I would appreciate it if people would tell me that my husband is hot

The owner of the tiny Vietnamese restaurant was very friendly. She spoke halting, heavily accented English that seemed not to slow her down at all.

“You spouse?” she asked us. It took me a second to catch what she’d said.

“Yes,” we said, together, “We’re married.”

She nodded emphatically, then gestured up and down Bear’s torso and squeezed his shoulder. “He very good looking. You lucky woman.”

“I agree!” I said.

Bear seemed uncertain how to react. “Well, she’s a beautiful woman,” he said, gesturing at me.

The restaurant owner looked at me. “Uh huh,” she said, willingly enough, but not as enthusiastic.

(source)

Later, she worried over him not eating his noodles and wanted to know why such a good looking man was trying to diet. I mentioned that he has diabetes, and she was suddenly sorrowful. Her father had gotten it at seventy-five, she told us. It was very hard for him.

“I’m sorry,” she told Bear. “Very sorry.”

“It’s not your fault,” he said. “I promise.”

She laughed.

The food was good. I found myself automatically hoping that this little, outgoing woman with the round glasses and quick smile was having an awesome life. The truth is, not a huge amount of women have told me that my husband is good looking.

And it sort of bothers me.

 

When I met Bear, I immediately loved the way he looked. Big and burly, with a boyish, sweet face that seemed like it couldn’t keep a secret. I knew that he wasn’t a movie star. I knew that he was better.

Some of my most ecstatic moments have involved me looking at his face. And I mean just looking at his face. On the way home from Utah on our fourth date, on a redeye flight, he fell asleep, and I stared at his profile for a long time. And then I actually wrote a poem about it. As though, when you fall in love, no matter what, you’re gonna have to write some poetry. (So be ready for that, if you haven’t fallen madly in love yet. It will be gross. It will occasionally rhyme.)

I know that Bear wouldn’t be cast as either the vampire or the werewolf, because both of them are sleek and hairless and coiffed.

(source)

And Bear, like his namesake, is incredibly hairy, except where he’s balding slightly. His belly is comfortingly soft. He also has hulking shoulders, giant biceps, and a chest so broad and muscular that the guys who fitted him for his wedding tux couldn’t stop talking about it. He stood there, blushing, as they fussed. In a city where slight, graceful guys with glasses are in, Bear is lumbering and out of place. Recently, when he spoke at a conference, someone came up to him after and said, “You really surprised me. I thought you were a rugby player when you got up and then you were really smart!” Which is sort of a mean thing to say about rugby players.

I recognize the things about Bear that don’t fit into the current trends for male beauty, or maybe have never been a trend. And I simultaneously think he’s ridiculously hot. I think he’s perfect-looking. Which is very hopeful, when I take a moment to consider it, because it explains something important about the way attraction works. It points out that the way we experience beauty is both communal and profoundly personal, at the same time. Maybe it means that I’m really hot at the same time as not looking like even one of the supermodels. Imagine that.

But it’s funny. Even as I am impressed with my ability to locate such a fantastic reserve of cuteness, I sometimes catch myself half-wishing that everyone else would see it, too.

Both of my grandmothers are staunch supporters of Bear’s appearance. “What a big, handsome man!” they say. And then Grandma Claire is like, “The other ones…not so much.” Because she likes to remind me about my near-escape from my sordid past.

But other women I know are largely silent on the point. And sometimes it makes me a tiny bit sad. Because I am proud of the way my husband looks. And I like to show him off. Sometimes I feel a little like an old dude with a trophy wife. I feel that, “Look what I got!” feeling. I resist the urge to make him flex.

(thank god there’s a shirt for everything. source)

I feel like it’s a little weird that I want people to notice that I picked such a well-formed specimen of masculinity. Like women don’t really think that way.

I blurted it out to Rachel the other day, getting all awkward.

“Oh my god,” she said, literally dropping everything, on my couch. “I totally want people to think my husband is hot. Why don’t they ever say he’s hot?”

“Wait, they never say that?” I said.

“I don’t know why. I feel awkward about it.”

“I thought everyone would say that about him!”

He has that look—cool, slinky, thick dark hair that falls in his face, glasses. The look I’d think every woman in Brooklyn would be lusting after.

(source)

“No one says that about Bear?” she said. “He’s so big and muscular!”

“I know!”

“Weird.”

“Weird.”

“Maybe women just don’t say these things to each other,” she said.

“Maybe not,” I said. We reviewed our mutual friends. “Have you told her her boyfriend is good-looking?”

“I think so! No, wait. Maybe not.”

“I haven’t either.”

OK, so we don’t really say it to other women. Maybe occasionally, when someone first starts dating a guy. The first time we see a photo. “Oh, wow! He’s so cute!” But after that, nothing. It would be weird, maybe. It would feel awkward or inappropriate or unnecessary. We don’t want to sound like we’re trying to sleep with someone else’s partner. Or maybe he’s just not our type at all so no need to get into the whole thing.

