Mating Dances, Parries & Thrusts

Milan had an interesting post the other day about so-called  Pickup Artists (PUAs). As you may know, these are guys that take special PUA training courses  that supposedly teach them how manipulate, cajole, entice, maneuver and otherwise “trick” women into having sex with them.

The PUA industry is a thriving enterprise with online seminars  live workshops, forumsconferencesbooks, and websites.

Just Google PUA and you’ll get pages and pages of options. Pages and pages.

These “gurus of seduction” promise to teach any man how to get  women — no matter his age, income, looks or personality. They teach him how to dress, what to do with his hair, how to groom himself for maximum appeal. They teach him facial expressions that he has to practice for hours in the mirror. They teach him the minutiae of body language. They teach him how to approach a woman, where to approach her, what to say, how to say it, when to say what and how to stand and move when he says it.

PUAs even have their own language complete with acronyms and code words.

PUA instructors teach their eager students that women like masterful men. They teach them stuff like being slightly insulting to a woman when you first meet will force her to prove herself worthy. It’s all incredibly detailed and assumes that women will be robbed of their free will when all these tactics are employed.

Milan, and many others, feel this is all “exploitative and potentially unethical”.  There have even been discussions that PUAs could conceivably be charged with “rape by deception.

Personally, I find it all hugely absurd.

Absurd because these guys pay a big pile of money because they think they’re being imbued with magical powers when in reality they’re mainly just being taught how not to look like a schlub or a dork and how to make the most of their limited assets. But mainly it gives them the confidence to approach a female for once. Actually making an effort to seduce a woman, in and of itself, raises the odds of being successful, doesn’t it?

I also think it’s absurd because it assumes women have no interest in being seduced and need to be tricked into it. Women are as eager to be seduced as men are to seduce them. If women are trolling the bars (the PUAs hunting ground of choice) they are usually quite open to hooking up.

And if they’re not, there is little a guy can say or legally do that’s going to convince her.

Am I wrong?

Should we be worried about the PUA industry? Haven’t women been inundated for centuries with tricks and tips and careful instruction on how to attract a man, make him fall hopelessly in love and propose?

Remember The Rules?  That book spawned a whole movement of workshops, seminars, DVDs, dating coaches and appearances on Oprah. The Rules told women clever stuff like “respond once for every four of his emails” because that would make him want you more.

Paul Janka, one of the kings of the PUA industry says:

Women… have their ideal guy, their ideal date, and a whole bag of dirty tricks to get everything they want. If you aren’t careful, you’ll end up paying for everything, getting nothing, and wasting your time before being pushed aside to make way for the next chump with a wallet.

Not only that, the average woman is far more adept at the dating game than men are. Think of all the time and money they spend on hair, makeup, clothes and maximizing their seduction value … to say nothing of the superior social intelligence of the average woman and the all the magazines they read full of relationship and sex advice.

Stepping into the dating game unarmed is like stepping into a pool full of piranhas.

I know most of you don’t care about any of this because you’re comfortably ensconced in your forever relationships and right now are saying, “Phew, I’m glad I’m not out there anymore.

But it’s still interesting stuff, isn’t it? And people have been getting help for ages with snagging the opposite sex from shadchanim,  to buying affections with gifts, to love potions to Spanish Fly  to good old fashioned booze.

So here are some questions for your consideration:

Women

  1.  Do you feel you were ever in your life tricked into sex by some smooth operator?
  2. Have you ever employed a trick or tip from a magazine or other source to get a man to like you or do something he didn’t want to do?
  3. Do you resent that men are conspiring in this cold, clinical way to seduce women?
  4. Here’s an account by a journalist subjected to Paul Janka’s best seduction techniques. Do you think they’d actually work on any woman you know?  
  5. If you’d just spent the night with a guy and then found out he’d was heavily involved in the whole PUA thing, would you feel manipulated? “Raped by deception?”

Men

  1.  Have you ever tricked a woman into having sex with you?
  2. Do you think PUA training is valuable or necessary?
  3. If you are or were single, would you ever consider enrolling in a PUA course?
  4. Here’s an account by a journalist subjected to Paul Janka’s best seduction techniques. Do you think they’d actually work for you?
  5. Do you feel you’ve ever been manipulated by a woman using tricks she learned from the media and/or at her mamma’s knee?

