Updated: December 29, 2012 6:18AM
Jealousy. A young man’s game; high school, maybe college. But if you carry it much longer than that, then you really are an insecure guy — the kind who makes girls’ lives miserable.
Now, I’ve had my jealousy. It consumed me. I carried it on just a bit longer than it was age-appropriate. I did embarrassing things. I think we’ve all done drive-bys, am I right? You break up with a girl or a wife and then drive by their house, see if they’re dating anybody, if there’s somebody else’s car in the driveway. I don’t think I was as bad as Martin Scorsese in the back seat of Travis Bickle’s cab in “Taxi Driver,” but I did stuff that made me sick to my stomach. So one day, I said, “That’s it, I’m done. That jealousy strand is out of me.” I canned the jealous spirit within me. I said, “You are doing me no good. You’re fired. Get out of my office. No severance pay, no health benefits, you’re gone. Jerk.” And wow, my whole life opened up. There was so much more room in my mind to focus on my career and my narcissism.
I’ve been married for 15 years now, and that ugly monster has never reared its head. But my buddy Stevie B says that jealousy is an important tool to keep a long-term relationship alive; every four to six weeks, a man has to get fake stupid-crazy-jealous to keep his girl from thinking he is taking her for granted. Furrow your brow, grind your teeth and breathe heavily through your nose. Try this, or come up with your own tic. Just make it ridiculous.
Stevie B told me about the night he took his wife to a little sushi restaurant on the North Side of Chicago. They were having a nice time, drinking a little sake. And then he started getting quiet. He paid the check, got in the car, didn’t say a word. And, naturally, his wife said, “What’s the matter?” Stevie B, in his best Clint Eastwood, said, “Nothin’.” “Come on,” she said. “Nothin’,” he replied again. Now she’s getting a little freaked out, pressing him, silent.
They get into their apartment and she finally says, “Come on, Steve, what’s the matter?” And Stevie B explodes in rage. “I SAW THE WAY YOU WERE LOOKING AT THAT WAITER! Giving him the eye, flirting with him, right in front of me.” She said, “What waiter? You mean the little old guy with the lazy eye?”
“YES! Go ahead, go marry him! Go marry him! Go on! Not good enough around here for you? Go!” And then he leans over, picks up a household item — (By the way, pick something that’s not expensive, non-breakable. I once used a Styrofoam cup, but it lost the dramatic velocity of the moment. It just sort of floats then gently hits the floor. I stepped up to an apple — the fruit, not the computer.) — and he whips it across the room and it bangs on the wall. And his wife is in shock. She says, “You’re crazy!” They went to bed that night, silent.
The next morning, he could hear his wife talking to a girlfriend on the phone, “Oh my god, Steve got so jealous last night, I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “Over a waiter that I didn’t even notice! Oh boy, he’s got it bad for me.”
The two girls giggled about how stupid men are.
That’s it, guys. It’s that simple.
Jim Belushi donated his fee for writing this column to the Rape Treatment Center at UCLA Medical Center, 911rape.org.