Today, Jack is doing the housework while I am watching sport. We are reverse 1950s couple.
Er, hi. Is this awkward?
Er, yes…it is. Will I break dance?
Erm, no thanks.
What do you think of my blog?
What’s a blog? Haha. See, I can be funny too. It’s pretty great, keep going.
Do you mind that I write (mostly nice) things about you?
I especially like the post where you said I am incredibly handsome, virile, witty, intelligent, athletic, Adonis-like…
Jack, I never wrote that.
Yeah, I know. Hint hint.
What did you really do with the remote?
(A few years ago, our remote “mysteriously” vanished. Jack denies having anything to do with it but he lies as good as he break-dances, which is not good at all. Anyway, because we’re lazy we still haven’t replaced it.)
Look baby, the remote is gone. And like the corpse of Jimmy Hoffa, no one knows where. Just let it go.
Tell my lovely loyal followers a little about yourself.
Um, I like pie. I’m not good at this. I’m definitely not afraid of the dark. Not even slightly. Not one. Little. Bit.
You’re doing a PhD. How’s that going?
It’s going really well actually. Just yesterday, I discovered that America’s relative power positi….oh, you were just being polite when you asked? Awkward.
No, no… I really care and stuff.
Important question: Which Backstreet Boy is your favourite?
The one that wore the bandanas. They made him automatically cool.
His name is AJ Jack, stop pretending you don’t know.
What goes through your mind when I wear my onesie?
All kinds of conflicting emotions.
What’s the best thing you’ve ever done?
You. Hahaha, seriously, I kill me.
If my mother is reading this, then receiving an education.
It’s not the oscars, Jack, I’m sure she’ll never see this. Does that sound snarky? Sorry. Iloveyou.
Sum up your life in one word:
I bet I can make you laugh. Remember Nicolas Cage in the remake of Wicker Man? NOT THE BEES! Did it work?
Can’t type, still laughing.
Thanks for taking part Jack. Now go clean the dishes…haha, I’m totally joking, it’s not like he’s my slave, *awkward nervous laugh* right Jack…Jack?
Growing up, many of my closest friends were guys. This led me to erroneously assume that I knew what it would be like to live with one. Oho, was I wrong. Here are fifteen things I’ve learned from cohabiting with a real boy:
1. Men care about their appearance just as much as women. I once told Jack that a coat he had made him look like Paddington Bear. He never wore it again, even though I did mean it as a compliment. Who doesn’t love bears?
2. Men will never, ever initiate cleaning the house. Yes, even if it resembles a landfill and there are seagulls living in your kitchen.
3. If there’s left-over pizza crust and beer in the fridge, men do not understand the need to go grocery
4. When their
man-cave workspace becomes messy, men will insist that “they have a system” and work best “in chaos”. Riiiight.
5. When you insist on cleaning up, men will inevitable compare you to your mother.
6. Watching reruns of ‘Cops’ is a perfectly acceptable way to spend an entire weekend if you’re a guy. Actually, I’m with you guys on this one, it’s amazing.
7. The Playstation must never be turned off without the express permission of your man friend lest you ruin an important mission in GTA V.
8. When a man does clean, it involves shoving things under any large pieces of furniture such as the bed/couch/armchairs. It also involves spraying insane and possibly hallucination-inducing amounts of Febreeze.
9. Dorito sandwiches are a perfectly nutritious meal according to a man.
10. In the absence of other males, men will tell you about their trips to the bathroom because, well, it’s apparently in our best interests to know these things.
11. Men will never allow you to call a repair man because they will claim to be able to fix anything. RIP toaster, hairdryer, oven, cooker, sense of safety in my own home.
12. Sniffing articles of clothing is a perfectly acceptable way to check if said clothing is good for another few days. According to Jack, it’s always good.
13. Men need as much hoarded crap as possible to thrive. That collection of lollipop sticks? They’re gonna make a neat pencil holder someday. The broken lamp shade? What if the dog ever needs an improvised head cone? It all makes sense in their heads.
14. Cooking? Pah, that’s a girl’a job. Barbecuing? Now there’s a man’s speciality. Grr, fire, grr, raw meat, grrrrr.
15. A man will use your female products (moisturiser, cleansing wipes, body lotion) but you must never admit that you know this nor must you ever, under any circumstances, tell ANYONE. Oh, wait…crap. Sorry Jack, guess the Nivea day cream is out of the makeup bag.
