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Withering Glance: Love 'em but can t stand living with 'em?

  • Article by: Rick Nelson and Claude Peck
  • Star Tribune
  • September 29, 2012 - 1:43 PM

Rick Nelson and Claude Peck dispense unasked-for advice about clothing, etiquette, culture, relationships, grooming and more.

CP: I know plenty of good women who got married for the perfect reason: So they could change their man into an even better person.

RN: Which explains why such a gargantuan percentage of American marriages end in divorce.

CP: No but. We must believe in change. The spouse is not going to remain a slob his entire adult life, right?

RN: Being hitched for 12 years to a tidy person has semi-reformed my slovenly ways. Still, the minute Robert embarks on a business trip, it's remarkable how quickly our spotless abode reverts to an episode of "Hoarders." I have to take PTO time to get it back into reasonable shape.

 

CP: That is so not true. Pre-Robert, your Uptown bachelor pad was neat as a pin. Perhaps you can influence your S.O. to lighten up a bit on the clean-freakiness?

RN: I already have, because every once in a while, we'll throw caution to the wind and not recycle the morning's newspaper the moment we've finished reading it. Trust me, that's progress. Have you ever successfully altered the less-than-appealing habits of a significant other?

CP: I may have applied the brakes to an ex who spent every spare dollar at the tattoo parlor. But only just barely. Since we broke up, I notice that he has come to resemble "The Illustrated Man."

RN: Just count your blessings that you won't be waking up to that when it turns 70 and saggy.

CP: We might not be able to change a helpmate, Rick, but half the fun is in the trying.

RN: Which is why every time I pop into Value Village, I'm surprised by the men's department's lack of Vikings, Timberwolves and other hideous, logo-saturated jerseys and jackets. I would think that discerning straight women all over the metro area would inundate the place as a part of their Beautify My Guy stealth campaigns.

CP: Gals, drag a bag of those jerseys to St. Vincent de Paul for a two-fer -- a break on your taxes and some respite for your eyes. If your man pitches a hissy, say it was an act of Christian charity.

RN: Where it gets trickier is subtly training him to pick up his underwear, or shave his neck, or place the toilet seat back down. Perhaps some kind of Skinnerian reinforcement behavioral technique? Well, one we can talk about in this family newspaper, anyway.

CP: Or get him to care about a clean bathroom as much as a spotless automobile. Then there is getting him to communicate. To open up forthrightly about his feelings. That's a toughie.

RN: File that one under "Hopeless." Better to blame it on his mother, and move on.

E-mail: witheringglance@startribune.com Twitter: @claudepeck and @RickNelsonStrib

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