You know that feeling when someone you're close with takes off their glasses in front of you for the first time and you are stunned, thinking "Holy crap. Is THAT what you look like?" Well, that's the sensation I had when Wine Guy showed up at my door not long ago with his goatee shaved off.
I think Wine Guy is adorable. Goatee or no goatee, thin or tubby, glasses or no glasses. I'm not sure what other people think about his looks objectively, and I don't really care. When I look at him I see a man of quality who I'm lucky to have. So if he puts on some weight or gets more gray hair, I may not be thrilled, but I don't squeeze him any less tight.
That being said, I was shocked when I opened my door to see his clean-shaven face. All of a sudden I saw him. I instantly realized that I've always known him as Wine Guy, my boyfriend with the goatee and glasses. And yes, he is an overly intellectual, slightly nerdy-but-hip computer guy, so "the look" he had unintentionally cultivated seemed right out of Central Casting. Only, I didn't realize that I saw him as this "package" until that day.
He stood in my kitchen as I looked him over, clearly enjoying my sense of surprise. As I took in his face, I thought if I was going to LOOK at him, I wanted to see it all. "Take off your glasses," I commanded.
He did. I stared.
What a strange sensation to really see someone you thought you knew so well for the first time.
"So....that's what you look like. Huh."
I suspect at this point he was starting to grow concerned. What exactly was my reaction?
Even now, over two weeks since the shaving, I can't really say whether I like his looks better then or now. I guess I like them both for different reasons. He looks a bit younger now, not that he looked old before. His smooth cheeks are wonderful to kiss, but that stubble in the morning -- not so great. He has nothing to rub when he's thinking of what to say; now his fingers sort of graze his face, searching for a place to land. His glasses stand out more, for whatever that's worth.
What matters most is how he feels about his appearance. He was ambivalent about it until he went on a work trip last week to San Francisco. One night when we were catching up on each other's days, he shared this with me, "Well, I definitely get more attention from women since I shaved my goatee. I think I'm keeping it."
Wine Guy has never been the "player" type. From what he's told me about his past, he's never had that sensation of walking in to a room and just knowing the girls are all scoping him out. So him saying this and innocently meaning it was, believe it or not, a terribly sweet moment. I was so happy for him that he felt handsome. Just the way I saw him.
So I replied, "Well then keep it off." And so far he has.
Besides considering all the chicks who will now undoubtedly be hitting on my boyfriend, I can at least say that I know what the man in my bed actually looks like.