The eye of the beholder

Do you ever see couples on the street that just don't seem to match? Years ago I was friends with a couple like this. While the husband was super cute and funny, the wife was positively beastly by comparison. I know this sounds mean, and I might feel bad except for the fact that she was a Bitchus Gigantus.

Their names were Ryan and Trisha, and we hung out in group settings usually. I wasn't the only one who noticed that their yoke was super unequal. When the couple was out of the room, people would begin to talk. Even the normally sweet and tactful friends had something to say about it.

"Is anyone going to address the elephant in the room?" one asked.

"I haven't seen any elephants, but a troll just walked out" another replied, and everyone laughed. It was terrible behavior for grown people, but Bitchus Gigantus had it coming most days.

She would complain and whine constantly to Ryan, rolling her eyes at him and demeaning him in front of people. He always stayed cheery though, and did just what Cruella commanded of him.

One Thanksgiving Trisha's family came in town and they had a big get together with everyone. I had never in my life seen such a ghastly brood of females, actively breeding and attracting mates. They all had the signature nostrils you could fly a wingsuit down into safely and never hit any walls. The better to sniff with I suppose, as their faces were always twisted up like they were searching for hidden cat shit. Even worse, they each looked like they'd paid a visit to Smeagol's hair dresser.

Ryan just gazed upon them all and smiled. I commented to him, "What a gang, huh?" He grinned. "Why do you think I married her? I made sure to check out the women in her family before signing on the dotted line!"

He left me at a loss for words. Sweet, I thought. I don't fucking get it, but sweet.

Two weeks later it was Trisha's birthday and she wanted a girl's night out. I reluctantly joined the group and we all went out for drinks. Once the drinks were delivered and we all settled in to the table, the conversation took a quick turn to man bashing. Each girl took a turn bitching about whatever had pissed her off that day. When it came Trisha's turn, she said the words I will never forget as long as I live.

"I know you're all probably wondering what I'm doing with Ryan, but if you can get past the looks, he's actually pretty sweet." She smiled, as if pitying the poor thing that was her husband. Every jaw dropped and silence washed over the table. She looked at us all curiously as we grew more awkward by the second.

"What is it? Why'd you guys get so quiet?"

One brave soul piped up. "It's nothing. I think we're just surprised you said that."

"Why? I mean, I'm just stating the obvious. It's OK for you to acknowledge that my husband's not easy to look at - I won't get mad or anything."

One girl, Andrea, had been Ryan's friend long before Trisha came along, so she took personal offense to this comment and it showed. Trisha immediately reacted to the look on Andrea's face.

"Did I say something wrong?"

Um. Yes.

"I guess I just find it interesting that you think HE'S hard to look at."

Trisha looked confused for a second, scanning the group in search of answers. She then eyed us each accusingly.

"Wait a minute. Wait a fucking minute. You guys think I'M the ugly one?"

Nobody said anything except for one feeble, sing-songy, "Noo...well..."

After she cussed us all out and left us at the bar with no ride, we had a pretty nice time. We never saw or heard from either of them again, but I know they're still married and have even procreated. I've seen the pictures. The little girls look like little baby Smeagols and Ryan looks like he's never been happier.

I hadn't thought of this story in many years until the other day at the grocery store. I was in line behind a very handsome guy and his very not good looking counterpart. The cashier looked at them, looked at me, then back at them with that familiar look of confusion on her face.

When it was my turn to be checked out, the cashier spoke up.

"I just don't get that." she tilted her head toward the couple making their way to the door.

"Me either." I shrugged and collected my bags.

"Why do you always see these pretty girls walking around with ugly guys? Guys never date down like that. I guess because they're so visual."

" what now?" Had I heard right?

"What do you mean do what?" she countered.

I just shook my head. "Nothing."

It never ceases to amaze me how different one person's reality is from another. Perception is everything and nothing all at the same time. What is attractive? What isn't? Evidently I don't know, but what I can tell you is that checker had a Smeagol hairdo. Coincidence? I think not.