I'm moving tomorrow. After seven years in a slowly collapsing terraced house filled with an assortment of London's lost and found (some wonderful, some awful; on one heart-warming occasion, we took in a kid who'd run away from home because his parents were uncool with his being gay - I made him biscuits) I'm doing that strangely grown up thing of Sharing A Flat With My Romantic Partner. For weeks I've been in a strange mix of excitement, apprehension and blind terror; my body has elevated its usual stress reaction to the exciting new heights of exploding in throbbing pustules on my legs and armpits; and today, instead of last minute packing and cleaning, I gave up and slept until 4pm. So, rather than doing said packing and cleaning, or at least getting a good night's sleep to prepare myself for the rigours of tomorrow, I am obsessively playing Spider Solitaire, listening to Asian Dub Foundation and Gaelic-language folk music, and, now, blogging.
Said Romantic Partner came round a couple of days ago to shift all my boxes downstairs ready for Move Day. He got started while I lounged on the bed smoking a cigarette. Socialist Worker Housemate came in to survey progress.
SWH: "Are you seriously going to sit on your arse while he schleps your stuff downstairs?"
RP: "Well, she's going to make dinner..."
Me: "Sexual division of labour innit."
SWH: "You're supposed to be against that!"
Me: "Dude. He's a marathon runner, I'm a fucking cripple. From each according to their abilities, right? And you call yourself a marxist..."
Why terrified, you ask? Well. To negotiate the rent down, we had to agree to a two year contract, which scared the arse off me: don't get me wrong, I love the guy, but signing a bit of paper saying "this one, I love him the best, enough to want to live with him for two years (with an eighteen month break clause) or incur crippling financial penalties" was a big step. (Fear of commitment: girls get it too!) Then there's all the practicalities; primarily monetary. This Feministe thread about finance and relationships is great - reading about how other people negotiate the choppy waters of sharing a home with their partner, with the shared expenses that incurs, is fascinating. But also terrifying! What if we do it wrong and end up fighting over money? He's a saver; I'm a spender. He earns a giddy fortune (and works about 24 hours a day for it); I've got enough for my needs, but not much more. He is bringing significant capital to the partnership - I am bringing significant quantities of books. And debt. (It is conceivable that there is a causal relationship between these two facts.)
Then there's cleaning (he's tidy and handy with a mop; I create burglar-style mess in any room I'm in for more than twenty minutes). My need for Han Solo time to maintain minimal stress levels. The fact that he will inevitably end up doing more of the cooking/shopping/cleaning/general menial labour because I'm exhausted about 90% of the time. Oh yeah, and the hair removal.
Now, I have an extremley un-labour-intensive beauty regimen. My morning routine - deodorant, mascara, pull on clothes and laugh at my hair - takes three minutes from alarm to pavement. The only thing that gets any time investment at all is The Dreaded Depilation. Which has been one of the few bones of contention in our relationship: he's of the school that feels it is unseemly to discuss such matters; I'm of the school that feels talking about it, loudly and in graphic detail, is an important feminist act. And sharing a pretty small flat is going to bring him face to face with the gritty realities of it in a way that could get ugly. Plus, my recently achieved lack of self-consciousness re: The Dreaded Body Hair has reached the point where I shave when I'm going to see him, and let it slide the rest of the time. But now I will see him... every day. So I'm not sure where that will lead.
Oh well. I understand that compromise is the bedrock of a successful relationship, so I'll try not to wax my bikini line in the living room while shouting about the patriarchy and ingrown hairs every Tuesday.