The phrase, “you can’t live with them, you can’t live without them,” is still something I firmly believe in. However, since moving to Pittsburgh, I have left behind the female influence in my life.
Ever since I can remember, many of my big decisions have been made with the advice of a female. Whether it was my mom, grandma, girlfriend or a friend who was a girl, I really did underestimate how much influence they have had on my life.
I noticed the first big change when it came to clothing. I’m your stereotypical guy — whenever I have to look “nice,” my mom or girlfriend told me what to wear.
You don’t know how many times in the last seven months I have called my mom at 7 a.m. on a workday to ask her if this type of shirt goes with these pants. If she doesn’t pick up, a friend receives a very early wake-up call — after all I can’t mismatch at work.
But going beyond what to wear, my senior year in high school, I was taught how to do laundry by a girl.
In fact, it was our first date. That day at school, she asked me what we were going to do. I wasn’t original or anything, so it was dinner and a movie. Afterward, still looking for something to do, I suggested we could go back to my place and she could show me how to do laundry.
Months later she told me she thought that was the most pathetic attempt to get a girl to come back home with me.
How surprised was she when I came downstairs with a hamper of dirty laundry and we spent the last part of our date sorting my darks from my whites?
Let’s just say it was love at first cycle. (Oh, come on! You laughed.)
Going beyond my very limited fashion sense, and not to sound stereotypical, my ability to clean has always been motivated by women.
I’ve already discussed the battle of cleaning my room growing up at home, but without a female influence in Pittsburgh, or a cleaning lady, I guess, I haven’t found a need to really do extra cleaning around my apartment.
Of course, my mom told me to buy a vacuum cleaner when I first got here, but it hasn’t been opened yet. All of the cleaning supplies my mom forced me to buy have remained sealed in their original packages; that mop bucket is really getting a lot of use.
We know I don’t make my bed, and to be fair, if my girlfriend did visit, I don’t think it would get made — don’t try to change me.
The only special treatment she’d get would probably be the bathroom, which seems to be the most important area to keep clean for a girl, and believe me I know about the toilet seat war.
But women have been so important in my life. Whenever I’ve been about to do something really stupid or dangerous, there has always been that voice telling me to think twice.
Who knows how many hospital visits and court appearances they have saved me from?
Guys love to have that independent feeling. Whenever I’m with my friends we talk about how it’s nice to make our own decisions. But thinking about it now, in the end a lot of our decisions are based on what girls say or what we think the consequence will be after we make our own decision.
Somehow they have the ability to always have an influence on our lives. Perhaps we need to just accept the way things are; we’ve been able to get by so far.
And when I don’t listen to their voice of reason, I give the girls in my life plenty of opportunities to say those four little words women love to say
I told you so.
(“On My Own,” which is published monthly, deals with issues facing a young Jewish adult as he lives on his own in a new city. Mike Zoller can be reached at email@example.com.)