Dear Ms. Behavior:
My girlfriend, Maxine, and I have been together for eight years, mainly happily. Our main conflict is about cleaning, because neither of us likes to do it. I’m generally easygoing about the state of our home, and I’d describe Maxine as rigid—even though she’s not very clean herself.
Anyway, Maxine recently read aloud an ad from Craigslist, in which a middle-aged guy says he wants to do nude housecleaning for females at no charge. I thought it was a ha-ha moment, and we’d just laugh and drop the conversation, but it turns out Maxine really wants to have this nudist freak come over and clean!
I’d like to be off the hook for cleaning—especially as this would be free—but I find I am repelled at the thought of some straight guy walking around with his balls hanging in the breeze. Even though the ad says he doesn’t want to have sex, he requests that we’re home while he cleans, so we can tell him what to do.
How can I convince Maxine that this is a ridiculous idea?
Dear Slightly Slobby:
The scenario may be worse than what you’re describing. Just envision Naked Cleaning Dude languidly sauntering around home, scrubbing and vacuuming in his glorious tumescence. Wait. Now he’s bending over. Pretty! Will you even have to wonder if that’s Soft Scrub crusted up all over your ceramic tile?
Is Maxine uptight about the dust bunnies under the bed and the dishes in the sink, or is she really trying to tell you that she needs a little more kink in her life?
If Maxine turned on by the idea of ordering around a naked guy and his feather duster, find out if an alternative scenario appeals to her—preferably one that won’t make you gag.
Can you find a fit young woman who would enjoy doing naked cartwheels around your house or yard, or does Maxine’s fantasy have to involve men and humiliation?
If it’s the latter, it will be easy enough to find a sports team willing to don women’s panties and dance, if you merely offer them YouTube fame.
If the messy house is truly the issue, here’s a simpler solution: Get a fully dressed housecleaner to help you clean, even if you only can afford to do it occasionally. Try to get a referral from someone you know, instead of hiring a random stranger from Craigslist—who calls his cleaning “free,” but requires you to call him names, and spank his bare butt with a spatula.
The cost of having your house professionally cleaned? About $60 to $100. Not finding stray public hairs or butt imprints on your couch? Priceless.
Dear Ms. Behavior:
Is it wrong to practice cognitive behavioral therapy techniques on someone you’re dating?
Matt is wonderful in every way—except that he’s a nightmare about germs. This morning, we ordered bagels, and he asked the prep guy to wash his hands. Matt sanitized his own hands, and held the bagel with a napkin. He pays for everything with exact change (dropping the money on the counter). He only eats in a few specific restaurants.
Sex is even worse. As soon as we’re done, Matt leaps out of bed, and runs for the shower. He gargles, and scrubs himself until his skin turns red. I’ve tried to stop him, but he gets extremely anxious if he can’t go wash off.
I do happen to be a therapist.
Would it be wrong for me to treat him for this problem?
Dear Not Germy:
Treating Matt for his germphobia isn’t necessarily “wrong,” but it may involve icky boundaries on your part.
Anyway, are you assuming that Matt actually wants to change?
Oh, wait, that doesn’t matter. This is obviously all about you. If Matt’s a germ freak, that’s inconvenient. Perhaps it hurts your feelings when he washes his mouth with Listerine after blowing you.
So, the best way around this is for you to try to cure Matt secretly…like when he’s sleeping. All you need to do is lie down next to him, and gently whisper these affirmations in his ear:
• “You’re a loving child of God, and you are pure.”
• “Your hands are clean, your mouth is spotless, your anus is pristine.”
• “Felching is a divine act.”
© 2010 Meryl Cohn. Address questions and correspondence to <email@example.com>. She is the author of Do What I Say: Ms. Behavior’s Guide to Gay and Lesbian Etiquette (Houghton Mifflin). Signed copies are available directly from the author.