My Signature Look

The time had come for some tough love. He would loaf around the house all afternoon, rummaging through our things while talking on the phone. He would show up sporadically and then we would not hear from him for weeks at a time. I worried. I fretted. I didn’t know where he was getting his money. But the real impetus for throwing him out happened when I pulled out my bottle of Gin.

“That is it! I was willing to overlook Hank’s general laziness and I truly supported him while he dabbled in real estate, but MY GIN? Oh no mister, this will not do. While I worked my ass off today Hank polished off my bottle of Sapphire. Look!” I said tearfully while shaking the bottle in Paul’s face.

As parents, we set the bar high for our children. But the bar for our realtor Hank was always open.

“Fine, but you get to tell him he’s fired.” Paul replied.

I did what any good client would do. I lied.

“Dear Hank,

Thank you for all of the hard work you put into selling our home. It has been a tough market and we all hope that it will turn around soon. Blah, blah, blah, you’re fired, blah, blah, blah. We hope to see you soon showing our home to prospective buyers!”


We never heard from him again. One morning, two months later Paul placed some business cards in front of me.

“You didn’t like my choice of a realtor last time. This time you get to research and pick one.”

“I had to fire the last realtor and now I have to find a new one? Can I at least finish my coffee?” I whined.

“You typed an e-mail to Hank, that’s not exactly ‘heavy lifting’” Paul said.

I shot an accusatory look at him and absent mindedly flipped through the cards.

“This is the one! Look, she did an episode of HGTV’s House Hunters! Remember that episode? It was the dumpy couple from Boscawen, New Hampshire and those crappy homes! That blue room was hideous. Imagine how thrilled she’ll be when she casts us and our beautiful home.” I said proudly.

Paul stared at me silently. He considered his responses and then decided to speak frankly. “That’s your research? Sweetie, we’re selling a home, not filming a Lifetime movie, and remember it’s house hunters, not sellers.”

But I didn’t care, because eventually we would be hunting for a new house. We would be the beautiful model couple and it would be a Launchpad to my future success. The next morning we went on a “go see”, that’s model/actor speak for an interview, with our prospective realtor. While Paul concentrated on the minutia, things like commissions and association dues and other boring things, I zeroed in on the three most important details:

1. What was she wearing? A smart two piece tailored gray wool ensemble with a pair of sensible pumps.

2. Do you drink gin? “Um, no?”

3. Will you be doing another House Hunters episode? “Yes!”

Thank goodness Paul has me.

One month later our house was sold. In preparation for our appearance on House Hunters, I have been taking some modeling classes at night. At first, I was little embarrassed to admit that, but It’s not as easy as you think. For instance, I have learned that anyone can walk, but sometimes models have to make their own wind when they walk. I tried explaining this to Paul. He got up, walked past me and made his own wind.

“Sweetie! Did you hear that? There are little duckies in the room!”

Then he made his own wind again. “Oh that one sounds like a mean ducky!” he said as he scrunched up his face in a mock frown.

Honestly, I don’t even know why I try.

But I kept on explaining. I have learned that there are negative spaces and angles and when you strike a pose there are all kinds of pretty. There is an awkward pretty, a broken pretty, a pretty pretty and ironically, an ugly pretty. Who knew that Tyra was so smart? What? You thought I was paying for those modeling classes?

But Paul has come around and now he’ll test me. When we are sitting in the car or on the sofa he’ll point his finger at me and quickly spit out “Show me sad!” or “Show me angry” or “Show me wistful.” And just like that, I’ll strike a pose and my eyes will say sad or angry or wistful. I'll think that I have nailed it, but invariably Paul responds with “Oh! That just looks like you’re scared or constipated.” Next time there is a laxative commercial featuring a constipated actor being chased by zombies, I’m a shoe in for the part.

Last weekend we were packing up the house. We borrowed my brother-in-law’s green truck with the camouflage seat covers and McCain for president bumper sticker. Paul was wearing plaid shorts with white socks, brown loafers and a four day old beard. He popped open a lemonade can, poured half out and filled it with vodka. “Redneck lemonade” he said while handing the can to me. I saw my future. Not quite as glamorous as I expected.

We drove down the street in our old green pick up, with all of our worldly belongings piled high. A warm breeze blew through the open window and the sun flickered through the trees like an old time movie. I took a swig of the redneck lemonade, scooted next to Paul and gave him a kiss. He looked over at me, pointed his finger and said “Show me happy!”

I nailed it. But that is my signature look.

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