We talk about our own appearances. About our secret and not-so-secret eating disorders. About the girl we just met who is so gorgeous that everyone immediately does things for her. We talk about life and beauty creeps in. We talk about being afraid of getting older, about losing the tightness of our skin. We are in our twenties and we are nervous already. We talk about the girl we saw on the subway, casually, before we talk about something more important. We talk about losing weight, gaining weight, not being able to fit into that dress. Sometimes it seems like we are always talking about beauty, or just a second away from talking about it, or that we have invented code words so that we can continue to talk about it even when we aren’t.

“Your mom looks great, though! Like ten years younger than she actually is.”

But we are always talking about female bodies, about ourselves.

Sometimes I want someone to look at the man standing next to me instead. And when they do, I want them to like what they see.

In the restaurant, I was so happy. Look at how good-looking he is, that one! He’s mine. I wanted to sit back, cross my arms contentedly, and survey my kingdom. I’ve done well for myself. Yes, I have. Very well…

*   *   *

How do you feel about your partner’s attractiveness? Do you want other people to notice? Do they? I get the feeling it depends on the community, too. And it’s also interesting to me that Bear seems to think I’m the hottest thing ever and simultaneously hope that no one else catches on.

Unroast: Today I love the way I look/feel in yoga pants. I had a dream that I couldn’t find any in my dresser and it quickly became a nightmare.

67 Comments »

Kate on November 5th 2012 in beauty, marriage, new york, relationships

67 Responses to “I would appreciate it if people would tell me that my husband is hot”

  1. Sorcha responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 1:18 pm #

    Sometimes I look at the Big Guy and think “He’s so damn hot! Lithe and muscular, a sexy smattering of silver through his (still in his 20′s!) hair, those amazing blue eyes, those arms, that tan! And when he occasionally wears glasses – yowzer! How am I not fending other women off with a stick?”. There’s a part of me that’s glad I’m not, it would get exhausting!
    It’s sad though, the last time we were out the guys he works with were quite happy to tell him just what they thought of his wife-to-be and it gave me a real confidence boost, it’s a pity guys rarely, if ever, get the same.

  2. Kate responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 1:21 pm #

    @Sorcha
    Exactly!! It’s not that I really want to be fighting other people off him– it’s more that it’d be nice (for us both) to get that validation once in a while.

    And your guy sounds gorgeous.

  3. Edmund responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 1:24 pm #

    I think bear is totally hot and sexy, RAWRRRRRR

  4. lik_11 responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 1:25 pm #

    This hit home with me, not necessarily in a good way. In the past- I would see a man and fall deeply into lust. He would be my boyfriend- and everyone would tell me how hot he was… then he would break my heart.
    After 6 months of dating, my husband met my BFFs (who live in a different state) & they liked him, but one specifically made a comment, “It doesn’t matter- it’s not like your going to marry him”. Although it sort of hurt my feelings, I agreed and said “He’s not hot enough for me to marry” and we laughed. Years went by- and not only did he not break my heart… he got more and more awesome- he grew on me. It took 2 years of dating to admit that I loved him. I married him, and he’s been the most wonderful husband I could imagine. My midwestern friends always tell me how hot he is… and, I thank them. Regretably, I think he’s cute- but I still don’t think he’s HOT. It’s something I struggle with, actually..

  5. Kate responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 1:27 pm #

    @Edmund
    Yay!!!
    I hope I’m not completely fishing for compliments for him in this post, though. I’m totally trying to raise a larger social point, of course.
    Of course :p

  6. Kate responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 1:29 pm #

    @lik_11
    Interesting!! I want to know more! This was such an honest response.
    How do you think of him, in terms of your attraction towards him? I guess I’m not even exactly sure what hot means for everyone. What does it mean for you?

  7. Erin Lee responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 1:30 pm #

    It’s funny that you posted this today, because just this morning I stupidly stepped onto my Wii fit balance board and showed a four pound weight gain[?!?!] (trying to blame this on low batteries) and I immediately thought how the holidays are coming up and a part of me hates the holidays because everyone gushes over how good my husband looks even though he’s the same weight he has been for over three years now and then I’m just… there. A small part of me resents him for all the compliments he gets and the empty space that follows when no one tells me *I* look good when I’ve been trying so hard. I’m proud of him and how he looks and how adorable and handsome he is and that HE’S MINE, forever… but a part of me that I don’t like to admit is also jealous of the constant compliments he gets year after year. I’m struggling really hard with this and I’m hoping I get over it. I mean seriously, get over myself. It’s not his fault people compliment him.. and he notices the way I feel and he feels bad, and I don’t want him to feel bad about looking good. I just need to get over my need for affirmation. I think my last comment on your blog was about believing that I’m pretty, with weightloss or no – and then I became totally unraveled today because of a judgemental Wii balance board. Obviously I have work to do.

  8. Edmund responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 1:31 pm #

    @Kate
    Is it not strange to wonder why your friends’ husbands don’t compliment you on having a hot husband…. :-)

  9. Kate responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 1:35 pm #

    @Edmund
    Sometimes I get the sense that men rarely talk about the attractiveness of other men…Or to do it, they have to be unusually comfortable with themselves. Is that a stereotype? I’m not sure.
    I LOVED Louis CK’s bit about Ewan McGregor. Did you see that? It felt sort of shocking, in a good way. But still shocking, because people just don’t ever talk like that. Of course, that’s more about sexual attraction than just saying “he’s good looking!” But still.

