Old Boyfriends

My wife was watching a video of a choral group when she said, “This guy looks just like my old boyfriend. He has the same mannerisms and everything.” I had to look.

He was a handsome fellow, wearing a blue blazer, tan slacks, and a vibrant tie. He had clear, unblemished skin, a sharp nose and squared chin. He oozed confidence and courage. Essentially, he was a young Tom Cruise singing in a church.

I had to wonder how she chose me instead of this guy.* Thirty-some years ago when we met I was clean but not clean-cut. My hair never stayed in place. It was fuzzy. Definitely not sharp. I had freckles and squinty little eyes. And I rarely wore a suit. Jeans and a t-shirt were my style. As for physique, I have never had a washboard stomach. I wasn’t fat, but I wasn’t trim either.

Once, after we were married, I met this old boyfriend in person and had the same thought. He was definitely more handsome and seemed to be more ambitious. Why did she go with me?

So I asked her, “How is it that you wound up with me and not him?” She wouldn’t say.

So I suggested, “Maybe it’s because I never stole someone’s dog to collect the reward money?”

She had told me about this guy before. He had done some crazy things in his quest for wealth. One day when she went over to his place there was an Afghan Hound in the back yard. She was excited thinking he had bought a dog. But he explained that he planned to make good money by driving around the better neighborhoods looking for stray dogs, especially those of high breeding, lure them into his car and bring them home for a while. He hoped that when he called the number on their collar the owners would be so happy to get their dog back they would pay him a reward. When he returned this dog, the owners were grateful, but they offered him nothing. A sincere thank you was all he got.

My wife laughed. “I had forgotten he did that.”

So I still don’t know how I made the cut when Mr. Tom Cruise didn’t.

I’m thinking that the best women in the world might be interested in good character and integrity over good looks. But then, I’ve done some pretty dumb things myself. Maybe someday I will figure it out. For now, it’s a mystery. What matters is that I know that I got one of the best, however it happened. I’m just grateful, and probably better off not asking questions.

By the way, her old boyfriend built a career as an insurance adjuster.



*We celebrated our thirty-first anniversary last week.


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