How Would Your Spouse Describe You to a Stranger?

By Ann Ipock

How Would Your Spouse Describe You to a Stranger?

Have you ever wondered how your spouse / significant other would describe you to a stranger? Let’s say you’re meeting at Olive Garden for lunch. He arrives ahead of you and describes you to the hostess. Would he say, “She’s a cute blonde, nice shape, big smile, perfect teeth, dressed to the nines?” or would he say, “She’s short, not exactly fat – but, oh, what am I saying? Scratch that! Her hair is brownish, about to here.” Then he’ll point to his chin, then to his shoulder, then back to his chin, and shrug, a little embarrassed.

The reason I’m asking is I had this very discussion with the hostess at the aforementioned restaurant recently. I walked in, ready to say, “I’m meeting my husband and my name is Ann.” (We’d just discussed this on the phone.) But before I could say all that, the hostess interrupted me, saying, “What’s his name?” Though Russell isn’t an uncommon name, it’s harder to say and understand than Ann, so that was my reasoning. I told her this funny story; and she simply jotted down both names, for clarity: Russell and Ann. I also said he was tall, with gray hair and a goatee.

Later, the same hostess came over – it wasn’t particularly busy – and told me some interesting stories about couples meeting up separately; and some of the descriptions she’s heard over the years, such as: “Oh, he’s tall and he’s bald.” She asked me if I knew how many men fit that description. I looked around the room. Sure enough half the men in our section did. Another one she often hears is, “He’s heavy set and has gray hair.”

All of this made me think about spouses/significant others and how they would describe their partner. We’ve been married thirty-four years in April, but Russell must still think of me as his young bride back in 1980. Why? Because if I ever ask him how should I get my hair done – short or below my ears, highlights or lowlights, etc.; he’ll answer with something entirely unrealistic. He’ll tell me – over and over, it never changes – he wants to see it reddish, curly and past my shoulders. I then say, “Oh, and I guess you’d like to see me thirty pounds lighter, as well?” He grins really big to this question.

It’s interesting how our looks change and evolve over time. Some couples start looking more and more alike. I knew of one couple that both had short, cropped gray hair, both were stooped over and both had trouble walking. They were the same size (around) and same height. From the back, I swear you couldn’t tell the two of them apart.

But another couple, about our age, has gone to the other extreme. She looks more like him (in the past) and he looks more like her (in the past). Have they switched roles? I’ve noticed that more and more, she dresses in a masculine way, with extremely short hair, spiked; and she always wears blazers and trousers. He, on the other hand, wears his hair a little longer in the back, curling up at the collar and with just enough colorful streaks to wonder if he “does or doesn’t.” Do you think only his hairdresser knows for sure? He wears soft, thin-soled Italian loafers and shirts with rolled up sleeves or pastel cashmere sweaters. I get the impression he spends hours getting ready every day, grooming himself, if you will. She, on the other hand, appears to spray a can of “got 2b glued blasting freeze spray” through her hair, slips on her Docksiders, jumps into her truck and off she goes. She doesn’t even wear lipstick anymore. Now that’s serious!

All of this is to say I wish they’d bring back “The Newlywed Game.” Except not for newlyweds. I’d like it to be for couples married twenty years plus. I wonder if they’d know each other any better than the newlyweds do. Most of all, I’d just like to hear how they would describe the love of their life. And then live to tell it, when all is said and done.

About this writer

  • Ann Ipock Ann Ipock, the first Sasee hat recipient, is the author of the “Life is Short” humor trilogy. She currently writes for four publications and lives in Wilmington, North Carolina, with her husband, Russell.

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One Response to “How Would Your Spouse Describe You to a Stranger?”

  1. Linda O'Connell says:

    Ann, this was a fun read. I think as people age they look more androgynous. Walk through the grocery store and you can’t tell the old women from the old men half the time.

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