Step 8 – Moving in together
Now that you have been dating for a while, it is likely that you will have come to several realisations. Among them, that you want regular and immediate access to your partner’s body. You have given a great deal of thought to ways of achieving this without giving her the impression that you are open to the possibility of marriage.
Living together is the obvious solution. However, it must be said that most women see co-habitation as the final pit stop on the race to the pulpit, so be very careful when introducing the idea of sharing a place.
Base your suggestion on financial considerations. Tell her that since you spend so much time at her place, it doesn’t make sense for you to keep paying rent on your place. She will get the message soon enough. Then you will discover that her place is way too small for both of you, and before you know it you will be spending your Sundays with a whole bunch of other hermit crabs scuttling about looking for the cheapest shell available.
It is important you know from the outset that your participation is not strictly required in this process. All you really need to do is trail around behind the estate agent mumbling and nodding and occasionally tapping on the walls. At some point, your girlfriend will say to you, “What do you think, sweetheart?” Your answer may as well be, “I think Hegel was wrong when he said the history of the world is none other than the progress of the consciousness of freedom” for all the good it will do. It is utter foolishness to try to convince a woman to live in a place where she doesn’t want to live.
While you are working out where to put the couch so that you can lie down and still have a clear view of the television and that little corner of ocean, she is standing in the bedroom like a human antenna picking up the vibrations of every other person who has ever slept in that room.
Never mind the aesthetically pleasing flow from the kitchen to the lounge, or the cozy nook that would be perfect for your study. If she starts saying things like, “Something doesn’t feel right”, you should leave at once and never talk of that place again.
Look, if you really want to live there, you could try putting peanut butter on her arms and legs. Keep the door locked for a couple of days and by the time she has finished licking it off there is a fairly good chance that she won’t stray.
Once you are living together, you have certain responsibilities and obligations as a common-law ‘spouse’. However, these are overridden by your legal right to drop whatever you are doing and leave a hastily scrawled note on the fridge saying that you are going to Mexico and will probably never see her again.
There are some self-help books that say this is precisely the reason why couples should get married and not live together. They say co-habiting makes it too easy to leave. Well, duh. Isn’t that the reason you do it in the first place?
Do not, under any circumstances, listen to anyone who tells you that the only way a couple can share their lives is through the commitment of marriage. This, they will tell you, takes a lot of hard work. Don’t you get enough of that from Monday to Friday? If you find you are having to work at your relationship, end it quickly and move on to one that doesn’t take any work at all. Get out before she uses those four terrifying words: “We have to talk.”
But don’t be too hasty. Living together takes an enormous amount of adjustment, most of it from your side. For the first few days, maybe even weeks, she will pick up your clothes and towels off the floor and wrap her arms around you and say things like, “You’re such a little piggy, but I love you, anyway.” This innocuous remark is so overloaded with sub-text that if it were a taxi it would be pulled over and impounded.
If you don’t get the message, do not be surprised when you, the same cute little piggy of a month ago, somehow inexplicably turns into a wild boar with rank breath, bloodshot eyes and strings of glistening drool hanging from its unshaven jowls. And once she starts to see you as little more than a semi-articulate warthog, there is nothing you can do but pack your things and leave quietly.
While you were dating, she seemed to find your bachelor ways eccentric and endearing. But living together, these very same habits quickly become disgusting and abhorrent. It makes no sense, but there it is. It happens.
If you like her enough to continue living with her, then pick up after yourself, wash the dishes regularly, shave on weekends, pretend to like her music, stop drinking excessively, don’t bring hookers home and, more importantly, put the toilet seat down when you are done. In return, you get to play with her hamster as often as you like.
However, often is one of those words that take on a strange elasticity when applied to coitus.
Neville, a former Jehovah’s Witness once married to Clarissa, an American stunt double, said that when they first moved in together they were like a pair of rats from the Pfizer laboratory. Not even fire alarms or police raids could stop them. Then, he said, a light inside Clarissa seemed to switch off. Neville said it was a bit like a fridge light in that you never actually see it go off, but you know that once you close the door the inside of the fridge is plunged into cold darkness. Women are very much like fridges, he said.
The last I heard, Neville was living with a middle-aged Catholic lay preacher called Steven.
Living together can be a lot of fun, but don’t expect your old pal Fellatio to come around as often as he used to.
To be continued …