Letting go of the small stuff
I hate those books. All of them. Chicken Soup for the Soul, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff, The Secret… Ugh. Oprah should be strung up for popularizing that pap. They’re trite and clearly written by people on extremely large doses of Prozac.
But as I dived back into the dating pool earlier this summer, I have had to remind myself that at 41, perfect doesn’t exist and everyone comes with some shit I don’t like. No, not crabs. Small stuff. (again, not crabs).
I mean, the small stuff. The stuff which isn’t sexy or fun or cool or even particularly interesting. And while I know I come with my own bundle of annoyances, after 7 years on my own.. I tend to forget that dudes can be as annoying as shit.
But if I’m ever going to find someone who I can tolerate for more than 11 weeks (my current record for dating since 2007).. then I’m going to have to let some small stuff go. I’ve thought about this really hard and below are some of the ‘stuff’ I’m prepared to not sweat.
“Crude” means to lack a polish, in a raw, unprepared state, lacking in intellectual judgment or perspective.. and I’m sort of ok with that. I’m English and we’re kind of overly proper anyway. Dudes who were captured in the wild at an early age (i.e. married in their twenties), seem to have had all crudity trained out of them as part of the ‘I Do’ process, but a lot of the wilder dudes (those still roaming the forest today) are kind of overtly crude. And I can be too. But I’m also a hypocrite and there seems to be an invisible line I’ve defined between acceptable and unacceptable crudity. Around me, feel free to swear, fart, make off color jokes and talk about how amazing my breasts are. But no, I don’t need to know about your bowel movements, your masturbatory or ejaculatory habits, the smell of your farts or the kind of porn you found in your dad’s VCR collection. That’s what your dude friends are for.
Since I’m not dating octogenarians (yet), and I like to eat out, its fairly likely at some point that I’m going to encounter my nemesis. The loud cruncher. You know the one. Who can make eating an apple a stereophonic experience for an entire room. Who can tell you exactly how hard that Butterfinger is without saying a word or guide you mentally through every kernel of their afternoon popcorn. No, this isn’t intolerance born of age, I’ve been working on this one since birth.
Blessed with a father who can actively break teeth on cereal, every salad, piece of toast or chip was a cacophony of crunching, grinding, chomping and cracking. What can I say, the man is gifted – he can generate loud noise while eating pie. Which, as an adult, makes me able to hear an apple being picked up from a 500yd radius and can cause me to exit a room faster than Usain Bolt.
Yes, I know everyone makes noise when they eat, but please, I beg of you, keep your apple eating to times when I’m not around and I’ll grit my teeth through everything else. Even cereal. Maybe.
Regular readers will know my thoughts on underwear for women.. suffice to say I think its a blessing for your self confidence and a gift we can give to the dudes in our life every single day (no-one in history ever got annoyed by a stocking). But I’ve noticed through experience that men’s view of underwear can be somewhat… lackadaisical.
I once lived with a guy who proudly wore his underwear until the waist band and rest-of-pants were completely separated (I actively had to stop him from using the waist band as a belt to keep the things together). He considered them still functional and therefore part of the rotation. He also had a pair of boxers which had worn two special ‘ball holes’. I assumed this design aspect was pleasurable as I had to forceably chuck them out twice (yes, he pulled them out of the bin the first time). Really.
Wear your underwear two days running? Totally normal dude behavior. (women do the same thing = beyond disgusting). And don’t get me started on stains. I’ve been married and all I can say is blurg….So dudes, I won’t highlight the contrast between my corset and thigh highs with your grey saggy Calvins, or roll my eyes at the Star Wars boxers your mom bought you in 2001. But please keep them clean and switch them out on a daily basis. We’ll do the same ok?
No, get your head out of his ass. Not hemorrhoids. I’m talking about piles of stuff. Men seem to love to amass them wherever they go. Not for them the drawer, the closet or the cupboard. No.. their stuff is important. Too important to be ‘put away’. No, men stuff needs to be close at hand. In a pile of stuff. Next to another pile of stuff. I’ve noticed this tendency in some women, but it seems to be men who really indulge this with a passion. Not just the obvious stuff like shoes, bills, magazines or clothes, but piles of random shit spring up wherever men pass by.
Cyclist in your life? Likely you have a pile of cycling related equipment somewhere annoying like the dining room table, the kitchen counter or your bedroom dresser. Maybe its a pile of ‘drying’ chamois? Or old editions of Cycling magazines that were read 5 months ago.
Car enthusiast? Watch out for that pile of old washers, screws and rubber flanges… he needs that stuff to hand ok? Especially in the kitchen. Where the car isn’t.
And every guy has his pile of important shit to do (that should have been done about 3 months ago). Don’t you dare even think about moving that pile. He’ll never find that shit if you so much as move it a millimeter.
As a neat freak, piles drive me nuts. Even more than dirt. In fact I can happily exist in tumbleweeds of dog hair as long as there are no piles of stuff. But piles are a fact of life, so I hereby decree you can have as many piles as you want… they’re just all going to be in your room. In your house. Where I don’t live.
5. The Grocery Fairies
I don’t think there’s a coupled guy out there who doesn’t in some small way think that fairies stock the fridge. Its amazing how there is always milk, and eggs and cheese and, wow, lots of yummy stuff to eat all. the. time. Now us singletons, and those coupled but living separately, know the truth that the grocery fairy gets shafted at Whole Foods every week and requires our car, wallet and time. Not much magic involved, especially at the weekends. But to many men, (and I’ve known a few), they honestly seem to think that the cupboards, freezer and fridge are magically stocked overnight. Especially when they’ve finished the milk or the OJ, ate the last of the cereal or that those last 2 pieces of bread. Because magically when they next get hungry, all that shit will have magically refreshed itself.
Why dudes do this, or believe in the grocery fairy is beyond me, but I blame women. Mothers, wives, girlfriends. We perpetuate the myth by noticing the gaps and immediately adding it to our daily to do list. And by taking it on, we also encourage guys to think that – this kills me – women enjoy all forms of shopping, even the the weekly journey into the aisles of Tesco or Safeway. Find me a man who likes to grocery shop and I’ll show you a gay man who entertains. Or someone on Top Chef.
I’ve now fed myself for some 20 odd years and I can’t ever recall meeting a grocery fairy or finding something in the fridge I didn’t buy myself. And I don’t mind you feeding yourself Mr. Man.
Just know that if you drink the last of my milk or you snag that Peppermint patty I’ve been saving, I will kill you.
That’s not small stuff. That shit is personal.