I can't remember a time when I didn't like boys. When I was in kindergarten, I had five “boyfriends.” I didn't know what I was supposed to do with them; I just wanted them. I don’t even remember their names. I just remember the number. Five. I had five boyfriends.
I was extremely proud of this fact.
My mom found a diary entry from this time period and read it over the phone to me. It went something like this:
“I have five boys but Lee is my favorite to smack.”
By “smack” I meant “kiss,” because I guess I really liked onomatopoeia.
I actually don’t know how she found this entry, because I remember obsessively ripping pages out of my diaries and depositing them directly in the city trash bins, because I have younger sisters.
I do remember Lee (whose name I am not changing, because why), a little blonde boy who I would sometimes smack (on the lips, no less). I just tried to snoop him on Facebook, but all his shit is private and I’m not going to add him just in time to have this published.
My point is that I have always really liked the males. I don’t really have a “type” except “taller than me” (which I guess makes me a bitch, but, OH, WELL) and I find a variety of people attractive. A friend once accused me of thinking “everyone was hot.”
Like that’s a bad thing.
Which is why when I saw this on Reddit I was perplexed:
Perhaps I am different in that whenever I develop feelings for someone, my attraction to anyone else completely does [sic]. I can objectively see that someone has good looking features, but I can not for the life of me become attracted to anyone but the one I love, and can't even force the word attractive out, even as a description for anyone else. My partner has my full attention at all times.
I mean, I have a friend who is kind of like this. She doesn't develop crushes on anyone outside of her relationship and I don’t think she’s attracted to anyone but her boyfriend.
I can respect this obviously, but what makes Reddit user Puddlejumper different is the belief that she feels that because her partner finds someone else attractive, they are actively comparing her to other women and always looking for an upgrade.
It just sounds so exhausting to think that way.
I am attracted to people outside of my relationship. I don’t feel bad about it because I can’t help it. My husband is also attracted to people outside of this marital unit and I am more than OK with that. We keep it from being weird by being honest about it. We don’t describe every single inappropriate thought we have about another (unless requested) but I know his crushes and he knows mine and it works for us.
It’s completely unreasonable to ask your partner to police their thoughts, but it’s reasonable to expect them not to act on them. A marriage is made up of agreements and these agreements seem to vary from relationship to relationship, but one of my and Sean’s agreements is that we don’t hide our stupid little crushes from each other, because hiding it is what seems to give it power.
I met my husband when I was 19, and had slept with exactly one other person exactly one time. Do I occasionally wonder what it would have been like to sleep around a little more? Yes. Do I occasionally wonder what another dude would be like in bed? Yes.
Do I want to, IN REAL LIFE, sleep with someone who is not Sean?
And he doesn’t either.
Since the Puddlejumper’s original worry was that men “always be lookin,’” I asked Sean (a man) for his views on the matter. He had two main points:
- When he does find another woman attractive, it is never a comparison thing. There is no attractiveness calculus problem that he solves real quick to see if it’s time to trade me in.
- “The world is a better place when you find people attractive.”
I find that to be very true.
By “attractive,” I don’t mean strictly “physically attractive.” Sense of humor is very attractive to me. Intelligence is attractive to me. If Chuck Klosterman and I weren't both in committed relationships, I would have totally tried to bone him when he spoke at my school.
But he is and I am, so I didn’t. But I still enjoy the thought that maybe Chuck thought I was cute and perhaps a little charming. Though in reality, he probably thought I was a huge dweeb because I have never been more star-struck in my life.
And that is the crux of what I’m getting at here. Chemistry and attraction are not something I have control over; acting on those factors is. I chose to spend the rest of my life with my husband, and in doing so agreed to not sexually pursue other people. He trusts that I will uphold this agreement, and I trust he will as well. Neither of us has ever given the other anything to worry about in this regard, so why worry about it?
I am an extremely anxious person. I have enough to worry about without creating new anxieties that aren't based on anything tangible.
Puddlejumper worries that any attraction could be the beginning of a new relationship, and while that may be true, it’s pointless to worry about something no one has any control over. Wanting to fuck someone does not mean you will fuck them. It is not something that happens by accident. There are definite steps that have to be taken.
I hate to reference High Fidelity again (no, I don't), but there is a really great moment when Rob gets caught making a mix tape for that female journalist and says:
So what am I gonna do now, just keep jumping from rock to rock for the rest of my life until there aren't any rocks left? Should I bolt every time I get that feeling in my gut when I meet someone new? I've been thinking with my gut since I was 14 years old, and frankly speaking, I've come to the conclusion the my guts have shit for brains.
There are plenty of attractive rocks out there, rocks that look super appealing and that are funny and have a real attractive amount of moss on them (a little beard analogy for you), but I love the rock I’m on. This rock has worked out really well for the last seven years and there’s no reason to jump to another one.