Sunday, April 1, 2012

An April Fool Over The Boy With The Bread

The Hunger Games Promo Photo
This thing that has been bothering me since I saw The Hunger Games came to a head this afternoon.  It is real but also petty and stupid and embarrassing.  Backstory:  It's no secret that my husband has never been "my type" in terms of looks.  He and I have always known that.  If I were to ogle, targets would be tallish, not overly-hairy guys with straight hair, either very fit or thin and bookish.  Neck distinct from head.  Freckles would be ideal, I love freckles.  And, up until now, always brunette.  So here's the thing, I have never had a crush on a movie star or musician, not even when I was a teen.  I'd actually always been a bit proud of this and my practicality.  Then I saw the trailer for The Hunger Games which made me want to read the books and I was so moved by the character of Peeta in the books.  Then I saw movie and thought Josh Hutcherson was amazingly well cast in it.  He looked almost exactly as I imagined Peeta to look.  In the story his character is this ideal person who would never really exist.  Even the heroine is told she could live a hundred lifetimes and never deserve him.  I was just struck by how beautiful this guy is in this role.  His face is a strange combination of  a very pronounced jawline with still very boyish features.  Yeah, so huge crush.  Very embarrassing for a married girl.

Understand that my husband has always known that I did not find him physically attractive until after I fell in love with him.  I mean it's not like he was repellent or anything but we were very good friends and he wasn't my type and I just didn't see him that way.  Honestly, he was one of the girls and hung out with my roommate and me quite a bit freshman and sophomore year in college.  He used to sleep on our floor because his roommate, whom my roommate thought was cute, would stay up 'till all hours with girls and playing video games.  My husband would come sleep on our floor and tuck us in at night.  In this way we're actually a lot like the protagonists in the movie.  He loved me first.  I took convincing and still have always had concerns about our chemistry and my feelings for a lot of different reasons.  But we did get married have been a couple for like 20 years now.  And I'm no dreamboat.  I have no standing to wish him to change in any way, especially physically.  We've both gained weight, and, like his father, my husband has carried his in his face and around his neck, losing his never-pronounced jawline.  But I so love that little space just under the crook of a man's jawline, where it starts by his ears.  I've never been happy about the prospect of losing that.  Actually, a running joke of ours was my threat that if he lost his chin (his father's neck goes from chest to lips)  I would divorce him.

Anyway, I am in the shower, being forced to face life after being allowed to hide from it all morning and early afternoon enclosed in the safety of my bed and unconsciousness.  I am confronted with my own body with its drooping breasts, belly roll, and dimpled backside.  I hate it.  I realize I've lived half my life and this scares me.  Then I am so ashamed of my crush and wishing that my husband looked anything like this movie star that I honestly feel I didn't deserve to live.  What kind of person has these kinds of thoughts when I have no complaints about our relationship, which is what is supposed to be all-important?  How could I be this shallow?  How could I feel this bereft about something so trivial?  I feel like my chest is imploding.  I don't want to be this person.  But I mourn the likelihood that will never experience being part of a couple that includes a man who makes my knees weak with one glance.  This is such a horrifically hurtful thought that I can never say it aloud.  And although our relationship has never been that way, my guilt consumes me.  I am so shallow, so terrible.  I don't deserve my husband, kids, life, nothing.  I want to die.  I want to lie down in the tub and be done, never having revealed what a horrible person I am.  I contract into a ball on the floor of the shower and let the water rain down.  My forehead rests on the textured, molded plastic floor of the tub.  My nose is under water and my mouth open, drawing ragged breaths.  Hot tears of shame mingle with the shower water and drool from my silently screaming mouth.  I am in agony.  I don't deserve to live but can't die because I can't leave my children.  I am trapped.

Eventually I have to leave the shower.  My dear husband comes up to check on me.  He wants to know if I need to talk.  He sends the kids down to the basement to watch How It's Made.  I keep telling myself to shut up.  Not every truth needs to be told.  I'm sure there are thoughts he's had that he keeps to himself and that I don't really want to know about.  But I can't keep anything from him.  This is actually a running joke of ours as he can't keep anything from me either, not even nice surprises like birthday presents.  Once he was at a conference in CA and some woman came up to him and propositioned him.  After declining, he promptly went to his room and called me to exclaim his disbelief at what just happened!  We've laughed about that for years.

So I spilled it.  I told him everything and sobbed against his shoulder.  He laughed at me.  Then he forgave me and told me it was human.  He said it didn't hurt him, but I can't really imagine how this is so except that I was always honest about the subject.  But I had gotten over it—I loved him.  It didn't matter.  And then all of a sudden with this movie and turning 40 and obsessing over the trilogy and its characters, my wish for the ideal reared its ugly head and swallowed me, leaving only my wretched shame in its wake.

Part of me was observing and could see how crazy and myopic this all was.  It looked on and rolled its eyes and could not believe how ridiculously over-dramatic I was being.  Besides, like anyone like me would ever rate a 2nd look from anyone that beautiful anyway.  The point is moot.  And this actor is not the character.  The character is FICTIONAL.  Pleeeeease!  Could you just get over yourself?  But this had never happened to me before.  I had never been infatuated with a specific unattainable ideal.  I didn't know how to handle it.  It tore me apart.

I never wanted to tell him, had promised myself I would live with it.  But, being as selfish as I am, I did what would make me feel better, not what was best for the other person and it came pouring out.  He says I can leave him, but if I want him around he will be here, that he has no intention of going anywhere.  What a Peeta-like thing to say.

I could live a hundred lifetimes and never deserve him.


  1. There is an episode of "That 70's Show" where Kitty gets all giggly over Luke Wilson's character. He's charming and handsome and young enough to be her son, but she gets all school-girl-crush-giggly over him.
    The same thing happened to me, not over a fictional character, but over a real man that came into my life. He was beautiful and charming and had a voice to make a girl swoon and when I was introduced he shook my hand and a dimple appeared in his cheek. And it took all I was worth to swallow the hysterical giggle rising in my throat.
    I confessed to my husband immediately.
    I confessed to my girlfriends ASAP.
    I made damn sure opportunity NEVER presented itself.
    Temptation isn't a sin, it's human.
    Oh, and I directed all that "infatuation energy" into making love to my husband. He didn't seem to mind a bit.

    p.s. Try watching a Will Ferrell movie called "Kicking and Screaming" might help you move past your crush. ;)