When we were down in Texas a couple weeks ago, my husband wanted to buy a new pair of cowboy boots. Now, he has been talking about it for years – since he wore his last pair out, and we decided that we would get them this trip. We walked into the boot store and it was immediately obvious that his thoughts on what constituted a good pair were vastly different than mine. All we had to do was look at the price tag and see that what I had in mind was much more, let’s put it, refined, than what he was thinking. But, I am practical too, so I quickly passed by the $450 boots made from some exotic animal that had immediately caught my eye.
It wasn’t long before I was able to find a pair (much, much cheaper) that I fell in love with. However, they looked very different from what my husband had been thinking. He had been planning on getting a pair of old-school cowboy boots – “on the ranch” type of boots. I was thinking… something a bit…sexier. He sighed a bit, but was willing to try on the boots that I showed him because he has, over the years, learned what I find attractive.
You see, when we first got married, I would get all dressed up for dates. In Texas, there is quite a tradition that a young woman follows when she goes on a date with a guy for the first time. She spends hours getting ready – trying on endless outfits, spending a lengthy amount of time in the shower, extending the process by calling friends and asking for their opinions, carefully applying makeup. And when the young man rings the doorbell, a member of her family answers. Because she is not ready. Ever. It doesn’t matter if she has actually been ready for an hour, it is custom for her to make him wait.
Usually during this time, the young man will be introduced to the young woman’s father. And his gun. A conversation will then ensue which falls along the lines of, “If you ever hurt my daughter, I will kill you. Most likely with this gun here. And I won’t feel bad about it.” Make no mistake – the rules of engagement are crystal clear when the couple leaves for their date.
Of course, as the relationship develops, things become a bit more casual. The father may actually invite the young man to watch a football game with him and crack a few dirty jokes. The young lady might actually be ready on time.
And so it went with our relationship. However, even after we got married I still spent the time and effort getting dressed well for our dates. And Eric got, well, comfortable. Ratty jeans and running shoes were common. This infuriated me. I did not find this attractive at all.
After years of disappointment and knock-down drag-outs, it finally dawned on him that putting some effort into how he looked for me on our dates was important. The running shoes got tucked up on the shoe rack for things like – running. The jeans were clean and completely intact – no holes! He even ran a bit of gel through his hair. Because, while he might have thought that just being him was all it took to be attractive, I needed to see him dressed well. It was part of the whole package for me.
This learning curve is why he was so open to trying on the boots that I found. He was putting effort into listening to what I find attractive. And listen he did, in fact, he ended up getting the boots I liked. And he loves them. Perhaps it is all the compliments he has been getting on them (from men and women alike), or perhaps it is the fact that I can’t keep my hands off him when he wears them.
Either way, it’s working for him.