So there you have it. Any men that have become offended by this, well I’m sorry. Come join our ‘Cops’ marathon.
I love you. There, I said it. I bet you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I say I love you constantly; to members of my family, to my friends, to Jack and to my pets. They even say it back (no, not the pets, though I’m working on it).
When it comes to the early stages of a committed relationship, it’s probably one of the most common causes of panic. We plague ourselves with doubts: when is a suitable time to say it? Is it too soon? Does he/she feel the same? What if I say it and I realise I actually *love* Cherry Garcia and only “kinda like” my other half? It’s the stuff Taylor Swift diary entries are made of.
It’s only three words when you think about it, and when used in certain contexts, can be rendered meaningless. For example, I said “I love you” to a chicken wing after a particularly tough day at school, but I doubt Nicholas Sparks will be writing any novels about that anytime soon. We probably use the word “love” in a hyperbolic context too much. For example, you might have strong feelings for certain brands of snack foods. You also might have pretty strong feelings for your children. Are these feelings the same? (Hopefully you’re thinking ‘not exactly’ or you’ve got a problem, mister.) I’m guilty of overusing the word “love” when “really like” would probably suffice. I’m also guilty, according to Jack, of telling him that I love him too much. Yes, you read that right. But before you imagine me tied to a radiator and him throwing stale chicken wings at me, I actually agree with him. I started to say “I love you” as much as “change the cat litter please” or “why is our dog killing the postman?” Jack said something pretty meaningful:
“It’s not that I don’t like to hear it. It’s just that you say it so much, it’s become almost meaningless. It should be like a treat to hear. Or you could show me with actions, like sandwiches and pizza.”
Yes, that’s verbatim by the way. I actually agree with him (bar the sandwiches and pizza because HELLO cholesterol AMIRIGHT?) They’re just words. They’re easy to say. Showing that you actually mean them is harder.
So this prompts me to pose the question: what is love? (I’m allowing you ten seconds to sing *that* song but only ten seconds, mind you.) Now that you’re back, think about what you would define love as.
I think it’s different for everyone. To me, it’s realising that you actually are willing to put someone else’s happiness above your own, even if it means you won’t get any credit for it. That’s how I realised, only a few months into my relationship with Jack, that I loved him. I started to think about his happiness over my own. And I knew he loved me, because he endured a four hour bus journey to see me after a long day of work only to sleep on my couch. Ah, l’amour.
We didn’t make a big deal out of saying it. I’ve never really agreed with making a “thing” of the first “I love you.” Jack says I said it first, in a text (and they say romance is dead!) but I don’t remember. What I do remember is the first time I knew that I loved him. To me, that was the most important thing. (I mentioned briefly in a conversation that I liked Norah Jones and three months later her album arrived in the post. Jack was just a teen and had to save up but it was one of the sweetest things he’s ever done because he wasn’t going to see me for a while and I knew it was a purely selfless act. Look, I’m even gushing ten years later!)
So what I’m saying is, the words are important but the actions behind them are more important. There doesn’t have to be grand gestures or sweeping declarations, just selfless and thoughtful everyday actions that will make your other half feel valued and cherished.
Jack looks deep in thought.
Me: What are you thinking about?
Jack: That if we ever get a pet hawk, we could call him “Ethan”.
I don’t need to ask him everything he’s thinking.
Sometimes, I’m a bad girlfriend. There, I said it. Most of the time, I’m pretty good at the girlfriend thing. I do thoughtful things, I listen, I counsel and I try to keep the relationship fun and interesting. There are times ,however, when being a good girlfriend can feel a little too much like hard work. Anyone who has been in a long term relationship or who has been married a while will know that while there are beautiful, magical moments, there are also difficult and challenging moments too. There are everyday struggles; you know, the stuff you don’t see in Disney movies.
I used to often be the pedant watching these films and say things like ‘sure, Belle and Beast are gonna live happily ever after, but what about an income? Who’s gonna be the bread winner? What about children? Will Beast not want to enjoy his evidently more useable genitals with more than one broad?’ Call me pessimistic, but relationships are not fairy tales.
