In Dating, Essays, The Daily Drool on February 23, 2009 at 1:35 pm

A dear friend of mine (one whom I hope minds not that I use her story here) recently went splitz-ees with a man she had been seeing for a few months.  



But when she told me about how she knew things were going downhill, I was grabbed by what I think is pretty common theme.  You see, it all started with her driving.

Now, I know most men prefer to drive.  Hell, I’ve dated men that even if their place is on my way, they prefer to have me park and climb into whatever it is they happen to have the keys to.  It never bothered because I don’t particularly need to drive.  Put me in a situation where there’s bound to be traffic and I’m jumping up and down with joy at the prospect of relaxing passenger-style.  But sometimes, a woman will be driving one of these types around and it’s like some little monkey in the man’s brain takes over and insists he keep a running commentary on every single inch of her miles.  

Well, meet my friend, who, at the lovely age of thirty, has been driving for quite some time.  In fact, I’m guessing that since her driving record is pretty stellar, she’s been driving all this time with nary a reason to think she’s been doing anything wrong.  But in sits her ex-beau and it’s second-guess-city.  

Now, this could just be a thing that he does.  Maybe he needles his mother, his cousins, his taxi driver… anyone who sits in front of the wheel of his charriot.  But I think he’s spending so much time grinding his teeth because the onslaught of warm fuzzies are beginning to fade, and the person next to him is beginning to look a little  less ethereal and a lot more real.

And real, as everyone knows, is a lot more terrifying than anything you can ever make believe.

We meet someone, all electricity and tingly-palms, and then after about three months, we start tallying the ticks.  It’s as though the warm glow fades and you realize that in fact, their propensity for licking their fingers after every chicken wing IS massively irritating and not the lust-fogged “Mild annoyance” you originaly thought it could be.  It’s so iritating in fact that you don your “Janitor” shoes and share your incredible disgust with your poor, unsuspecting beloved, who’s only crime is making the mistake of enjoying their meal in your rightous company.

The “Janitor” is left feeling satisfied (finally got that off your squashed chest), your beloved is left feeling inadequate, and you are left wondering just what the hell it is you are doing…  Since when did you become the kind of person who needs to try and “Clean up” another? 

It’s hard to decipher our motivations behind actions we take after smitten.  

It’s as though we get on the ride, all a twitter with anticipation and excitement, but once things start to get comfortable, well… we start looking for ways to make the ride better… more exciting… more like what we think it should be.

But is it fair to criticize a person’s habits just because they don’t do things the way we would have them done?  Can we really presume to think that if they “Correct” their irritating behaviors the electricity will start flowing our way?  And would they still be the unique and intoxicating person we initially were attracted to if they start watching their every finger-licking move around us? 

When do our “Requests” cross the line from pleas for compromise and become a case for change? 


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