ANDY MURCIA: MARRIAGE ADVICE
THE HE-SHE SYNDROME
Which is the husband
and which is the wife?
Can even their mirror
tell them apart?
What to do if your wife
starts looking like you
By ANDY MURCIA
Not long ago I was having lunch with an old pal of mine, running through our memories from the old days when we were Chicago police detectives together, when he suddenly said something that really set me back.
"You know, Andy," he said, "My wife is starting to look more and more like me."
At first it sounded kind of ridiculous, but then I remembered I'd started noticing this very phenomenon lately. Like the time I stopped at one of those big stores for people who drive campers and noticed this couple who pulled into a parking space next to me. The guy got out of the camper wearing a checkered flannel shirt, blue jeans, hiking shoes and those old-fashioned very plain, non-designer type eyeglass frames. Then, out the passenger door came a woman dressed in the same kind of checkered flannel shirt, blue jeans and hiking shoes. She was even wearing the same sort of eyeglasses.
The old guy, who walked with kind of a hitch in his get-along, looked like he was making a beeline for the bathroom as fast as his bad leg would allow. Meanwhile, his wife did a few brief stretches before heading inside. They both had mostly gray hair. I guessed they both cut each other's hair with those hair clippers the TV ads promised would save them big bucks. And, man, they ever cut it short! They looked like cellmates from San Quentin. In short, they could have passed for identical twins.
Suddenly my pal's comment didn't sound so ridiculous. He went on with his story, explaining how his wife no longer dressed sexy for him. He said they each used the same kind of white gym socks and she often wore a shirt exactly like his. They were not his and her shirts, they were his and his shirts! He said she started this manner of dressing by saying it was comfy to sleep in his slightly larger undershirt, which she felt fitted her like a nightgown used to fit.
As if that wasn't bad enough, he said she also used his razor to shave those few hairs that started growing on her chin sometime after she turned 65.
"Yeah, but doesn't she wear female stuff, like a dress, now and then?" I asked him.
He thought it over for a moment, then said, "I honestly can't recall the last time I saw her in a dress!"
Holy cow, this was getting depressing! I started thinking about my own wife. Would she be stealing my flannel shirts when she hit 65? Would she adopt my hairstyle?
I cut that out that kind of thinking right away. I go to Nicks Hollywood Barber Shop and I couldn't picture my Ann in there. I mean, she goes to "Mr. Bob" in Beverly Hills and her hair is blond. I like to think of my hair as "light black," even though I realize I have quite a bit of gray-white hair that looks like a stripe down a skunk's back. Anyway, we don't look a bit alike, which is fine with me.
But my pal was still going on, telling me his wife and he had the same waistline--complete with potbelly because they both enjoy a few beers at the end of a day. He also confessed she could change a flat tire way faster than he could! He said he didnt mind that aspect at all. But I could readily see all this twin stuff was of much concern to him, especially since she wasn't interested in "fooling around" much anymore.
My old pal, who was always an optimistic kind of guy, finally said he was trying to make the best of a bad situation by looking at the "bright side" of his wife's new look.
"I'm saving a bundle of bucks," he told me. "My wife hasnt been to a beauty parlor, a nail girl, or bought any make-up or womens clothing in years, man!"
Well, that's when I decided to put on my marriage counsellor hat.
"You probably complained so much about how much she spent on those female things that she just stopped availing herself of them," I told him. "She most likely started spending only what you were spending on your appearance. And having her looking like your twin is what you get for doing that."
He was a bit P.O.'d at first, but he soon calmed down and said, You might be right. I had no idea my beefing about how much she spent would cause her to stop doing all her girly stuff.
"And I'll bet you she did it," I said, because she loves you, pal. It was her way of keeping your big yap shut and making you happy.
I came away from that lunch knowing that my good old pal would now surely remedy things with the love of his life as soon as he got home. Over the many years Ive known them, they really were a cute couple. After a few drinks, she would always gaze into his eyes and say that he looked exactly like Clark Cable and hed give her a little kiss and tell her she looked just like Liz Taylor. (This was in the 60s, folks!).
So, while I hate to lay a moral to this story on you, I do hope this column acts like a reality check for you and yours. If youve been complaining a bit too much lately about how much the wife spends on her appearance, you'd better stop!
I mean, I've learned my own lesson. I'll never again complain about the big bucks Ann pays Mr. Bob to do her hair. That's because I want us to keep looking as different as possible, like Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.
©2007 by Andy Murcia. The illustration is from IMSI's Master Clips Collection, 1895 Francisco Blvd. E., San Rafael, CA, 94901-5506, USA. This column first posted Jan. 1, 2007.
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