Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Better Deal

     My beautiful bride and I sometimes like to play a game in which we look at couples and try to determine who got the better deal. It’s a game that’s based strictly on our subjective and superficial assessment of the relative attractiveness of the two people involved.  We do not consider personality or income or anything else that may change our cursory, snap judgment of who’s better looking.
     With some couples, the outcome is a tie. Neither is noticeably better looking than the other. But most of the time, there’s a clear winner. And most of the time, that winner is the male in the coupling. For reasons I have yet to understand, good-looking men don’t often hang out with ugly women, but good-looking women are inevitably in the company of an ugly man.
     OK. Perhaps ugly is too strong a word here. While a few of the people you meet may fit that special category, most are simply unattractive, mainly because of the choices they make with their clothing, their hair or their personal hygiene.  So let’s rephrase and say that attractive women are more likely to be with unattractive men than attractive men are to be with unattractive women. That’s the case, at least, in our completely unscientific and random people-watching game.
     And we don’t restrict the game to strangers. We think about the couples we know and make the same determination. And we sometimes include celebrities. For example, my wife would say that Amal Clooney got the better deal when she married George.  Not that Amal is bad-looking, by any measure. But, according to my wife, George Clooney is better looking than she is. In fact, she says, George is better looking than most people on the planet.
     That may be one of the reasons she fell for me. Because she loves Clooney, and George and I have a LOT in common. 
     We were born 12 days apart in May of 1961. 
     We both lived in Kentucky during our early years.
     We’re both fans of the Cincinnati Reds. 
     He made his television debut in 1978. I made my stage debut in 1978 -- appearing in our church Christmas play. 
     He has a home in Italy; I can find Italy on a map.
     We both married stunning women.
     The similarities go on and on.
     One difference, though, is that George ended up married to someone who is not quite as attractive as he is. I ended up marrying someone who is way, way, way more attractive than I’ll ever be. And, as often happens when we play our silly game,  I wonder what such a beauty sees in a goof like me. 
     And she's not just amazingly attractive. The smartest person I know is my wife. The sweetest person I know is my wife. The most beautiful person I have ever known is my wife. I clearly got the better deal. Then again, what man didn’t?

Sunday, February 22, 2015

On This Date In History

     I’ve been pondering for some time now what, if anything, is appropriate to give my spouse on the occasion of a landmark birthday she has coming up.  You’ll note in the above sentence that I don’t make mention of the specific landmark because I’m still not sure she wants the world to know her exact age.  I’ll give you a hint, though. On the day that she was born the angels got together and decided to create a dream come true. Also, Jimmy Page put out his first solo  single . It was called “She Just Satisfies,” and while it may not have been specifically about my beloved,  the title is an apt description.
     It’s also fair to say that she has always loved playing games with people who ask how old she is.  When our kids were younger, she would just lie to them whenever they asked, changing the specific age used in the lie to a different number each time. She had them convinced for a brief time that she was in her early twenties.  I ruined that charade by telling the kids the truth about how long we had been married.  Once they could do simple math, it occurred to them that most women don’t get married when they are eight years old. 
     I don’t think my beloved particular cares that the kids know her age, but she is coy when talking about the subject with others. My wife, you see, is blessed with beautiful, porcelain skin, which belies her true age. That perfection is most obvious when she’s standing next to her friends from high school and college. They look their age. She doesn’t. And she enjoys imagining that people think of me as a cradle robber because I, too, look my age.
     That may explain why I found it humorous when we were dining out with some younger friends one time and the waitress made the incorrect assumption that we were the parents of that young couple. And then there was the time at a school function with our actual children where a teacher started to instruct the parents about what to do, but paused momentarily as she looked at us and added … “or grandparents.”
     So, again, what, if anything, should I get to mark the special occasion birthday this year? I have considered some sort of, ahem, “golden” trinket, but that may hit too close to home.  I’ve also considered that the gift of my presence should be enough, but we all know that won’t fly. The most important thing, I suppose, is to keep my mouth shut. Because grumpy old women hold grudges. Or so I've heard.