Sleeping with the enemy

I had it all figured out, this thing of shacking up. I was going to save loads of cash, get my well-deserved massage and have someone tell off the meter reader who knocks as if he owns my place.

I had it all figured out, this thing of shacking up. I was going to save loads of cash, get my well-deserved massage and have someone tell off the meter reader who knocks as if he owns my place.

There was even talk of helping to plant the new summer bulbs. And most of all, I could finally breathe, knowing Citizen X was not going around dancing naked in clubs. What can I say, I'm insane.

After almost scratching his eyes out and begging him not to leave over a period of roughly a year, we figured that we could just deal with the forever possibility. So we moved in together.

I threw away his childhood toys and squeezed in his clothes for Africa. Could he perhaps give some to charity, especially the spider-man T-shirt? I asked.

"No," he replied. We were finally going to live happily ever after for sure.

There I was, trying to teach an old dog new tricks. I taught him to hang his clothes properly, so that every item's shoulder line was straight. He looked at me as if I were losing my mind.

Could he wear his sneakers with socks at all times? Again, I got the look of a woman who had gone completely bonkers.

I don't consider myself uptight, but after three months his serial killer-looking pal was still his pal, the shoes were still lying around on every surface and he was just as confused at my objection about watching MTV 24/7.

Isn't there more to life than brainless American girls who show off their boobs and behinds for a living?

I mean, we missed the former president's resignation speech and I had to get the list of the 10 ministers that quit from phone conversations.

My mom says this is the exact effect that kids have on their households as they grow older.

"Remember the Kruger rands I stashed away to trade in for rainy days and you donated them to a madman when you were five? That's pretty much the same damage you caused. It's payback time."

With people like her who needs enemies?

Yet, I feel as if I'm sleeping with the enemy these days. We sleep under three blankets in the middle of summer because he easily catches a cold. Never mind that I bake under such circumstances.

But when I boot the sleeping notion and decide to boot the computer instead, he tosses and turns in frustration.

The idea was to coexist, cohabit, cooperate and collectively make this thing work. The serial killer-looker says the solution is marriage.

"You have to make this thing right in every way," he says as he helps himself to another bottle of beer. Why doesn't anyone think twice before throwing in their two cents' worth?

So far this is what I've been told about our living arrangement situation:

Opinion: "Don't expect him to change just because he is more committed. If you do, he will resent you for it."

My response: "Did he have a gun against his head when he moved in?"

Opinion: "Men are like children, you have to remind them all the time about the socks and the shoes."

My response: "What do I look like, his mother?"

Opinion: "It's the woman's job to balance the acts."

My response: "And he is on a free ride?"

But when all has been said and done, the battle and the chagrin of the sexes must come to an end. Perhaps there is some truth in the notion that we are from different planets, but it's been proved over and over that it's not impossible to live together.

"The problem begins when you start judging each other," opines the serial killer.

"Think about drinking buddies who never turn their backs on each other. Do you know why their friendship stands the test of time? Because they think: 'We are in this together; we are in the same societal category and therefore I will not make things worse for you by trying to appear better'."

That serial killer can make sense sometimes. And so I will not judge him on the basis of his well-combed hair, perfect moustache and shiny shoes.

I will listen to him for a change because, indeed, we are in the same societal category. I call him a serial killer lookalike and some call me Girl Interrupted, so why make things worse for us by being judgmental?

So this week we are back to the drawing board. I'm letting Citizen X watch MTV until 3am and instead of bickering about it I have decided to make friends with my computer. It's not the perfect solution, like marriage, but it's a start.