  10. Edmund responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 1:37 pm #

    @Kate
    That is true. I haven’t seen it I’ll have to look it up.

  11. Kate responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 1:38 pm #

    @Erin Lee
    I wonder why people compliment your husband and not you. Are they talking about weight? I notice that people are comfortable giving “you look like you’ve lost weight” compliments a lot, as though that’s the only thing you can say to someone. People say that to Bear sometimes, and it’s not true, he hasn’t lost weight.

    Go back and read your last comment! It kicked butt. But also– feeling good is never a permanent state. I remember when I saw the scale on Thanksgiving last year. It’s a process. I wish there were no scales involved.

  12. Liz responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 1:42 pm #

    My family were drooling so much over my husband that it got embarrassing – even my male cousins lol

  13. Kate responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 1:43 pm #

    @Liz
    LOL!!!! A little jealous.

  14. Melanie responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 1:43 pm #

    I don’t necessarily want people to say that my boyfriends are hot, but I’m with you in that when they do I smile and am like, “I’m glad you see it too!!!” Neither of the men I see are stereotypically handsome, but both are absolutely adorable.

    I think maybe women don’t know if they say, “Wow, your husband is hot!” if you’ll get offended. Some women might take that as you checking out their man and get uneasy. I make it a point to always tell my friends that their mates are attractive if I think so. I am just honest that way. And Bear is absolutely adorable. Not just because the things he says to you or the way he treats you makes me smile, but because he’s a cutey. Period.

  15. Sarah S responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 1:43 pm #

    I love yoga pants (preferably the cheap ones from Target) — a very versatile and efficient garment! I’m writing this in the very pair I plan to wear long enough to sleep, roll out of bed, and hit the polls in before a monster work day tomorrow. :)

    Oh, and Kate: Bear is hot. I love burly, hairy guys. My bf is a prematurely gray, furry, and hippie construction worker; before I met him I thought I always liked the conventionally attractive, youthful, hairless guys (kinda like the one I married and subsequently divorced… hmmm…). Not so much anymore. :)

  16. Raven responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 1:44 pm #

    I think a big part of it is a socially ingrained idea that it’s rude and possibly, as you pointed out, a sign that the woman complimenting the man is out to sleep with him. I’ve complimented my best friend’s husband’s appearance, but we’re all poly, I met and befriended him first, and had asked at one point if either of them were open to dating. Even though none of us ever did try at romance with one another, I still compliment both of them to one another, but with the tone and intention similar to the waitress you encountered, not in a “I’m planning on sleeping with him” manner.

    Almost every time my partner and I have gone out and he’s been complimented, it’s been in the cattiest way possible, clearly dismissive of and even degrading to me. Most of those encounters involved other men, though. The only positive compliments in public about my partner’s appearance have come from performers; every time we go to a live performance where audience participation occurs (e.g. burlesque shows, Teatro Zinzanni, etc.), he gets picked to come up on stage, despite his dread and embarrassment. His appearance is complimented, his exceedingly long hair is often taken down for the audience to see, and despite his shyness, he ends up having a good time. He’s convinced I’ve rigged these events to have them pick him, but the most I’ve ever done is catch the eye of a performer and gesture once. He doesn’t seem to see how attractive he is, and I’d like him to have a bit more confidence about it.

    There’re only two parts of your piece today with which I disagree: Bear was definitely the male beauty du jour once. It’s been a while, but he’s been there. And don’t use “Twilight” as a gauge for male beauty. Look at “True Blood” where the men cast to play werewolves are a hairy bunch, often quite broad shouldered with large chests. If Bear were cast in a supernatural show, he’d be perfect for a werewolf or even a werebear! ^_^

  17. Kate responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 1:51 pm #

    @Melanie
    You are always refreshingly honest so I can totally imagine you letting your friends know when you think their partners look good. And I like “absolutely adorable” as a description.

  18. Kate responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 1:54 pm #

    @Raven
    The description of your partner on stage is adorable. But what is with people pointing out his attractiveness and not yours? It seems as though basic politeness should get involved here.

    And I love your corrections :-) You’re right– I need to remember True Blood. A werebear! Amazing!

  19. Rachel responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 2:04 pm #

    Being single, me and my girlfriends talk about what men we find attractive a LOT- and it is absolutely hilarious to me how much we differ. The guys I like are almost exclusively bearded. My friend Katie has a thing for balding dudes, and all my friend Kelly cares about is soft hair. I have occasionally felt insecure about whether my friends think the guys I date are hot, but it’s really silly, considering we just have entirely different tastes. I like the way you phrased that- attraction is both communal and profoundly personal.

  20. Rachel responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 2:06 pm #

    So, I read your post and started going through my Facebook friends list to decide which of my friends’ partners I thought were hot… and you know what? It felt kind of perverse and objectify-y. Which must be why I don’t doll out the compliments too often. My brain just doesn’t want to go there! Maybe it’s that “fear of accidentally hitting on them” thing?

    I can count on two fingers the number of friends who’ve told me my husband is cute/hot, but I tell my husband which of HIS friends I think are hot all the time. Hmmm.