I don’t want it to appear like I’m unhappy in any way. I love Jack more than I could ever have thought possible. I’m just a realist. One of my favourite tv shows is ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ for this reason: it might be uncomfortable to watch sometimes, but that’s real life (and it’s damn hilarious). Yes, relationships are great and fun and fluffy but we have to be aware of the other side of the coin too. If you go into a relationship or marriage expecting constant bliss, then you’re going to be sorely disappointed.
The thing is though, I like the other side of the coin. I like that Jack and I argue and have our struggles. It gives our relationship depth. We learn from it, and from each other. We don’t view arguments as anything massively negative, because we know we can fix it. And that’s a great feeling: knowing you’ve worked at something and the reward is a stronger relationship.
It’s funny how the years can change your relationship without you noticing. We get on each other’s nerves a lot more now. When I sleep in on a day off, it’s not longer ‘cute’ but lazy. When he takes forever to finish a sentence, it frustrates me more than queuing at the post office. That’s a LOT. Jack and I know that this is normal. You do begin to annoy each other over (seemingly) very trivial things. But you also can laugh about it, and be honest about it. I have a friend who constantly uses words in the wrong context. It used to only be mildly irritating but now it’s become full blown annoying as hell. I feel like I can’t tell her though cause it would hurt her feelings. And that’s the beauty of me and Jack. We might be mean to each other sometimes but it’s water off a duck’s back at this stage. He knows not to put his feet anywhere near me, not to say anything about me menstruating if I’m in a bad mood or not to try and communicate with me if I am on the phone unless the house is on fire (I can’t multitask). For my part, I try to chew in a more lady like manner, not to ruin the end of movies and stop taking in random stray animals. Sometimes, we still do these things. And the other will point it out. We might argue. The important thing is, we’ve come to learn so much about each other because we don’t walk on egg shells around each other.
One of my friends finds it strange how we sometimes communicate. Take for instance our quibbles over who makes the tea. We drink a lot of tea. We probably drink enough to fund a small country. In the beginning of our relationship, I always made Jack tea. Constantly. After a while, that started to wear thin. I’m not lazy or anything, but I think many people start to resent the little things they do going unrecognised. My friend once told me that she finds our over quibble over who makes the tea very silly. Ten years ago, I would have agreed with her. But now that I know how relationships work, I told her that it seems silly and trivial, but it’s not just about the tea. It’s about compromise and respect. Ironically, a few months later, she complained to me that she was tired of having to pick up her workmates coffee on the way to work. She said that although it was on her way and her coworker always paid her, she couldn’t help but resent it after a while. That’s when she finally got it: it doesn’t mean you’re a bad person to get annoyed at someone you care about. It’s completely normal. Relationships evolve, and that always involves overcoming strife together.
1. We used to work in a supermarket. Customer: Do you have a rent book?
Jack: Is that a novel?
2. A customer asks do we sell bamboo mats for rolling sushi. Jacks brings him a pack of kebab skewers with the logic ‘couldn’t you just tie them together?’
3. ‘I would really like to be a blacksmith.’
4. ‘I just think cats are sneaky.’
5. ‘The surname “O’ Rourke” reminds me of smelly blankets.’
6. When I asked him to pick me up a Mars Bar and to buy some toilet paper. ‘Great, it looks like I’m gonna eat a Mars Bar and take a crap.’
7. Jack at the Chinese
Jack: Can I have a beef chow mein and boiled rice please?
*After the girl has gone to give our order*
Me: You didn’t mean to order the rice, did you?
Jack: *Pause* No.
8. Singing in the kitchen ‘Whoopi Goldberg is my mother…la la la’
9. I wake Jack up.
Jack: Aw, why did you wake me up? I was having the most amazing dream. I was chopping wood with Steve Gutenberg.
10. Jack looks deep in thought.
I ask him, assuming he is thinking grand and romantic thoughts, what he is thinking.
‘I was just thinking how cool it would be to own a bullet proof submarine’.
11. Sitting watching Dragon’s Den. ‘Pfft. I’d be just as good at coming up with ideas…like, Viagra…for women…called, erm “Eager Beaver”‘.
