We study the potential flow of a second-order fluid over a sphere or an ellipse. The normal stress at the surface of the body is calculated and has contributions from the inertia, viscous and viscoelastic effects. We investigate the effects of Reynolds number and body size on the normal stress; for the ellipse, various angles of attack and aspect ratios are also studied. The effect of the viscoelastic terms is opposite to that of inertia; the normal stress at a point of stagnation can change from compression to tension. This causes long bodies to turn into the stream and causes spherical bodies to chain. For a rising gas bubble, the effect of the viscoelastic and viscous terms in the normal stress is to extend the rear end so that it tends to the cusped trailing edge observed in experiments.