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Judging a Look by the Lover

March 16, 2011

Early on in any marriage, we learn about those special looks from our spouse that tell you exactly what they are thinking without a word ever being spoken. This has been a part of marriages since the beginning of time when Grogette was trying to convey to Grog that he’d better not grab her hair one more time or she was going to take his club and flatten his head more than it was already. Thus, conveying The Look is a skill that has been handed down from generation to generation, and mostly perfected in the female gender.

The Looks I like to get from my wife are the I’m-so-glad-I-married-you-and-not-him look, the When-do-you-and-I-get-to-spend-time-without-the-kids? look and my personal favorite, the Tonight’s-the-night! look which, come to think of it, I haven’t seen in a…oh, never mind. These looks are ways that we, as couples, communicate to each other, usually in public, and to keep the world—and in my case the kids—out of our business.

The Looks I don’t like to get from my wife are the Boy-that-was-really-stupid…wait-until-we-get-home-and-I’ll-let-you-have-it-for-the-next-week look, the Stop-talking-because-you’re-really-making-this-visit-with-my-parents-uncomfortable look, and the These-kids-come-from-your-gene-pool-not-mine look, which usually happens when we are out at a restaurant.

And then there are The Looks that are accompanied by additional non-verbal cues. I married a woman whose ethnic background is one of the most expressive…Italian.When she is giving me The Look with wide eyes it means Oh my gosh, what did you just do or say? The Look with a hand shaking in the air means What’s the matter with you!? or in other words Utsa matter you!? The Look with rolling eyes means Quit telling that same stupid pun or joke! It wasn’t funny the first time!  The Look with a kick in the shin means Stop whatever you’re doing or saying right now or I will keep kicking higher until you get the point!

Very few men enjoy getting The Negative Look, and some of us find enjoyment in watching our kids get The Negative Look instead and seeing how squirrely it makes them. Not that I find pleasure in my kids’ discomfort, but I’m glad at least it’s not me and I know that for the most part it’s survivable. Someday I’d like to do a study on how long it takes boys versus girls to catch on to getting The Look and how quickly they change their behavior. Just from mere observation, I would say it takes longer for boys. Not sure if it’s due to Grogette clobbering Grog one too many times thus impairing men’s ability to pass along the technique of quickly deciphering The Looks or whether it’s just that when boys’ brains are bathed in the womb with testosterone, it somehow kills brain cells. I’ve even tried warning my sons with little success. “Um, your mom’s giving you The Look! You might want to stop.” To which they respond by doing more of the same, thinking somehow their mother is dumber than they are. Come to think of it, I might want to try doing this and maybe I’ll get sent to my room for the night and I can finally get that sleep I haven’t been getting.

It all comes down to knowing who your spouse is and what is important to them at all times. By doing this in marriage you can greatly reduce the number of Negative Looks and increase the number of Positive Looks so as to decrease the number of negative experiences and increase the number of magical moments, or something like that. It is important to keep up the verbal communication so that when you are in a situation where your spouse is forced to give you The Look, you can quickly recognize non-verbal cues and stop doing the idiotic thing that you are doing.


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