Adam Levine Is Better-Looking Than Me And Probably Always Will Be

Comments 20

I like you

He reached into one of the side drawers of his desk, pulled out a porn mag and flashed me the cover.

He sort of raised his eyebrows, like: “Hot, right? I know you want some of that.”

I probably did. I was only 16. But the whole scene made me uncomfortable. Because he was bragging about his porn mag in front of his wife. (Which is probably better than hiding it, but that’s not my point.)

I’ll never forget what he said. “Oh, she doesn’t care. She knows this is reality,” he said in his best dissatisfied voice while gesturing toward her. “And this is fantasy,” he said proudly of the pouty sex kitten showing off her goods on the cover of Penthouse.

I looked at his wife. I got the distinct impression she cared.

In nine years of marriage, my wife never once heard me talk about another woman in a lustful way. She never heard me say something that might suggest I didn’t think she was good enough or pretty enough or sexy enough compared to some other woman who I thought was.

I’m not bragging. That DID NOT make me a good husband. It just made me thoughtful and polite in that one particular area.

Part of it was because I try to be nice and respectful.

But another part of it was simply me recognizing behavior that made me feel extra-shitty when done in reverse.

My wife didn’t sit around talking lustily about other men most of the time. But sometimes when she was with her girlfriends, there was always the girl who would bring up how dreamy (insert celebrity of choice here) Ryan Gosling, Adam Levine, sexy vampire or werewolf guy from True Blood or Twilight, etc. is.

The implication being: “I’m totally faithful to my husband, but if one of those guys showed up at my door, I’d let him do whatever he wanted.”

Maybe honesty is a good thing, even in this instance.

Maybe saying that out loud and owning it is better than keeping it to yourself if it’s actually true.

But that sentiment always made me feel shitty.

Because, I have an idea: Don’t be with me if I’m not good enough for you. Because I can’t be those other men.

And the real bitch of it is that no one can be like those people. Because we don’t know about all their negative human qualities, because we only see them looking good in front of cameras. You’re not even being compared to real people. Just personas, or fictional characters on television.

I was at a wedding once where a guy my wife knew from high school was drunk and flirting with her. He was the little brother of one of her old friends, all grown up now.

I heard him tell her that he wanted to have sex with her.

I already knew plenty of men thought it, probably even my friends. We’re human, and I totally get that. But I’d never heard a man say that to my wife before.

She hadn’t done anything to invite it. And she didn’t indicate mutual interest in return.

But I was next-level angry when she and I left the reception with another couple shortly after. I wanted to break a chair over that stupid mook’s face, but I would have just lost the fight against all his friends afterward and felt even worse, but with broken ribs.

She blew off my anger as silly man jealousy. “Oh, he’s harmless. Didn’t mean a thing.”

I get over things pretty quickly. This is the first time I’ve thought about that guy since back when it actually happened.

And I find I don’t care about him at all.

But I still care that my anger didn’t matter to her.

Maybe she thought I deserved it.

And maybe I did.

Must Be This Tall To Ride

Everything about this blog’s beginning is predicated on feelings of inadequacy.

Of not being metaphorically tall enough.

I’ve always cared what other people thought of me. We like to act cool, unfazed, like nothing other people say or think about us matters. Maybe some people really are immune to those fears and insecurities. I’m not, though.

I want you to like me, and when you don’t, I feel like a failure and wonder if everyone feels that way.

When your wife leaves you, you feel like a spotlight is being shined brightly on all of your faults and failings. You start wondering what her family thinks about you. What your family thinks about you. What your friends think about you. What your co-workers think about you.

And to a certain extent, that still happens.

Every woman I meet must think: “I wonder what this douchebag did to make her want to leave. He’s probably just like all my ex-boyfriends who made me miserable.”

And the sick truth is that I probably do share commonalities with their exes. I believe most of our human failings look an awful lot like one another’s. I think most couples break over the same basic things. I think if everyone took off the masks and were really honest with one another, we’d all feel a little better because we’d realize: We’re not the only ones, after all.

In our 2014 Facebook culture, it’s so easy to fall into the trap of comparing ourselves to others.

My house isn’t as big as theirs.

My car isn’t as nice as his.

My writing isn’t as good as hers.

My job isn’t as good as his.

I’m not attractive enough for her.

