Sep 30, 2013 by



Dating and Co-habiting brings out the “little things” in each other could drive one or both nuts. These aren’t the serious afflictions such as addictions and abuse. No, these are the stuff that seems “normal” to them – such as a man missing the bathroom bowl, though he’s in the NBA, or a female who is always 20 minutes late whether it’s for a party or childbirth. Let’s start with …



Dear Marnie: What do you think about a guy who doesn’t like sleeping at my place (I only have a twin-size bed) but refuses to keep his apartment clean so I feel comfortable staying there?  We’ve been going out for over a year and are as serious as levelheaded college kids can be. I’ve told him repeatedly how important it is to me. I am not talking clutter here! I am talking DIRT.  I have offered to help when he finally breaks down and does it, but he waits so long it is a Herculean task. He is wonderful, sensitive, intelligent, motivated, considerate and a joy – except for this. Am I wrong to think there is something deeper here? Any suggestions? – K Bird

MARNIE SAYS: I couldn’t wait to swoop down on your e-mail, which I did after I flew over 12 empty Diet Coke cans and landed on  moldy Oreo “middlestuff.” I realize your guy’s dumpster life may seem a “slop” in your face. But don’t take your Porky personally.

Getting It! Your Personal Strategy:

* Tell yourself it’s not you. The making of a slob starts early. Have you seen his childhood stable? Does it look like a set for “Babe”? Or maybe Mom Lysoled the plastic slipcovers, elevating her rebellious son to Prince of Pig.

*Quit hounding him! No one has ever been tortured into “clean.” Plus you’ll remind him of his mother, thereby deepening his muck – on all fronts.

*Get practical. Barter! Trade off your chores and rotten habits. If you’re a nail-biter, you leave a thumb unchawed, and he leaves a sink unclogged. On the task front, he tunes up your car, you delouse his sofa. Bartering turns the battlefield into a fair playing field.

Finally, like “The Odd Couple,” don’t expect your Oscar to become a Felix. We all come burdened with messes from our youth. You say this fellow is wonderful, sensitive, intelligent, motivated – a joy. Well, in my vast experience, ’tis far better to sanitize a sink than deodorize a skunk.





Dear Marnie:  My husband tries to sneak pictures of me in bed while I’m sleeping. I don’t like it because I’m overweight at this time. He thinks it’s funny. What do I do? – Green

MARNIE SAYS: Honey, if this guy thinks pix of his unconscious, overweight wife with her tongue flapping in the breeze are funny, you’ve got a bigger problem than a tacky photo album. Apart from the fact that the man’s got the sense of humor of Fred Flintstone, let’s talk about “funny” – and relationships.  “Funny” should (ideally) consist of more than one person dancing around with a lampshade on his head.   Like the Tango, it takes at least two.

Getting it! Your Personal Strategy:

*He’s clueless. He doesn’t get it. More, he doesn’t get you. Make him. Tell him the boudoir photos are as amusing to you as … well, his mother telling that joke about how he missed the potty until he was 9. Ask him how that felt, and have him describe it in detail.

* Now ask him to imagine how you feel when you’re caught on camera when you least expect it. If he has a problem making the connection, let him know exactly how it hurts you, violates your privacy and disregards your wishes.

* No Pix Without Permission. Allow no argument. Humor is in the eye of the victim. And so is safety.  Now, I’m loathe to add fuel to this conflagration, but … are we quite sure this is merely juvie humor?  Or … might your pix wind up in “comforting” some Somalian over the Net in the Night.  Find out.

*Even if the humor is in the eye of the Bozo beholder, tell him it’s costing. The price is caring in this marriage. If he keeps “snapping,” you will, too – at him!   Insist your Spielberg refocus his sense of humor and get another hobby.



Dear Marnie: I found my roommate through a service a year ago, and it’s a nightmare! She’s driving me totally nuts, constantly cleaning up, putting things away, reorganizing, even redecorating. I like to kick back and relax when I get home. Last night I left a magazine I was reading on the coffee table. Would you believe she packed it up and bundled it for the trash?! When I confronted her, she said I should’ve taken it to my room. I was furious. I understand sharing means compromise, but don’t you think her habits are weird? – Roomied Out

MARNIE SAYS: Yes, indeedy. Then again, in MarnieLand, I’d need to hire Lawrence of Arabia to lope through the living room with a shovel. Onto your dilemma …  It’s her place, too, even if she is a dotty little broom-and-groomer. But it’s also your place. And in roomieland, you two are oil and water, Oscar and Felix, cleaning fluid – and lighter fluid.

Getting It! Your Personal Strategy:

* Given that you two share neither DNA nor an IRA, why the heck are you sharing a postal code? Grab the newspaper, a yellow highlighter, and turn to the classifieds. Circle decent digs.

*Windex a table and bring in lunch. Tell roomie your living arrangement is causing you to grind your teeth to niblets, and she’s probably polishing her fingers to nubs, as well. Whip out your circled digs and offer to accompany her on a look-see.

*If she screams breach of contract or ties herself to her dust-free blinds, you call the moving van. Yes, even if the rental’s in your name. Here’s why: you have neither the time nor the stomach lining to allow this Human Hoover to suck out even one more moment of joy. Pack.



Dear Marnie: There’s a couple we’re friendly with who have an annoying habit, and we’re hoping you can advise us. My husband and I are professional people, and we frequently entertain. Sometimes we invite people over for dinner; sometimes it’s a large group for drinks. This particular couple, who, I admit, are fascinating people, almost always ask if they can bring others, usually at the last minute. They invariably show up with two to four “extras” who are friends of theirs we don’t know. We like this couple, but how do we break them of this habit? – Feeling Used

MARNIE SAYS: Why you marvelous people, you! Clearly you’re such superb hosts, others adore getting the world together for a Bourbon and blini – at your place. Then again it could be these “fascinating” people have more raw chutzpa than me in a string bikini.

Getting It! Your Personal Strategy: 

*THE SMALL EVENTS: The scene: They call. Can they bring four more?

Alternative One: You: “It’s been a ghastly week! I’ve specifically limited this supper to my closest friends. You wouldn’t believe whom I omitted. I couldn’t possibly face them if strangers showed up.”

Alternative Two: You: “We planned this – well – because we have some intimate business to discuss with those few we trust. Surely you understand.” Then, at the table, stick something in the conversation about wills, insurance or how they chose their tax accountant.

*THE BIG EVENTS: When they ask to bring four, you need a bit more moxie.

Alternative One: You: “My dears, we’re on overload! If you bring them, would you mind a) stopping at the market and picking up a few things (mention pate, a baked Brie – and a Costco shrimp platter) and b) bringing over four folding chairs.

Alternative Two: You: “My Irving (Norman, Eliot – whatever your husband’s name is) has gone wiggy over fire hazards. Norman’s warned me we’re over quota and simply refuses to squeeze in anything other than a pig in a blanket. Sorry. But do tell us all about these friends, and perhaps we can plan a get-together – at your place. Thursday works for us!”





photo credit: risaikeda via photopin cc

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