by Risa Green
When it comes to men, I am not, by nature, a jealous person. Ten years ago, when all of our friends were getting married and my husband was running off to Vegas every other weekend for a bachelor party, I didn’t freak out at the thought of him going to a strip club, or balk at the idea of a “private show” for twenty guys in a hotel room. And back when we were still dating and living in different cities, I didn’t care if he had dinner with an ex-girlfriend, or if he went to a movie with an attractive female friend of his from high school. Part of this, I think, is that I trust my husband; but the bigger part of it is that I have always been confident that he won’t find anyone better than me. I don’t mean to sound obnoxious or anything, but I think I’m a pretty good catch. I’m smart and nice and I can be funny sometimes, and I have common sense and good values, and oh yeah – I’m pretty. Not that I’m like, a supermodel or anything, but you know, relatively speaking, I’ve always looked okay.
But that was ten years ago. Now, suddenly, at thirty-seven – as the skin under my eyes is getting crepe-y, as my metabolism has begun to slow, as the years of stressing and laughing have permanently etched themselves into my furrowed brow and my nasal-labial folds – now, suddenly, that confidence is beginning to wane. Plus, it doesn’t help that everywhere I turn, men who have cheated on their wives is the main topic of conversation, much like which preschool you were applying to was the discussion du jour five years ago, and which wedding planner you were using was the one five years before that. It’s as if I’ve entered a stage of life that nobody really talks about, but yet seems to happen as normally as getting married, or hitting menopause. This one’s husband did it with a colleague, this one did it with his secretary, this one with an ex-girlfriend, this one with his wife’s best friend of thirty years. And jeez – look at Jon Gosselin! He did it with the daughter of the plastic surgeon who did his wife’s tummy tuck!
A friend of mine is a divorce lawyer, and when I mentioned to her recently that I’m starting to notice a trend, she laughed and said that we’re getting to that age, when people start turning forty and/or their kids are going into second or third grade, because that’s typically when it happens. I swear, you could have wiped my jaw up off of the floor. I mean, really??? Is it that predictable? Sadly, it seems that it is.
The direct result of this, unfortunately, is that lately I’ve begun thinking about my husband – and myself – differently. Suddenly, I don’t feel like such a great catch anymore, what with the wrinkles and the C-section scar and the hi-I’m-pushing-forty upper arm fat. Suddenly, if my husband has lunch with a female colleague or if he hires a female employee, I want to know what she looks like, is she hot, and, most importantly, how old is she? If he goes to a bachelor party, I make him promise me that he won’t get lap dances from anyone who appears to be under the age of forty-five (obviously, he crosses his fingers behind his back when making such promises). And lunch with an ex-girlfriend? Don’t even think about it.
My husband, for his part, looks at me like I’m crazy, and reminds me that we have a great marriage. That we’re the best of friends. That we love each other immensely. That he thinks I look the same as I did when we were college seniors (obviously, another finger-crossing event). That I have absolutely no reason to think that he is or ever would be cheating on me. And of course, he’s right. I know he’s right. But still, I can’t help it. I can’t compete with twenty five year olds anymore, and so, suddenly, I have turned into a jealous, insecure, lunatic, and I hate it. I hate it because it’s really not who I am, and it’s not who I want to be. And I hate it even more because I know that as the years go by and as I continue my downward spiral into old-ladyville, it’s only going to get worse.
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