My husband, Alan, is not very happy with me right now. And surprisingly it has nothing do with something that I did or said. Instead, it has everything to do with something I didn't do or say. About his hair.
A few weeks ago, nearly two years after the event, we finally received the official photo album for our oldest son's bar mitzvah. While I excitedly flipped through the book, Alan was simultaneously flipping out about the way his hair looked. Upon closer inspection it seemed that in some of the photos Alan had an usual curl in his coif, which resulted in a single curl slightly dangling in the middle of his forehead. Imagine the animated version of Superman. Now imagine Superman getting super mad.
Alan was beside himself. He was upset about the obviously misplaced curl, upset that no one had the decency to tell him about it that day and upset that I obviously didn't notice it or ask to Photoshop it after spending months reviewing every photo for the album. The boys and I tried to comfort him by saying it wasn't so bad or even noticeable, but he wasn't buying it.
"If your hair looked like that in a picture you would be upset, too!" he retorted. He was right. If that had happened to me I would be fixated on it. I still can't get over the time I spent fifteen minutes talking to some friends only to realize an hour later that I had a piece of spinach between by teeth and no one bothered to tell me. But this is different. My hair would never look like that in a photo because, frankly, I am way too vain for that to happen. While I am quite sure Alan never asked me or the photographer to check his hair that morning, I can also guarantee that I asked anyone within a mile radius if I looked okay. That's because men tend to primp once in the morning and then never bother to look at their appearances again the rest of the day. Most men adhere to the same tag line as that old Ronco rotisserie infomercial - just set it and forget it.
I, on the other hand, probably check my reflection at least a dozen or so times throughout the day to make sure nothing is out of place. I often find myself quoting one of my college roommates who used to say, "I'm not vain, just curious." I am constantly curious if my hair looks good, if my lipstick is in place, if I have anything in my teeth, if my outfit works and, of course, if my butt looks okay.
In contrast, Alan has never once, in the 19 years we have been together, asked me to consult on his appearance. He's never asked how he looks, he's never asked if his tie matches his shirt and he's certainly never asked if his hair is in place. He obviously doesn't have to because he always looks good. While I spend half my allotted grooming time putting on make up, he spends a few minutes shaving each morning. While I might spend months shopping for a single item of clothing, he can walk into any department store and buy clothes as easily as ordering off a Chinese takeout menu. "Yes, I'll have the number 32 in khaki, please." Most of all, while I have spent countless hours over the years taming the potential bird's nest on my head and beating my curls into submission, he can easily wet his hair in the sink, throw some gel in it, give it a comb through and he's good to go for a week.
How ironic that my husband went almost his entire life without a single regret about his hair or appearance, while I have spent my entire life constantly worrying and often regretting my own. After this traumatic episode, I am sure he now realizes how fortunate he is and can fully appreciate my daily struggle and will be careful the next time he answers the age old question, "How do I look?" And while this might inspire him to consult me or a mirror more often, it has also encouraged me to look in the mirror a bit less. Luckily I can see my reflection perfectly well on my iPhone.