At the start you project the most interesting version of yourself. It’s all “I want to be a journalist” “Those Arctic Monkeys are the SHIT, aren’t they?” and “Sorry if I seem tired, it’s because I’ve been partying since, like, FOREVER.”
But then, just a couple of years in, you find yourself choosing “Guess what, I saw a squirrel on my way to work” as the first thing you say to him when he gets home in the evening.
And this happens – besides being due to the inevitable fascination one gains with wildlife at the age of 23/24 – because we spend so much time together that we forget to separate what should just be thought to ourselves and what should be said out loud – for example:
“My mum was right, you really do get what you pay for when it comes to bin bags.”
“These pants may be big but my GOD are they comfortable.”
“A man on the tube yawned into my hair this evening. It made me want to be sick.”
But whilst women – and by women I mean a minimum of ‘I’ – do this, the same cannot be said for men – and by men I mean ‘him’ and possibly others. Sure, this isn’t scientific but entering into serious relationships with a control group of other men over a seven or eight year period to check if I’m right would infringe somewhat on my current plans so let’s just go with it.
No, men do not feel the need to speak for speaking’s sake. I have to ask what he’s thinking and the answer is never “I was just wondering what the difference between an otter and a beaver is” or “That woman over there’s lips are too thin”. It’s always either “Nothing”, or “I was just thinking about having some cheese”. He just seems to enjoy silence a lot more than I do, and now I think I can see why.
I blame real life for my demise. We have too much else to cover beyond our thoughts on the latest Bloc Party album (they’re still around, right?) or where’s cool to consume a mojito. Now I need to know whether he remembered to take a yogurt with him to work and if he thinks the new toilet paper I bought is of a good enough quality. So my thoughts on the surprising strength of Tesco value foil are just par for the course.
And just as the mundane makes itself at home, that filter for words that prove we’re less fun and outgoing than our courting personas suggested clocks off. The façade comes down, we admit that we actually think fancy dress is tiresome and boring, that we don’t like new year’s eve because it means definitely being out beyond midnight and that, if we’re honest, we think Trick or Treat-ing should be illegal as it just frightens the elderly (and a select group of 27 year olds).
So what does this mean? Does it mean I’ve got too comfortable, that I’m breaking all the glossy magazine rules on how to keep your man happy? Or is this just what it’s like to be with someone for a long time and truly be yourself with them?
I don’t know. All I know is that if I keep a steady store of cheese in the house, I can say what I like.