We don’t get to be a fly on the wall when these people are scream-fighting with their partners in the kitchen. Or when they sing and dance alone in their houses. Or when they trip and fall. Or when they’re jerking off to some freaky fetish porn. Or when they’re rocking out to some really lame pop song in their car that they don’t want anyone to know they like.

We don’t get to be inside their heads when their brains are going a mile a minute with all of the same kinds of insecurities and fears that we have.

We compare our regular, flawed, totally human, everyday stuff to other people’s highlight reels. Their financial successes and exotic vacations and perfect-looking family photos.

It’s all a huge lie. And you believe it because you’re a person, but you don’t have to believe it because you’re smart. You’re smart enough to stop believing it.

Please don’t say or do things in front of the people you love that might make them feel like you’d rather be with someone more than them, unless you actually want to, and maybe then brutal honesty is the best policy.

They deserve better. And so do you.

I’m not Ryan Gosling or Adam Levine. I can’t look or be like them. And maybe if I really got to know them, I wouldn’t even want to be.

But I am kind of smart.

I am kind of funny.

I’m not going to knock anyone over with movie-star looks, but some people think I’m attractive.

I may never be a great writer, but some people like to read my work.

I don’t really know what I am.

What you think of me still matters, and probably always will.

But I know I’m good enough.

Just like that porn-mag lover’s wife.

Just like you.

20 thoughts on “Adam Levine Is Better-Looking Than Me And Probably Always Will Be”

  1. Have you ever considered that people do this to provoke a reaction from their partner? I’m not a jealous partner and one of my exes didn’t like that fact so he tried, on a few occasions, to incite a reaction out of me by saying how attractive he thought so and so was. He had no reason to behave in this way because, generally, when I’m in love, they get my everything. I always found it incredibly sad that he still felt he needed to cause negative emotions in me in order to pacify his own insecurities xx

    1. I have considered it. Those people are unkind and will pay little attention to me asking them not to.

      I think sometimes that people (especially men) do things thoughtlessly. They mean no harm. They’re just derpa-derping their way through life and accidentally hurting people.

      Someone like that might care.

      Or not!

      I don’t know. I just know Adam is better-looking than me. But he doesn’t sing better.

      Just kidding. I’m totally shitty at singing, too.

      Great to hear from you, lady.

  2. My husband and I had a similar incident at an anniversary party a few years ago. I think I did the right thing – I turned my back on the drunken idiot, hugged my husband and said I was read to leave. My husband was angry and I did not want him to make a scene or to stew on it any longer, so we left and went to a diner for pie. It turned into a wonderful night.

    I am fortunate to be in a happy, stable marriage. I always say my husband makes me a better, kinder, nicer person, and I wholeheartedly believe that. Just like I know he drives me crazy, makes me feel like a petulant child when I have to negotiate with him on practical matters (because he has to live in our house, too), and can irritate me like no one else. We’re human, not plastic pretend people.

    1. That’s a nice story. 🙂


      It seems like many, many people who read this stuff are divorced and broken and sad. And I just want to tell you how refreshing it is, and how flattered I am, that you’re in a happy, stable marriage and still find… I don’t know… value?… in reading this stuff once in a while.

      Thank you so much. It means a lot.

      1. I actually read everything you post, and for awhile there I was going backward through your archive, month by month, until I made it to the very beginning. It’s good stuff, Matt.

  3. I had to Google Adam Levine. Wow, am I getting old. He’s got nothing on Liam Neeson. =)
    G and I always make little jokey comments about our respective “desert island babes” His: Salma Hayek. Mine: Mark Ruffalo of the doe eyes, flirty smile and progressive stance on women’s rights. (Sigh) I don’t think either of us takes it personal. Are only single people allowed to have fantasies? In an ideal world maybe, but not terribly realistic. I don’t expect my husband to be married to me for 25 years and to not ever be attracted to someone else. I like to think our relationship is deep and strong enough to withstand that. And, didn’t you devote an entire blog once to your crush list? The one with Alyssa Milano and Tiffany?

    Of course, celebrity crushes are different than some jerk hitting on your wife at a wedding.

    1. This was intended to be about people’s adequacy issues.

      Maybe not everyone has them, but I’m pretty sure they do. Even the people who think they have it all together.

      I don’t think everybody feels inadequate if their girlfriends or husbands or whoever thinks some random celeb or another person they know in real life is super-attractive and says so.

