I have a huge crush on my husband. But I have a more complicated relationship with Tom’s desire to maintain himself. By maintenance, I’m talking about the gym, skin care products, clothes—all of it. I appreciate that he cares how he looks, but I get annoyed when his grooming starts interfering with my life.
The main way in which it interferes with my life is right before we go out to dinner or a social event. For some inexplicable reason, Tom always wants to be the last person to get out of the shower before we leave, and it will not stand. My hair and makeup, once set, begin an almost immediate process of deflating/disintegration, which means that it is imperative that I get out of the shower and blow-dried mere seconds before we step out of the house.
Why even bother to shower, dude? I’m just being real. With a hetero couple, no one is looking at what the man looks like when you go out with your friends. I mean, maybe they’re looking at the guy, but only if something is wrong. Like maybe the guy is wearing dad jeans or his cummerbund is on upside down. Or maybe there are two guys in the group wearing the exact same shirt, which has almost happened twice with Tom and our friend Erskine, and happened most recently to Tom and our friend Ryan (below). If something like that happens, you’re looking at the man. Otherwise, everyone’s looking at the women.
That doesn’t mean the guy doesn’t have a role to play. When we go out, Tom’s role is to look neither good enough nor bad enough to distract from my own appearance. In that way, I think of me and Tom as a bouquet. I’m the flowers and he’s the cellophane wrapper.
And guys, let us have that, ok? Once you start jockeying for the second shower position, or interrupting your wife’s outfit selection process to ask which pocket square you should wear when she hasn’t even put on her underwear—that’s annoying. It’s almost…unmanly. I know I’m treading perilously close to being un-PC, but sometimes I just want my man to be manly. Because in life, I can do most of it myself. I can make money. I can take care of my kids. I can call someone to fix something when it breaks, just as well as Tom can. So: don’t steal my Garnier Surf Paste and tweezers and then take them on your business trip. C’mon, man. I gave birth to your kids. Have I not given enough?
For all that, Tom’s still a ways off from caring too much. When he needs a haircut, he goes to Rudy’s, a local barbershop, and sits down in whichever chair is open. I have a few tenets I live by, and one of those tenets is Thou Shalt Honor Thy Hair. I can’t even fathom something as insane as letting a stranger cut your hair—it’s Russian roulette, where the bullet is a terrible haircut. And sure enough, every third visit, Tom comes home looking like one of those sheep that are shorn too close and are showing the tender pink skin beneath. When he gets a good haircut, I beg him to write down the name of the stylist, and to request that person in future. He always shrugs me off. Here’s the thing. I can’t help someone who doesn’t want to be helped.
When it gets right down to it, I guess I prefer that Tom care too much, rather than too little. Because it’s when a man stops caring that things get scary. Tom falls into these funks from time to time, but they only last a couple weeks at most, during which time you can usually find him lying on his back in front of the TV under a blanket of funsize Milky Way wrappers, with a 2-liter of Diet Coke within arm’s reach. I’ll take the dude with the Biore strip on his face over THAT guy, any day of the week.