Lovers, Cheaters & the Sacred Institution of Marriage

The Sun newspapers  recently conducted a survey through QMI Agency and Leger Marketing to discover what Canadians’ attitudes were about infidelity. Here are some of their results:

  • One in three Canadians say they’ve been unfaithful to a partner
  • 55% say they’ve thought about cheating on their partner
  • Ontario has the most cheaters at 36%
  • The Atlantic Provinces have the fewest cheaters at 23%

Are these statistics are surprising to anyone? I think maybe I would have expected the percentage of cheaters to be a lot higher than that. But then perhaps I just mix with the wrong kind of people (No offense to all you people I mix with).

What was more interesting to me in this article were the justifications people gave for cheating:

  • A whopping 53% of Quebecers think you can love your spouse and still cheat on them.
  • 25% of Canadians think it’s not cheating if you have an intimate relationship with someone else as long as you don’t have intercourse with them
  • 28% of Quebecers and 18% of Canadians overall think a one-off affair can actually be beneficial to a marriage
  • 18% think it’s okay to cheat, as payback, if your spouse has been unfaithful, apologized and you’ve both agreed to stay married and to try and make it work
  • 15% think it’s okay to cheat if it’s a one-off thing and the spouse doesn’t find out about it
  • Only 27% think it’s okay to cheat if your spouse has a physical problem that prevents the couple from having a sexual relationship

Do you agree with any of these?

Some people, like Leah, at Daily Piglet , think the whole idea of monogamy is somewhat unrealistic . She’s not the first person who’s expressed the opinion that maybe this whole cleaving-unto-one-person-until-death thing is not something most people can really commit to.

I don’t know. Monogamy is nice in theory, I suppose. And there are people who seem to be able to stick with it. But then there are an awful lot of people who don’t. One in three people cheating on their partners is a lot. And I suspect that of the other two-thirds, a lot of them are just more honourable about breaking their vows and manage to get themselves out of one relationship before embarking on another.

What are the odds of a couple marrying (or shacking up), say in their late 20s or so and staying together and faithful to each other until one or both of them die somewhere in their old age? Probably some of you will accomplish that. Not many, I’d venture to say.

So why do people keep thinking they’re going to be that special couple that’s going to make it? What bizarre chemical clouds our brains when we’re “in love” that makes us ignore all the statistics and probabilities; that makes us deny our own natures; that closes our eyes to our partner’s weaknesses, frailties and flaws; and prompts us to vow that we will love this person and stay faithful to them forever?

We all know that the vast majority of these people will not be able to keep those vows. People change. Needs change. Feelings change. So why the need to “cleave”? What compels us to keep trying to be part of a married couple? What compels us to fight for the right to be part of a married couple?

Why can’t we love each other and enjoy each others’ companionship – even co-parent – without entwining our entire lives? Why can’t we allow each other the freedom to be in the relationship because we want to be, not because we’re obligated to be; to be sexually exclusive if we wish to be but to both understand that the situation may not always be like that. That one or both of us may develop an interest in someone else for a time — maybe even a long time.

It seems to me that the current system isn’t working out too well. The status quo is causing an awful lot of turmoil – legal, financial, emotional, psychological — it’s a mess. We’ve put the institution of marriage on some lofty pedestal complete with expectations that no human being can live up to. It’s so lofty that we’re actually excluding people from it because it’s so damn sacred. And yet, in reality, most of the time, it is everything from a stifling life of compromise and making the best of things to a horror freak show that brings out the absolute worst in everyone and leaves a wide and miserable swath of destruction in its wake.

But maybe I’m just old and cynical and ya’ll are going to tell me how wonderful marriage really is and what I’m missing out on?

Catch and Release

After the nasty, shallow, breaking-up post the other day, I thought it only fair that I do an equally nasty, shallow meeting-up post today. Amy mentioned in the comments of the breaking-up post that she once dated via personal ads and screened applicants through their grammar and spelling. Coincidentally, that same day, I got an email (and probably many of you got the same email) from some “Facebook-integrated dating site” (whatever that means) offering to let me write posts for them for free.

The stars were obviously aligned in favour of an internet/agency/personal ad (depending on your era) dating post.

