For Valentine’s Day, let’s learn about love from Hugh Jackman

It’s Valentine’s Day, and we’re all thinking about love. So it’s more than a little serendipitous that this story has been popping up in various forms on every damn news outlet ever within the last 24 hours. Here’s the gist: Hugh Jackman has once again had to deny rumors that he’s gay. And not surprisingly, these rumors kind of bug his wife, Deborra Furness.

Here we have a man who has been married to his wife for 16 years, with nary a peep from either one of them indicating dissatisfaction with their relationship. I was once present at a benefit hosted by Jackman, and when his wife joined him onstage, he grabbed her and kissed her passionately because he’d been traveling and hadn’t seen her for days. They seem pretty damn well in love. Yet the rumors persist.

I’ll be honest, this pisses me the hell off. Not the rumors, but the reason I’ve heard given for them: that Furness isn’t “hot” enough for Jackman.

Is she ugly? No. But she’s not a supermodel. Also, she’s older than he is. Older! Horrors! 

Attraction is variable. Different people like different things. Just because the media tells men that we only lust after women who look like the magazine ads, those of us who know ourselves know damn well that’s not the case. It’s a poisonous attitude that damages men almost as much as it damages women, and it makes finding and developing honest, loving relationships that much harder when we tell ourselves that we “should” or “shouldn’t” be attracted to this person or that. The next time you hear someone spout off this bullshit, or if you spout it off yourself, take a moment and think about what you’re saying and what it implies. Then decide if you really want to be a part of that.

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