Dear Mother Phawker:
My wife is a member of a book club whose members meet once a month, rotating from one house to the next. Two weeks ago, my wife was the host, and I watched as our living room filled with about 10 women. I played a support role in the proceedings, keeping the refreshments flowing and the food bowls filled. Everything was fine until I bumped into one of the club members in the hall.
We’ve been friends for several years, and she’s always been welcome in our home — maybe too welcome. She smiled at me and laid a hand on my elbow. “You know, I’ve always felt like I wanted to get to know you better,” she said. Then she squeezed my elbow and returned to the others.
Ma, I may not be the quickest study around, but I am not the slowest, either. My wife’s friend sent me a not-too-subtle sign that she’d like to add a new chapter to her life, with me playing a starring role.
I’m not taking her up on it, but I wonder: Should I mention this to my wife?
Stunned in the South
First, why didn’t you send a photo?
Second, DO NOT under any circumstances tell your wife about your hallway encounter. I agree with you that it was A Thing — obviously this woman thinks you’re hot, and may actually want to make the sexy right under your wife’s nose.
More than likely, though, she’s attracted to you and wants to know whether you’re attracted to her as well — and nothing more. If she’s the kind of woman your wife would want to be friends with, she’d never fool around with her friend’s man.
The wisest woman I know once told me that if you go into your marriage understanding that both you and your spouse will have the occasional crush, physical attraction, platonic infatuation, whatev, then you’re both better equipped to know the difference between an innocent flirtation and a home-wrecking dalliance. Obviously, it’s more difficult when it’s your spouse who has the crush, or in this case, is being crushed upon. Telling your wife at this point achieves nothing, will create drama between your wife and her friend, and will surely cause the woman who now thinks you’re dreamy to think you’re a jerk.
My advice to you is to allow yourself to feel flattered, even turned on, by this woman’s attention. If she shows up in your mid-shower daydreams, don’t freak out — obviously, you’ve shown up in hers. But don’t encourage her physical advances, and if she mentions it to you the next time you see her, be honest, direct and kind.
At this point, I see no need for you to tell your wife, unless her friend doesn’t take the hint.
(We are not your mother. Your mother is at home, watching “Deal or No Deal.” Sure, you could call and ask her, but that will just turn into a whole “thing,” what with the shouting and the running and the exploding and the crying. Instead, ASK MOTHER PHAWKER. Besides, your mom needs a break. Why do you think they sent you to college in the first place? And really, haven’t you asked her enough stupid questions over the years? Instead, direct all I-need-a-hug, it-hurts-when-I-pee and other how-to-deal inquiries to Mother Phawker at Mother@phawker.com. She loves you no matter what.)