Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Dudefile# 14 - The Arrangement (part 3)

[DW Note: For the first and second parts of the story, see Dudefile # 14 - The Arrangement and Dudefile #14 - The Arrangement (part two)]

Hey Dude Whisperer,

Since you claim to love updates and I'm bored, stuck at work on the weekend, I thought I'd drop a note and get your take on the current situation with The Arrangement.

So I'm still going at it with the same dude. The sex is still amazing and we've settled into a decent routine of seeing each other around once a week (more or less, depending on schedules). He pulled a bit of a disappearing act for about 6 weeks not long ago. Okay, he didn't really disappear, he still came running if I emailed him (sometimes on only a few hours notice), but he stopped initiating. I asked him if he was sleeping with someone else, made it clear that I wanted to know in the name of sexual health and he replied that he wasn't sleeping with anyone but me, was 'a one woman kinda guy,' but that after his ex screwed him over he's really cautious about getting into a serious relationship. I had to take a step back at that one, who said anything about a serious relationship? We are strictly about the booty.

Granted, he's long since taken to staying the whole night (he always comes to my place since I live alone and he doesn't) and recently started showering at my place (the first time was cause we had overslept and he had to go pick up his brother, since then it's become a regular thing) and has told me a surprising amount of personal information, but we never go out and I don't think I've seen him with his clothes on for more than 30 consecutive minutes. I assumed I could blame the staying over and personal info on simple laziness and post-sex haziness. I usually like that he sleeps over (once I got used to the snoring, away) and his stories are pretty entertaining, so everything has been hunky-dorey.

Just last week, I invited him over and he wrote back that he wanted to come, but he had to be at work earlier than usual the next day, was it okay if he brought clothes and got ready for work at my place? I said it was fine and that I had to be at work by 8am myself. He had already started showering at my place regularly, so I thought it was a little strange that he made such a big deal about having a change of clothes with him. When he got here I asked him what time he had to be at work and he said 10am. I didn't say anything, but I must have had a look on my face cause he said it was no problem, he'd leave when I did, and just bum around until it was time for work.

Is it me or is that strange? If he knew I would be leaving two hours before him and he'd have to kill those two hours anyway, why not go home to get ready for work? He literally works around the corner from my apartment, but his place isn't far away. And maybe I'm reading too much into it, but he seemed to be expecting me to tell him he could stay after I left.

The next morning I was up with my alarm and started getting ready while he still slept. Around 7am, he asked me what time it was and if he could grab a quick shower. Having great sympathy that we had been up til 3am (which was mostly my doing), I told him he could stay and sleep in til he had to go to work. He said okay, rolled over and went back to sleep.

When I came home I found he had done a very guy job of making the bed and had taken a shower, but everything else was just as I had left it (not that I had expected my place to be torn apart). The unsettling bit came later that night, when I discovered (and I'm about 95% sure on this) that he had used my toothbrush. I'm only a little grossed out, but combined with him staying at my place when I wasn't there and it was like the straw that broke the camel's back. I'm a bit freaked by the level of comfort he has in my place.

I guess what I'm looking for is just a little reassurance that to him this isn't a big deal. Merely manifest of laziness. It takes me a long time to get that comfortable in someone else's house, so the fact that he seems to have jumped there out of nowhere has thrown me a bit. I haven't been able to ask my guy friend's their point of view since they would give me endless shit for having a fuck buddy, so I turn, yet again, to the Dude Whisperer.

Your thoughts? Any helpful hints you have would be greatly appreciated.


Hi again,

Thanks for writing again! The DW totally loves updates. Loves them.

First, though, the DW has to admit he got a little distracted by the toothbrush thing. Okay, sure, a dude should know better than to use it out of politeness and all that- but is using the toothbrush really so grody to the max? Especially in the situation at hand, isn’t one of the last things that’s been in the dude’s mouth, um, your mouth? Again, not to excuse dudes from toothbrush-using-type-offenses, but for what it’s worth dudes avoid those things only because they know you care about them, not because they see the logic in it. Let’s recreate a scene from early in the DW’s courtship of the wifey.

