By Hugh O'Neil
One husband learns he's not the stuff his wife's fantasies are made of.
Will his pride (and their marriage) survive?
My wife and I were in bed one night, watching folksinger James Taylor on the
tube, when my world was changed forever. "Now, he's my type,"
Jody purred hungrily.
"Pardon me, doll?" I said, sure I'd heard her wrong.
"He's my type," she repeated, suddenly aware of what she'd said and
how she'd said it.
"Your type?" I croaked.
"Yeah, you know, all tall and lanky," she effused, trying to act as
though this was something we'd both known forever. "I'm a sucker for a tall
I wondered two things: when exactly my wife had turned into Miss Kitty from
Gunsmoke, and whether I'd be able to draw breath again anytime soon.
Who says marriages have no surprises? Twenty-five years into mine, I had
just been poleaxed with a revelation. First, the bad news: There is a class of
tall, gangly men to whom my wife is, at some creature level, attracted. Then,
the worse news: At 5 feet 10 inches, 185 pounds, I am nobody's tall drinka
water. Turns out, I am not my wife's type.
Over the next few days, I tried to convince myself that it didn't matter
that Jody's then 19-year-old blood had not quickened the instant I first walked
into frame. After all, we had a history, two children, and a flourishing
partnership. Wasn't all that more important than my childish notion that we
should be each other's physical ideal?
Then, for a while, I imagined I could become her type. In search of
stature, I hitched my pants up an inch or two. Chafing ensued. I tried to
shamble, in a sort of James Taylor-esque way. But at my height, it came across
as more of a slither.
Soon, my disappointment turned into a taste for payback. One night, when we
were working on the New York Times crossword puzzle, I pointed to a
lingerie-clad woman on the adjacent page. "Now, she's my type," I
"What's a five-letter word for 'give me a break'?" Jody said.
"I'm your type.
"Well, yes, of course, dear. I just couldn't help noticing that this
woman in the aubergine undies is attractive too. Don't you think she's
lovely?" Jody just laughed.
"Mmmmmm," I enthused, two days later, at a Beyoncé video. I tried to
"Are you trying to say Beyoncé is your type?" Jody asked.
"Oh, no," I said with James Taylor–ish innocence. "But she's
nice-looking, isn't she?"
"Jimmy Stewart in The Philadelphia Story," she said
"Tommy Tune," she added.
"What are you talking about?" I said, perfectly aware that she was
naming all the tall drinksa water who, unlike me, made her glad she was a