My friends are in a panic.  They cannot reconcile my obvious interest in and daily dissection of men with my just-as-obvious relationship status (I’m in one).

Surely that wandering eye has some (ahem) implications, they ponder amongst themselves.  Maybe he doesn’t read what she writes, they rationalize.

They’re wrong, of course: my daily perusal of London’s male menu has exactly zero impact on my relationship (it is, after all, a relationship that I’m in, not visual exile) and he does indeed read everything I write.  We are both modern/self-assured/realistic/naive/(insert your own adjective here) enough to appreciate that neither of us went pre-maturely blind since we started dating.  And as nice as it would be, we know that the world’s supply of beauty wasn’t exhaustively divided between the two of us.

So, when we are out, this man of mine and I, we rate other men and women together.  I point out beautiful women to him (my taste in the second sex is much better than his, incidentally), and when I see his eyes lingering, I ask: Was it her face or her figure?  Her legs or her Pantene-perfect hair?

And when a handsome, well-coiffed, well-dressed man (like the one on the edge of the Hammersmith platform right now, sporting a fetching Movember ‘stache, hunter green trousers, striped navy top, and tan ankle boots) catches my eye, I point him out, too.

This is just bizarre, you insist.  One day, one of you will take things too far, you predict ominously.

Not at all, I say.  You can appreciate a Bentley without wanting to drive it.  You can enjoy an appetizer without craving a main.  You can thrill at the overture and fall asleep for the opera.  There are no slippery slopes here, dear readers.

And if you don’t agree, well, what does that say about you?