After years of me begging a colleague to also teach AP English, he finally said yes; by which I mean our principal asked him once and he agreed. This week, we met a few times to collaborate on projects and discuss goals for next year. My excitement about working with another teacher on AP for the first time in seven years kindled an unexpected jealousy in my mate.
Odie is not a jealous man. He is either realistic about the chances of a 42-year-old woman with two small children trading up in Los Angeles, or he just trusts me. Even if the latter were untrue, he could take great comfort in the former.
There must have been something in my tone when I declared it “amazing” to “finally have a partner in AP English.” Something a bit too rapturous in my excitement tripped Odie’s insecurity sensors. He said something about Alexie Vera being “a handsome man” and muttered something about a forced-to-go-gay scenario and where Alexie would end up in the rankings (very high, as it turns out – though I have serious doubts since I see them both as power bottoms). I was making dinner for the kids and only half listening, so I said something like, “Sure, I guess so.”
Okay, what I actually said was, “No shit.”
That was apparently the wrong thing to say.
And yet, oh, so right.
Since Wednesday, when Mr. Vera and I met for an hour to discuss an upcoming project, Odie has been peppering his conversation with such gems as, “I know I’m no Senor Perfecto, but can you grab me a Dr. Pepper while you’re up?” and turned “Collaborating with Mr. Vera” into code for adulterous shenanigans.
It led us to a philosophical conversation about the role of jealousy in our marriage. He’s never expressed an iota of jealousy toward me, not a single drop – something that has hurt my feelings just a little bit in the past. What is that about? I have all the proof in the world that Odie loves me. He married me, had two children with me, treats me lovingly, does laundry, puts up with my bullshit. He tells me he loves me every day. He takes point with the girls since I have so much more take-home work than he. He grab-asses me all over the house all the time. I have insecurities, though. Some are the same ones I’ve always had, others are new. I have a birthday coming up, and with every passing year I feel more invisible as I disappear into the high waistband of my Mom Jeans.
When Odie says, “I trust you,” I don’t know if he means “I trust you,” or “I trust you are undesirable to others.”
On the flip side, my jealousy makes him angry. It says “I don’t trust you,” which means “You are a liar, a cheater, and a scumbag.” He claims to have a “former life” in which he was all three, and he gets self-esteem and fulfillment from the fact that he has been a devoted and faithful partner to me. I can’t even playfully tell him that I’m coming home early, so tell his girlfriend to leave.
“I know you’d never have a girlfriend over while I’m at work, honey,” I assure him. He wouldn’t either. Our house is a disaster.
Today I complimented him on his new haircut.
“I know I’m no Mr. Vera,” he smirked, “but I’m not bad-looking for my age.”
“This is just too fun,” I said. And it is. Immature and petty it may be, yet I relish Odie thinking of my head being turned by another man. It’s novel since he’s never ever ever considered it before. (But has he ever considered it before? He has not.) My inner Oscar-clutching-Sally-Field crying “You like me! You really like me!” is gratified to the roots of her eighties perm.
No doubt someone will snidely say it’s a sign of his own wandering eye and not admiration for me that makes him project insecurity. Thanks a lot, you killjoy bastard. I know that my husband looks at other women. I’m fine with it. Monogamy is a fucking tragedy, but we make it work because the benefits outweigh the sacrifices. We talked about how I would much rather have a husband who doesn’t fear losing me than a possessive, accusatory, suspicious one. Jealousy isn’t a sign of love. It’s a sign that your wife is still hot.
“Jealousy isn’t a sign of love. It’s a sign that your wife is still hot.” Ha ha, I love this!
Jealousy hasn’t played a huge part in our marriage … except for a period of time after Michael had cancer and went into a pretty profound depression and was suddenly suffocatingly jealous. That was hard. We can, fortunately, laugh about it now.
He has the hots for some weather girl – what’s her name again? I can’t remember, but I know he turns on the news specifically to watch her. Evelyn – that’s it, I think. I laugh about it. I can, because she only lives inside the TV. I don’t know how I would feel or react if he admitted attraction to someone in real life. He used to work with this female attorney who really was gorgeous. Maddeningly so. He always claimed that she was just “okay.” I knew he was full of shit. But whatever. It pissed me off that she was so hot, but I didn’t lose sleep over it.
Just yesterday I copped to him that I used to think a certain Little League dad that he coached with was cute. He took it in stride. I’m glad.
I wonder what he might have to say about this whole topic.
Interesting. I could comment on a lot, but I’ll limit it to this: “I trust you” could mean he just trusts you, but I also think it’s a self-affirming statement, or said to convince the speaker that it’s true. That somehow if I say it, then I do, in fact, trust you, or more accurately that “I will” trust you. The other way I think it’s used is as a pre-emptive guilt strike: “I trust you” with the unspoken part being “so don’t fuck me over.” On the other hand, since your husband’s going through a mid-life crisis, “I trust you” could mean, “so feel free to give me a reason to go out and buy a motorcycle.”
I would also like to say that if my wife reads this, she may not use any of the above against me.
Sort of like Queen Elizabeth I saying, “I have always so behaved myself that, under God, I have placed my chiefest strength and safe guard in the loyal hearts and good will of my subjects,” even though she knew at least half of them would slit her throat and put Mary Queen of Scots on the throne.
EXACTLY like QE the first. She is exactly of hooooooommmmmm I was thinking. How’s the midlife crises thing going? Has it gone from cute to pathetic yet? It kind of wound up there for me. But I’m all better now, back to embarrassing my kids and everything.
His or mine?
You can tell Odie that I’ve always thought he was way hotter than Mr. Vera. Jealous?
Hahaha! Me too (or at least, that’s my story).
There’s something satisfyingly erotic about other women finding my husband hot. That’s a whole other post.
From one Lang teacher to another: You are the most rhetorically interesting blogger I read.
And to think it was that idiot KH that led me to your wit and wisdom. The irony.
Sometimes, I read here and our similarities are staggering. Thank you for being as real as an anonymous persona can be. Your posts on anxiety got me through a very tough time. Your perspective on students have me shouting, “Hell, yeah!” as I reply to point whore emails and weep over “pathos” used as a verb.
You make me feel less alone in the world. Thank you for that.
I keep reading this comment over and over and squee-ing over it. It’s literally my favorite comment ever. And I never use ¨literally¨ when I mean ¨figuratively.¨ Bet on it. Thank you so much!
I literally “squeed” myself when I saw that you replied! (No comma because my “squee” was accompanied by a teensy bit of bladder loss; that’s what carrying a human on your bladder will do to you. I have a feeling that you will understand that as well.)
Empathy. It’s a beautiful thing. Also? I don’t use “literally” lightly either. So now you know that my 43 year old self is two sneezes away from peddling Depends. You are welcome for the TMI.
This was our last week of school and I’m exhausted. I have a propensity for workshops, so I’m enrolled in a few, including a College Board APSI for a new course we are offering. My husband thinks I’m nuts. Did I mention that he teaches MATH? Yes. We have a mixed marriage.
I’m glad that I could make you smile, as you have provided me with many cheek aching grins (take note, KH; that’s how you do descriptive language, Dear). I check here often for new posts. You feed my AP-wearied, Pinterest-failing soul.