They say you should live together before you get married. (I don’t know if people actually say this or not, but it’s what I said after my boyfriend and I decided to move in together last Spring.) “You can’t marry someone before you live with them,” I said. “What if you find out you hate each other?!”
Like we would go from “til death do us part” to “til she-leaves-her-curling-iron-plugged-in-and-now-I-hate-her do us part”.
“Living together is hard,” my friends tried to tell me, “Wait until one of you leaves their socks on the floor. Or you get in a fight over who is going to do the dishes, or the laundry, or what you’re going to watch on Netflix.”
These things seemed preposterous to me. And “preposterous” is not a word I use in every day life – but that’s how crazy it seemed that my friends thought Kyle and I would actually argue over something as stupid as “why are your socks on the floor?”. Granted – up until we moved in together, neither of us had ever lived with a significant other before… but we had both lived with humans before, and I’d never once seen someone get mad over a sock.
“It’s going to be fine,” I said. 1) because I was moving in with my best friend, and how could that not be fine?, and 2) because who gets mad over a sock?
“We don’t even fight.” I said. “Like, seriously. We NEVER fight.”
And we didn’t. I couldn’t “imagine” our first fight, but I always assumed it would be over something big. It would have to be, right? We never argued over anything, so it was hard to imagine us arguing at all. I’d assumed it would be over something that would really dig down deep and assault my character, or my family, or my well-being or something.
Our first fight was about a rug.
Like, the large pieces of carpet that people put on the wood floors of their living room? Yea, those things. We argued about a piece of carpet. Our first argument EVER – after spending nearly a year together and getting on our high horses that we know how to compromise and communicate and “we never fight, like ever”. One stupid rug and it was all out the window.
When my friends heard this story – they all decided to put on their therapist-hats and insist that “It wasn’t really about the rug, was it?” Like there was some hidden meaning behind the rug. Like the rug is supposed to be a symbol for something.
It’s not. This story has zero symbolism. One minute we’re fine, and the next we’re standing in the middle of a furniture store arguing about the color of a rug. That’s it.
(Well, okay. To be fair – that’s not really “it”, we weren’t really “fine” the minute before. We were cranky because we’d been in that store for over an hour already looking for “just the right shade of off-white” rug. “Not too white, but not too off-white? You know? Just, like, a cream color?”)
Whatever. It took me three weeks to make a commitment on which color “accent” throw-pillows I should buy from Target. Do you really think I’m going to get all willy-nilly picking out a $600+ rug??
“What about this one?” Kyle would ask, pointing out rugs that were patterned with tones of whites and.. other random colors. To be honest – I don’t remember what they all looked like. I just knew they weren’t… well…
Ugh. I hate being one of these women who says, “that’s not exactly what I’m looking for”, but they weren’t exactly what I was looking for. They didn’t match the pillows in our living room. They had weird textures or patterns. They weren’t the vision of a simple, classic white rug that I had in my head.
I know. I hate women like me too. This is probably why Kyle hasn’t proposed yet, because he doesn’t want to see me end up on Bridezillas.
“What about this one?” he pointed to a different one, and I was like “Ehhhh……”
“What’s wrong with it?” he asked. “It’s cream.”
“Is it…?” I asked. Which is apparently my way of pretending to consider it. By asking my boyfriend to defend his choice/vision/knowledge of colors. “It looks sort of… brown.” I said. “Don’t you think it looks brown? Maybe it’s the lighting.”
“You think it’s brown?”
“I mean, kind of. It just looks… I don’t know. It almost looks dirty, don’t you think?”
“How can you think that’s brown?” He asked. “It’s cream. It’s not brown.”
“I know it’s cream. But it looks like a brownish-cream.”
“No, it doesn’t.”
“Stand over here and look at it.” I suggested, pulling him toward my side of the rug. I don’t know why I thought this would make a difference. But, you know. Maybe the lighting is different on his side? “Do you see it?” I asked. “See how it looks dirty?” He looked at the rug, and then back at me, and then the rug, and then me.
“What are you TALKING about?” He finally asked.
“You really don’t see that?”
“See what?” Holy crap. “Jenn, this rug isn’t brown. It’s cream.”
“I’m not SAYING it’s brown. I’m saying it has brown TONES.”
Eventually a sales associate noticed us wandering around this jungle of not-quite-cream-colored rugs and must have heard us bickering. “What are you looking for?” She asked.
“A rug,” Kyle said. Meanwhile I was like – “But we’re looking for more of a cream colored rug? But not TOO cream. You know how cream colors can have that, like, brown tint or, like, more of a white tint? We need one with more of a white tint. But not TOO white. We don’t want a white rug, we want a cream rug. But, like, the right shade of cream? It needs to go with our couch.”
“What color is your couch?” She asked.
“Gray.” We both responded. (And of course I had to add, “But like, a dark gray? Not like a regular gray… you know?” I don’t know why I felt this was important. I wasn’t trying to get her to sell me a couch. But maybe if she understood the depth of gray that was the color of our couch – I could get her on my side for the whole “cream, not brown” debate.)
“Well, this rug would go well in any room.” She said, referencing the dirty looking rug we were arguing about.
OF COURSE she said that. At first it caught me off guard – like I was expecting her to say, “Oh, no, this is not the rug for you. This one looks dirty and gross. Maybe you should check another furniture store!” Yea, right.
“My girlfriend thinks it looks brown.” Kyle told her. I don’t think he rolled his eyes – but I’m pretty sure he wanted to.
“Oh, this isn’t brown.” She assured me. “You could put this next to your gray couch, and I’m sure it would look fine.”
Oh sure, I thought. Take his side.
“I don’t know.” I told her. “It’s just not what I’m looking for.” Did Kyle really not see the brown tint? Did he not think we could find a better rug? DID I EVEN KNOW HIM AT ALL?
“Jenn, we need a rug.” He said. “What’s wrong with this one?”
Well, for one, it’s brown.
The woman who had come over to help was slowly starting to slink away. “Why don’t you both take some time to think it over?” she suggested.
So that’s what we did. We parted ways (in the store). I went pouting in one direction, and he went storming off in another. (Okay, so I don’t remember if he necessarily ‘stormed off’ – but he definitely walked away thinking, “My girlfriend doesn’t know what the color ‘brown’ looks like.” He wouldn’t tell you he was thinking that, but I’m sure he was. Because I was thinking, “My boyfriend doesn’t know what the color ‘cream’ looks like.”)
After pouting around the store for a few more minutes, we finally stumbled onto another rug. (Well, okay, I stumbled onto it and dragged Kyle over and he agreed – in his pouty, pissed off, ‘this is taking too long and I’m hungry’ voice – “Yea, I like this one. Let’s buy it and get out of here.”
So that’s what we did.
Alright – so maybe the ending is a little anti-climactic, but the point of this story wasn’t about the rug.