being a “couple” !!!

During the summer of 1997:
Her Question:
Why should we be together as "a couple"?
My Answer:
You’re my last thought when I go to sleep at night…
and the first thought when I wake up in the morning.
So ~ in October 1997, I became a couple ~
Some time later… a brief sample of answers to the simple question:
"What can’t you do because you’re in a couple?"
This information is all true; nothing was invented. Nothing needed to be.
So, before you marry, or re-marry ~~ ask your future mate which of the "rules" below you have to follow:
– you can’t leave the house without saying where you’re going
– you can’t not say what time you’ll return
– you can’t stay out past midnight, or elevn, or ten, or dinnertime, or not come right home after work
– you can’t go out when I feel like staying home
– you can’t go to parties alone
– you can’t go out just to go out because you can’t not be considerate of my worries about where you are, or my natural insecurity that you’re not where you should be, or about where you could be instead
– you can’t make plans without consulting me, particularly not evenings and weekends, or make decisions about leisure time usage without a consultation
– you can’t be a slob
– you can’t do less than 50 percent around the house, even if I want to do 100 to 200 percent more householding than you find necessary or even reasonable
– you can’t leave your [pick one] books, tissues, shoes, mail, underwear, work, or pornography lying around the house
– you can’t smoke, or you can’t smoke in the house, or you can’t leave cigarettes in cups
– you can’t leave the dishes for later, wash the dishes badly, not use soap, drink straight from the container, make crumbs without wiping them up [now, not later], or make the dishes according to the method that seems most sensible to you
– you can’t use dishes directly out of the rack without unloading the whole thing
– you can’t accumulate things that I think you just might not use someday if I think you won’t
– you can’t throw wet clothes in the laundry hamper even though there’s no logical reason not to ~ after all, they’re going to get wet eventually
– you can’t have a comfortable desk because it doesn’t fit the decor
– you can’t not share responsibility for domestic decisions I have made that you’ve gone along with to be nice, but don’t really care about
– you cant leave the bathroom door open, it’s offensive
– you can’t leave the bathroom door closed, I need to get in
– you can’t enter without knocking
– you can’t leave the toilet seat up
– you can’t read on the john without commentary
– you can’t leave bloody things in the bathroom waste-basket
– you can’t wash your dirty hands in the kitchen sink
– you have to load the toilet paper "over" instead of "under"
– you’re not allowed to pay no attention to what you’d simply rather ignore: your own nose hair, underarm hair, or toenails
– you can’t not make the bed
– you can’t not express appreciation when I make the bed, even if you don’t care
– you can’t sleep apart, you can’t go to bed at different times, you can’t fall asleep on the couch without gotten woken up to go to bed
– you can’t eat in bed
– you can’t get out of bed right away after sex
– you can’t get insomnia without being grilled about what’s really bothering you
– you can’t turn the airconditioner up as high as you want ~ think of the environment instead of yourself all the time
– you can’t sleep late if I have to get up early
– you can’t sleep late because it’s a sign of moral turpitude
– you can’t watch soap operas without getting made fun of
– you can’t watch porn
– you can’t leave CNN on as background
– you can’t listen to Paul Simon, Elvis, or other excesses of your youth
– you can’t smoke pot
– you can’t drink during the day, even on weekends
– you can’t take naps when I am home because I feel leisure time should be shared
– you can’t work when you’re supposed to be realxing
– you can’t spend too much time on the computer ~ and stay off those chat rooms
– you can’t have e-mail flirtations, even if innocent
– your best friend can’t call after ten
– you’re not allowed to read when you like to
– you can’t be impulsive, self-absorbed, or disctracted
– you can’t take risks, unless they’re agreed-upon risks, which somewhat limits the concept of "risk"
– you can’t just walk out on your job or quit in a huff
– you can’t make unilateral career decisions, or change jobs without extensive discussion and negotiation
– you can’t have your own bank account
– you can’t make major purchases alone, or spend money on things I consider excesses, you can’t blow money just because you’re in a really bad mood, and you can’t be in a bad mood without being required to explain it
– you can’t have secrets ~ about money or anything else
– you can’t eat what you want
– you can’t not eat meals
– you can’t not plan these meals
– you can’t not have dinner together
– you can’t not feel like eating what I have cooked
– you can’t eat garlic because I can’t stand the smell
– you can’t refuse to share your entre’e when dining out, or order what you want without negotiations far surpassing the Oslo accords.
– the employment of napkin, the placement of bones, pits, and other detritus, are all subject to commentary and critique
– you can’t blow your nose at the table
– you can’t read the newspaper at meals
– you can’t eat things that give you gas
– you can’t make jokes about gas
– you can’t say the wrong thing, even in situations where there’s no right thing to say
– you can’t use the "wrong tone of voice," and you can’t deny the wrong-tone-of-voice accusation when it’s made
– you can’t repeat yourself, or appear to parade your knowledge
– you can’t overly celebrate your own accomplishments, particulalrly if I am less successful
– you can’t be simplistic, even when things are simple
– you’re not permitted to employ the Socratic method in an argument
– you can’t have the wrong laugh: too loud, too explosive, too inappropriate, too silly
– you can’t say cunt
– you can’t make penis size jokes, or laugh when others do
– you can’t say what you think about my family
– you can’t express inappropriate irony about something I take seriously
– orappropriate anger at something I take casually
– you can’t not be supportive, even when I do something insupportable
– you can’t talk about [choose one]: relegion, politics, Syria, etc..
– you can’t tell dirty jokes, or relate overly lengthy anecdotes
– you can’t talk about past relationships
– or you can’t not talk about past relationships, and can’t refuse to reveal all the long-forgotten details when asked
– you can’t not "communicate your feelings", except when those feelings are critical, which they should not be
– you cant say anything that makes me too aware of my incompetence or failures
– you can’t question my self-knowledge, or my reading of a particular situation
– you can’t be cynical about things I am sincere about: style, haute cuisine, office gossip
– you can’t have friends who like you more than me
– you can’t be rude to houseguests, or leave the house when houseguests are around
– you can’t criticize me to others
– when I am having an argument with someone, you must not take the other person’s side
– you can’t be charming in public, especially to persons of the opposite sex
– you can’t provoke my jealousy
– you can’t socialize or contact your exes, even if you swear it’s really over
– you can’t not laugh at my jokes in public
– you can’t be argumentative
– you can’t wear mismatched clothes, even in the interests of being perversly defiant
– you can’t wear sloppy clothes at home without hearing some sort of comment on it
– you can’t sleep in your favourite T-shirt, its ratty
– you can’t go clothes shopping since I don’t trust your taste
– you can’t underdress for an occasion
– if indifferent to such things, you’re not allowed to leave the house without passing inspection
– you can’t wear anything that makes you look too sexy [or too dumpy]
– you can’t dress up more than I am dressed up; you can’t be more casual
– you can’t drink without me counting your drinks
– you can’t bum cigarettes because it embarrases me, although I understand about the unspoken fraternity between smokers
– you can’t not "fit in"
– you must not dance because you’re a terrible dancer [according to me]
– you can’t leave a place before they’re ready to go
– you can’t be late even if you prefer being late
– you can’t loose track of time, especially when engaged in something that does not involve me, like your e-mail
– you can’t drive too fast, or faster than I define as fast
– you can’t tailgate, you can’t honk
– you can’t listen to your favourite station in the car, or your favourite songs
– you can’t get angry when driving, or swear at other drivers
— I left out some "cant’s" that are more personal
October 18, 2005
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