12. Early one morning, I wake up bleary eyed. Jack is literally an inch from my face.
‘Sometimes when you’re asleep, you stop breathing. It’s hilarious.’
13. After a day at work
Me: So how was your day?
Jack: My stapler broke, but then I fixed it.
Me: And you didn’t have a heart attack from all the excitement?
14. Jack watches an episode of (children/teen programme) “Are You Afraid Of The Dark?” which is about as scary as Barney. He wakes me up in the middle of the night
‘Erm, will you walk me to the bathroom?’
15. ‘I’m irresistible to old ladies. It’s like I give off some kind of scent. Like a mixture of murray mints and lavender.’
16. We put our two female guinea pigs in a cage together.
Jack: So, they definitely can’t get pregnant?
Me: No, they’re both girls.
Jack: So, they won’t get pregnant.
Me: I just said they’re both girls.
Jack: So, they can’t, like, grow a penis or anything?
Every single person has quirks. Things like having to sleep on the right side of the bed, putting the milk in their tea first or reciting Oscar acceptance speeches in the shower. A lot of three quirks are cute. Some aren’t. When you’re in a relationship, ‘cute quirks’ can quickly become irksome. Or, in some cases, deal-breakers.
I was going to write a list of Jack’s annoying habits but that really didn’t seem fair. He’s not here to defend himself. And even if he did see this, he’d probably be so embarrassed he wouldn’t say anything. They’re that bad. So instead, for your reading pleasure, I’ve decided to humiliate myself. I am incredibly annoying. I can admit that. But I take some comfort from the fact that Jack is still with me (or very meticulously plotting my death, whichever). So, here’s my shame list.
1. I sing all the time
I can’t help it. I really think I lived in a perpetual musical in a past life. I honestly just made myself a coffee and sang ‘I’m all out of milk’ to the tune of ‘I’m all out of love’. Jack has to cope with my most annoying type of singing: car singing. I recently found a three year old iPod. Here’s a snippet of a conversation in our car:
Me: So then I told her that she should just…OHMYGOD, I LOVE THIS SONG…to the left, to the left, everything you own in a box to the left… So anyway, I told her that she should just… OOH, CHORUS… You must not know bout me, you must not know bout meeee.’
Annoying, right? Not to mention that my singing voice sounds like I’m a cat being put through a trap out of one of those Saw movies.
2. I have a GIGANTIC phobia of spiders
I can’t even. I just can’t. Even saying the word ‘spider’ is difficult. In the beginning, Jack thought it was cute and relished his role as protector from all things eight-legged (despite the fact that I know he secretly craps his pants when he sees a spider too). After a few years of ‘OH MY GOD JACK THERE’S A FREAKIN SPIDER THE SIZE OF A TARANTULA IN THE LIVING ROOM. JACK, GETITOUT, GETITOOOOOOOUUUUTTTT!’ it starts to wear a little thin. Now, the routine is: I run out of the house as silently as possible. I phone Jack from a safe distance with a calm ‘there is a spider in the living room. I would be eternally grateful if you could remove said spider so that I can resume my sofa day-dreaming.’ He then removes the arachnid. I just realised that he probably goes nowhere near the living room and instead has a beer. So I’m probably sitting near some spider colony who is plotting some violent revenge on behalf of their fallen comrades. Oh dear god.
3. I am a serial dieter
Jack has to contend with my constant dieting. Some weeks, I’m on a crazy health buzz. So he gets a lot of ‘ok, I’m having fruit smoothies for breakfast and then dry crackers for lunch. And for dinner, as a special treat, spinach. Then I’m going to go on a four-mile run. I don’t know how I ever ate chocolate.’ Then, a week later. ‘I need a cheeseburger. I need cheese. I’m gonna melt chocolate and have eight crepes. I NEED CARBS!’ And then the inevitable ‘I can’t believe I fell off my diet wagon. I’m so fat.’ So if he tells me that I’ll regret eating a cheeseburger he gets this ‘YOU THINK I’M FAT?’ but then when I eat said cheeseburger, I have the eater’s remorse, which makes me just as irritating. He can’t win.
