I’m 42 and in love for the first time. I live in a beautiful house with the most kind, generous, sweet and gentle man imaginable. Unfortunately, he’s a slob, and it’s making me crazy! The worst is walking downstairs in the morning and facing the mess. Aaarrrgh!! It can make me irritable/angry/depressed all day. I’ve begged and cajoled. Most embarrassingly, I’ve even thrown a fit. When I pick up after him (I have to — his stuff gets in my way) I feel angry and resentful. He claims he doesn’t like the mess either. On the rare occasion he does clean, he’ll do one small area and immediately begin trashing it. Should I just accept that my living room will always look like a garbage dump?
                               — Besieged

    Little girls play house. Little boys play war. War is messy, okay? Like, when you’re in the foxhole, nobody’s complaining, “You left shells everywhere again, and you never pick up the fresh flowers when it’s your turn!”
    The irony is, probably the neatest guys out there are those who’ve been in the military. And sure, there are plenty of women who have to bring in a disaster cleanup company just to find the telephone. But, as I’ve written before, many straight men just don’t have the eye for clutter that women do. It’s a hard-wired biological thing, and no, I don’t mean biological warfare. Studies show women and gay men seem to have a better eye for ultra-local detail, and straight men seem to have better distance vision; as in, “Hark! There’s a wildebeest on the horizon. Let’s go spear it!”
    Yes, it would be great if he could become as fastidious as some archetypal gay decorator, or if you could say to yourself, “Sure, I hate a mess, but seeing his underwear hanging off the curtain rod where he tossed it four days ago reminds me how lucky I am to have the most kind, generous, sweet and gentle man imaginable.”
    This mess you’re in probably started when you visited the home of the man you love and saw him missing the bowl, the sink, the trash can, and the dumpster, and tried to believe, “Oh, it’ll be different at my place.” And it is. Now, he’s missing your bowl, your sink, and all the rest. And here you are, angry and resentful, and for what? It’s cute that he claims to be as disturbed by the mess as you are, but there’s a good chance he’s one of those guys who never cleans, but just moves when the bacteria-to-human ratio starts to reach CDC alert levels.

Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave, #280, Santa Monica, CA  90405, or e-mail AdviceAmy@aol.com (www.advicegoddess.com)

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