I once joined a dating agency. For anyone under 30, this is what they used to have before LavaLife or Plentyoffish.  You had to leave your home and visit an office populated by human beings who would give you a questionnaire – on paper. Then they’d give you a pen, and you’d sit and write down — by hand — information about yourself. Then they’d take a photograph with a crazy old-timey gadget called a Polaroid camera that instantly produced blurry, greenish images, but with a nice wide border around the bottom. (The big bottom border was so you could write down a description of what was supposed to be depicted in the photograph in case it was too unrecognizable and green)

The really swanky dating agencies would take a blurry, greenish video of you instead. You’d get all dressed up; pretend you were talking to a potential date and say really stupid stuff about yourself.

I opted for the lower-tech, chicks-are-free option. In this agency, the Matchmaker Lady did all the work. She’d sort through the applications and Polaroids and match me up with people she thought would be compatible. Then she’d call me and tell me about some guy and give me his telephone number. I’d call him, we’d talk and then decide if we wanted to meet up. I’d call the Matchmaker Lady and tell her when the meet-up was. (I know, I know, she’s starting to sound like a pimp to me, too, all of a sudden) Anyway, after the initial meet-up I had to call the Matchmaker Lady again and let her know how it went. I guess if she didn’t get a call within a few days, she’d assume I’d been murdered and left in a ditch by the side of the road and she’d alert authorities.

Luckily that never happened.

She did send me a lot of desperate eligible men. It was quite a long time ago now, but I don’t believe anything memorable ever happened on any of the meet-ups I went to. I’m pretty sure I never went out on a second date, either. Matchmaker Lady got pissed off with me at some point and we more or less mutually agreed that I should gave up on the whole sorry experience.

I’ve never looked at LavaLife, but I have had a look at the Plentyoffish site — just to see what was going on in the zany world of dating these days. Nothing there made me jump up and say, “Whoa, stand aside and let me dive into this sea.”

I do realize that you’re all muttering to yourself that it’s not the fish in the sea that’s the problem here — it’s me. And you’re right. Matchmaker Lady said pretty much the same thing. I’m obviously not interested enough in dating to make the effort. If I happen to meet somebody I like enough to want to spend an evening or whatever with, that’s one thing. But pursuing a date, by electronic or other means is like making some sort of commitment to declaring yourself open to a relationship.

And if that’s what you really want, the deliberate mate-seeking option seems to work. I know quite a few people who met their spouses and/or significant others online and everyone seems happy. Even people, who didn’t purposely set out to meet a partner, ended up meeting someone incidentally because of Facebook, blogging or some other online-related activity.  

How about you? Have you ever dabbled in the world of internet, agency or personal ad dating? Was it a good, bad or indifferent experience? Did you meet your soul-mate, worst nightmare or cure for insomnia?

*** Also,  of all the Polaroid photographs that have been taken of or by you in the past, do any of them still have an actual image on them?

Evolution in the Workplace

Over the last couple of weeks a lot of the bloggers I read seem to have written about issues related to people in their workplace. Maybe it’s because we’re all back from summer vacation and in the full swing of work again that there is a renewed focus on work frustrations.

Work relationships are funny. Because we’re grown-ups, (for the most part) and because we know that we’re going to have to work 8 hours a day with a certain group of people for maybe years and years and years, somewhere deep within our  sub/unconscious we decide that we are going to get along with these people.

I think it’s some sort of modern-day survival instinct that allows us to shut off our usual like/dislike radar when we’re at work. Because you can’t afford to let your personal feelings get too engaged in your work relationships. You can’t afford to feud with someone you are forced to sit next to day in and day out. And you really can’t afford to get too intimate with  someone you are forced to sit next to day in and day out either.

So, humans have evolved a peculiar compartment in their psyche especially for work relationships. All the usual stuff that attracts you to or repels you from people is muted and you adopt a generic work face. So now you can work together in relative harmony; laugh at stuff together none of you would laugh at outside of work;  bitch endlessly about stuff about which you couldn’t give a crap once you’re away from the office.

And it works. Yes, some people will always irritate you and there are people you enjoy working with more than others, but you have no real emotional life invested in any of these relationships. It’s nice so we can complain about our families and friends at work and gripe about people at work to our friends and families knowing the two will never meet – at least not in any sustained, bonding kind of way.

