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Feminspire | April 19, 2014

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Should an Ikea Coffee Table Signal the End of Your Relationship?

Should an Ikea Coffee Table Signal the End of Your Relationship?

My boyfriend has a ritual as regular as me making my morning coffee: emptying the filter after I finish.

I’d like to think that my forgetfulness isn’t laziness, rather a caffeine-stimulated attention deficiency (“Oh! I should take a shower! And watch an episode of 30 Rock! And read a book! And buy another book for my Kindle!”). But when you live with someone, or spend a considerable amount of time at a significant other’s residence, you start to pick up on their habits and discover ones that make you appreciative and ones which make you cringe.

My mouth drops in horror if Boyfriend says he lumped all the laundry in one washer. Boyfriend moves the piles of newspapers, knitting supplies, books and gadgets I leave on the couch so he can actually sit on it. We both do the dishes; I clean the bathroom; he vacuums the living room.

I think this is a relatively peaceful way to cohabitate. Why argue over different methods of living when you can adjust your behavior to make living easier for everyone? I don’t need all three sections of our medicine cabinet for my extensive lotion collection. He can take the trash out when throwing away one more item will lead it to overflow.

But life can’t be so easy, at least according BuzzFeed and the Huffington Post.

A slideshow published on the Huffington Post titled “Home Deal Breakers: 10 Things In A Guy’s House Women Can’t Stand” sounds like a list straight from How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days. Because it’s so exciting to go to your new beau’s house for the first time, “you’ll overlook his ‘Scarface’ poster and that slight cigar stench from last night’s poker game.” All dudes are sloppy, messy pigs, and our delicate frames won’t stand for their filth! Not only is this article heteronormative, but it is based completely on gender stereotypes.

HuffPost Style Senior News Editor Jessica Misener says she can’t stand furniture that looks like it’s from Ikea. “The $10 Ikea Lack coffee table everyone has is so dorm roomy … either splurge for a real table or go without!”

I don’t know, Jessica. Maybe we’re in a recession, and your boyfriend would rather eat on a regular basis than buy an Ethan Allen coffee table? Why is this a relationship deal breaker? The couch where my boyfriend and I shared our first kiss was found behind a dumpster. With a little TLC, it looked like any other couch a family member might pass down to a college student or newly on-their-own relative.

HuffPost Home Editor Shana Ecker says leaving hair in the sink is a deal breaker. I agree on one level: If you live with someone, keeping the bathroom clean is respectful. They wash out the sink after shaving; you make sure the hairs clinging to your shower wall are wiped away (and not down the drain) before the next use. But if your partner is living alone, who are they looking to impress? Maybe they plan to get to it later, like the drain snake hiding under your sink that probably needs to be used on your tub. None of us are hairless cats… though one may become your only companion if you refuse to talk with your roommate about how their grooming habits affect you and compromise on a solution.

The Huffington Post editors aren’t the only women who lack faith in mankind’s lifestyle choices. A BuzzFeed list from earlier this year detailed “18 Things To Consider Before Moving In With Your Boyfriend.”

No. 1: Consider your Tupperware-packed leftovers and symmetrically-lined up door shelves to suddenly be ravaged by FRUIT ON THE SAME SHELVES AS VEGETABLES! FOODS WITH MORE THAN 0 PERCENT FAT! Oh, and BEER!

I agree that you should be able to find what you need from your fridge without keeping it open five minutes to dig through expired items. But the beer on the pictured “guy” shelf is Sierra Nevada and Sam Adams! Your guy has some serious taste in craft beer! Who knows how that could reflect his taste in birthday presents?

No. 4: Your organized bookshelf with the complete works of Nora Roberts and matching dachshund bookends will be replaced with his ACTION FIGURE COLLECTION!

If women don’t want to be lumped in a category, whether it be virgins or whores, ditzes or goody-two shoes, girly or butch, we certainly shouldn’t be lumping guys into similar groups. Not all guys are playing Dungeons and Dragons in their spare time, just like all guys don’t spend every day pumping iron at the gym to retain their sweet pecks. Is it weird that your partner has a collection of Xena: Warrior Princess action figures? Only if they make you wear her costume to bed and you’re not into it. And does that mean your Harry Potter memorabilia and shelf dedicated to manga books make you weird, too?

Living comfortably with anyone depends on effective communication and compromise. You will never find someone who perfectly matches your lifestyle, and if you do, they might end up Craigslist killing you.

Let your partner/roomie know when their tendencies bug you. And expect them to dish yours right back. It will only benefit your future relationship of pooping on the same toilet.

Written by Lauren Slavin