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Saturday, Aug 24, 2019

Darling, I’m flattered you’ve let yourself go

Don’t fear the ‘seven-month slouch’ in relationships — we should see a partner’s less lovely habits as a compliment

india Updated: May 15, 2010 12:56 IST
Paul MacInnes
Paul MacInnes
Hindustan Times

Do you remember the first time? That you farted in front of your partner? On purpose? And with no attempt to blame the bad smell on a malfunctioning drain, or a cabbage you forgot you had in your bag? It comes to us all at some point. And that includes girls, especially girls.

The question of quite when it's safe to drop all pretence of being sophisticated in front of your partner can be a nuanced one. It's not just about wind, though goodness knows that's important. It's also about picking at your teeth, slouching in your chair, dressing in tracksuit bottoms you've owned for 20 years. There's a point when performing such activities in front of the one you love becomes acceptable. But nobody quite knows when it is.

This week one of those fly-by-night surveys sought to establish, as scientifically as the subject deserves, the point when a fresh relationship tips into a familiar one. It found the answer to be seven months.

Just as there's a point in a relationship when people stop dancing around whether to declare their affection there is also a point where a man starts playing pocket billiards while watching television.

The ‘seven-month slouch’, or ‘letting yourself go a bit’ are not complimentary phrases however. They imply that failing to dress up, or revealing your habits, or relaxing the restraints on your sphincter, are somehow a bad thing. In excess, they might be — once your collection of toenail clippings has begun to obstruct the entrance to the bedroom you’ve gone too far.

But in the normal, everyday run of things to ‘slouch’ is to show your true self to your other half. It's to show that sometimes you're tired, sometimes you're not as pretty as you might want to con on, and sometimes, just sometimes, it's really pleasurable to scratch your arse.

Me, myself, I have never farted in front of a loved one. Not even my mother. I am one of the six per cent of people polled who declared, without a degree of ostentation, that "they would never let their partner see them be so uncouth". That said, I do walk around my flat in a permanently naked state and consider no mealtime mouthful complete unless every crevice is stuffed full with food.

On the other hand, there are many things I have done for a girl to which I would not naturally be inclined. I have bought flowers and pretended to cry at the travails of an abandoned puppy. I do this more readily if I know I can also show the less flattering side of myself without fear of repercussion. Surely that's something we all look for in a relationship, to feel trusted and safe. I would find the prospect of permanently keeping up appearances to be quite a daunting one. Though I would say that, as I'm writing this in my pants.

The Guardian

First Published: May 15, 2010 12:33 IST

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