My other husband

When Greg I were shopping for a house during the summer, Greg got tired of being hounded by realtors. Every time we toured an open house, they wanted him to write down his name, phone number, and e-mail address. So Greg developed an altar ego, Tom Phillips. Tom looked through many homes and even filled out a comment card at a restaurant. But once we bought our house, Tom disappeared.

When my parents were visiting, I walked through a model home with them in a subdivision a couple miles from our house. The subdivision sits next to a golf course and is nice, very nice indeed. The salesman knew that we had no intention of buying a place — we had just been on a walk and were dressed in our play clothes, clearly not golf course material.

The house had a great media room, and I wanted to show Greg, so we decided to walk though yesterday. We were slightly embarassed opening the door to the place. As soon as the salesman saw two 26-year-olds walking in, he would laugh us right back out the door. We quietly toured the first floor, oohing and aahing over the built in bookshelves and cabinets, admiring the paneled ceilings. The salesman was on the phone.

When we got to the second floor, the salesman came out of his office to talk with us. I figured we would tell him we were just admiring the decorating, getting ideas for our own home. I thought he might recognize me, but he didn’t.
“Hello, are you in the market for a home?” the salesman said.

“Yes, yes we are,” Tom Phillips said.

“Well, let me show you the inventory we have available,” the salesman said, grabbing a listing with home prices and sizes. “We have a couple that are finished that sit on the golf course. That’s a gated community back there. Those are $699,000.” The salesman pointed them out on his listing sheet.

“And I also have three lots left that you can build on,” the salesman said. “Now this house you’re in is 4800 square feet. Is that about what you were looking for?”

Was this guy serious? Greg, or rather, Tom Phillips, hadn’t even cracked a smile. Greg was wearing his nicest pair of jeans, maybe that was the key. I couldn’t contain myself. I had to walk away before I ruined Tom’s facade.

Tom told the salesman we wanted something a little smaller than 4800 square feet, so the salesman trotted back into his office and brought out floor plans for all the homes available. Tom and the salesman chatted for about five minutes. Tom politely explained where we were from (the south side of Austin, instead of the north, where Greg and I live) and why we were moving (to be closer to Tom’s job). I walked through the bedrooms, hoping the walls would muffle my laughter.

The salesman got another phone call, and Tom was able to get away from him. We finished our tour and left. Tom spent a while last night admiring the various brochures the salesman gave him, trying to decide which home he would buy. Tom must have an incredible wife. Greg’s wife would never want to clean a 4800-square-foot home.

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