“Well, those are things that could be changed…” JournoGal said, in typically pragmatic fashion as I lay in bed one evening on the phone to her, Colin snoring black fluff over the pillowcase and my latest literary obsession (if Jilly Cooper counts as such) lying open on the bed.
We were discussing a couple of the intriguing clothing choices made by The Northerner that I’d discovered since he and I had taken a leap in our dalliance and committed to being friends on Facebook. We’d also previously touched in conversation on the chain TN wears that appears to be a permanent fixture.
It’s an interesting concept: if there’s something you don’t like about the person you’re seeing, then change it. And it’s a view that, in my experience, seems to be far more prevalent in women than men (the notable exception being The Father, who refused to marry The Mother until she’d given up smoking). I wonder whether it’s a phenomenon that finds its roots in girls playing with dolls from a young age, and that we simply transfer our desire to dress things up to our boyfriends and husbands as we get older.
Whatever it is, I don’t know that I’m in favour of it.
Whilst I might find particular behaviours and habits in someone irksome, I’m not sure that I’d want to eradicate them in my attempts to find someone I want to be in a relationship with. I’d far rather be with a flawed individual with real personality than some Stepford Man who never left his damp towels on the bathroom floor, but also had nothing I could get excited about.
I’m all for grown-up discussions about compromise in relationships, but if a man tried to part me from my eyeliner, my Sunday morning sessions with large mugs of Earl Grey and the Archers omnibus, or my ever-increasing collection of lovely but impractical coats (ie, they’re beautiful but I can’t wear them in the rain), I know I’d be really cross.
“But what you need to consider,” Best Mate said when I brought the topic up over dinner, putting her legally trained brain to good use, “is whether or not it’s profound or a material thing that gets on your nerves. Because if it is just a shirt or two, and they really get on your nerves… Well, these things get lost in the wash. Happens all the time.” She shrugged and took a sip of wine.
She might be right. Things do get lost, especially in my house. And it’s not as if I’m asking him to embrace voting Conservative. And after all, a change is as good as a rest. Even when it’s enforced. Right?