Two days after Thanksgiving, Mr. Rocque and I were vegging out at his mother’s house. At one point, we ended up watching TV in his sister’s room and I got up to check something out on her vanity when he asked, “When did you get so dark?”

I paused for a minute.

“Are you serious?” I replied.


“You know Barbados is close to the equator, right? The sun will do that to you. Duh!”

I had been back from my girls trip for about three days and he was just then noticing my tan. Just so we’re clear: I am a dark skinned woman, but whenever I visit anywhere that gets intense sun, I tan. I get tan lines and my usually hyper-pigmented complexion is a lot more even. It’s obvious. Plus, Mr. Rocque mentioned a while ago that one of the things that attracted me to him was my complexion; so how could he not notice that it’d changed?

I didn’t take this oversight to heart because while it’s probably the biggest thus far, it’s not uncommon. There was a recent episode of The Steve Harvey Show where a defeated woman complained to Steve that her husband didn’t notice any of the changes she made to herself, so they tested him. They changed her hair from blonde to brunette (or something along those lines) and he failed miserably to notice.

I’ve been through similar. I’ve dyed my hair or gotten my toes done in some gaudy design, and he didn’t notice until weeks later. Once at a barbeque, a friend asked his girlfriend what she did different to her hair; she revealed that it was dyed a new color and had been for a few months! I was relieved to know that I’m not alone.

I used to get offended when he didn’t notice the little (and sometimes not so little) adjustments that I’d make, because Mr. Rocque is generally very observant. But after a while I realized that it’s simply because men and women pay attention to different things. My theory is, most of the things women notice and care about come down to how we do fashion and style. Men could care less.

In Mr. Rocque’s defense, he’s getting better at noticing certain things, but the tan incident forced me to put him on blast. Then again, I should be most concerned with making changes for me to enjoy. While it’s nice to get a compliment on a pedicure or a new hairstyle as soon as the change is made, I’ve realized that it’s probably not going to happen. He still means well and he’ll notice on his own time, but it doesn’t mean he loves me any less.

Mr. and Mrs. Rocque are the couple formerly known as Anslem Samuel and Starrene Rhett, Chicago-based journalists who found love in between bylines. Follow the newlyweds’ musings of a marriage in progress here, on Twitter and via their joint blog.