      It was just my personal example. Because I was insecure about that.

      She wanted them. It felt like she didn’t want me. Net result = insecurity and feelings of not being good enough.

      Everyone has different experiences. But somewhere along the way, something made them feel like they weren’t good enough, and maybe that same scenario wouldn’t faze me at all. I don’t presume to know.

      The difference between my celebrity crush list (I have absolutely no idea why I wrote that, by the way), and what I write about here is that I’m not in a relationship, and even if I was, I would try hard to not point at other women as being objects of desire in a way that might make my girlfriend/fiancee/wife feel shitty.

      That does not make me a good person. It just means I want people to lift others up because I think that’s a good idea that makes everyone’s lives better.

      And yeah, it was totally Debbie Gibson. Which is weird, because her music was crappy and I don’t find her particularly attractive now that I’m all grown up (physically).

      I was surprised you had to look up Mr. Levine. Chicks dig him, K.

      Always awesome to hear from you. *blows kiss*

      1. So last night I was at RottenTomatoes looking to see if there was anything new out worth adding to the Netflix Q and was happy to see the movie Begin Again starring Mark Ruffalo, and also… Adam Levine! It must be a sign from the universe! Also, the leading lady is Keira Knightley who, if I recall, was also on your hottie list.
        Happy Halloween!

  4. I have heard it said that you are the person that you want to be. Your behaviour betrays what you really want. I always wanted to be a well read cultured deep thinking person, and thanks to magazines such as “the People’s Friend, and my efforts, I am. My Raymond always wanted to be a lazy, ignorant sack of lard, and that’s what he became. Life is ruddy marvellous. It rewards us by granting our deepest wishes.

    1. I don’t know if that bit about Raymond was supposed to generate laughs, but I’m guilty of chuckling when I read it the first time AND the second time.

      You’re ruddy marvelous, Auntie Doris. I wish you were actually my aunt. You can’t have too many of those.

      Always such a pleasure to hear from you.

  5. Very, VERY few of us get to be the the greatest at anything, including looks. So no matter where our insecurities lie, we all have to accept the fact that someone is better than us in this area or that for our entire lives!!! But like you said (kinda), we are the sum of a lot of awesomeness. And Ryan and Adam likely don’t hold a candle to the depth of your best parts,….features….factors? Ha ha I hope that made sense….muah!!!

    1. They’re probably both emotionally deep intellectuals as well.

      Especially Gosling. That dude has a rad “Hey Girl” meme.

      #emotionallydeep #allmemesaretrue

  6. Wastebook. A cyber depiction of America’s relationship with credit.

    Personally, I don’t care when someone I’m with speaks about another woman in a lust filled way. It’s just talk. Actions are what matters.

    Ryan Gosling is very hot. If me saying that makes the man I’m with feel bad about himself, then we are both with the wrong people.

    By the way, there are whole websites devoted to Ryan Gosling “Hey Girl” memes. A friend told me.

  7. Ohhhh…the Hey, Girl memes are my favorite! Especially the ones about librarians (since that’s what I’m in school to become)!

    On to your post, though. Insecurities lurk behind every perfect smile, and every sad face. I agree, pointing out others as a goal is not a good thing. I’ve never been comfortable with anyone I dated talking about another woman in a lustful way. I figure, even those of us who seem to have it together have hidden wounds…so why take a chance at pouring in intended salt in that wound? *stepping off soapbox*

  8. This post does apply to many people. So many human beings find themselves inadequate. Forgive me, but referencing a line from Perks of Being a Wallflower saying that we accept the love we think we deserve I think fits pretty well. It’s result of our feeling of inadequate. Hollywood also sets way too high of standards and media basically rules humanity’s goal set. It’s entirely bogus. Hopefully, more people will start thinking that being real and caring about each other is much bigger than being the America’s Next Top Model.

    Thank you for this post, Matt. Hopefully, when people read it, they’ll try to help spread what you are trying to (maybe). Respect.

    1. Hi, miss.

      Thank you very much for reading and commenting. I’m glad you found it relevant.

      I like to write stories about things that happened to me, and maybe those things made me laugh, cry, happy or sad.

      And sometimes people read them and get to say: “Good. I’m glad I’m not the only one who thinks and feels like that.”

      That’s when I know it mattered. Appreciate you visiting very much.

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