A friend of mine is going to start living with his girlfriend. They are going through the same sorts of things that my husband and I went through a few years ago when we first decided to get serious. My friend lives here in Sydney, and she's from New Jersey. This is so familiar!
There is a trick to living harmoniously with a woman. Actually, there are lots of tricks to living harmoniously with a woman. Let me list a few. If I can save one or two couples out there from utter devastation, then I will not have blogged in vain.
Trick 1) Learn from comedian Tim Allen's words of wisdom: be free with the use of "I'm sorry." You don't even have to do anything wrong. Apologise for being a man, or for having too much testosterone, or for watching rugby when she wanted to talk. "I'm sorry" - a simple two-word phrase that doesn't get used enough. It's a lifesaver for you men. You just have to say it like you mean it, and a world of sins will be forgiven. Of course, saying "I'm sorry" will be meaningless unless it is followed by much grovelling and a night out at a fancy French restaurant or a gift of jewelry and flowers. (This last part is my own personal addition.)
This man is worth his weight in chocolate
Trick 2) Learn how to say "yes, dear." Of course, variations of "yes dear" can be used, such as "of course, sweetheart," or "certainly, darling." The meaning is the same. A wise man knows that his wife or girlfriend is queen of the castle and you do things her way. If you want to do things your way, you get a shed.
Trick 3) Put the toilet seat down. I know it's just as easy for her to put it up, but this is just one of those little nice chivalrous things that men can do for women. It shows you care whether or not she gets a cold buttwash in the middle of the night. If, by some horror you forget this trick, this is one of those times that Trick 1 will come in very handy.
Trick 4) Her stuff is her stuff. Your stuff is her stuff, too. Remember this. Don't rearrange her books or her CDs. She knows where everything is - even if it looks like a deranged bat put the shelves together. Don't get upset when she uses your tools and puts them back in the wrong place, or uses a plumber's helper to start the dishwasher. You weren't there to fix it, so she had to make do with whatever was available. This is what is known as female independence. You are to applaud her ingenuity.
Trick 5) Replace the toilet paper when it gets down to the last wrap-around the roll. Do not leave bare paper rolls for her to replace. Nothing makes a woman angrier than being stranded on the toilet. And the paper rolls over the top of the roll so that you can see the pretty prints. Oh - I forgot to mention the pretty prints. Say goodbye to plain white toilet paper and say hello to sea shells, puppies, teddy bears, and flowers.
Trick 6) Nature is cruel. Women have menstrual cycles until they are past age 50 or so. Women also get cranky. Especially with husbands or boyfriends who do not use tricks 1 through 5. Just because a woman is cranky, it does not mean she has PMS or is "on the rag." Using the term "on the rag" is an offense punishable by several nights without sex. Remember these facts. Know when not to say anything. There is always the shed.
Trick 7) Be sure there is an inexhaustable supply of dark chocolate and wine in the house. Dark chocolate and a glass of wine have been known to save more than one hapless chap from the horrors of a woman being tormented by PMS. (Hey - I never said we didn't get cranky when we have PMS.)
This man is not.
I'll try to cover some more of these tricks in another entry. These few are difficult enough for most men to understand, and for you women, if you find a man who does understand, then he is worth his weight in dark chocolate. So sayeth my husband.