Celebrity Crushes and Your Attraction Weak Point

Reader:  What is your take on when spouses have celebrity crushes? Harmless or worrisome?
My wife has them, has always had them apparently. My attitude has been to try to joke about it, but sometimes it irritates me. What do you think?
Athol:  It’s way better than having a crush on any guy she could have in real life. So nothing to worry about…
Attraction isn’t controllable, so when a woman sees a highly attractive man who has a team of people helping him look even more attractive… it’s just completely normal that she would experience attraction looking at him. It’s the same thing with guys looking at photoshopped naked women – it’s more of a red flag if you aren’t turned on than if you are.
Women have a need for variety and stimulation just as men do, but a celebrity crush is safe venting of that need. It’s the same with romance novels, it just winds them up a bit and if they needed more stimulation, it will relax then and make them feel happier. You’re much better off with her reading romances for her thrills than her messaging ex-boyfriends on Facebook.
However if she has constant celebrity crushes, that tends to suggest that she has a highly persistent need for stimulation and excitement. She’s literally getting her dopamine fix off of cycling though celebrity crushes, which makes me wonder how much is leftover for crushing on someone in real life. Or the other way around, if she was crushing on someone in real life, how much would be left over for crushing on celebrities.
So it really depends how significant her interest in this stuff is. Just like I say about porn or anything else fun but potentially addictive, “It’s not a problem until it’s a problem.” If hours of her day revolve around this stuff and she’s not having a normal interest in you, then it’s a problem. If she’s just into a particular movie star and would rather watch one of his movies than someone else’s, it’s not a problem.
If it’s a genuine problem, you need to bring it up as an issue, if it’s not a problem, the solution is just to be the best you can be. Also if you pay attention to who she crushes on, there’s often a tip about what you could do to improve yourself.
So if she’s into following Mr Beefcake, and you’re not that in shape…
If she’s into following Mr. Moneybags, and you’re not doing well financially…
If she’s into watching Mr. Dominant, and you’re fairly passive with her…
If she’s into Mr. Bad Boy and you’re an awfully Nice Guy…
I’m not saying change your whole life to be just like them, I’m saying that’s your weak point where you can probably make easy gains.
As an example of just this effect, Jennifer loooooves Straight No Chaser. Which is essentially a bunch of guys wearing suits singing.
I work in group homes and my work clothes are jeans and running shoes. Then I come home and write. I’m not much of a clothes horse at all, and dress sense is quite honestly one of my weak areas. I rarely ever have an actual occasion to scrub up nice for, but when I do, Jennifer always gets excitable about me doing so. It’s just an obvious connection in my mind and once in a while I lightly tease her about liking them so much.
At this point the editing process broke down into a discussion about how I completely misread her entire interest in Straighter No Chaser. It’s not because they wear suits, it’s because it’s smart, funny and musically quirky.
***END EDIT***
So anyway…
Wife likes men in nice clothes…
Purchased new shirts this weekend.
That’s about it.
I feel all Captainy.
Jennifer:  LMAO you’re going to get hate mail for that last line.


  1. you guys are so cute together :)

  2. Ooh, has Jennifer heard of the Overtones? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWfGq988lVA
    They do other songs that're modern, but they do dress up in this video giving hints on the 'nice clothes' front.

    Romance novels FTW.
    Fun stats: http://www.rwa.org/cs/readership_stats

  3. Fulfill A Fantasy says:

    My wife (25+ yrs) has a celebrity crush on Harrison Ford (younger version, anyway). She doesn't talk about it all the time, but will sometimes mention it when we are watching one of his movies.

    What do you think about me dressing up as him (Indy, Han, Jack Ryan) and have a little date night at home? Would that help redirect some of the dopamine crush from him to me? Any danger in helping her fulfill a fantasy "meeting" with me as a proxy Mr. Ford?

  4. Ian Ironwood says:

    "You're much better off with her reading romances for her thrills than her messaging ex-boyfriends on Facebook."

    While I'm not going to disagree with that statement in the slightest, I would like to offer one caution about supposedly "benign" romance novels and celebrity crushes. There's a little more to be concerned about these than you might think.

    Athol's correct, women turn to such things to stimulate novelty in their personal sexuality, just as men watch porn to stimulate theirs. But just as there is a danger in porn for men to think that all of their sexual experiences should flow like a porn flick, there is a similar effect on women reading romance novels/celebrity gossip/vampire softcore. It creates unrealistic expectations that can lead to frustration and resentment.

    Women read to stimulate their imaginations, but they are also reading to establish the social matrix, so that they may position themselves in relation to it. Women tend to be far more socially conscious, since social standing has a tremendous amount to do with adjusted Sex Rank, and they can't really figure out where they stand within the social matrix unless they know where everyone else stands — particularly those at the top of the social food chain. Therefore when your wife is in the bathroom with People Mag or Cosmo or even Redbook, she's not just getting her gossip on, she's providing social context for her own place in the universe. That's as important to a woman as knowing where he stands in the pack hierarchy is for a dude. While we measure ourselves personally against our fellows, women measure themselves against the wider culture to establish their own sex rank.

