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EST. May 2000 (AD)




Check and Mate

By Sue Speranza

So, you’re at that stage in your relationship where he’s told you he loves you. Maybe you’re living together, maybe not. But if you’re spending a heck of a lot of time together, meeting each other’s families, borrowing each other’s personal belongings, and negotiating social activities, you’re probably going to hear some tall tales at some point. Here are samples of ruses you may hear, and some helpful suggestions to turn these hoary hoaxes into goods and amenities.

Say he comes home from a bachelor party completely bombed and rips the towel rack off the bathroom wall en route to the toilet. Don’t buy the "Honey, the chicken/ribs/haggis they served at the party wasn’t the way you make it, so I didn’t eat. That’s probably why I got so drunk. Don’t worry, I’m on puke patrol." A skillful negotiator can parlay disgusting deception into a new towel rack, complete with a set of Ralph Lauren towels.

If he has some sordid stuff in his past, he may slyly try to work it into conversation by saying, "Well, back when I was a heroin addict …" Make him ‘fess up! Eventually you’ll hear the truth: "Well, the real reason I wanted to walk four miles to restaurant isn’t because I’m a nutty environmentalist and prefer not to drive. Actually, The Registry of Motor Vehicles prefers that I don’t drive – for ten years." A sharpie harpy will tell him not to worry about it; some women love men who need "fixing", even someone as screwed up as him. The story about getting caught selling your panties via the U.S. Postal Service to guys in prison, no matter how hysterically funny, doesn’t enhance the forgiving stance we’re going for here in this situation. Let him borrow your car, let him fill it with gas, let him get it serviced. He’ll be so grateful you didn’t cut him loose when you found out he got pinched for drunk driving, he’ll be happy to oblige.

Here’s a toughie: Let’s acknowledge right now that most men would rather have their eyes plucked out by crows than go "see the baby". Ditto for rare plant auctions and going with you to see the elderly lady at the office perform karaoke at Angie’s Fish Shack. When asked to do these odious tasks, the cunning man might respond, "Pissa! Sure, pumpkin, I’ll go with you. But afterwards I really want to take to the Monster Truck Show at the Worcester Centrum." A savvy chick chooses her battles carefully. Gracefully decline, with each of you doing your own thing, and then meeting later for dinner and sex.

Speaking of sex, nothing is more of a turn-off than a man who is in denial about losing his hair. Don’t let your man go around with a drape head, or the dreaded three-foot long strand wrapped into decorative swirlies, then shellacked to the point where you could tee a golf ball off his coif. A wily woman will strongly encourage him to shave it off-all of it. Tell him it’s a bold move, it shows he has cojones, and point out that he might have some cool scars under there. Take him to your salon, and have a hairdo yourself while you’re there.

If he borrows your car again and takes the dog with him and returns it smelling strongly of those little pine tree air fresheners, chances are something radical and disgusting happened. Don’t buy the, "Oh, I just wanted to return it to you nice and clean." Further discussion will reveal that he fed Spike a Slim Jim, which the dog promptly power dumped all over the leather interior. A clever gal will point out that a little air freshener is no match for dog poop, and will parlay this mishap into a $200.00 detailing job.

It’s that elusive combination of understanding and underhandedness that get things done. Now, see how easy it is to get along?

© 2006 Sue Speranza


Sue Speranza lives in Gloucester, MA, with Stephen “Big Daddy Yum-Yum” Tyler.

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