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I'm Miss Tidy, he's Mr Slob . If he got worse I'd have to move out; Real Life; ME AND MY RELATIONSHIP.

Relationships. They're a vital part of life - but they can be hard work. Louise Howard, 24, a teacher from Streatham, London has been going out with Andrew Carter, 26, a music agency director, also from Streatham, for six years. They love each other, but Louise is obsessively tidy - and Andrew is obsessively messy...

LOUISE

TEACHER, 24

Andrew and I met in a bar in 1990 when we were both students on a business studies course at a London college.

Andrew had long black hair past his shoulders and was outgoing, talkative, and friendly. He was popular with everyone.

I fancied him straight away but it was three months before we got together because I was going out with someone else. During that time, he never stopped asking me out.

We didn't have a first date as such because by then we were like best friends. We'd have dinner together now and then. I felt so relaxed and easy in his company. As soon as my relationship with the other guy broke up, I started going out with Andrew properly.

Even when I first met him he was a slob. His room was a health hazard. It was really messy, the sheets wouldn't be changed for six months and the sink was coated with grime.

Every so often I'd refuse to go around there until he cleaned it up.

I knew tidiness would be an issue before I moved in with him. We talked it through and Andrew agreed - half-heartedly, I admit - that he'd pick his clothes up off the floor, make the bed, wash the sheets regularly, and keep the sink and toilet clean.

It lasted about six months then things started to go downhill, but he's never been quite as bad as he once was.

I'm not obsessively tidy. I just can't stand coming home to dirty cups and plates, wet towels on the bed, and the kitchen looking like a bomb site.

Every five months or so, I'll really blow up and yell 'You dirty slob' at him.

Sometimes he'll shout back. Other times he'll look injured and say 'I don't see what the problem is.' It's impossible to be cross with him for long.

His worst offence was about a year ago when he'd driven home in the early morning from a gig in the car we share.

The next day I had to drive colleagues to a meeting but when I got in the car it was full of empty beer cans and a half bottle of wine had been spilled over the floor. It stank like a brewery.

Andrew hadn't even noticed. I was furious and insisted he get it cleaned up. It's never happened since.

I have to accept he's different, but if he slipped back to total slobdom, I think I'd have to move out.

My mum brought me up to be tidy whereas Andrew's mum would shut the door on his room and say 'If you want to live like that, it's up to you'.

Being tidy doesn't come naturally to him, but he's definitely getting more considerate.

Andrew isn't lazy. It's just that there are so many other things going on in his life which are far more important to him.

Why do I put up with him? I suppose it's because he's got a lot more plus points than negative ones - and he's certainly a good and considerate lover.

Andrew's such a generous, kind and charming guy, I can forgive him almost anything.

ANDREW

MUSIC AGENT, 26

I'm sure Louise is so tidy because her mother is. Her house is immaculate. There isn't a spot of dust anywhere.

When you go in, you take your shoes off and they're immediately stacked away neatly. Even the toilet paper matches the wallpaper.

Louise is heading the same way as her Mum but I don't mind. I can live with it. I'm just hoping some of that tidiness will rub off on me.

As a student, I didn't mind being a slob, but now I'm getting older I'm not proud of it. I love Louise very much and hope we'll get married one day.

I first saw her in a bar at college. She was very pretty with dark brown curly hair. And she has a cute little nose which I love.

Since moving in with Louise three years ago, I've made a real effort to do the washing up. But I still can't see the point of washing each cup as you dirty it.

I wait until there's a good lot before rolling up my sleeves whereas Louise can't bear to see a dirty cup in the sink. She likes the place spick and span.

I just can't get through to Louise that I like my clothes on the floor. To me, it's useless if they're neatly folded away in a cupboard where I can't see them.

I also like to save up my dirty washing and take it for a service wash at the launderette once a week, whereas Louise rushes off to handwash something every other day.

I just take the mickey out of her. I accuse her of being a cleanliness fanatic - she gets her own back by accusing me of being filthy.

Mostly it's good-natured, but every so often Louise gets so fed up about the state of the flat that she'll go off like a rocket.

Sometimes I'm forced to admit she has a point.

Last week she found a coffee cup next to the sofa on my office floor. It had been there so long it had grown about three inches of mould.

Even on holiday the messiness will get to her and she'll jump up to start vacuuming. It does my head in.

The only time I really mind is when Louise comes into my office and starts tidying up the papers on my desk.

It may look a mess, but I do have my own system and after her efforts I can't find half the phone numbers I need. That's when I start shouting, but mostly I'm pretty laid back about it all.

I may be a slob about the house, but I'm clean and tidy in bed. Otherwise, I don't suppose she'd put up with me. We have a good and healthy sex life and our libido's evenly matched.

I think Louise puts up with me because she sees me as a hardworking person who isn't scared to knuckle down and earn an honest buck.

I'm loyal, dedicated, honest and faithful and we laugh a lot together. That's far more important than tidiness and Louise recognises that.

I'm not a slob because I'm lazy. It's just that I'm always busy with other things.'
COPYRIGHT 1997 MGN LTD
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1997 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Wrottesley, Catriona
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 15, 1997
Words:1120
Previous Article:THE DAY KINNOCK STITCHED ME UP; PRESCOTT PART THREE: ASTONISHING BATTLES BEHIND CLOSED DOORS FOR HEART OF LABOUR.
Next Article:'CLAMP THEM IN IRONS'.


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