So, it happened: I finally met a genuinely good guy who can tolerate my quirks, including more than a touch of OCD and ADD. Having been an ace at crashing and burning online, I was absolutely stunned that (1) I met Andy in person; (2) Andy wasn’t a cocaine addict (Boyfriend Number 2, I wish you well); and (3) Andy thought I was cute.
Like most new couples, we kept a bit of distance at first—meeting once or twice during the week and then having a weekend of intense…coupling. But then a month was gone, and I’d roll over and he’d still be there: he wasn’t a figment of my imagination! With us hovering near the two month mark, we’re trying to break his lease, extricate him from his disturbingly Stepfordian cookie-cutter apartment, and move him into my historic downtown digs.
Now, if you haven’t yet started your eye-rolls and catty commentary, go ahead and get it out of your system.
I’ll be the first to write that I’m not an easy person with whom to live. And while I hardly ever quote my maternal side of the family—save my mother—my maternal grandfather was right: “Matt, you want to know the fastest way to become bitter enemies with your friends? Live with them.”
Score one for Papa.
I think it was the hamburger burned into my cookie sheets—or maybe the mounds of food-caked dishes constantly cluttering the sink, or the laundry detritus scattered around—that instigated the Chernobyl-sized meltdown with my roommates during our sophomore year of college. After a probable case of beta fish poisoning—R.I.P. Artemis—and many subsequent cold shoulders, I stormed out, never to speak to them again. We’d known each other since sixth grade.
Flash forward through eight years of living alone to the moment Andy said, during our second fight (the first was about iced versus hot coffee), “Well, I don’t like that!” Following his outstretched arm to my 1940s Art Deco inlaid sideboard, I bit my lower lip and had a momentary eye-twitch. Then I said, “Okay.”
I know. I surprised myself.
But there we were: on the floor (don’t ask), compromising on décor. And the scariest part for me: actually envisioning parting with the sideboard to bring in a piece of furniture he preferred. Even that dresser thing in his bedroom that I planned to accidentally burn. Sure, some people may think we’re channeling our inner lesbians prematurely, but we’re both realizing that this thing has a good shot of lasting far longer than even Queer as Folk.
And I have to say, it’s oddly liberating for me to come back and not have everything in its place. He’s not remotely messy, it’s just that some things aren’t where I put them–my apartment is no longer a museum, but a home. And with every one of his additions, I become more endeared to seeing his stuff around. Knowing that he’ll be back after work to fill his empty shoes means more to me than where he tossed them. Plus, I don’t mind doubling my wardrobe or tripling my DVD collection.
So, while I pull myself out of my “dark, slightly depressing” color story, he’ll work on not stepping out of the shower until after he towels off his feet. And while I will part with the industrial megaphone–it added just that necessary touch of whimsy–I’ll gain a beautiful mid-century sofa and chair, not to mention their owner. Little compromises and open communication at the outset work wonders.
Farting around each other also helps. That, and lending a hand to shave those embarrassingly random patches of light back hair. Because once you pass that particular threshold, you’re pretty good to go.
Plus, he actually likes the sideboard. He was just being spiteful.