I may have missed out on a university education, but I have been a life-long student of human relationships and it fascinates me what makes a relationship work ….. or not.
Let’s examine what it takes to be a fabulous significant other, one that takes up 40% of the bed (no one is stupid enough to give up more than a 40% share right?). I’m looking at the qualities of the perfect mate and consider that at this point in my life I have put in the hours, research-wise to be a subject-matter expert, so here we go:
- Dexterity: A king size duvet is far easier to manhandle into its case with two people; even better if one is stronger than you so that you can ‘let’ them do more. On the subject of bed-making it’s worth putting in some basic training groundwork so they know what is expected.
- Sharing: It is a well-known house rule that she who cooks shall not then clear up (and vice versa), finding a significant other who appreciates this is key
- Diversity: Pink jobs and blue jobs – the concept. There have been times when I’ve had to perform BOTH pink and blue and it was horrific, I lost part of my soul. This division really works for me and keeps me as far away from bins and car washing as I can feasibly get. Worth tabling this early in the relationship so that expectations are managed effectively.
- Flexibility: when you get an unplanned urge for wine that good old second person is right there for you jingling the car keys for an impromptu Tesco visit and to reciprocate, I have been equally happy (ok not happy and it did involve a wine bribe) to machine-sew army badges onto uniforms. Give and take
- Organisation: the attic & garage – areas I rarely frequent and rightly so. The contents should be tidily organised affording easy access to others who may not be acquainted with the circuitous route through the boxes, machinery, tools and more boxes (because it’s really not obvious)
- Baggage: my recommendation is to keep this minimal and I mean BOTH types. No to psycho ex-girlfriends and no to paperwork spanning the last 30 years (stowed in a suitcase)
- Ablutions: I’m just going to dive in with my strong views. Ready? Gentlemen you should…..ALWAYS spray and ALWAYS wipe, brush or clean ANYTHING away that wasn’t there when you first arrived . Seat must be restored to its original position as nature intended – fully closed – it’s good feng shui. Shaving stubbly bits should not be evident ANYWHERE. Toothpaste – spit tidily (ask a girl how to do this). Wet towels – hang them (a door or banister won’t do). Don’t wee in the shower – it’s lazy.
- Negotiating: a good negotiator frees the hostages. Boys, think of ‘hostages’ as something you want, an extra football match, a long round of golf followed by beer on a Saturday, a stag weekend, anything really and then NEGOTIATE your way to success (bribes of expensive handbags work especially well here)
- Listening: Top tip – people know when you are not listening to them. Properly tune in and you will see benefits. You reap what you sow. NB: listening DOES NOT mean looking at someone wondering when they are going to shut up so that you can revert back to watching the TV. Practice your best ‘listening’ face in the mirror.
- Sport on TV: Now herein lies a massive issue in a lot of relationships. Generalising (as I have throughout this piece), men do seem to have an inordinate capacity for sport on TV, and I mean any sport at all (how is darts even a sport?). I have even, on occasion, found myself watching golf inadvertently – I think it’s called ‘full immersion’. Somehow you’re going to need to negotiate your way to an acceptable balance if he has a habit. It’s not easy and requires many of the skills already listed above i.e., negotiation, bribery and listening. Remember bribery is a two-way-street. Men can be bribed, you just have to know which switches to flick.
- Bed (revisited): Men are such untidy sleepers, I swear to god I can go to sleep and wake up in virtually the same position. Why is this not possible for a man? The whole bottom sheet needs re-jigging on the man-side. I particularly appreciate a solo bed week, one side of the bed remains ‘made’ with cushions in place for the entire duration as I slip tidily in and out daily. FYI men…… women ARE hot in bed and I mean physically they emanate more heat than you. Even when they tell you they are cold they are still emanating heat at a ferocious rate. Add into this any kind of hormonal change and things only get HOTTER. Get used to it and stop complaining!
This is obviously not an exhaustive list but I realise that I may come across as a bit of a man-hater (ball-breaker even?!) and nothing could be further from the truth so I’m going to shut up now.