"It's not you" — except when it might be

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There's a certain amount of nervousness when you bring someone home the first time.

Not for meeting the kid.

Not for meeting the folks.

Not for your first time, you know, in your bed.

But for how it forces you to suddenly see how you live through their eyes.

It's an eerie feeling. It many ways, it reminds me of the very funny story David Sedaris tells of how a lost visitor knocked on his door late one night — while he was in the middle of drowning rats. As Sedaris looked around, surrounded by implements of death, all he could do was think of how his house looked like a mass murderer lived there, like some scene out of "Silence of the Lambs."

I am not a Domestic Goddess, and because I am the last remaining person in Marin who doesn't have a housekeeper, my house reflects that.

It is relatively neat, except for a few "areas of concern."

It is relatively clean, provided you don't lift the couch cushions or rugs. (Although I now have to use my reading glasses for things like scrubbing the toilet bowl or sponging off the countertops).

It has a very genuine shabby chicness to it (meaning more shabby than chic).

But, of course, it's more than that. It's the books on your shelves (how did that copy of "The Ethical Slut" get there anyway?), the DVDs you actually bought, the CDs stacked in the rack, the photos you display.

It's the colors and shapes and sizes and styles and stuff that, to a certain extent, say, "This this is how I think, this is what I like, this is who I am."

blogged about this before after reading the funny New York Times story, "It's Not You, It's Your Apartment."

Who among us hasn't walked into a new beau's place and thought, "Oh, dear!"

Recently, the Times ran stories on how food likes and dislikes can create all sorts of dating issues, "I Love You, But You Love Meat," and even what a potential lover reads, "It's Not You, It's Your Books" (and I think someone might need to say to the paper's copy editors, it's not you, it's your headlines).

All of it's entertaining but when you stop and think about it, you have to ask (OK, well, maybe I'm the only one who has to ask), are we being ridiculously fussy?

Sean — an uber-neatnik — is well acquainted with my household "areas of concern." He still likes me. And I am well acquainted with his love of AM sports talk radio at all hours of the day and night. I still like him.

Because there's more there, and more there that really matters.

Do a person's reading, eating, housekeeping, decorating and TV-watching habits speak to the whole person?

Do you have to embrace everything about a person's likes and dislikes to want to be with him, or can we live and let live — especially if we're not even living with him? Does it change things if we are, however?

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