I had one of those brief surreal moments the other day. I was quickly looking in the mirror before heading to work to make sure there was nothing embarrassing about the way I looked (it's not unheard of me to throw on a shirt and miss a stain or something) and had the mild shock that I didn't look half bad.
Understand, I've never had any illusions about my appearance. I've also thought I looked physically average, which is fine. I'm not bad looking, and obviously there must be something there that helped me land my lovely wife. It's just that there have always been things...off.
For example, for most of my life I've been utterly unable to figure out how to dress (that noise you're hearing is the chorus of female friends going "no shit"). Certainly I had limited money to spend on clothes, but I've never been able to figure out what's in style and what matches. I was more than content to wear the same clothes for years on end, as long as it fit. I got somewhat smarter after university by drafting female friends to come along shopping to help me select things. I viewed it as a once a year torture session.
Even as I slowly figured out clothing, there were other challenges. The whole losing hair thing was annoying. Plus, I was putting on weight, which was adding to the clothing challenge.
Now, things are still far from perfect. I'm still hovering around 230 pounds and I'm behind the pound a week schedule. So that needs to get on track. But I think I finally got the hair thing straightened out. I haven't been happy with the cuts I was getting around here, but while in Ottawa I found a nice Italian barber downtown who promptly rid me of most of my hair (including whipping out the ever-popular straight razor for a shave) and I think it's about the best my hair has looked in ages.
I'm also finally figuring out clothing. Cathy still offers up her opinion, but I've got it mostly figured out these days. I even picked up two nice pairs of dress shoes in Ottawa for work (not that anyone will notice. My office is easily once of the most casual places I've ever worked, and I was a journalist for many years) and didn't even blink too much when I saw how much they cost.
So yeah, looking in the mirror, I thought "I actually look half way decent. I might have this looking presentable thing figured out."
The next immediate thought was "Why the hell couldn't I have figured this out when I was 13?" You know, when I was single and utterly perplexed about girls and why they seemed to have no interest in me.
I know it all worked out well in the end. I have Cathy and couldn't be happier. Still, a few more girlfriends and a lot less time single in between 13 and when I met Cathy would have been nice.
There really ought to be a book or something...