[Morning, bathroom. DW has spent the night at future-wifey’s apartment. As usual, he has forgotten to pack at least one vital item]

DW: Hey, mind if I take a swipe of your deodorant? [Thinks question is essentially rhetorical, pops cap, lifts arm]

Wifey: Uh. That’s disgusting? [Look on face similar to finding pile of warm human sh*t in center of living room]

Deodorant? Who knew? Is this universal? Why?

But enough about the DW’s stinky pits. On to the question at hand.

So, it would seem The Arrangement has reached the point where the lines can blur and problems can occur. As you know, the DW isn't at all troubled by the moral implications of some good ol' fashioned rumpin’ thumpin’ with no strings as long as both parties have a good sense of what's going on and are stable individuals and all that. And you two seem to fit the bill.

What usually happens at some point, though, is that one person starts to care more than the other, which unbalances the balance, resentments start, power dynamics shift, and a giant hole opens up in the earth and both of you plunge into a land of hellfire and eternal suffering. This is a slightly odd case in that it doesn’t seem like either of you is slipping into too much emotional attachment – the only mention of ‘serious relationship’ has been so that both of you can disavow the idea – but what you have done is get more and more intimate in your behaviors. Not intimate in the naked sense- you’ve been ball-touching intimate for a long time, obviously. The DW means intimate in the familiarity and proximity sense. And there is still some danger to that.

The example that comes to mind is this. If you are happy you smile. But, it's also been shown that if you are in a neutral mood, you can make your mouth into a smile and your brain will still read it as happiness and your mood will improve. The behavior can not only be a result of the emotion, but the emotion can follow the behavior. Therapists and sports psychologists and all kinds of shrink-y people use this idea all the time. Behave like someone who’s not depressed and it will be harder to stay depressed. Expect to win the game, you’re more likely to win the game. Etc.

In this way, it seems that even though you and dude are not getting emotionally intimate, the more you slip into things like sleeping over or making concessions about letting the dude hang around at your place, the more you are slipping into behaviors of people who have emotional attachments. It’s not exactly like cuddling by a fire and whispering sweet nothings about how superawesomecute he is (no you are! no, you are! ), but what could follow is some of the confusion you seem to be having right now.

Is there a motive for him coming over? Why change at my place? Next thing you know you’re asking yourself if he was fishing for a ‘serious relationship’ by bringing it up as if he didn’t care. Why bring it up at all? What’s going on? These kinds of questions don’t come up as much when the dude just pulls off the condom, takes a whiz, hikes up his Spongebob boxers, and heads back to his place at 3am.

This is all just to say that yes, the dude’s just being lazy and all seems to be status quo. Maybe, though, just to be safe it’s time to redraw some boundaries regarding shower/sleepover type activities to make The Arrangement look a little more like strictly business again. Keep it simple and f*ckcentric and you’ll be able to stave off the toothbrush sharing and caring type stuff a lot longer.

May you continue to bone like champions. Best of luck and, as usual, write back any time,

the DW


Anonymous said...

This does seem to be moving in on her territory, but I agree, it seems lazy or something. Whoever he is living with gives him a hard time for crawling in in the A.M. and/or whoever at work sees him wearing the same clothes. It is convenient for him to have a new station for preparing for the day without actually moving in. I wonder too if it might just be that she has better pressure in her shower; it's plausible enough.

I don't think it's really relationship-y, but I do see it bordering on feuding roommates soon enough. They have enough of a relationship at this point to tolerate one another as intimate visitors, and I think society has trained us to consider that a marriage - ask a lot of married people what life is like with their mate, and it will probably resemble "The Arrangement." Possibly without the sex.

I agree some boundaries should be drawn as gently as they've been eroded before it becomes "The Situation."

Anonymous said...

Last anonymous addendum:

I seem to have missed a piece of sentences. Society has trained us that this type of close-quarters behavior threatens our independence (if that's what we assert that we want), regardless of what anyone feels or say they feel. And yadda yadda marriage, some married couples act kind of clinically separated yet together, etcetera.