Your Place or Mine?

By Katharine Miller

This is it. You found him through the personal column, you dated, he called, and you uttered the forbidden phrase. Now it’s time for the next big step. No, not that step. Instead of breaking up, you’ve mutually decided to cohabit.

We’re not talking about the dreaded “M” word that men (and some women) flee for the hills at mere mention. We’re talking living together. You know, not actually buying the cow, just sharing expenses and sleeping space with the cow. (Note: it’s better if you don’t refer to her as “the cow” or else you’ll be reading one of the other columns and back to the personal ads.)

This is the point where you must make crucial decisions. I mean beyond the obvious “yours, mine, or ours” debate. You must decide what stuff follows you to your new home. You have to ask yourself “Is it time to throw out my favorite pair of underwear? The pair I’ve had since high school.” You’re forced to consider where your collection of Matchbox cars will be displayed among her collection of porcelain angels. Skeletons must come out of the closet (and if you’re both science teachers or Goth enthusiasts, it can become part of the decorating motif).

Regardless of whose place will become the official residence, you have to find a good hiding place for the porn and old love letters. The last thing you want is to come home from a long day with your lover knee deep in magazines crying with X-rated videos in the VCR. And who really wants to hear “Why didn’t you tell me that Bob used to call you pookie-snookums? I thought that was your special name for me.”

In fact, there should be a few notes that you take on your prospective living partner before staking out your first drawer.

Some points to ponder:

1. Toilet paper- over or under. This can be a crucial point during middle of the night calls from nature.

2. The fridge- fully stocked or lone box of baking soda. Check the milk’s expiration date. Unless he’s a scientist, that’s not an experiment. She may not eat much in restaurants, but if there’s 3 boxes of ding dongs in the cupboard, that may be why.

3. Closets- organized or disheveled. If the hangers are empty and you can’t see the floor, it may mean more work for you.

It’s also good to inspect any decaying matter, funny smells, or muffled screaming that you may encounter.

If you’re still hell-bent on combining your IKEA furniture and milk crates, it must be love.

Living together can be mutually rewarding, if you look at it that way. Expenses are split, you’ve got an automatic date, and you can blame the funny smells on someone else. There are the negative points, though. More hair clogging the drain, twice the dirty laundry, and he can blame the funny smells on you. Also, you can’t bring home your one-night stands anymore.

If you have embarked on the journey into cohabitation, God speed fair warrior. Just be sure to save those boxes because there’s no way she’s going to let you keep your toy cars on the shelves.

Katharine Miller has been published on several websites including,, and

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