How to Figure Out the Story Behind a Wildly Mismatched Couple

You peek out the window from your office, and you spot something surprising. “Um… what is he doing with her?” you ask your friend as you spot Deb from Accounting getting dropped off at the office by her dark, rugged, chiseled, way-out-of-her-league husband. They passionately embrace before Deb approaches the office.

“I know, right? Deb is like—forty. We know she doesn’t make that much money. She makes papier-mâché cat hats in her spare time. She hasn’t worked out in ages. And—O. M. G.—look; she literally has a pair of panties falling out the bottom of her pant leg. And she landed this guy? No. No way. I don’t get it,” your friend replies, shaking her head, as you bitterly return to your desks.

“What a bitch,” you mutter in regards to Deb, suddenly disappointed in your previously perfectly adequate husband.

It’s a common mystery of life: the wildly mismatched couple. One partner that seems far superior to the other in every conceivable way. The very idea that you’re thinking this about a couple makes you feel horrible about yourself, but sometimes the thought of “how did that happen?” enters your mind. You can be assured, though, that one of two things is true: the one that appears far superior probably has some underlying faults, or the one that appears far inferior probably has some underlying redeeming qualities.

Here are some of the most common possibilities to consider when attempting to get to the bottom of how a mismatched pair got together.

  • Far and away the most likely scenario: What the couple looks like now may not be what they looked like when they met. Try to dig up some old photos. “Ohhhh, check out young college Deb! She was a cutie patootie back in 1991! Now I get it.”
  • The less attractive partner is fricking loaded. Try to learn if this person came upon an inheritance, or comes from a family with money. “Oh, that explains it! Deb’s great-grandfather invented ham!”
  • Alcohol was somehow largely responsible. Perhaps Ed and Deb hooked up that night after finals and out popped little Jimmy, and Ed did the honorable thing and asked Deb to marry him.
  • The more attractive partner may have a terribly boring personality. Have you tried to converse with this person? “Yeah clouds are neat. I like clouds. Bye.”
  • The more attractive partner may be a total jerk. “I heard Deb’s husband drowned a litter of baby raccoons in front of a whole kindergarten class just for fun. Not such a great guy after all.”
  • It might be all in your head. “Joan and I were just talking. Have you ever seen Deb’s husband? Umm, total hunk alert!” “Seriously? Ugh, gag me!”
  • The more attractive partner may suffer from low self esteem and set the bar very low for him or herself.
  • The more attractive partner may have had some enhancements made to their physique: enlargements, reductions, or even toupees.
  • The less attractive partner may possess a dark secret about the more attractive partner. “Deb says she witnessed Ed poisoning the governor, and she blackmailed him into marriage!”
  • Looks just don’t matter to some people. Remember George Costanza’s girlfriend who said looks weren’t important to her, and allowed George to drape himself in velvet in public? There are people who just truly don’t care!
  • The less attractive partner was possibly involved in some sort of accident. “Oh, I never heard about that pelican biting off Deb’s nose until now. I bet she used to be stunning. No wonder.”
  • The more attractive partner could be covering up their true sexuality. “Seth from the warehouse said he thinks he saw Deb’s husband at J. C. Hot Rod’s on Saturday night, and he was dancing shirtless on the bar pouring tequila into men’s mouths!”
  • Get a really good look up-close at the supposedly superior partner. “Oh. He opened his mouth and I saw the teeth. Yep, the teeth is the game-changer here. There were like seven little yellow nubs in his entire mouth. How does he even chew?”
  • Was it an arranged marriage? Maybe neither of them had a say in it!
  • The two met at a dark time in the seemingly superior partner’s life. “I hear Deb literally talked Ed off a ledge. He was a huge drug addict back then.”
  • The two have known each other since they were babies and have an intimate connection, seeing past appearances.
  • If it looks too weird to be true, maybe it is. Maybe that man isn’t Deb’s husband at all. Would you really put it past Deb to hire a guy to make a show of dropping her off at work? How come you’ve never seen this guy until now?
  • The less attractive one is really, really funny when you’re not around. “I’ve never seen that side of Deb before! Oh my god, play charades with her someday, I swear you’ll laugh ’til you vomit.”
  • The more attractive one is foreign and married the less attractive one for a green card.
  • The more attractive one is foreign, and looks don’t always translate from one region of the world to another.
  • The biological clock is ticking in terms of having babies.
  • Utter desperation.

Still haven’t figured it out? Some mismatched couples just remain a total mystery to the outside observer. But curious minds need answers, and if you’re insistent upon solving this riddle, you’ll need to do the following:

Ask Deb, but in a tone that won’t sound demeaning to her.

“Deb, was that your husband dropping you off? What a handsome guy! How’d you steal that one, huh?” Maybe she’ll give you an answer that helps solve the mystery.

“Oh, Ed and I met at a charity golf tournament. He hit me in the jaw on his backswing, spent the whole night with me in Urgent Care, and, well, the rest is history!”

“Uh-huh, right… but… like… what’s he like? What does he do for a living? I mean, he just seems so perfect!”

“Oh, right now he’s selling his doorknob gnomes with googly eyes on Etsy. He has an associates degree in poetry from junior college, but you know how it is, paid poetry work is tough to come by!”

“Ah-ha! Mystery solved!”


“Er, I mean… I’m so happy for you two!”

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My Hot Take:
I can’t think of any wildly mismatched couples that I know off the top of my head, but if I did and I wanted to get to the bottom of it, I’d probably snoop through their Facebook pictures to see what they used to look like when they first met.

Curious how two people of varying degrees of attractiveness got together? Consider multiple angles.


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