ANTELOPE IN THE YARD
I asked my husband flat out if he had a man-crush on The Tile Guy.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I just wanted to know. Because he’s been talking about The Tile Guy. A lot. And in ways that are a bit curious. That’s why I asked.
The Tile Guy started his work two days ago. He showed up not long before I arrived home from an exercise class. My husband was here. And Tracey, the designer. And when I walked in, my husband met me at the door and whispered, “There’s a very sexy tile guy upstairs.”
I took the stairs two at a time, hoping my husband wouldn’t notice. Tracey and The Tile Guy were just emerging from the zippered plastic doorway that the contractors fashioned to contain the dust. It was true, The Tile Guy was sexy: tall, dark and muscley-armed. He had a strong handshake and looked you straight in the eye when he spoke.
“He is cute,” I said to Tracey once he’d gone.
“He’s stupid as grout.” Her assessment after spending fifteen minutes watching him fumpher through some rudimentary mathematical calculations.
There was a time in my life when brains would have definitely won out over arms, but now that call is not so clear cut.
But the question I’d posed my husband was later, in the evening, after he’d brought up The Tile Guy a few more times. After he’d commented on the music that he listened to, and the conversations he had with the other workmen.
“They talked about carbs and proteins. What they ate and what they lifted,” he told me.
“Nobody has a body like that by accident,” I said. “It’s hard work.”
My husband didn’t answer me directly about the man-crush question. “We don’t ever have anyone like that around the house,” he said. “It’s like having an antelope in the backyard. If you have an antelope in the backyard, your conversation is going to naturally drift toward discussing the antelope.”
It left me wondering whether that would be the sort of man my husband would have a man-crush on. And, of course, then I had to wonder whether The Tile Man seemed anything like me.
I took a good, long, surreptitious look at him today: tall, tanned, chiseled. Affable in an all-business kind of way. I couldn’t find a single similarity between us, although neither of us has any visible tattoos, so I guess we do have that in common.
I must admit, there is something oddly compelling about having that kind of alpha-male in the house. It’s unsettling, and I can’t really explain why. Is it some kind of pheromone thing, some irresistible emission that permeates the house like so much Axe cologne? Or is this just what middle-aged women (and men) ultimately become – antelope watchers?
We once had a wild turkey in our backyard, and it did garner practically this much discussion. If it had had better arms, maybe more.