For the past 15 years, my wife has been going for haircuts to a salon on Grand Avenue in Saint Paul. Because it is fancier than Fantastic Sam's, I consider it a high-end salon. It occupies the main floor of a beautifully remodeled house, and is run by an Italian family. The owners are a brother and sister in their 50's. My wife's stylist, the only one she has ever had there, is the daughter of the female co-owner. She is in her mid-30's, as are my wife and I. All the stylists look cool; they could easily go to the hottest restaurant in town after work without changing clothes.
Since we live in the country, 30 miles outside of the city, I usually accompany my wife when she makes the trek to the salon. We make the trip four times a year, and I enjoy going for a walk and seeing the way urbanites live in each season. One cannot walk around that neighborhood without being present in the season. Springtime is landscaping time for many; people are out and busy. In the summer, the walk is almost entirely shaded by stately, old trees and the sounds of lawnmowers, near and far, fill the air. The autumn walk is my favorite. The leaves have changed and begun to fall, they crunch and rustle underfoot. If I'm lucky, the weather cooperates, and the air is crisp - perfect weather for jeans and a sweater. I even enjoy the winter trip, especially if it's around Christmas, and the houses are decorated.
There are plenty of "manly" things that I cannot do. I am not a mechanic, I don't like fixing stuff, and I have to be in a very specific and rare mood to want to build something. Still, no one would confuse me for a metrosexual. My clothes are all old, and most fit poorly. I keep my hair short, for the most part, so I don't have to comb it. There are times, though, when it has grown out and should be combed. It doesn't happen; I'm not entirely sure I own a comb. And, finally, I am firmly in the "wear sensible, inexpensive, comfortable shoes" stage of my life.
Considering my "style" and personal hygiene (I shower most days, but I bet you'd never know it if you saw me after an hour walk), I wonder what the stylists think when I come in to pick-up my wife. She is a beautiful woman, she always dresses well; she puts on make-up to get the paper in the morning. And she is a successful attorney. The people in the salon always smile and treat me kindly. But they must wonder what in the hell my wife sees in me. They know I don't have any money, so they probably have it narrowed down to a couple of things:
"He must know something about her, or have pictures, that she does not want out. If he took care of himself, he might be okay looking. But..."
"Yeah, either that or it's pity. She is a very nice person. Maybe she feels sorry for him."
"Could be. I don't know, and I've kinda tried to look, but I'm guessing he's pretty big, if you know what I mean. Don't look at me like that! I'm just saying... He does have big feet."
I think I know which stylist thinks that, and I don't do anything to discourage her. In fact, I always try to walk by her with a bit of a strut, and I never forget to give her a discreet, knowing smile.