But we do get to know our work-mates pretty well within a certain context. We probably spend more waking time with them than we do with anyone else. We can often talk to workmates about stuff we can’t talk to anyone else about – stuff we don’t often get such a captive audience for. They get to hear all the minutae of our lives – how the commute was, what we had for breakfast, how the kids pissed us off that morning, the crazy thing the spouse did,  how your pantyhose is binding, why your head is aching more this afternoon than it was this morning, what should you make for supper?

We share meals with workmates, celebrate holidays and special occasions with them, drink with them (occasionally…rarely, really…ha), travel with them if work demands it, laugh with them, cry with them, etc., etc. – but for all that they really only occupy a very small, and often superficial place in our heads. Because if we get laid off  or retire or get promoted or move on to a new job or new town, we’re gone from their lives.

We take a lot of things into consideration when thinking about a new job, but the people we work with are usually far from the top of that list. We can’t afford to let them be any more important. Yes, we’re sad not to be working with them anymore and we keep in touch, furiously –  for the first few weeks. And then we move on. And 99% of the time, we never see or hear from them again. At least that’s been my experience.

I find the whole human work relationship adaptation thing strange, don’t you?

Wooing the Middle-Aged Woman

Yesterday, on his blog, the Deep Friar, very kindly provided us middle-aged broads with some helpful advice on how to attract men (Friar’s Tips for Ladies on how NOT to Attract Men.) – because lord knows, us oldies do still spent most of our time worrying about how to make the boys like us.

Friar had a lot of advice on how not to cut our hair and how not to wear butchy clothes and other stuff to make us womanly and cool which would be laughably offensive if one wasn’t familiar with Friar and didn’t know the entire thing was done in jest.  Also, the Friar challenged us “ladies” to write up some helpful advice to men — which I strongly suspect was his prime motive in opening this can of worms in the first place.

So, never being one to pass up a good challenge, and having nothing particularly germane on the blog agenda for today, I decided to take him up on his plea challenge. (We will assume that this advice is strictly for middle-aged men wishing to attract middle-aged women.  If you want to attract much younger women, I’m afraid I can’t help you anymore. )

Anyway, without further ado…

XUP’s Tips for Gentlemen on how NOT to Attract Women

  1.  Give a thorough and comprehensive treatise on all your exes being particularly scathing about them and all their flaws, faults, behaviours, looks, sexual performances and miserable treatment of you. It will help us to feel sympathy for your terrible misfortune with women while at the same time inspiring lust in us because, as we all know, sympathy is akin to lust for women. It will also make us feel giddy with delight because we’re not like any of those harridans and we will work extra hard to prove to you that we’re your perfect soulmate.
  2. Arrive late for all dates and/or miss a few just to show us that you are important and busy and have other things on your mind than socializing with the women. We will really, really appreciate you when you do show up and will work extra hard to make sure we are worthy of the time you’ve taken from your busy schedule to be with us.
  3. Don’t make an effort in your grooming or dress or deportment. We like a man who knows who he is and doesn’t have to prove himself by wearing deodorant or shaving or ironing a shirt before a date and who feels free to fart in our presence right off the bat and wave it in our direction while discussing how particularly pungent that one was because of the 4 hot dogs and giant bowl of chili he had on his way over. And hey, don’t forget to mention that you think you might still have some of that great chili stuck in the back of your teeth. Suck your teeth meaningfully for emphasis.
  4. Make sure you prove your manhood on an ongoing basis by:
    • Hooting at all the hot females who walk by and telling us exactly why they’re hot and how aroused they’ve made you whilst cupping and squeezing your genitals.
    • Reminiscing about past conquests in graphic detail; being sure to emphasize your incredible prowess on each and every occasion so that if we are ever lucky enough to be bedded by you we will know exactly how orgasmic to feel.
    • Taking your date to manly restaurants and ordering the manliest dish on the menu (the one that contains the most dead things in their most recognizable form and as raw as possible with the least amount of vegetation).
    • Talking about things/people you’ve killed and/or beaten to a pulp with your bare hands and chuckling about it modestly.
    • Talking about cars and sports, preferably while watching them on a big screen TV in the restaurant during your date. Shushing us when we try to speak during the commentary is a very effective way of making sure we understand and appreciate that we should consider ourselves lucky to be out with you at all.
  5. Don’t ask us anything about ourselves. Our time together is short, so it is imperative that you relate everything you’ve ever done, wanted to do, thought, felt, wanted to feel, hoped, dreamed, eaten, wondered and picked out from between your toes. Us chicks are pretty much all the same anyway so you already know everything there is to know about us.
  6. Since we’re all the same, it only makes sense for you to tell us all the things you know we want to hear. The stuff that will make us besotted with you and your wisdom and sensitivity and the stuff that will make us fall swooning into your bed. Even though most of us at this age have been married and/or have been dating for 20-30 years we still don’t have a clue when a man is being sincere, so go for it. It’s for our own good in the long run.
  7. Give us lots of helpful advice on how we could be more attractive so you’ll want to show us off. Tell us how we could be pretty hot if we lost a few pounds and do we really want that dessert? Tell us how flashing a little more skin would make us much more womanly and therefore worthy of your desire. Tell us how a little tuck or botox or silicone would really liven up our looks. Remind us that you do NOT want to be reminded that we’re a parent because that just makes you think of your own mom and that’s just gross.
  8. Shout at us that we’re nothing but bitter, frigid, menopausal, lesbian, ball-breaking man-haters as we leave the restaurant after surreptitiously dumping our extra rare, sizzling steak in your lap.

