“Living together is not easy,” he told me, while he nibbled away at the chicken in front of him.
Zixuan and I were at a KFC outlet at Hougang Point, with he having his post-IPPT dinner, with me as accompaniment. We were, as usual, discussing girlfriends.
“I once had a friend,” he continued, “who lived with his girlfriend, and they quarrelled a lot when they started living together.”
I looked at him, thinking “yes, I’ve heard this a million times before, so you don’t have to tell me.” I have heard this before, though I’ve always never really fully explored this topic. But having been through a rather unpleasant experience only just the previous year with Martin (it’s not at all his fault, it’s just I think we both needed some space), while we were staying in combined hostel rooms, I thought it prudent to at least start exploring this issue a little more.
I had lived with others in shared quarters before, while serving my National Service in the army. I’ve lived in bunks consisting of four to twelve beds without encountering any issues with my bunk-mates, most of whom were very nice people. But I guess in the army the psychology is radically different, with tolerance not only being something “nice to have”, but vital to our survival and sanity.
“So,” I said, “any tips on living with girlfriends?” I was genuinely curious, and was open to any input he might have.
“You are bound to quarrel,” he said, “and it’ll be down to the guys to fix it.” He continued, “whatever you do, always let the girl win.”
I had a look of incredulity on my face, while he had one of a knowing sage.
Taking another bite out of the chicken, he suddenly asked, “is this the thigh? How come I can’t seem to finish eating it?”
I shrugged my shoulders.
“If ever you both get upset and either start to quarrel, or are going to start, just let her win. Just keep quiet, and learn to apologise and take it that you’re wrong — even if you’re not.”
I shook my head, thinking this was the most ridiculous thing he’d ever said (and he’s said many ridiculous things), and was about to tell him so when he added, “then after she’s cooled down and things are going well again, tell her why she was wrong the last time in a nice way.”
I couldn’t resist chuckling, and I nodded my head. “That’s good!” I told him.
“And,” he continued, “she won’t know what hit her!”
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