    The danger that can arise is twofold: first, a woman may get a bad case of class-envy and decide that she "deserves" all of the shiny baubles she sees in the magazines and TV shows — that ol' sense of entitlement creeping in, and that way lies hypergamy. When she sees some twenty-five year old talentless, vapid, tarted-up actress get a $250,000 diamond ring and a $500,000 wedding — and have her wedding on a reality show — that's the female equivalent of having Bree Olson doing a striptease next to your wife. You just can't compete with that kind of heat unless you're already a billionaire.

    The effect can be subtle. A woman may understand that she'll never have the kind of security that level of affluence appears to afford, but that doesn't mean that her "casual reading" isn't also subconsciously informing her social matrix and her self-assessment. All the male leads in romance novels are tall, rich, ruggedly handsome, powerfully Alpha — but who slavishly adore and are utterly devoted to the uniformly-gorgeous plucky, independent heroine (whom everyone else lusts for, too, but who don't measure up to her outrageous standards) regardless of her worthiness.

    Athol's right: a little porn (and that's essentially the function these things fulfill) is great. It can inform, instruct, and entertain, providing much-needed fantasy material. It can give you emotional and mental room and help provide some perspective to your personal sexuality.
    But when you start allowing the content to skew your own understanding of your realistic universe, that's when Drama happens. Women who complain bitterly about their husband's porn flicks think nothing of tossing back six or seven romance novels a week, and after a decade or so of this, there's no way that her poor Beta husband is going to be able to compete. The sense of restlessness and feeling that she "could have done better" and "deserves a better life" — no matter how objectively incorrect she is — can turn into a discontent. Let it go unattended for too long, and its ELP time.

  5. Ian Ironwood says:

    Sorry, that should be "EPL time" not "ELP time".

    Oh, and as far as the Harrison Ford thing? Go for it. In fact, I highly recommend watching charismatic leading men like Ford (and even better, the rugged stars of the 1940s and 1950s) who were able to project a kind of powerful masculinity through very subtle means. Watch their mannerisms and their speech patterns, and see what you can adopt without sounding cheesy. IMO there's no better Alpha line than Han in ESB, when Leia confesses she loves him: "I know." Simple. Straight-forward acknowledgement and acceptance of the emotion without equivocation, but without instantly returning the sentiment. Wet panties all around.

    (And if you can get a really tall friend to play Chewbacca, then things can get really freaky . . . )

  6. I agree about Ford being a positive macho role model, but I would imitate the characters rather than the actor. So do dress up like Indy, not like work-a-day Harrison. The latter makes you a wannabe, the former lets you engage in the same activity as Harrison Ford, namely playing make-believe.

  7. Girls will say this all the time. I usually handle this shit test by playing along with her. Reframe the conversation.

    Her: I like Neil Patrick Harris. Hes so dreamy..blah blah. Me: he is pretty hot for a guy. I'd consider banging him allso. Of course since he's gay I have a better shot at him than you do.

    Subject dropped. Say it in a manner that says your not phased by her bring it up.

  8. Stargate Girl says:

    Hmmmmm…… I rather have a thing for Lucy Lawless. Have since I first saw Xena……

    Sam worthington is yum worthy too….

    Pretty sure if I could snag Lucy, husband would either a:Watch B: Join c: bOTH A & b

  9. Stargate Girl,

    This is all good:
    "Hmmmmm…… I rather have a thing for Lucy Lawless. Have since I first saw Xena……

    Sam worthington is yum worthy too…."

    Here is where you hit the red flag territory:
    "Pretty sure if I could snag Lucy, husband would either a:Watch B: Join c: bOTH A & b"

    What do you do when both Lucy and your husband aren't that interested in you and want you to watch and maybe they'll let you join?

    Swinging started out really fun for us and ended up being Pandora's box. There were a lot of hurt feelings (still are). Some (only some) of the problems were the result of the actions of our partners, not us.

    Your mileage may vary.

  10. Mama Fish says:

    Very interesting and something I've wondered about. I never had celeb crushes while most of my attached friends had serious persistent crushes (on both celebs and one of the other husbands in our group) I always felt that maybe they just weren't as attracted to their husbands as I was and I just could not understand it at all (and it felt a little disloyal and cheaty, TBH).

    Fast forward 20 yrs and yes, I now have favorite characters (don't do magazines or romance novels) but usually both of us like the character and discuss it.

