Re-Boyfriend and I never fight anymore. The most critical things we say to one another are “You’re such a little piggy,” (him to me, before kissing me on the nose and dusting crackers off my shirt) or “You’re such a narcoleptic,” (me to him before kicking him in the shins and trying to move him to the other side of the couch).

That is why decorating our apartment is so, so hard. You can try to smile while you say “Your painting fucking blows. The only place you can hang it is the closet,” but it still comes across as less than affectionate.

So, as two people who are not really good at confrontation and critique, Re-Boyfriend and I have to rely on the arts of beating around the bush, lying, nitpicking and (ick) compromise.

Example: I’ll say I like a bookcase. Re-Boyfriend will agree, but then point out the shoddy craftsmanship and shake the fixture around a bit alarming the salespeople. Then he'll sorrowfully say, “You know, I really like it, but I just don’t think it’s well made.” I will accept this as gentlemanly code for “No, bitch, no.”

However things do not go nearly as smoothly when the situation is reversed.

For instance, I came home Sunday to discover that Re-Boyfriend had made curtains. He had sewn them out of our sheets. They were (surprisingly) beautifully sewn, but let me repeat again that they were curtains made out of our sheets.

“So do you like them?”

“Sure, Scarlett.” He didn’t get my Gone With the Wind reference.


“Well…” I considered. “They’re beautiful curtains…but don’t you think they would look better somewhere else…?”

“Are you sure you’re not just saying that because they’re a little dark? I mean they make the room look dark when they’re closed, but hold on…” Re-Boyfriend ran to the windows and pinned back the curtain-sheets. “Doesn’t that look better?”

It did look better but I still had dark green sheets hanging from my living room windows.

“Errrr…Don’t you think they would look pretty in the bedroom?” They would actually look nice in the bedroom, I reflected. I could work with that. I could be a compromiser.

“They can’t go in the bedroom, I cut them to match the length of these windows.”

Well, then. Obviously all that was left for me to do was pout. So I flounced over to the couch and pouted.

Then I pouted some more.

After a few minutes I sighed.

Finally I noticed that Re-Boyfriend seemed annoyed as well.

Perhaps he could tell I hadn’t been very enthusiastic about the curtains.

“You know,” Re-Boyfriend said suddenly, “It’s really frustrating when you say all these different things, and I can’t tell what you mean. If you don’t like it, say you don’t like it.”

“Okay,” I said, a bit chagrined. Perhaps I was being the difficult one here.

“Hey, let’s just get some stuff to put on the walls,” Re-Boyfriend said more kindly. “The whole place is going to look different with stuff on the walls.”

“Okay,” I repeated, allowing myself to be mollified. Maybe I was being ridiculous. Maybe he really had thought that the bookcase wasn't sturdy (and that the mirror was badly made, and the painting was too big). Besides, I supposed the curtains could look kind of cool once there were things on the walls.

I settled in next to Re-Boyfriend to do some therapeutic online shopping.

He pointed out a painting online.

“No,” I said, trying out the new, blunt me.

He pointed out another one.


He sighed and seemed a bit exasperated.

He pointed out another one.

“Oooo…” I said, “I kind of like that one.”

“You know, all I’m doing is trying to pick out something you like. Don't you like anything?”

“Ummmm…” Now I felt pressured. But it really was nice. I liked it. It would be pretty. The only thing was: “Do you think it’s too not-relaxing?”

“Oh my God!” he snapped, opening Google and typing “Relaxing Images.”

“What the fuck? I can’t make one comment?”

“Just say if you like it!”


And that was the end of our therapeutic online shopping experience.

We are going to live in an apartment with bare walls, a minimal amount of furniture and no mirrors forever. I can feel it.


DevilsHeaven said...

Look, if he can just throw up some homemade sheet curtains, you can just come home with a painting you like. Come on girl, play the game to WIN!!!!!
My fiancé and I are combining two HOUSEHOLDS. Not an easy task. I came home with a duvet cover, sans his input. Granted it's still the packaging, but I'm marking that up to the fact that we don't have an actual duvet. Yet.

verybadcat said...

Something smells funny. If he's just trying to find something that you like, then why not let you look and ponder on your own, at your own pace, then present him with three choices out of what you like?

My guess is that he is doing that to you- he finds stuff he likes, then tries to find something in that limited selection that you like too.

If that's the case, then maybe you should go to a museum, where you CAN'T buy anything, so there's no pressure. Walk around and get a feel for what the other likes and doesn't like.

PS (or maybe more accurately, PMS): If the only reason you know that the curtains are made from sheets is because their your old sheets, let go. Unless you were planning on getting curtains made of fancy fabric, sheets and curtains are the same material anyway.

liz said...

Sheeeeeeeets? No no no no. Unless they are white, I'm guessing they look like sheets.

molly said...

He SEWS? My boyfriend would not have the first clue where to start. And my first thought was Maria in The Sound of Music. Doesn't she make clothes for the whole family out of her curtains?

Anonymous said...

i am finding the fact that he sews so unexpectedly cute...i always picture him as this ibanker in a suit and now i'm picturing an ibanker in a suit holding a cigarette in his mouth while at a sewing machine.

tell me i'm close...

Slick said...

Well, at least you got a crafty man anyhow.

Great post....couldn't help but laugh!

Mim said...

I'm picturing green tshirt sheets. Please say that the sheets aren't tshirt sheets.

Airam said...

I have to agree with devilsheaven. You gave him the bedsheets. If he happens to come home with 4 walls decorated with relaxing images well then he'll just need to suck it up. And if he tries to tell you they'd look better in the bedroom tell him they don't match the length of the bedroom walls.

Jason said...

Don't sweat it. If all goes well, you'll spend years amid some stuff you loathe and some stuff he loathes, and before you know it you'll have to remind yourself that "Oh yeah, I hate [X]."

All this stuff is far worse in the abstract than it turns out to be.

Anonymous said...

Men should really leave those "nesting" things to the women. He should keep to his manly duties like cleaning the toilet.


the frog princess said...

I too am impressed that Re-Boyfriend sews!

But I am reminded of a story from a friend of mine. She is expecting a baby and went out one day just praying that her husband would clean out the nursery while she was away.

He did.

He also removed the door--for reasons which, to this day, remain unexplained--and genuinely thought she'd be pleased about it.

The moral: Men simply do NOT make sense. Just roll with it.

Princess of the Universe said...

I don't think you were being unreasonable about the sheets. It's something that he should have consulted you on, not just done on his own.

Colour, design, fabric...all things that should have been agreed upon.

Anna said...

Yeah - Re-Boyfriend is an ibanker who can sew?! I love it.

Anonymous said...

He's a keeper.

Also, wall art is, in my opinion, the most divisive inanimate object in the world.

Crankyputz said...

he sews?

Ariel said...

Blimey, curtains made out of bed linen? By a bloke? I had to read that twice... He certainly sounds creative in many more ways than one!

Jade said...

This is hilarious! I love your blog - keep writing. ;) Best of luck in your decorating.

M said...

You know re-boyfriend is gay don't you?

Andrea said...

That is such a random thing to do, for a woman or a man. Sewing curtains... WOW.

Priyanka said...

I think it might be one of his hidden talents that he sews...so watch out for the next time he's home alone...and secondly i think you should just bring home some paintings that you like as a thank you to him for sewing curtains out of bedsheets!!!!

Alison said...

"“You’re such a little piggy,” (him to me, before kissing me on the nose and dusting crackers off my shirt)"
THAT, my friend, will be the prologue to your next argument.
Watch this space.

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