I’m college educated with a professional job that pays well. My boyfriend of two years does manual labor, makes much less money and has poor financial prospects. He’s a simple guy, and we may not have many deep conversations, but he’s loyal, good to me in many ways, and we’re sexually compatible. He’s 43, and I’m seven years older, but I look pretty good. He’s very tall, in very good shape and very good-looking. The problem: Whenever some of my girlfriends come to the house, they’re so distracted by his looks that they stare at him a little obsessively. This is the one significant issue interrupting our relationship. How can I stop worrying about this and find peace of mind?

— Insecure

Which of the following doesn’t belong? 1. I have a rare fatal form of B.O. 2. I’m in the middle of a bear breeding ground wearing a necklace of beef jerky. 3. My boyfriend is tall, buff and incredibly hot.

Sorry if I sound unsympathetic, but as problems go, “My boyfriend’s too good-looking!” is right up there with “I make too much money!” and “I own too many villas on the Italian Riviera!” It is conceivable that your girlfriends find your working man Adonis glance-worthy, but are you really running around dabbing their chins for drool? Come on, what goes on at your house, you invite the ladies over for drinks, while directly in front of your bay window your boyfriend slowly peels off his tank top, picks up his massive ax and starts chopping wood?  

Granted, girls do look longer at good-looking people. As do boys. Even the very youngest boys and girls. University of Exeter researcher Dr. Alan Slater showed newborn babies pictures of faces and found that they gazed longest at the faces adults rated as more attractive. In the long run, though, grown-up women are looking for more than eye-candy, which is why the girl supermodel might lie down with the boy supermodel, but she’s likely to partner up with some obscenely wealthy Hobbit. Even regular girls duke it out for a man with status and potential — if not a tycoon, at least a driven guy who seems to be making something of himself. While your boyfriend may round out his hotitude with a golden heart and many fabulous qualities, in the Big Man On Campus department, he’s currently the pool boy.  

If this doesn’t quell your fears about his poachability, maybe you’d be more comfortable with an ugly boyfriend. Or blind friends. Or, if that’s a bit much to swing, try getting more comfortable with yourself. Start by asking yourself, what’s the worst thing that could possibly happen? He’ll leave you? OK, maybe that he’ll leave you for a stripper named José. Still, you’ll live — even if the latter takes you a while to live down. At the moment, the wisest thing you could do is put a handbrake on that low self-esteem. From the picture you paint, there’s a good chance you have little to worry about; well, except that your worrying is sending him the message that he’s dating down. Nothing lowers a girl’s value quite like her own low opinion of herself. All you can do is recognize that you have a lot to offer and hope he recognizes it, too. So why not live for today instead of living in fear that he’ll be gone tomorrow? That way, you’ll be handcuffing him to the bed for the right reasons — meaning you don’t follow up the click of the lock by leaving the room to have a scenery-free yak-fest with the girls.

Justice Of The Peace And Quiet

Maybe that guy Basement Bob, who wrote you that he hates sleeping in the loud, cold, uncomfortable basement when he and his girlfriend visit her religious relatives, should get married! If he and his girlfriend have been together for eight years, it seems logical. It would make her Lutheran family happy and can’t be much worse than their current relationship.

— Here To Help

It’s not like marriage is some secret rite known only to a few aging Freemasons. If these people thought marriage would make them happy, don’t you think it would have occurred to them to take a trot down the aisle? I stand by my advice: Either she goes along with his proposed work-around, a nice warm motel room, or she goes visiting alone. Regarding your notion that marriage “seems logical,” when a girl makes it clear she doesn’t care that you’re cold, wet, uncomfortable, sleepless and a cat’s using your face as a treadmill… is the prudent response really asking her to marry you? That’s almost as sensible as doing it because her religious relatives, whom you visit once a year, get a little edgy at the thought of anyone having sex without a license.