    When I mentioned the crush thing a few years back to DH, he was quite upset by the whole idea (he was cheated on in the past). We were discussing someone's IRL crush and I found he was less upset about a movie star crush but still felt that this takes energy from your relationship. In my past experience (ditched those friends) there seem to be some women who simply are not that attracted to their husbands (mine has to beat me off with a stick!!) and whose eyes are constantly searching for someone better (even if unconsciously).

    I would be wary of a woman who crushes on celebs a lot – how long before some guy crosses her path?

  11. Mama Fish says:

    Actually, I should add that I have a teensy crush on Athol ATM (or more specifically, his Captainly behaviors) but once DH has finished the book it will all be over!! LOL

  12. If you're going to do the Indy thing, get a good hat: http://www.penmanhats.com/Indy_Hats.html.

    I used the "I know" line once. It works great if said right.


  13. Stargate Girl says:

    Since it's fantasy land, a swinging situation is not gonna happen. Hubby is mine. ALL MINE! Bwahahahah

  14. This pleases me :-)

  15. Agree. 80%+ of Indy is the hat.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Wife's always had a thing for Han Solo…

  17. Anonymous says:

    O dear, my poor husband is up against my major crush on Hugh Jackman. Fantastic body,sings well,acts well,dances, loves his wife and children,excellent income,seems to have a sense of humor and humility,intriguing accent,handsome face and nice smile. Did I say great body (refer to the scene in the Australia movie where he is at the camp with Nicole Kidman's character and "displays" his awesome physique and sexuality). Meltttt……

  18. Ian Ironwood says:

    In terms of pure masculine image, you can't go wrong with a classic fedora. It harkens back to a time when the heroics of WWII were still in the popular subconscious and masculinity was still valued in our society. I think that's one reason why the Indiana Jones character had such tingly appeal back in the 1980s, because it was a "safe" way for women at the time to get a dose of pure masculine Alpha injected into them through the safety of fiction and historical perspective. In the 1940s, it was OK to be a manly man who fought Nazis and blew stuff up, objectified women and was focused on his work to the exclusion of all else.

    It's also interesting to note that the custom of men wearing hats on a regular basis left our culture after Kennedy attended his inauguration bareheaded . . . right around the time feminism was in its intellectual ascendancy. Hey, maybe it isn't the best symbol in the world, but if you can pull it off, a fedora adds height, suggests broader shoulders, and attracts the eye.

    And you feel like Indy. Bonus Alpha buff.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Don't recommend telling a man you love him before he tells you. This is not to be mean but to allow him to lead the pace of the relationship which sets the masculine leadership tone.

    This does not stop a woman from showing her growing affections in many other ways letting him know in other ways how she feels.

    By waiting to say "I love you" it can help you stay more focused on what is actually going on between the two of you.

    I would say the same carefulness and restraint should be used in sexual behavior. Women can think a man loves her because he is enjoying sleeping with her and she may bond with him due to this when their is not a good basis for either saying "I love you".

  20. Anonymous says:

    About romance novels and taking cues for social matrix standing :
    I never had any interest in romance novels at any age whether well written or not. From what I could tell the men in them didn't bear any resemblance to my male relatives and acquaintances and I was not like the women in them. It just seemed more intriguing to me to figure out what real men were like and what they liked in women and in particular,about me.

    Do agree that it could skew a woman's expectations but other factors can come in to play such as a materialistic nature,insecurity with how she comes across with men and a true lack of understanding of men. This could cause a woman to want to escape to her romance world no the romance world causing her problems. The problems are already there though they could be exacerbated.

    There are many women who have not had a father present or a good and caring and involved father. There are many women who do not have a mother to show them the way to be happy in the realities of marriages. This can lead to women searching for some guide in romance novels,misguided girlfriends and poorly chosen men.

    The best and first guide for a girl ,in order to avoid such foolishness is a great father. Through him she learns to be responsible,to feel loved and secure,to feel that it is very pleasant to share time with men who are so different from her girl nature and to feel that this first,important man in her life loves her girlishness,too. (Here's to you,Dad!)

  21. My hat is somewhat of a cross between and fedora and a porkpie. It's adventurous and a little bad boy. It matches the black leather jacket and gloves. It's sold as a porkpie hat.

    1 in 1000 guys can pull off a straw hat of any kind. You'd better be buff and sweaty.

  22. Regarding hats, I think it depends on where you live as well. In my neck of the woods (rural Oklahoma) a guy can pull off a stetson (straw or felt) much easier than a fedora. I like fedoras but would have a hard time wearing one around here because of the 'urban hipster wannabe' label that would come with it.

    On the flip side, women who like men in cowboy hats tend to be more traditional. I often read about the women who are discussed on PUA and game sites, and get the feeling they belong to a culture that is largely foreign to me… because it is.

  23. Hey, Jennifer likes those Straight no Chaser guys! I love those guys. Nothing's hotter than male acapella.

    But hey, I'm glad my celeb crushes are at least talented men, not just men famous for being thugs:)

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