure, you're welcome to post today's column on the refrigerator in case you want to remind somebody else in your household about something.

Copyright (c) 1996 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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