My spouse has many sides to his personality, and I know all of them as well as I know myself. Others might think they know my spouse, but their knowledge is limited, as they have only met one facet of his personality. After watching this man in action for over 47 years, I continue to be amazed at how easily he maneuvers his various worlds.
He is a salesman, so one facet of his personality accomodates this aspect of his life. He is congenial, outgoing, persuasive and charming. He has received many awards and tributes for his selling prowess, and I know this side of him so well that, if I am on the phone with him, I can tell by the tone of his voice, a customer is approaching. Inevitably, I am proven correct when he interrupts our conversation with, “I’ve got a live one, gotta go,” and immediately hangs up the phone.
There is another side of his personality, reserved for friends and acquaintances. He is warm and generous to all who know him in this role. He will not give the shirt off his back, for he will not consider it good enough. He will go out and buy a brand new shirt, and whatever else he thinks appropriate. He refers to himself as “The Godfather” and draws everyone he meets into his good natured world. He is sincere, but forgetful with names, so all men are referred to as “Buddy” and all females are “Sweetheart.”
The next layer of personality is family man. He is fanatically loving and protective of his children and grandchildren. Becoming a member of his family is difficult, as any of his son-in-laws will attest. They are held at arm’s length and considered interlopers until they have produced grandchildren. Only then do the young men, who were not even close to being considered good enough for his daughters, become full fledged family, and deserving of his enduring love and respect. His daughter-in-law is exempt from this trial by fire, for he loves women, and all female of the species are held in high regard. When they become mothers, they are revered.
His authentic self is the final layer of personality. This is the part he reserves and reveals only to me. I have the privilege of knowing his inner child, his ego, his introveted self, his sensitive nature and his anti social side. He has strong likes and dislikes. He can be bull headed and stubborn, or uncharacteristically open minded, depending on the situation and his mood. He has a difficult time saying no to anything or anyone, and often hides that weakness behind a pseudo gruff exterior.
He is so trusting of me, it is almost intimidating to have that much power over another human being’s emotions. At the same time, he views strangers, and change of any kind, with great suspicion and trepidation.
My knowledge of this man is so fine tuned, I don’t have to ask if he has had a good day; I can tell just by looking at him. He keeps his emotions and opinions in check, but I know when he is happy, sad, angry, depressed, proud or sentimental. He doesn’t have to say a word, I can feel the vibes.
He knows me equally as well as I know him. I have many obsessive/compulsive habits, which I like to think are my secrets. He picks up on them and, without saying a word, accomodates all my idiosyncrasies. For instance, in a drawer full of spoons, there is one in particular which I favor. If he is serving me a snack, he never fails to bring that spoon. He butters my bread in the perfect consistency, knows my favorites of everything, and if I am feeling blue, he knows why even before I do.
When I met this paradox of personality many years ago, I thought he was the nicest person I had ever known. After 47 years, and knowing him as well as I do, my first impression stands. I still consider him the nicest person I have ever known, and I feel privileged to know him so well.