Match-a-phobia (RE-POST from 10/4/09)
When it comes to my marriage, I am typically the neurotic half of the equation. I am terrified of heights, snakes, bears, spiders, going down steep hills on roller blades or cross-country skis, riding up actual mountains on my mountain bike, flying over water, touching door handles, setting my purse on the restroom floor, etc. And I silently sing "Happy Birthday" when I wash my hands to make sure I am lathering up for a full 20 seconds.
My husband Dan, who is the exact opposite of me in almost every personality trait, does not seem to have any of these issues. To the outside world, he's not really an issues person. He's collected, cool-headed, composed, or - as the young people would put it now days - he's chill. However, he does have one little hang-up I discovered fairly early in our relationship, a strange idiosyncrasy I like to call "Match-a-phobia."
I caught my first glimpse of Dan's "Match-a-phobia" during a local talent show at the Western Idaho Fair. We showed up, apparently an especially handsome couple, because a friend of ours said, "Hi Becky, hi Dan. Hey, you guys are really starting to look like you fit together."
"Really?" I responded, hardly noticing Dan's deer-in-the-headlights expression. "How so?"
"I don't know. You just . . . match."
Now, Dan has blue eyes and blond hair. I have brown hair, freckles, and dark green eyes. He's five-ten. I'm five-two. As far as physical looks go, we match about as well as Betty and Veronica. I suppose our friend was referring to our outfits. Dan must have assumed the same. His eyes were darting up and down and back and forth between his attire and mine. It wasn't like we were wearing "His" and "Her" shirts. At best, we were both dressed in similar shades of blue.
I took this comment as a compliment. (Yay! We match! How cute!) What I didn't realize was the amount of anxiety that this idea of "matching" would cause my poor husband over the course of our marriage.
It's not that Dan doesn't want to be associated with me. He just wants to forge his identity with the clothes - more specifically the color of the clothes - he's wearing. (Honestly, he dons a T-shirt and jeans most days of the week even in 20-degree weather.) I could be wearing a dress, but if it's at all similar to the shade of his shirt, back in the closet his shirt goes.
Sometimes he asks me, "Do you think we match too much?" because Dan also has a hard time distinguishing between certain colors and shades of colors. It's a tough life when someone with "Match-a-phobia" also has a slight case of color blindness.
I like to reply, "Why, no. Not at all," very innocently. It makes Dan's face funnier when someone mentions how well our clothes match.
Last August, Dan and I were getting ready for a wedding. I noticed Dan surveying the two of us in our bathroom mirror.
"No, we don't match," I assured him before he had a chance to say anything.
"Are you sure?"
That evening, as we were sitting down at the reception dinner, Dan's sister thrust her camera into my father-in-law's hands.
"Take a picture of them," she said, referring to Dan and me. "They're so cute. They match."
"Did you hear that?" Dan hissed.
I just gave him a wicked smile.