One of the main themes from the 1960s sitcom “I Dream of Jeannie” is Jeannie was a jealous wisp of smoke that could never really have her “master” the way she wanted her master. At least not until the ratings push for the fifth season rolled around. Astronaut Major Anthony Nelson would occasionally date other women, even though Jeannie lived in his house in a bottle on the hutch in the Kravitz’s living room, and this would make Jeannie jealous. She’d then blink and with a jump cut and a sound effect the object of her jealousy would become a porcelain statue or a dog or something. Boing plink, I’m jealous.

I’ve been married (in the relationship sense) for nearly 24 years. You know where jealousy comes from? From within. It’s a signal of a lack of self-confidence. No one can make you jealous. Jealous is your own thing. You’re feeling inadequate. You’re feeling insecure.

People have asked me how my husband and I have managed to stay together for nearly 24 years. Well, I’m going to share a secret with you. Back in 1996 when we decided we wanted to spend our lives together we decided the only exit plan was death. There were no other options. Divorce? Not an option. Separation? Not an option. Murder? Under extreme circumstances.

I find many men attractive. I find some women attractive too and quite frankly since 24 years ago we established “death” as the only exit plan for our relationship, I don’t hesitate to tell my husband if I find a guy cute. Years ago we were walking together in Crossgates Mall in Albany, N.Y. and apparently a man was eyeballing me on the escalator.

OK, let’s step out of the blog entry for a moment. I’m going to tell you something about me. I have never been able to pick up on these “clues”. I never know when someone is flirty. I never know when someone finds me attractive. I have no idea what the homosexual signals are for “let’s have sex!” in a Thruway Service Area.

I. Am. Clueless.

My husband has a keen sense of who is scoping out whom and he knows who’s having sex in the mall bathroom. He just knows. Even though I’m eight years younger than him and I came out of the closet years before he did, he knows who’s shagging whom in the stall number three and I’m just there to pee and wash my hands.

So we were on the escalator in Crossgates Mall in Albany, N.Y. near a department store called Cohoes and apparently this guy was checking me out. I didn’t have a clue but Earl, being the card carrying homosexual that he is, did have a clue and he whispered in my ear, “that guy is checking you out.”

Had it not been 1999 with dial up access there probably would have been a meme with two girls and a guy (no pizza place) on a street.

This type of scenario does not happen in our relationship because death is the only exit. Do not take the elevator, the building is not on fire, no one is leaving the auditorium.

Honestly, if everyone conducted their marital affairs the way we did, NBC afternoons would have never been populated by “The Doctors” and the other soap operas of the 1970s. Where would Mac and Rachel be? Would Iris be mean enough to spring herself into her own soap opera named “Texas”?

See, you really didn’t know that I was gay enough to know these things about NBC soap operas but it’s not a gay thing as much as it’s a freak thing.

So, when I find a guy attractive my husband is fully aware of it and there’s no harm done. When he finds a guy attractive I am really into it and there’s no harm done. What the secret to a successful marriage? Be confident in who you are, lay down some ground rules, and be yourself.

Just because you’re chained to the fence doesn’t mean you can’t bark at the cars.

I wonder what the American marriage success rate would look like if people were confident in themselves and their relationships. How much happier would society be if people just accepted the fact that human beings are like every other animal on the planet and will always admire the beauty around them.

I’m musing about this because last night we watched a first season episode of “Bewitched”. If you’ve never watched it in its original black and white glory you should do so. “Bewitched” was a much more adult show in its first season and we enjoyed an episode where Larry Tate ogled women and suspected Darrin of having an affair with a brunette woman that resembled Samantha’s cousin Serena (who wouldn’t make appearance until much later in the series). At one point Larry Tate thinks Darrin is having an affair with his wife Louise (played by the much better cast Irene Vernon).

Speaking of “Bewitched”, why weren’t people upset about the fact that Maurice and Endora had an open relationship? I think I’ll save that dialog for another blog entry.

The bottom line of this rounds of musings is this, be yourself and allow your spouse or significant other to do the same. Love is the strongest bond in the universe. Allow it to stand on its own and put all of your confidence in that bond. Have confidence in yourself and have confidence in your relationship.

Leave the drama for the soap operas.

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