I was recently witness to a conversation with a married couple and another female friend about “the freebie list.”
Oh, it wasn’t stated in such overt terms, but somewhere in our society we seem to have formulated this unspoken social norm about celebrity crushes.
A bus advertising the new Denzel Washington movie had just zoomed by, reigniting the conversation an hour before on the attractiveness of Denzel. Both women had been singing his praises while the husband sat in the front, jesting that if he didn’t have enough of a healthy ego he would be offended.
The introduction of the bus ad—coupled with the wife’s insistence to catch up to it to see the title of the movie—brought the friend to ask the husband what movie star was his favourite.
“Oh it’s different for men,” he insisted. “We’re not allowed to have anything like that.” I was struck by this and remained silent.
See, a part of me couldn’t help but agree with him. Where did I get this notion that evolved, mature men wouldn’t vocalize any list they had, or even wouldn’t have one at all?
Perhaps it’s my heart still aching from betrayal, wanting to think there really are men out there that cherish the partner they have. I realized I have a double standard. That for all my liberal notions of sex and gender, a part of me thinks it’s all right for a woman to have a freebie list but it’s disrespectful for a man to have the same.
As if a woman’s loyalty and love is stronger than flimsy celebrity crushes but a man’s must run solely toward his beloved.
Maybe one day I’ll witness love so thick and juicy that a paltry freebie list will quiver at its depth. In the meantime, I’ll keep working to uncover these gender biases I find under the rocks of my unconscious.
The husband never did mention any names or any list he had. And I couldn’t help but respect him for it.
Though, for the record, mine are Ryan Reynolds, Salma Hayek and Elijah Wood.
Just. In. Case.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: Flickr / Athena LeTrelle