*** NB: All of the above have been compiled from actual dates – mine and those of friends, acquaintances, coworkers and relatives.

 

Attraction, Relationships & Compatibility

So, the other day I’m on the bus and I see a young man and a young woman get on together. I assumed they were brother and sister because they looked so much alike and thought, “Aw, that’s nice to see a brother and sister doing stuff together.”

Then they sat down and started canoodling and I had to revise my opinion of their relationship. I suppose they could still have been brother and sister, but let’s assume not. So then I started thinking about how perfectly normal it would be for people to be attracted to people who look like them.

Why shouldn’t it be that very familiarity that draws you together, I thought.  You’re both ectomorphs; both have fair skin, light hair; both have small facial features; both have an overbite. These are things you’ve seen in the mirror every day of your life. You know them and are, at least on some level, comfortable with them. So, you see these features in someone else and that person isn’t going to seem like a stranger to you; which has to make them more attractive, right? (This could explain why you so often see older couples who look so much alike – it’s not being together for so long that has turned them into twins, it’s that they looked alike to begin with! Brilliant.)

Makes sense, no? It’s sort of the same principle that comes in to play when you’re forced into close proximity with someone day after day after day  — like the workplace. You might not look twice at this person if you’d just met them casually somewhere; you might even think they’re completely unattractive when you first meet. But because you’re together every day and their features become so familiar to you, you eventually begin to find them attractive. Not just their personality — you actually start to find them  physically attractive as well. (This would be a good time to switch jobs, by the way. Getting’ down with someone you work with every day is never good, is it?)

Anyway, during this bus ride with these two lovers, who may or may not have also been siblings, I began pondering the notion of opposites attracting and who would have come up with such a notion and why.

Because it can’t be true, can it? Surely the best relationships are between people who have more similarities than differences? Of course, clones would probably bore each other to death, but there must be some fundamentals that couples need to have in common in order to succeed as couples, no? Can people who are opposite in these fundamentals be compatible for the long haul?

  • Introvert/Extrovert:  One likes to go out and be with people, talk, party, have fun. The other likes privacy, quiet, reading.
  • Ingrained Personal Habits: One is punctual, clean, tidy, efficient, exercises, an early bird, eats well, takes care of him/herself, focused on career. The other is a slob, always late, a procrastinator, a night owl, a couch potato, junk food lover, chronically jobless.
  • Sex: One of you thinks twice a year is perfect. The other feels deprived at twice a day. And the problem with this one is that you don’t really settle into your natural pattern until way late in the relationship.
  • Money – A biggie. One likes to save, invest, make money grow, spends carefully. The other wants to live for today and blow whatever money there is on fun, vacations and cool stuff.
  •  Education/Profession:  Let’s say one is a scientist and the other a street performer. Neither would be able to understand what the other really spends most of his/her day doing. What would you talk about?
  • Background: Most often people with a similar social class, culture, family structure, geography end up together. First because you are more likely to meet someone of your own background than someone from a very different background. And, people with similar backgrounds have similar frames of reference from which to build a relationship. (That being said, however, as the world shrinks this seems to be becoming less and less of an issue).
  •  Philosophy: This would include politics, religion, personal values. Can a vegetarian be with someone whose favourite restaurant is The Keg? Can someone with a very socialistic, humanitarian attitude be with someone who is a stodgy, conservative corporate person?
  •  Family: Is family important? Yours. Theirs. Does one live a very family-centered life and the other has been estranged from their family forever? Does one want kids and the other has no desire to have kids?
  •  Physical Attractiveness: Do you ever see couples where one is gorgeous, fit, confident, well turned-out and the other is the exact opposite? No, not often. (Teenagers don’t count since the girls all look pretty good, while a good-looking teenaged boy is a rarity. Seriously, is there anything more awkward, gawky, gangly, spotty, slouchy, scruffy and dopey than a teenaged boy?)
  • Gender:  One is male, one is female. How do two people ever work their way through this vast abyss? Ha ha ha…
  • Sense of Humour: For me this should be at the top of the list. If you can’t laugh at the same things and make each other laugh every day, you got nuthin’ – in my opinion. You know sometimes you meet someone and you make what you think is a pretty hilarious remark and they just look at you blankly before continuing on with whatever they were saying? This is when the relationship death knell sounds for me.