  21. Kate responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 2:07 pm #

    @Rachel
    Awesome comment. It’s fascinating how different our tastes are. And good!
    And you’re making me realize that I sound too much like I’m assuming everyone is in a relationship right now in these posts. I’m sorry about that!
    Also, you phrased it better than me. Profound is the right word– I used “intense.” I’m going to change it right now, and you get all of the credit.

  22. Kate responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 2:09 pm #

    @Next Rachel
    I was hoping you’d comment on this– wait, I’m going to email you.

  23. Rachel responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 2:14 pm #

    @Kate Ha! And all because I was too lazy to double-check the quote!

    I didn’t think you were assuming everyone is in a relationship- just seems like you and most of your friends are! Me and my friends wish we were in your shoes ;) .

  24. lik_11 responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 2:28 pm #

    @kate-
    What does hot mean to me?
    The paragraph that you wrote, “Some of my most ecstatic moments have involved me looking at his face….”
    The first response by Sorcha… that’s what I’ve always considered hot.
    The times that you just want to stare at your partner and memorize their face as it is. Where you can become giddy just by looking at them…you never get tired of ripping off their clothes to see what’s underneath… that’s hot! I’ve spent hours looking at men that I’ve adored- but I’ve NEVER done that with my husband. Since I met him, I’ve glanced and looked away, almost like I’m trying to flirt (I’m not). If he’s asleep, I’ll look at him and smile… but I don’t watch him. I’ve never felt the desire to study him when he’s not looking. The weird part is maybe I’m transferring, but I don’t think he finds me as attractive as he has some of his ex-gfs. We’ve certainly never spoken about it- but he’s never looked at me with those “I want to eat you” eyes, either. Perhaps we both cling onto the knowledge that beauty fades…
    The man understands me and lets me be whoever I want to be. He’s supportive and sweet- he builds things for me! Our tastes are so similar- it’s just weird. (I can show him 20 options of whatever, without saying a word, and he’ll choose the same one that I like. Decorating our house was amazingly simple.) My friends and family love him, and think we’re the best couple ever (if they knew what I had written- they would be shocked!) He treats me the way that I deserve to be treated… which I guess in its own way is pretty damn hot.

  25. Kristin responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 2:35 pm #

    Interesting article! I can’t say it’s that important to me that other people think that my husband is attractive, but for some reason I’ve always felt like it was really important that they know that I find him attractive. I have this weird worry that for some reason they feel sorry for him or me that we ended up together, and I always want some opportunity where I can say, “Oh no, don’t worry! We’re totally into each other! Seriously! Everything’s okay!”

    I’m not sure why I want to do that… maybe it’s in reaction to so many people making monogamy sound impossible? Maybe it’s knowing that tastes vary, and so just because he or I aren’t their type, they’ll think we aren’t each others? Frankly, it’s a stupid thing for me to worry about, since obviously, we got married, so people probably figure we’re into each other :) … but then, I worry about a lot of stupid things.

  26. Shaba responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 2:45 pm #

    I took a picture of my husband over the summer that might be my favorite photo of him ever. He was drinking pink lemonade and his beard was stubbly and his blue eyes popped next to his dark curly hair and the pink drink and sigh, I love it. I instagramed it and expected that I’d get at least a few, “Ohh! Nice eyes!” or something. Nope. Nada. I did feel a little sad about the lack of responses.

  27. Andrew responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 2:58 pm #

    Kate, I have to tell you: my coworkers and I are constantly commenting on the looks of every single woman we see.
    …….except each others’ girlfriends/wives.

    In light of that, I REALLY wouldn’t expect women to be saying that stuff to each other.

  28. Stephanie responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 3:09 pm #

    Warning: I’ve become a major Doctor Who fan in the last year, so that’s where this quote comes from. The woman is talking about her husband Rory, but I feel the same way about my husband:

    “You know when sometimes you meet someone so beautiful – and then you actually talk to them and five minutes later they’re as dull as a brick; but then there’s other people. And you meet them and you think, ‘Not bad, they’re okay,’ and when you get to know them … their face just, sort of, becomes them, like their personality’s written all over it, and they just – they turn into something so beautiful. Rory’s the most beautiful man I’ve ever met.” from the episode “The Girl Who Waited.”

  29. SolariC responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 3:14 pm #

    I have a very objective mind, so I have two views of my boyfriend. In the personal one I think, ‘Oh my gosh, he’s the sexiest and most handsome man ALIVE!’ And in the objective one, I think, ‘Well, his face is a bit too square and his ears are big and his hair is rather lank.’ I’ve always been weird like that. However, I know for sure that he’s above average on the handsome scale, so I always want to show him off to others. No one really does tell me he’s handsome, though, sadly.

    Interestingly, I have the same double view of myself. On the one hand, I have supreme self-confidence and think I’m gorgeous. Objectively, however, I can still look at myself and think, ‘well, my eyes are a bit small and my jaw and nose are too long for conventional beauty.’ However, I’m fine with neither me nor my boyfriend being conventional. It’s so much more fun to be unconventional!

  30. D responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 3:14 pm #

    I think my husband is suuuper hot, but very few of my friends have ever said anything to me. There have been a couple of occasions when we are in public and a server starts hitting on him or something, and that totally makes me smile. Several of my family members have told me that he is very handsome though. I guess it must really depend on the situation. I don’t often compliment my friends partners because of what other posters said before me said, I don’t want to accidentally go into “I’m hitting on your man” territory!

