Today’s special. Why? Because it’s a Leap Year and it’s February 29th.
Maybe it’s a sign of the times (or my age), but this year, my Instagram feed’s been jammed with stories about women deconstructing traditional gender roles, and proposing to their partners. Surprising as I only follow 65 people.
I’m writing about it because today, my friend’s girlfriend proposed to him.
It’s sweet. Empowering. Different.
Yes, it’s a proposal.
They’ve been together for years, and as far as I can tell, enjoy a sturdy relationship. Like those two obscurely shaped bricks in Tetris, or two non-integers that you can mash together into an integer. It’s like she’s 8.56874125486342, he’s 21.4312587451, and together they make 30 (I had to give him the bigger number because he’s my friend, not because I’m sexist).
I’m trying to express my emotions with maths, because right now, I’m not wearing any socks and I’m afraid I’m going to get stuck in all the sentiment.
Anyway, immediately after seeing the hint of a proposal in the Instagram story, rather than wishing my friends good luck (?), I started thinking about myself.
Actually, I started thinking about a question everyone’s started asking me.
“When are you going to move in with your girlfriend?”
Well, When’s It Going To Happen?
Mum and Dad, are you reading this? Great.
Honestly, I don’t think it’s going to happen unless the following three points are satisfied:
- We continue going out
- My girlfriend’s deported (it might happen)
- I get a proper job, stop living like a bum and have a magic aneurysm that reforms my behaviour
It’s not because I don’t like her. No, I tolerate her completely.
If I didn’t, right now instead of writing this, I’d be spending my time making up wild new excuses about how I really like her, but there’s no way that I can see her. Not because I’m a coward, but because I’m a pragmatist. Finding a new girlfriend’s a total hassle.
I mean, I can think of some excuses already, but if I started using them it’d be clear that there was no trust in our relationship, and it’s definitely the most trusting relationship I’ve ever been in. Also, I’d need to have something else to do instead of hanging out with her, and I don’t like the idea of climbing or croquet classes.
Oh, you want to know what the excuses are because you’ve been dreaming of going out with me? Just this once, I’ll pretend you’re not joking. Go on, read away:
- My flatmate’s overdosed. I’m sitting at his bed in the hospital. No, sorry, you can’t come. You know that they charge Europeans every time they enter an English hospital, right?
- I had a really mad dream about that pirate slide at the playground. You know, the one that whispers, “Shiver me timbers!” Wait, you don’t remember? Well you’re one beastly buccaneer. I need to get it all down before I forget the second act’s epic sea shanty. It was pretty long. Pirates of the Caribbean long. So it’s probably going to take me at least six months.
- I can’t find my keys.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, we both tolerate each other, but don’t feel compelled to move in together.
But that probably isn’t a very clear expression of that.
Imagined Cohabiting Calamities
I have a lot of preconceptions about living with people. It’s easiest to explain them with a Bobblehead. So just imagine I’m holding one in front of you now.
Ok, let’s begin.
How often do you take out your favourite Bobblehead and admire it? (I’m waving the bobblehead at you). What was that, only once or twice a week? Exactly. That’s no time at all.
Now imagine your favourite Bobblehead wobbling over and staring at you all the time.
Offensive, isn’t it?
Already you can probably hear it chastising you for not washing your clothes, hanging towels on wardrobe doors, watching Adventure Time, writing trash that you never publish, waking up earlier than you should (on occasion), and using mouthwash.
Maybe this doesn’t happen when you live with your girlfriend or boyfriend, or whatever. I wouldn’t know. I’ve never really lived with one.
I don’t know what my apprehension is, but ultimately, it seems like living with another person requires you to sacrifice some independence, and I guess it’s all about what that independence means to you.
Most likely, the value I put on my own independence is ill conceived.
But I just don’t understand why I’d want to give up the freedom of living on nothing but peanut butter sandwiches, spending all my time listening to three Death Grips songs on repeat, and staying up way, way past my bedtime writing nonsense. Isn’t being able to do those things the definition of being an adult?
Is it a selfish perspective? Probably. But maybe, in certain situations, it can be zero-sum. I don’t know, it’s hard to know exactly what other people think.
What About Her Feelings?
Empathy isn’t my forte, but as far as I can tell, our feelings are aligned.
She’s been pretty blunt and said that if we moved in together I’d annoy her. She also seems to value time alone. The only cohabitation advantage she’s conceded is that her bed would be warmer.
A condition of cold is more of an issue to her than you’d believe, so given she’s so frosty about the idea of us moving in together, there must be something to it.
But it’s cool. I guess that’s one of the reasons why I tolerate her. It’s nice that she tells me what she thinks.
Disasters All Around
The sudden appearance of the question also seems to coincide with a few of my friends experiencing harrowing breakups. The type of breakups where they’ve found themselves sharing the same bed as their former spouse for months, because they’re renting somewhere together and aren’t loaded enough to move out immediately.
I’ve also spent the last month watching my sister’s relationship breakdown with her significant other. And before that, watched her vegetate for over a year, and use him as an excuse for her self-inflicted inactivity.
It’s totally risk averse, but I don’t want that for myself, or someone that I tolerate.
Were Franz Ferdinand Ever Cool?
Also, there’s that song on their third album in which Alex Kapranos espouses the benefits of Living Alone.
I like that song, and that seems as good a reason as any to stand by something.
So yes, right now, I’d rather live alone.
In addition to liking that song, I also respect it. So, instead of ruining it by listening to it too much, it seems better to only play it like twice a week. You know, if not the second guitar might start to annoy me, or the song might not be as enthused with whatever I was doing that day.
It’s the type of thing that you don’t want to wear the magic out of.
But You’re Engaged
Wait, no, I’m not engaged.
My friends are engaged.
The header’s an expression of that.
They’re different to me, and that’s why I like them.
It’s probably why living together has worked for them. But I guess it seems like maybe now, if your goals aren’t necessarily nuclear, then the convention of living with your boyfriend or girlfriend shouldn’t be as big a deal, or a necessary step in a relationship.
I don’t think it detracts from what other people have. It’s just different.
So anyway, congrats on the engagement guys. I’m pretty sure you don’t read my blog, but at least I can now point to something and pretend it was full of heartfelt sentiment.