How He Looks in an "I ♡ NY" Shirt and BeardMaybe you've never seen this man in any non-earth-tone hue, but the second you get to the tropical hotel he's in a Hawaiian shirt. Maybe he is a secret souvenir guy, the one who buys a "Yellowstone" ball cap that first day and proceeds to wear it every day of vacation until the last, when he promptly retires it to a stack of place-marking caps you never noticed before in the back of his closet. And then there's the facial-hair situation. There are those men who go all Conan O'Brien at the prospect of a week or two off, and suddenly you know what he looks like with a beard. After all, vacation isn't just a chance to visit a new place, it's an opportunity to experiment with being a new person.
His In-Flight Elbow SpanForget all that business about how he treats his mother. You can really tell what kind of husband someone will be by sitting beside him on a 20-hour flight in economy seats to Cambodia, which is where you find out if he offers you his arm as a pillow, or hogs the arm rest and leaves you two centimeters of stretching-out space.
His NumberAnd by "his number," I of course mean how many times he can skip a stone on the surface of a pond. There is some secret skill lurking in that familiar creature. It might be stone-skipping or sea-glass-spotting, but you never knew it, since you live in a landlocked city. It might be knowing the Latin names for trees and wildflowers you've never seen before. Emboldened by unfamiliarity, your polite partner might turn out to have a gift for haggling umbrella prices during a downpour.
The TwangMost of us put some serious work into becoming the people we are. So by the time you first encountered your partner it's possible that he'd consciously shuffled off the local vernacular of Nowhere, Noplace, thoroughly Gatsbied away the accent of his hometown. Which is why you will never hear him "Uff da! That's good, hot dish and pop!" until you've had a little lunch with him and his grandmother in Bemidji, Minnesota.
Next: The way he handles emergencies—and what it says about him