4. My emotions
I have all the emotions. I cry at adverts/films/my failure to win the lottery on a weekly basis. I can be a little sensitive too. I once ran over a rabbit (accidentally I’d like to add incase anyone from the rabbit mafia is reading this) and I was inconsolable. Jack had to contend with me sobbing ‘but what about when she doesn’t go back to her burrow? What will her husband think? What about her little rabbit babies? WHO’S GONNA FEED HER BABIES??!!’ He tells me I over-think things. He could be right.
5. I am obsessed with animals
When Jack and I moved into our first house, I begged him for a dog. After about five days, I wore him down. We got the most beautiful Border Collie puppy and called her Molly. Jack loved her instantly but he still had his reservations: will she have enough space? Will she need to be walked a lot? What if we’re not here for her during the day? To me, it was like having a baby and I dedicated my days to her.
Less than a year later, my mother bought us a another puppy. This time, a male West-Highland called Oscar. I can’t explain how much we both love our dogs.
A few years later, I decided to expand our brood. I bought a guinea pig. I called her Dolly. After a few days, she seemed lonely and sad. I did some research and realised she needed a cage mate, so that’s when I got Emmy-Lou. Still with me? There’s more. I didn’t know it at the time, but Dolly was pregnant when I bought her. So she had four pig babies: Coco, Stevie, Ronnie and Roxy. Ronnie and Roxy have since died unfortunately. But at this stage we had six guinea pigs and two dogs. More was to follow. A week later, while driving home, I spotted a very distressed kitten at the side of the (very dangerous) road. I managed to catch her. She was spitting and hissing at us for days. Eventually, she came around and now her and Jack are inseparable. We had planned to give her away but we became so attached that we just couldn’t. Her name is Billie.
So we now have seven pets. Although Jack loves our fur babies very much, he often alludes to our lack of freedom and the responsibilities that come with good pet ownership. I like to gently remind him that having a baby will be this times a hundred. So, I’m doing him a favour really. So selfless.
6. I make fun of him
I’m not mean. It’s just that sometimes a brilliant ‘burn’ opportunity comes up and I can’t resist. But before you judge me, he’s just as bad. It’s what we do. Here’s an example of a recent conversation:
Jack walked into the room wearing a very questionable shirt that made him look like Dolly Parton.
Jack: Will this do?
Me: Sure. Everyone at the hoedown will love it.
7. I have a very short attention span
Sometimes I just zone out. I just can’t help it. I just…HEY LOOK, A CLOUD. What was I saying? Oh yeah, add some salt and water and the swelling should subside. You’re welcome.
8. I forget to recycle
This mightn’t seem like such a big deal but it drives Jack INSANE. He’s Captain Planet and I’m like one of those cartoon villains you’d see on a school film to raise awareness for the environment like ‘Captain Destroyer’ or ‘Thoughtless Thomasina.’ It’s not that I don’t care about the planet, it’s that I just plain forget. Recycling is relatively new in Ireland. I didn’t grow up in a household that recycled. It was considered a new-fangled hippy idea that was practically witchcraft for crying out loud. Every week when Jack is putting out the bins for the truck, he spots that the recycling bin weighs significantly less than the rubbish bin. He always comes back with a resigned look on his face
‘You’re still not recycling.’
‘I am. I recycled a coke can three days ago.’ I’ll be winning Nobel Prizes next.
9. I’m a terrible morning person
I love night time. I cook a lovely meal, I have a bath. I play with my pets. I snuggle Jack on the sofa. I do some school work. Mornings, on the other hand, are another story. No matter how many times I’ve had to get up early, it just never gets any easier.
The minute the alarm goes off, I feel homicidal. Don’t worry, my murderous thoughts are usually reserved for the inventor of the alarm. I feel a mess. Jack is mercilessly cheerful. And awake.
‘Morning’, he chirps.
‘Bleurgh’, I reply. For some reason, I’m hoarse. I’m also so uncoordinated that I once tore a ligament in my knee JUST GETTING OUT OF BED. It takes several cups of coffee and a long shower to wake me up. But for those first thirty minutes or so I’m as touchy as a pre-menstrual bear.
So there you have it. I do hope that you don’t want to punch me in the face too much. For all these bad traits, I have some redeeming qualities. Like, erm, am…. Look over there *runs away*