  31. teegan responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 3:32 pm #

    We went to a wedding two weeks ago, and Mark was a groomsman. I told him that of the groomsmen and the groom, he was definitely the most attractive. And I meant it in all honesty, but he laughed it off, which made me wonder – does he think he’s not attractive?
    I tell him all of the time. How he has the hottest butt. And arms. And I once wrote a poem about his back. And I adore his beard (apparently many women don’t dig the facial hair on their men? I think a good beard is god’s gift to all of us…). He also has skinny chicken legs and he is very very very slowly developing a bald spot, all of which I find adorable.

    When I met him, I was also interested in a guy to whom I was very physically attracted – all hormone hotness. But when I wasn’t dazed by his scent, I knew that he was unreliable and immature and a Bad Idea. Whereas my feelings for Mark only increased with time, regardless of whether I could smell him at a given moment or not. And now I think he’s a super hot man. And I, too, feel like he’s my trophy husband.

  32. Wanett responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 3:59 pm #

    I think my husband is smoking hot! I didn’t realize how much I wanted someone else to mention it until I instagrammed some pics of him in a tuxedo (YOWZERS) and got a really nice response. It felt really nice for someone else to say that he was really handsome. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that if how I feel is not negatively affected when I don’t get that feedback. And it isn’t.

    Also, this “…seems to think I’m the hottest thing ever and simultaneously hope that no one else catches on.” applies to my hubby as well.

  33. Erika responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 4:09 pm #

    I want the same thing, but my husband isn’t traditionally “hot.” He’s hot to me, but he is short. Shorter than me, and now, he weighs less. It’s a big part of my body image issue that he’s smaller than me, and it’s something I’m trying to get over.

    I’m very attracted to him, but I (1) worried about how he felt about me being bigger than him and (2) worried about how people saw “us” — the big lady and the small man. I’m exaggerating, but our non-traditional shapes are not like Cinderalla/Prince Charming or my childhood dream of tall, dark and handsome.

    However, when I was finally able to get up the nerve to talk to him about this, he helped me see how it didn’t matter. How if he would grow he could, but he can’t, so what can he do? And as far as my shape goes, I’ve realized he loves me as-is, no matter what. It’s helped to talk about it, even though it was hard to bring up. I realized we had been coasting for a long time.

    And, as a by-product, we’ve never been hotter together since we started talking about this stuff. I always wanted him to look at me like he wanted to rip off my clothes. I felt like that hadn’t happened for years, but now it is again. So, @lik_11, wonder if it’s worth talking about?

  34. lik_11 responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 4:28 pm #

    @Erika-
    You must be quite ballsy! That’s a tough conversation to bring up- “I don’t feel that you find me attractive enough”. I will definitely take it under advisement…

  35. Abby responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 4:59 pm #

    As someone who’s never been in a relationship or anything (I’m young, I still have time, I try to keep remembering that…also I’m freaking awesome on my own), not too much of your post was something I could really relate to.

    EXCEPT.

    Except the whole ‘poetry’ thing. I was madly in like with a boy last winter/spring, and the amount of songs I wrote about being twitterpated was absolutely ridiculous. Of course, then when he was kind of a jerk (I told him that I liked his face and wanted to maybe get to know him better and he said “that’s a big mistake”)….I just had more things to write poetry/songs about. It was just angry poetry :D

  36. Abby responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 5:12 pm #

    (P.S. In case it wasn’t clear, just because I couldn’t relate to the topic did not mean that it wasn’t a well-written and enjoyable post. It definitely was very cool!)

  37. Rachel responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 5:15 pm #

    Other-Rachel’s (there seem to be a few of us–maybe I need a nickname) checking of facebook made me curious so I took a look at my girlfriends partners and across the board I find none of them attractive. I’ve always known that my tastes are atypical, though, since I tend to prefer smaller men. I’ve tried to psychoanalyse why this is so, but none of my answers feel satisfying.

    My boyfriend is the best looking guy I’ve ever dated, maybe even the best looking guy I’ve ever seen. He’s pretty without looking effeminate, and masculine without looking cro-magnon. The lines of his jaw and brow are perfect. He’s slender (from my female perspective, he’s irritatingly able to eat whatever he wants without gaining anything, and even more annoyingly he stops eating when he’s no longer hungry) but has lovely defined musculature that would keep anyone from describing him as skinny. I suppose he is rather broad for his frame. He has these big masculine hands that he doesn’t seem to have quite grown into, despite being in his 30s. Like a puppy. I definitely stare at him and space out from time to time.

    What does he look like to women who aren’t in love with him? I have no idea. My friends have said that he’s good looking, but that may always have been directly after I crowed about how hot my boyfriend is. Maybe they were being polite.

    I’m quit happy for other crazy women NOT to see how gorgeous he is, because then I might have to fight someone. But, on the other hand, I don’t think HE understands how good looking he is and that’s a shame, so maybe it would be better if other girls made more comments.