Anyway, where am I going with all this? (Who knows, it was a long bus ride. )

Oh yes, back to the opposites attract thing. So, ya, I reckon we need someone similar to ourselves as life partners, but aren’t we also always looking, on some level, for someone to complement us?  If we’re an introvert, we may need to have someone who will draw us out of ourselves more. If we’re a spendthrift, we would be much better off to have someone who can rein those habits in a bit. If we’re lacking in education or career direction, someone who will encourage us to learn and grow may be just the thing.

Which brings me to a final thought. Flexibility. (No, not that kind you, guttersnipes). I think differences in a relationship can be okay as long as both people are flexible. As long as both can compromise a little without feeling resentful for it. And while that sounds really nice in theory,  I find it’s a bugger to put into practice.  But maybe that’s because I’m inflexible…mentally….which is why I’m single….

The Ultimate Relationship Quiz

Note: No, I did NOT copy this from anywhere. I wrote it myself.

Okay, so you’ve achieved the holy grail of humanness and are in a relationship, but maybe it isn’t quite everything you expected it to be. How do you know if it’s right? If you’re doing the best thing? If it will last? If you should stick it out? These are tough questions, so here’s a handy quiz to help you make some decisions:

1. You get hit by a bus on the way home from work; your partner:

  • a) Drops everything and rushes to the hospital to comfort you.
  • b) Stops by after work if it’s on the way home.
  • c) Is too busy to visit, but passes a “hi” along with one of your other visitors and invites a special friend over because the house was so empty without you.

2. For your last birthday, your partner:

  • a) Organized a big party at your favorite restaurant with all your best friends, and had a romantic surprise waiting for you when you got home.
  • b) Gave you a gift certificate to a place that’s been out of business for over a year.
  • c) Oops…

3. Your partner is “working” at the computer. You’re kindly bringing in some fresh coffee. Your partner:

  • a) Thanks you and asks you to read over the report being worked on to see what you think of it.
  • b) Grabs the coffee from you and stands pointedly at the door waiting for you to leave.
  • c) Unplugs the computer and screams at you about invasion of privacy while fumbling with something under the desk.

4. You used to stare at each others’ faces, lovingly, longing to touch every line and contour, and now:

  • a) Nothing much has changed except you know each others’ faces as well as your own.
  • b) You can’t remember the last time your partner looked at you and, unless there’s something disgusting growing on it, you don’t have much interest in looking at your partner’s face either.
  • c) Even a glimpse of each other across the breakfast table sets your teeth to gnashing and you both have to exercise extreme control not to smack the stupid smirks off one another’s faces.

5. Sex

  • a) Although you’re both very busy you manage to make time for some intimacy at the end of every day. It’s not always a full marathon, but enough to keep you close.
  • b) The last time you had sex you were both stinking drunk and barely remember it. You’re pretty sure it was 2008, though.
  • c) The last time you had sex was yesterday afternoon. You have no idea when your partner last had sex.

6. Your partner’s domestic habits have never been exactly like yours, but at first you learned to accept the quirks and foibles for the sake of harmony. Lately:

  • a) Your partner respects your feelings and has adjusted several habits to accommodate you and you have adjusted several of yours as well, so there are few household-related disputes anymore.
  • b) Your partner’s habits have become worse to the point where you feel they’re doing it just to spite you. Normal people don’t wash their undergarments with the dishes to “save water”.
  • c) The next time you see public hair on the bath soap, you are going to grab a filleting knife, hunt your partner down and remove all their body hair along with 3 layers of skin just to be sure.

