love my way
(originally posted 6/27/2014)
Last summer Brad threw himself down a flight of stairs the night before his company’s picnic.
The first time he didn’t break anything so he crawled back up to the top and repeated the act.
All because his wife had put on a few pounds and the new guy in marketing had a smokin’ hot wife.
Every guy reading that will nod their head and completely understand and every woman will suck in a sharp breath and then reread the last few sentences to try and figure out why Brad had taken the plunge.
They know, of course, but they don’t like to admit it to themselves.
Let me make it perfectly clear for anyone who’s pretending not to understand.
When any two males are accompanied by their wives/girlfriends they will both, as if on cue, look them up and down, imagine them naked and one of them will “win.” It doesn’t matter how much money they make, what car they drive or how happy they pretend to be with their lives … they will lock eyes after inspection and one will walk away the winner.
Nobody explained this to Brad when he was in college. His wife had always been a bit thick but they shared so many interests it never occurred to Brad to ask around. She was smart, funny, caring and liked the same movies that Brad did.
Whenever they were together it felt to Brad like everything would be ok. He had a partner who would always stick by him.
So he married her.
And every one of his friends breathed a sigh of relief because the bar had been set low. That wedding dress might have hidden her cankles on their special day but everyone knew they were lurking underneath just the same.
Later he would feel resentment. “They knew all along.”
For the first few years of marriage life was hectic and he was enjoying her company so much that he didn’t even notice. It wasn’t until they bought a little house in the suburbs that he got his first inkling that perhaps he should have looked at a few more models before settling on the first girl that he fell deeply in love with.
It started with a weird feeling after a group of his new neighbors looked over his lawn mower. They were impressed. He had the latest riding number with the bagger and all the fixings and horsepower to spare and they clustered around it and slapped his back and let him know they couldn’t wait for him to whip out his new hedge trimmer.
They said they could only imagine what he was packing in the garage.
Then his wife walked out with a pitcher of lemonade for his new friends. She was wearing an ill-fitting sun dress with her hair in a sloppy ponytail.
As she approached he felt like she was offering up refreshing glasses of tear gas because the crowd-dispersing effects were very similar. It wasn’t quite disdain he felt as much as a creeping feeling that his status had taken a blow.
Brad was rattled. And confused. A confusion that was cleared up a bit the following day when he saw his next door neighbor’s wife. Ten years his junior with abs you could bounce a quarter off of. The neighbor smiled widely when he saw Brad’s eyes linger on her DD breasts.
“Ain’t she a beaut? A real bitch on wheels but the sex is outstanding,” he offered.
He heard the door swing open behind him and it was the first time he could recall wanting nothing more than to turn and see anyone but his wife emerging.
“Yep, it took me three times but I finally got it right,” his neighbor went on. “Had the funbags put in a year before we got married. Dumb as a brick but look at the ass.”
Brad couldn’t quite place what he was feeling. His insides seemed to be in a state of unrest as he processed the new playing field he was competing on.
If he was still unconvinced about what was going on, the company Christmas party put an end to any ambiguity. Seeing all of his co-worker’s spouses decked out, each set of legs longer and more shapely, made him realize that his sales numbers were meaningless. All the overtime, all of the ass-kissing meant nothing. They might as well be staging a beauty pageant because every introduction had him longing to slide up next to the guy from accounting with the short lumpy wife with crooked teeth for a brief respite. He desperately needed to put one in the win column.
The following Wednesday during the corporate basketball league game none of his teammates would even pass him the ball. He ran up and down the court cursing his wife’s cankles and cellulite and the grey hairs that she refused to dye.
She became less funny. Her choice of TV shows began to become insufferable. They stopped holding hands.
By the time the company picnic appeared on the horizon his attempts at suggesting health clubs and workout videos weren’t going to change a thing.
Then came the new guy at work. A real hard-charger. Word was that his wife was a piece of ass.
“I didn’t know!” he screamed to the stars above him one night in his backyard. “Nobody told me the fucking rules.”
He cradled his head in his hands. How could happiness have blinded him so?
He looked up his new co-worker on a social media site and almost fell off the chair when he caught a glimpse of his better half. Better and then some. Blonde hair. Perfect smile. Perfect everything.
He casually asked his wife what she planned to wear to the picnic. She replied that she hadn’t thought about it. “Shorts and t-shirt I suppose,” she finally came up with.
He ran through a mental image of her in every pair of shorts she owned. He imaged her leaning over to collect a stray frisbee. He pictured standing next to the new guy from marketing. Seeing his eyes scream “I win.”
It was either him or his wife. One of them had to take the trip down the stairs. One of them had to take the fall.
It was him. Despite himself, he still loved the wildebeest.
A month later, after he was finally released, he heard that the new guy from marketing’s wife had left him for her yoga instructor.
Brad felt something inside him loosen a bit. He’d had a lot of time to think things through lying there alone in his hospital bed…
The new guy from marketing was rumored to be dating an even younger, hotter girl now.
Brad wondered how he could have ever been satisfied…