Do you blow your nose in the shower? Like, straight into your hand?
Because my ex did. Very, very, very loudly.
It made a honking sound that still haunts me. He told me he had to do it; that he had no choice. “I’ve never blown my nose in the shower,” I would counter. “And I’m fine!” In turn, he hated how I sneezed. He’d insist I was holding them back, thereby disrupting the biological purpose of expelling irritants from my nasal passage (or whatever). The truth is, I do not hold them back! That’s just how I sneeze!
And so his nose-blowing became known as the thing I hated, and my sneezing the thing he hated. I’d offer to work on letting out my sneezes if he’d forgo his blowing, but he’d never agree. We were at a standoff. (Plus, no matter how hard I tried to change my sneezing, it never worked.)
Living with a significant other brings about the weirdest little pet peeves. Roommates do the same thing, sure, but the emotional stake in a relationship adds a different tilt. It’s like you’re invested, somehow, in their every particular behavior and bad habit. When I asked people around the Man Repeller office who live with significant others or have about theirs, the lists were long. And funny. It was like group catharsis, bitching about these inconsequential little things.
Cabinet doors left slightly ajar. Dirty dishes placed in a clean dishwasher. Dirty socks dropped by, not in, the hamper. The bathroom door kept open during showers. Dirty tissues left in pockets. Peanut butter-y knives deposited in the sink. Caps left off of toothpaste. Wet towels thrown on the bed. Kitchen counters left unwiped.
“We’re working on the toilet seat.”
There was a Slack-tuned chorus of yes and OMG SAME and me too!!! And each person’s pet peeve reminded someone of another. By the end everyone was assuring each other that they did, indeed, love their significant others. I promised them the caveat was implied.
So what’s your thing? And what’s your partner’s thing about you? Do you try to change each other — or do you accept it? Where should that line be drawn?
Photo by Edith Young.