Saturday, 18 February 2012

Single vision

I've been living with Jenny for so long I sometimes wonder how I would behave if I were living on my own again. Would I still be so well-organised and domesticated, or would I be a total slut, letting everything slide into chaos and squalor?

After all this time as a couple, I really have no idea how little or how much Jenny influences me. Is she constantly changing my attitudes or do I carry on moreorless as I would have done anyway?

Before I met Jenny, I lived in a tiny bedsit that required the absolute minimum of maintenance, so it's hard to know how I would shape up if I had a whole house to look after.

Would I be so overwhelmed that I just moved into one room and ignored all the rest? Or I would I become ultra-houseproud and be hoovering from top to bottom at 6 am?

And would I eat properly? When Jenny worked in Glasgow for a year, we assumed she would be knocking up cordon bleu treats while I got by on snacks and packets of crisps. Oddly enough, it was the other way round and I was the one cooking decent meals.

And would I be happily socialising, looking up all my old friends and busily making new ones, or would I turn into a disgruntled hermit, refusing to answer the door and cursing humanity?

In my pre-Jenny days I was sociable enough, so I suspect the extrovert would win out over the recluse.

The fact is that if you live with someone, you do subtly modify each other's behaviour without always being aware of it. You're unconsciously motivated by the desire to look good, or be well thought-of, or make a good impression, and you may be faking it a bit. So how can I be sure what I'm really like?

Naturally I hope I never have occasion to find out. As Jenny is ten years younger than me, she's likely to outlast me. But you never can tell.
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I've turned off the wordcheck. It's driving me nuts, especially the word in black and white that's virtually impossible to read. Hopefully I won't get a deluge of spam.

25 comments:

kylie said...

i can guarantee that if i didnt have a family to cook for i would live on tea and toast, thats what i eat when they are all out!
as for any other behaviours, i'm not sure how it would go but probably i'd be a bit of a hermit.
there wouldnt be too much mess cos how much mess can you make if you only drink tea and eat toast?

Nick said...

Kylie - You'd be surprised. A hundred dirty plates covered with crumbs and peanut butter(?), a hundred mugs full of tea stains, plus all the dirty clothes you hadn't got round to washing, plus....

Jenny Woolf said...

Yes, I sometimes play that what-if game. I believe my life would have been much worse if I hadn't met T. Scary how easily one might not have met of course. How did you meet Jenny?

Scarlet Blue said...

Nothing wrong with being a disgruntled hermit who eats well!
Sx

Nick said...

Jenny - Indeed, just one little quirk of fate and we might never have crossed paths. We met while we were working at a bookshop (now defunct) in central London.

Scarlet - Hmm, now you come to mention it, that sounds quite an attractive option. *practises expression of snarling contempt*

kylie said...

jam and you think i would change?

Secret Agent Woman said...

I guess slut has a different meaning there, unless you think you'd become wildly promiscuous.

Having been married for two decades and then single I can tell you from experience that I changed hardly at all, except for quickly learning to do the things my spouse normally did (mow the lawn, for instance). I was no more or less neat, no more or less able to cook, no more or less able to handle finances, and so on. Yes, my partner influenced me - anyone who lives with you influences you - but so do my kids. I don't think people typically don't fall apart without someone there. The only difference when no one (no kids even) is here is that things are a little cleaner because I don't have anyone else to pick up after. Oh, and I definitely have had sex with more people single than I did while married.

Nick said...

Kylie - Jam? What kind of jam? No, don't tell me, strawberry?

Agent - I know, slut nowadays tend to mean promiscuous, but it does also mean slobbish and slatternly!

Interesting that you hardly changed at all. Also interesting that the place is cleaner because there's no picking up after someone else. From what I hear, men are still notorious for dropping their clothes anywhere and expecting the Clothes Fairy to deal with them. More sex - well, that figures!

Bijoux said...

I don't think I've changed much; I'm still all about the neatness, minimal 'stuff' sitting around, cabinets more empty than full.

As far as meals though, if I were single again, it would be back to popcorn for dinner!

Grannymar said...

May all of you who have soul mates or partners, never know the black abyss of loss. After fourteen years I still bake, cook, clean etc, but nowadays it is done on auto pilot.

I eat proper home cooked meals everyday. I compensate by making them for 4 or six and freezing the left over portions for the days I am feeling lazy.

I have moved on and built a new life with new friends, new interests, but I miss 'touch' most of all. In the world of today with technology taking over our lives (shopping, banking, news, & various social media outlets)it is so easy to become a reclusive person without face to face meetings or physical contact.

Don't go there.

Roses said...

How funny. I am looking at this from the opposite side: how do I negotiate the relationship being a long time single? And we're not even close to the moving in stage. I've just barely got over hyperventilating over leaving toothbrushes at respective houses.

Nick said...

Bijoux - Popcorn for dinner, huh? Personally I've always hated popcorn. If we're talking strange habits, I went through a phase of eating fruit cake for breakfast. It certainly kept me going through the morning.

Grannymar - Losing Jack must have been dreadful. I admire the way you've built such a rich social life and not retreated into domestic gloom. I would miss touch as well, I really value physical contact generally.

Nick said...

Roses - If you're used to being single, suddenly sharing with someone else can take a lot of adjusting. I lived on my own for about ten years before I met Jenny and there was plenty of friction when we started living together!

Bijoux said...

LOL Nick! I actually am not a big fan of popcorn anymore, but it's low cal (sans the butter) and filling enough to resemble a meal.

Personally, I'd rather have fruitcake for breakfast, with an extra large latte. LOVE the fruitcake.

Nick said...

Bijoux - Low cal and filling? Good if you're dieting, then. Glad to say, I've practically always been thin so no need to diet!

Wisewebwoman said...

I'm with GM on the touch thing. I tend to overcompensate and hug and kiss friends. I am practicing for strangers. Not there yet. Oops, I did two weeks ago, no, he did me, a friend of a friend who had read me and leaped on me once introduced. Nice that.
Diary entry from me.
XO
WWW

Nick said...

www - Surveys always find that hugging and kissing are not only enjoyable but good for your health. I'm quite happy for strangers to leap on me with generous hugs!

speccy said...

Really Nick, if you ever do feel the urge to scrub, clean and hoover from the early hours, give me a shout. I'll sleep through it, but you just let yourself in and clean to your heart's content :)

Nick said...

Speccy - I might become mega-houseproud in my own house (though somehow I doubt it). Other people's houses, definitely not. Even for large wads of cash.

Rummuser said...

It will be three years of being single for me in a month's time. It has taken my almost the whole time to get out of a hermit kind of life bar minor connections with family and close friends I am now mobile and suddenly I find that the universe is sending me signals! The human being adapts.

Nick said...

Ramana - You certainly don't give the impression of being a hermit. Apart from your father and son and family, you have plenty of blogmates and you know a lot of the local tradespeople. Hardly an isolated existence!

blackwatertown said...

I think I'd do more cooking - more experimental mistakes.
More music. More pictures.
Odd thinking about it.

Nick said...

Blackwater - Come to think of it, some experimental cooking sounds good. Without anyone to laugh at my incompetence....

Snowbrush said...

Boy, if Jenny drives like she's pictured, you won't have to wonder what it would be like to live without her for much longer.

Nick said...

Snowbrush - Actually Jenny's a very competent driver, as am I (I think). I'd certainly be worried if she was in the habit of finishing her make-up on the dual carriageway.