Thursday, September 4, 2014


I don't fit the gay stereotype, but at least the color is right.
Let’s start with the logical solution:  I’ll pay for the maid.

Maybe the only discussion is weekly versus live-in.

My mother used to warn me that my habits would destroy a relationship. “Your wife will never stand for this! She’ll blame me and all I’ll say is ‘I tried.’”

Of course, my mom was dead wrong. I’d never have a wife.

But admittedly my messes did create strain on my relationship with my ex. We lived together for five and a half years. Somehow I thought it might be romantic if we cleaned together. At the very least, misery loves company. But I, a lifelong challenged cleaner, had to do it all. “I have dust allergies,” he’d say. Oh, if only that’s all he had.

Match Mr. Messy with a guy with OCD. We were doomed. He’d do laundry. Once, often twice a day. And that was just for our very own towel service. Towels were only used once. After a shower, he dried off with one clean towel for the upper body, one for the lower. I had to do the same. After work, he took another shower. Couldn’t let outside clothes make contact with the inside. Toss them in the washer. Along with another round of towels. Again, I had to do the same.

I am certain he loved the washing machine more than he loved me.

He’d supervise how I cleaned. “Aren’t you standing too close?” I’d say. “I’m sure I’m stirring up dust.”

But he’d keep me on task with “What kind of person doesn’t wipe down all the tomato splatter after cooking?”

“A hungry one,” I’d mutter. If only I could discuss such things with, oh, say, a wife. Surely that would be easier.

I don’t think I’ll ever get that close to a certifiable neatnik like that again. I’ll watch for the warning signs and run the first time a guy fits “antibacterial” into the conversation during a romantic evening walk.

But I got to thinking again about how much of an issue my bad habits will be with Mr. Hypothetical. I’ve joined a new dating website—time to bang my head against a different wall!—and it purports to create matches based on comparing responses to a series of questions.

“Are you messy?”

Yikes. I skipped it. The stereotype is that gay men are neat. Maybe even fussy. My answer might eliminate every potential candidate on the planet. Much too revealing. Far more so than my religious beliefs, my political views or whether I’m a top or bottom. Some things he’ll just have to find out much later. After I’ve hooked him, made him cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs and all that.

I am Pig Pen with better hygiene. I generate debris. I don’t see it happening. I usually don’t see it when I re-enter the room. I have to trip over it. But even then I don’t act. I’m too busy nursing my wounded big toe.

I need to have guests over more. It’s only as I anticipate their arrival that I see the catastrophe all around me. In every room. At eye level, foot level and every other possible level.

Maybe we can just have a nice long chat in the driveway. After I sweep it. And power wash it. And mow the lawn and tame the hedges.

Let’s just meet at Starbucks. My treat!

Yeah. It’s a problem. It’s been my New Year’s resolution every single year since I was ten. I still have time to work on it, as long as Mr. Hypothetical remains just that. Maybe I should try out my vacuum again—it’s in the house somewhere—instead of answering more of that endless list of questions for my dating profile. I’ll get started tonight. As soon as I get home. Skip that extra shower. Keep the outside clothes on. I have more glaring issues in that overwhelming realm of cleanliness.

If not tonight, tomorrow. Or next week. What’s the rush, really?


Rick Modien said...

Okay, RG, well, you and I would never get along. I'm a neat freak. Chris isn't. Not as much as me, anyway. So I look after all the cleaning, EXCEPT for Chris's bedroom and bathroom. I figure he can clean that, at least--especially if I've looked after everything else. And, elsewhere in the house, Chris generally keeps things clean to an acceptable standard. Yeah, it drives me crazy when he comes in from working outside, and he's tracked something in, like grass and the like. Yeah, I bitch at him, then clean it myself. He tells me he doesn't see the mess. I honestly think he doesn't. And since I do, and it matters most to me, I take care of it.

Believe me, the considerable benefits of living with him far outweigh the inconvenience of any mess he might create. Besides, he knows the wrath of Rick is not worth facing if I get pissed about a mess, so he's pretty careful. It's all in the training--and there's a bit of acceptance in it too.

Rural Gay said...

I think it's a difference in brain wiring or something. Some people truly do not see that mess. I've listened to so many neat parents complain about their messy kids. Nothing works. They try to get their kids to be like them and it just doesn't work. A lot of home stress can come from a failure to understand and accept differences. Yes, there are reasonable limits to expect from even the messiest folks. And sometimes containment is as good as it gets. That's what doors are for.

I continue to try to do better and I am a bit better, but I will always be more Oscar than Felix. Hopefully someone will be so dazzled by the other parts of me that he'll cut me a little slack, just like you do with Chris.