    @Erika–I also often wish I could at least lose enough weight to be lighter than my boyfriend. I think he also wishes that he could gain enough to be heavier than me, so that stereotype has been beaten in to all of us.

  38. Jo B responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 5:27 pm #

    I don’t know how I would feel if my friends started complimenting my bf’s appearance. Since we’ve all known each other since we were 12ish, and boyfriend was at that time the shortest person in the year, everyone nicknamed him ‘midget’ and it stuck. For years. When we started going out we were 15/16 and I was about 4 inches taller – the gap has narrowed now we are 18/19 but he is still slightly smaller, and the height difference is exaggerated a bit because I am leggy and small-headed, and he is stocky and big-headed. Not like, freakishly, just a bit.

    Anyway, other than myself everyone I know always behaved, especially at the start of the relationship, like he was too short to be considered attractive. Occasionally I look at him, his face as a whole, or just him walking around talking to people or whatever, and I’m not sure he is attractive. But I find my gaze snags on a certain feature, like his smile, or his enormous brown eyes, and I am completely convinced of his overwhelming hotness. Does anyone else find it easier to see the individual traits you find attractive about your other half, rather than assess the whole?

  39. Katie responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 6:13 pm #

    THANK YOU for this post!! A new friend met my boyfriend the other day (she is gorgeous) and kept saying things like “aww your boyfriend is so cute!” but i didn’t take her seriously…because people don’t say that about him. I think he’s ADORABLE but of course realize that he has a body like Bear, but wears glasses and has a beard. Super cute, manly…perfect combo. But still, i never really heard it, and when I did I was thrown off!

  40. Emma responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 6:44 pm #

    Maybe because some women take it the wrong way? That’s why others are careful to comment on people’s hubbies/bf’s….

    Also…why didnt you post a picture of Bear on this page? Dont know what he looks like…

  41. Kate responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 6:56 pm #

    @Andrew
    Interesting!

    I feel like I keep saying that, but really, it is.

  42. Kate responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 6:57 pm #

    @Abby
    that was sweet of you to clarify! I didn’t take any offense, though, I promise :-)

  43. Kate responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 6:58 pm #

    @Emma
    I thought about including a photo of Bear here, but I didn’t, because this isn’t actually about how Bear looks, it’s about how I feel about how he looks. And I didn’t want to make it about one dude. I wanted to make it about a feeling that might be more common that I at first suspected.
    It was frustrating, though, because I just took some really great photos of him :-)

  44. Kate responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 7:00 pm #

    @The Rachel who was talking about being single
    I actually have a fair number of single friends– but I find myself automatically talking more about people in relationships, I guess for obvious reasons (being totally self-centered)

  45. marie responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 7:09 pm #

    For the 14 years I was with my husband he was regularly hit-on by men and women alike. We always laughed about it because I knew no matter what he was coming home with me. He died suddenly this summer and it breaks my heart that our kids won’t ever hear his take on our wacky “hotness” stories. Thanks for a great post that helped me think of some really fun memories and smile.

  46. Kande responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 7:16 pm #

    I don’t think any of my friends or colleagues husbands or boyfriends are hot. They don’t register as anything other than average, normal looking – mind you it is not like we live in a metropolis surrounded by oodles of people representing every aspect and range of beauty … but either way, I still think that having someone be “ridiculously goodlooking” (Name That Movie!) is exceedingly rare. Then add to that the concept of familiarity, and again, unless someone is exceedingly, unusually, strikingly goodlooking, then to me they just are who they are – my platonic friend – no sexual attraction, so no thought about their level of ” hottness”.

    I do pay attention – a lot more attention – to females, but maybe that is because they are a threat who could try to attract my mate away from me – my competition – whereas other men are out of the running for me, I don’t need to see if I find them attractive or not as it means nothing to me since I already found my mate. Then add to that the fact that men are more biologically driven to visually judge while women are biologically driven towards other traits, and why would I notice anyone elses husband?

    Kind of like kids – I think my kids are the most amazing, beautiful, perfect specimens of humanity. And that is what I expect everyone else to be thinking – about their own. Not mine. It would be incredibly weird and creepy if they thought it about mine, especially moreso than about their own! Same with spouses!

  47. zoe responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 7:31 pm #

    kate, bear is so hot! i’ve always thought that when you posted pictures and somehow felt bad for thinking it and wanting to tell you simultaneously. heh…

    but maybe women don’t mention it because we’re all attracted to different looks? or because there is, i feel, some sort of unspoken competition? or it’s just like, not pc to do? i don’t know. but now i want to do it all the time.

    additionally, i wrote a poem about this guy’s face, too. he was sleeping and i was just staring at how absolutely devastatingly attractive he was (and is). and now, in light of this:

    “(So be ready for that, if you haven’t fallen madly in love yet. It will be gross. It will occasionally rhyme.)”

    i’m starting to freak out. i might feel more than i originally thought. eeeek…

  48. Rapunzel responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 8:38 pm #

    I suppose since I know that *I* think my husband is handsome, I never really cared very much what anyone else thought. Maybe because I know he definitely isn’t handsome in the traditional sense. At glance I guess he’ll look normal to a stranger, but up close and once he starts to talk, the normalness goes away. He had cancer as a kid, and as a result, had lots of facial reconstruction and half of his face is paralyzed. He also has to wear glasses with a foggy prism on one side to prevent double-vision, which looks weird but it kind of covers up his funky eyelid. He’s got plenty of scars, but I don’t notice them anymore. I remember when we first met I didn’t think much of him beyond the usual curiosity you get when you notice someone has a bunch of scars, looks funny and talks funny–it wasn’t an oh-my-gosh-I’m-drooling-over-him kind of meeting. My coworkers and I talked about theories–most of them involved traumatic car accidents. Anyway, the first thing that made me like him was his humor; he was always making me laugh. He is very handsome to me now, despite the bald head and hairy body.