7.  Money can be a major source of contention between partners. You and your partner:

  • a) Pool your finances and consult each other on all major purchases. You are both good at budgeting and your financial situation is healthy as a result.
  • b) It’s getting difficult to find hiding places for your money because your partner always manages to find it and blow it all at the casino. This is the second house the bank has foreclosed on in the last 3 years.
  • c) Both of you have quit legitimate work and are getting paid under the table by various criminals in case one of you files for legal separation and tries to take the other to the cleaners.

8. The thought of going home at the end of the work day:

  • a) Fills you with delightful anticipation. You’re looking forward to seeing your partner, cooking together and enjoying each other’s company.
  • b) Fills you with glee because you can’t wait to see what your partner’s going to say about that photo you emailed to your partner’s workmates showing a certain someone applying salve to their genital warts.
  • c) Fills you with soul-crushing despair. The thought of having 1st degree burns over most of your body is more appealing.

 9. Arguments:

  • a) You don’t really have arguments; just the occasional disagreement which is always resolved amicably and with respect from both sides.
  • b) There is nothing either of you could say or do at this point that wouldn’t result in a big, loud, nasty, no-holds barred fight.
  • c) The police are at your house weekly and you’re on a first name basis with all of the emergency room staff.

10. Your relationship with each others family and friends:

  • a) You’re all one big happy family and everyone seems to get along really well.
  • b) You’ve had sex with most of your partner’s friends, 2 of their siblings and one of their parents. You’re actively feuding with the rest of the friends and family members.
  • c) You suspect your partner’s family has taken a hit out on you and the fatal car accident involving your partner’s evil bitch of a mother was no accident.

Scoring

If you chose mostly “a” answers you are either in a new relationship, deluded or should have your own talk show.

If you chose mostly “b” answers you have a normal relationship and should count yourself lucky that you’ve found someone so you don’t have to grow old alone.

If you chose mostly “c” answers, your relationship might be on rocky ground. Some couple’s counseling is recommended.

Cohabitating Habits

So yesterday at brunch we started a discussion on whether or not it was necessary or even desirable to cohabitate in order to have a truly loving, intimate relationship. I think it’s a discussion worth pursuing a bit further.

Some people felt very strongly that, yes, they wanted to wake up every morning to their significant person; to share the minutiae of day-to-day living with them; to feel their presence in their home. They felt that this closeness helps build and strengthen relationships.

Me, not so much.   I kind of feel the opposite. I think the minutiae of day-to-day living impacts negatively on intimate relationships.

I should note that the people I was speaking with were all in fairly new relationships. Relationships are fun when they’re new. You’re getting to know each other’s quirks and oddities — you can still joke about them and you’re willing to overlook them or even think they’re cute.  You’re all about compromise and giving each other leeway because this relationship is special, different, The One.

I hope they’re right and that they’ve found their happily-ever-afters.

Me, I find the quirks and oddities start to grate real fast. Between the job and dealing with the world at large, a big part of my day is work and compromise and gritting my teeth and giving leeway. When I come home, I want to relax and be myself and be comfortable.

 “To maintain a good relationship takes hard work,” it is said. I guess I don’t want to work hard for a relationship. In my opinion, if you invite someone into your life it should be because that person enhances your life somehow. Hard work does not enhance my life.

I don’t want to pick up another adult’s debris no matter how much I love them. I don’t want to argue about when and what we’re having for supper. I don’t want to smell their poop in my bathroom and I don’t want to keep still on my side of the bed so someone else can sleep. And, I don’t always want to be with someone every dayand night; week after week; month after month; year after year.

What if we each had our own, separate homes and then we can get together when we really want to see each other? Maybe we’ll spend the night together sometimes, but it’s not obligatory. You can be always at your best with each other. Wouldn’t that keep the relationship fresher, newer, saner?

A little absence really does make the heart grow fonder. When you’re away from each other regularly you have a chance to miss the person, think about the things that actually attracted you to them in the first place; yearn for them. Really, don’t you find you love your kids most when they’re asleep or away for a while? Doesn’t the same thing apply to your significant one?