“He’s Attractive,” I Said to My Husband

When NOT to say you find someone else attractive?

When a non-chain opens up in a small town, it’s usually big news. So when such a non-chain craft brewery with cool lighting and sexy low-slung banquettes opened mere minutes from our house, on a sleepy street otherwise full of offices and banks, my hubby and I were ecstatic. We quickly became regulars.

It just so happens that the owner of this too-cool-for-the-suburbs bar is a good looking guy. And I mean really good-looking. I first noticed it when the hubby and I met my parents at the bar for drinks one evening. My mom kept jerking her head in an awkward way at the owner and mouthing “He’d be cute for your sister, wouldn’t he?” That’s when I saw him the first time and realized, yeah, he’d be good for my sister because he’s really, really good looking.

I must have gawked a little too long because when I tore my eyes from Hot Bar Owner, hubby was looking at me, eyebrows raised. “Seriously, babe?” he said. “Could you be anymore obvious?”

“Well, what do you want me to say, he’s hot! Right, Mom?” But she was already lost in thought, probably already planning my sister and Hot Bar Owner’s wedding. And I found myself continuing to speak and dig myself in deeper: “Like, he’s cute. And he makes beer.”

My mom leaned towards me, keeping one eye on him like a hawk. “He used to live in Australia,” she said.

Well of course he did. I wasn’t surprised by this point. “Does he have an accent?” I asked. “Because, if he has an accent, too, that’s just … come on.” My mom and I had devolved into teenagers again, flailing over the newest boy band sensation.

“Thanks, babe,” hubby said with sarcasm, looking even a little bit–dare I say–hurt by my fascination.

My friend assured me not to worry after I relayed the story to her. “Just because you’re married now doesn’t mean you can’t find other people attractive.”

Anyone that has a normal, healthy relationship should be able to comment on whether or not they find someone outside of the relationship to be attractive. It’s not like I was going to just leave my husband for some random stranger on the street.

So I thought we were confident in our marriage and we’re not jealous people. Until the weekend we saw a Victoria’s Secret model in the bedding department at Bloomingdale’s in New York.

She was impossible to miss — 6 feet tall, clad in black leggings and a Moncler black jacket, no makeup, and ridiculously, impossibly thin. I noticed her first.

“Babe, I think that’s a model,” I said as I tugged at his coat, telling him who I thought it was.

My husband, who’d been in a zombie-like state the entire time, suddenly snapped to life. “I’m on it.” He said this as if he were a cop about to embark on a high-speed car chase. I watched from behind a display of pillowcases as he paraded back and forth, back and forth, trying to determine if it was, in fact, the model I thought it was.

“I couldn’t get a good read,” he whispered to me after she left. We were at this point crouching behind a full bed display. “But I think it was her. I’ll do some research when we get home. It has to be. Did you see those legs?”

I stared at him as he walked away, feeling much, much shorter than my 5’3”, and promising myself that I’d up my workout so that I, too, could be underwear goddess worthy. Then I almost forgot about the whole thing until a few days after that, when my husband presented me with the latest Victoria’s Secret catalog, which he’d dog-eared several pages of with the model in question on them.

I was starting to dislike her a lot.

As he went on and on about her, and how it was definitely the girl we saw based on her freckles, I felt a bang of something that was more than just mere jealously. I thought to myself “I’ll never be her.” And that’s just common sense. All the cardio in the world wasn’t going to make me into exactly like her.

I started to wonder if it was natural to find people other than your spouse attractive, and if it was okay to talk about it at all? When it comes to sharing things with your SO, when is it too much and you need to shut up?

Another friend of mine confessed that that she once screamed excitedly at her husband one night about how hot she found Ryan Gosling to be. But that she probably wouldn’t have done that about a stranger and she probably wouldn’t like her husband pointing out hot women to her face either.

I felt horrible. Had I said too much? Was this how he’d felt that night at the bar?  We talked about it, hubby and me, but didn’t come to much of a conclusion.

So who wins? A point for forthrightness or tact?

Maybe there’s a fine line between being honest or being hurtful and maybe I’d crossed it. From now on, I’ll keep my gawking to myself, or limit it to just people on TV. Maybe I’ll find a new bar for us too.

In the meantime, I’m probably canceling my Victoria’s Secret catalog subscription. -Michelle Frank