    Needless to say, I don’t think anyone’s ever told me that my husband is handsome, except maybe on our wedding day when he was wearing an awesome pinstripe tux that I think made him look hot! I think we’re a really odd-looking couple and sometimes I wonder what people think when we’re in public, and then I don’t care because I have him and he’s mine no matter what people think!

  49. Kate responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 9:03 pm #

    @Marie
    God, I’m sorry! And also so impressed that you are able to smile. That’s inspiring.

  50. Kate responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 9:04 pm #

    @zoe
    uh oh….sounds like you’re feeling something :-)
    And automatically, I’m dying to read your poem!

  51. Erin Lee responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 9:51 pm #

    @Rapunzel
    love you guys. And I definitely thought you were an odd couple.. at first. Now it just seems so obvious. :)

  52. Sara responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 9:56 pm #

    “Survey my kingdom” Heehee! Yes, a thousand times yes to this statement.

  53. Nina Potts responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 10:00 pm #

    People rarely say anything about the attractiveness of my girlfriend. Once in a while a friend might say she’s cute, but to me she is insanely hot. Straight people rarely understand my attraction to her, because she is butch, and cannot understand that I can be attracted to her masculinity and not just go date a man.

    There’s a second problem where I think she’s hot, and when I talk about it with her she gets very uncomfortable. I think she’s had so many challenges because of how she looks that she can’t accept that I would find her attractive.

    I like having that physical attraction between us, and its stuck around through grey hair, health issues, and weight gain. I actually know a couple that before they got married they promised that if either got fat they would get divorced.

  54. Sheryl responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 10:52 pm #

    I have complicated feelings about my husband’s hotness. Sometimes I look at him and I’m just overwhelmed all over again with the fact that I must have literally picked out the most attractive man in the world, and how don’t I notice that about him all the time? Other times I see him, or a picture of him and have a more nuanced views – I can see things that might be perceived as physical flaws and I notice them but not in a way that bothers me.

    Stephanie’s Doctor Who quote really says a lot about how I feel about my husband though. He’s the most beautiful man in the world to me, because while I notice his physical form what I’m more aware of is his actual beauty. Which maybe is why I’m so surprised in those moments that I see him and am stunned by how gorgeous he is.

    I can be defensive about his hotness too, because he doesn’t fit the current model of male beauty. He’s more of a manly man, with a broad powerful build, and he’s all hairy-masculine just genuinely, classicly masculine. So I want more people to nice how hot he is. But I also want to keep it all to myself.

  55. Kay responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 11:46 pm #

    I very much don’t care if other people find my bf attractive. I have before dated someone I found extremely physically attractive (this is a rare occurrence for me) and had friends tell me he was attractive, but eventually I stopped finding him hot when I realized he was kind of a jerk. With my current bf, objectively I don’t think he’s that attractive, and have only gotten one polite “he’s cute” from a friend, but I love him, and over time he’s become more and more cute to me. I guess I could wonder about whether things would be “better” with someone I thought was really hot and happened to have all the qualities I love about my bf, but it’s pointless… people aren’t interchangeable, looks fade, and I’m happy as I am. As far as girlfriends’ partners, I actually don’t find any of them attractive; we all have such different tastes, which is a good thing.

  56. Jenn responded on 05 Nov 2012 at 11:54 pm #

    Three years in, my manly-man is only getting more attractive.

  57. anya responded on 06 Nov 2012 at 4:33 am #

    My husband is reaaly attractive. He’s super tall curly dark haired and milk-skin with some cute freckles. Once, the girlfriend of his roommate offered to set him up with a girlfriend of hers. And girls at the tango class want to dance with him. I find him the cutest most adorable handsome man in the world, and I don’t care who does or doesn’t notice. I think now that we’re married no friends/acquaintances comment on our appearance, I guess it would be considered rude. But sometime strangers ( the florist, the landlord) point out at “my handsome/strong husband” and I feel very pleased :)

  58. Selina responded on 06 Nov 2012 at 9:52 am #

    Kate, I love this post (and this blog), and think you must be an amazing wife and friend.

  59. Jennifer responded on 06 Nov 2012 at 10:57 am #

    I totally want people to recognize my husband’s attractiveness. I think you’re right, though, when you say that we all probably feel a bit awkward complimenting a friend’s spouse/partner/significant other. We don’t want to seem “interested” in them, but I think that inflection and context play a big part in that. There’s a difference between stating that someone is attractive in an observational way, and saying they’re attractive in a “want to bang them” way. I have one friend who is constantly fishing for validation in that regard, though, always asking what we think of her partners in regards to their physical appearance. I honestly find it a little awkward, but it seems very important to her, so I oblige. Her taste and my taste are really not the same, though, so it gets a bit difficult sometimes.

