Cute Old Couples

old handsBefore I shaved my head, I looked a lot like Dick Cheney from certain angles.   In fact, some years ago, I was returning from a business meeting in Washington, DC, seated on the aisle in first class.   As the plane was boarding, a man stopped in right next to me and stood, staring.   Given the polarization of opinions about our then vice-president, I decided not to play along and said, I’m not him.    The gentleman grunted, then moved along.    I now have a snow-white mustache and goatee to go with my shiny shaved head which gives me an interesting look that sometimes draws attention.    An acquaintance once called me the white Gandhi, so I suppose I may have that certain look of a mystic but I try not to let it go to my head.   My wife, although she doesn’t know it, is a striking woman.   Like me, she is hardly starved to perfection, which is fine.    The emaciated socialite look thus described by Tom Wolfe in Bonfire of the Vanities falls very far down on my Best Looks for Women list.   I can see the young woman I met almost fifty years ago in her face, yet she wears her years with grace.   She has a ready smile and a tear to spare for any friend in need.  She is funny and outspoken, which is occasionally annoying but always valued.   One of the things I find most attractive about her is that she’s rarely aware of all of the above.

When we go out together, we almost always hold hands.   As we’ve gotten older, people have begun to smile at us and open doors – or say excuse me, and step out of the way so we can pass.   Cashiers that were grumpy to the customer ahead of us in line smile and small talk about how our day is going, calling me Sir and my wife Ma’am.  We notice younger couples watching us, smiling if we catch them at it.    I like to think that they are hoping that they’ll be like us, holding hands like youngsters when they reach our age, just as we are when we watch even older couples.   We have become the quintessential Cute Old Couple.

I’d be willing to bet that a very small percentage of those who smile at us know that as we stand there holding hands, we may not have had a great day.   One or both of us may have been grumpy – we may even have argued, although the number of things we find worth arguing about gets smaller as we age.   One or the other of us may have been annoying or thoughtless.   We may have been living in different orbits all week.   We may not have felt like a cute couple when we left the house.

Let me tell a story.    Before I retired from large industry, I worked for a Division Manager that held a formal Christmas party every year for the executives.   It was a tuxedo and cocktail dress dinner dance at a local hotel, all very nice, which my wife and I dubbed The Prom.    There was a year that had not been a good one between us and we considered skipping the occasion – dressing up and pretending to have a good time seemed hypocritical.   But we talked it over and decided to make it a celebration of the good things in our lives.   We had our pictures taken at a professional studio and spent the night at the hotel.   We had a good time and we weren’t pretending.   Our picture from that weekend is one of my favorites, partly because I consider going to The Prom that year one of the wiser decisions we’ve made.

The point is this.   If you want to make it to be a Cute Old Couple, take the time to be a Cute Young Couple.    Have your disagreements, your fights, your times when you can’t stand each other.   Then set aside some time to be together and forget it all for a while.   Hold hands and do something you love – together.   Act like you did when you were crazy in love.   I promise – the problems and disagreements will be there when you’re ready to go back to them if you want to.    But maybe the edge will be off them and they won’t seem so important.   And you’ll be a day closer to being a Cute Old Couple.

Explore posts in the same categories: love and marriage

Tags: , , ,

You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.

3 Comments on “Cute Old Couples”

  1. undividing Says:

    So I have a question for you – what do you think makes for a good marriage? If it were a cake, what ingredients would go in? Do you think all marriages are a ton of work, or do you think they vary in their need for constant maintenance?

    • oldereyes Says:

      My wife and I have very good friends who have been married for almost sixty years. People always say they want a marriage like theirs, and when they ask, our friends answer, “If you want a marriage like we have, you have to go through what we’ve been through.” It may seem trite, but I think to some degree time and commitment make a good marriage. I think every marriage requires maintenance, some more regular and some in bursts. I’ll give it some more thought but take a look at for some good basic ingredients.

  2. Deletrius Says:

    I have a question. Do you fight more or less in the beginning (beginning meaning like the first 3-5 or so years together)? I know it varies from couple to couple, but I was just wondering. Or do you think you fight about the same throughout your entire relationship?

    It may be a naive question because I am fairly young, but I was just wondering your take on it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: