Top News

Janice Wells: A LAT to consider

Queen Anne’s lace in Heart’s Content.
Queen Anne’s lace in Heart’s Content. - Contributed

Have you heard of the growing trend of LAT — Living Apart Together — whereby couples who are firmly committed to each other have separate homes. It’s a trend with boomers who meet when they have their own places and a lifetime of doing things a certain way, but it is catching on with young people, too. Ten per cent of Brits live that way!

Proponents of LAT observe that domesticity is a relationship killer; that in a two-home arrangement, you are a bit of a guest in the other person’s house and guests are more polite. You don’t have conversations about bills and who’s phoning the plumber or build up resentments about doing more than your fair share of work.

When you don’t live together you always kiss when you’re reunited and you have more things to talk about. You don’t take each other for granted. You dress up for each other rather than slobbing around in a tracksuit. You don’t have to deal closely with each other’s families or friends or hobbies. For many boomers starting new relationships it is considered a to be good thing.

If LAT had been common 15 years ago, Newman and I might not be living together but we would be “keeping company” as the saying used to be. This struck me this morning when I saw Connor Cat’s brush (in a Zip-lock bag!) in a neat pile of other miscellaneous stuff of mine, in a corner of a windowsill.

It would be easy to say that I am a slob and he is a neat freak, but that is not accurate. I am a slob when compared to him and he is not a neat freak (and likes to think he is) but is a clean freak when compared to me.

I’ve been in Heart’s Content for three days and he’s been here alone. When I got back I noticed that the mat inside the front door was outside the door.

“It captures too much dirt” he told me. “That is the point,” I told him. Everyone knows a mat is supposed to capture the dirt and then hide it underneath until you get around to sweeping it up. Just as everyone knows you don’t put an indoor mat outdoors. “Well just throw it away’ he said, as if he was going to be standing by with a mop or broom whenever anyone came in on the hardwood with no mat to wipe their feet on. Forsooth I will make haste to acquire an outdoor mat forthwith. He even moved the bags of books and Christmas ornaments that I’ve had there for weeks to take to the thrift store.

Connor jumps up with me every morning when I sit down. I brush him and cuddle him and then he goes on his way. I clean the hairs out of the brush and usually put it in the cat drawer, but sometimes I put it on the windowsill by whichever chair I’m in and I have a chair in Newman’s room, a.k.a. The Cave.

I looked everywhere for that brush this morning, except in the neat pile on the windowsill in Newman’s room.

I have dollar-store reading glasses all over the place. Yesterday I couldn’t find a pair. Guess where I found two pairs when I went to retrieve Connor’s brush?

On the kitchen counter there was a plastic spray bottle that used to contain window cleaner. Now it has BLEACH scrawled on it five times in black marker. This from a man who does not own one shirt without bleach spots from brushing up against counters he has just sprayed with all-purpose cleaner with bleach. I clean the counters every day, but a soapy dishcloth is clearly not up to his standards.

It would be easy to say that I am a slob and he is a neat freak, but that is not accurate. I am a slob when compared to him and he is not a neat freak (and likes to think he is) but is a clean freak when compared to me.

We do still kiss hello and tell each other news, but there’s not much new when you’re always together. On the other hand, if I knew Newman was coming over once a week or so, I’d look forward to seeing him, catch up on the news, clean up the house, put on something without stains and make a nice meal. 

There’s a lot to be said for live and LAT live.

Janice Wells lives in St. John’s. She can be reached at janicew@nf.sympatico.ca .

Recent Stories