    I sent you a photo this summer of my husband and I, and you complimented his handsomeness. I really liked and appreciated that. :D

  60. Wrew Wren responded on 06 Nov 2012 at 6:55 pm #

    When it comes to anything beyond quietly noticing another’s physical attractiveness (nevermind commenting on it. Socially, many would view this as faux effusive, and in the realm of things like full body hugs in lieu of a warm verbal greeting, and other such current day folderol.) ‘MYOB’ is a philosophy most people unconsciously practice when it comes to the hot spouses of others. It doesn’t make either of you less in love, less validated, less attractive.

    Yet, I see where you are coming from.

  61. Mary responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 9:50 am #

    This was such an interesting post. How awesome for you and your “kingdom”, Kate!
    Speaking objectively, I might say my bf is a 7 — very tall, long arms, slightly beefy but with a bit of a belly, quite hairy. Strong face, big smile, 5-o’clock shadow all the time.
    Of course I find him attractive. And of course when we go out, at a bar or a wedding or wherever, there are a few other men in the room who are possibly more attractive on the pure-good-looks scale.
    But since I know so many other wonderful things about my bf — his energy, his enthusiasm, his way of taking care of chores for me so I don’t have to do them, his devotion to his family and small clan of friends, his forthrightness, his bad jokes — all these things added to his basic good looks make him an 11 compared to everyone else in the room.
    I’m sure women can’t be alone in this: judging attractiveness to include the positive qualities of our beloved’s.
    Also — does anyone else get this from strangers? — if anyone who doesn’t know him comments on how attractive my bf is, it’s usually in the form of “Oh, you two are such a cute couple.” It doesn’t really focus on him.
    Anyway. Very interesting post.

  62. Kimmy Sue Ruby Lou responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 1:14 pm #

    BTW…yes, your husband is hot! I’ve always preferred the burly, teddy bear type myself. You have your “man” priorities in good order :)

  63. Hannah Alyse responded on 07 Nov 2012 at 6:15 pm #

    I think it definitely has to do with women feeling threatening or too sexual by complimenting a friends man. I’m single in a sea of married friends so I think it might be even more off-putting than someone who is happily in love saying it. I have the blunt personality where I say things like “He is really attractive…I love his beard!” and get a sort of nervous/awkward laugh agreement. I think men secretly want to hear it too but are told by society not to base feelings on looks. Like that’s a feminine thing. We should all be more open with compliments, I say!!

  64. Scarlet responded on 11 Nov 2012 at 5:08 pm #

    I’ve never really thought of this. My husband cleans up VERY well, but he’s fairly indifferent to his appearance. I have been told he is handsome, and one of my gay male friends informed me he looks like Colin Firth, but I generally don’t worry about what others see or don’t see in him. As for him, he has received a lot of comments on my appearance from random people like his hairdresser or the barista at our nearest coffee shop. People will tell him he has a pretty wife, and then he goes into this space where he has no clue how to respond, and then sometimes he’ll mention that “so-and-so said this about you.” But I don’t think either of us take the comments very seriously.

    I have to say that I NEVER comment on the attractiveness of a female friend’s husband or boyfriend unless it relates to something neutral like a particular outfit or new haircut. One reason is that I’m generally not attracted to them, and the other reason is that I do not want to come off as any kind of threat. We all have different types, and I limit most of my attention to tall men who have slim to slightly overweight builds and conventionally handsome faces. Maybe that makes me too narrow in my proclivities, but I rarely have a strong attraction to less-conventionally good-looking guys.

  65. Emma responded on 27 Jan 2013 at 6:39 pm #

    “I recognize the things about Bear that don’t fit into the current trends for male beauty, or maybe have never been a trend. And I simultaneously think he’s ridiculously hot. I think he’s perfect”

    This is exactly how I feel about my boyfriend. He’s not at all the standard attractive guy, but the moment I saw him I just knew he was perfect. It felt almost like fate – like maybe no one else realizes how perfect he is, but I do, so we belong together (though that’s probably a dangerous line of thinking haha).

    I sort of drift between wanting people to recognize how perfect he is and being afraid that if people suddenly did see it, he’d leave me for someone closer to him on that scale of 1-10.

  66. paolaplease responded on 16 Feb 2013 at 10:42 am #

    I just found this post, searching for your posts about cutting your hair. It’s such a cute post! And I can totally relate. Almost. I’m constantly rambling about how gorgeous my boyfriend is and people generally reply “well… no. But he’s very nice, though!” That’s not very pleasant, but I honestly don’t. care.

    Every time I look at him, whenever I get the chance to stare at him without him noticing, I’m taken aback by how absolutely handsome he is! There is not one bit of him I don’t find attractive. And even if no one ever comments on his appearance, I still feel so damn lucky and proud to have him!!

  67. Nic responded on 18 Dec 2013 at 6:45 pm #

    Careful what you wish for- not a day goes by that someone doesn’t tell my husband he looks like George clooney- I get overlooked like a piece of ugly poo. It can drain your confidence!!!