March 19, 2006

People say I never learnt how to share. That's not true: I know how to share, I just don't enjoy it.

I've always thought that I should aim to share my life with someone, but in my experience it doesn't work out. People say this is because I've never learnt how to share, but that's not true: I know how to share, I just don't enjoy it. For instance, sharing a holiday with a boyfriend. The best part is having it to look forward to. The actual event is never as good. The last time that I did it, as soon as we got there I was thinking: "I have to remember this for ever as something we've shared." Why? Because I knew down the line, when we broke up, I could look back on it. Thinking about it would make me feel sad and miss him - even though we hated each other.

Another downside to sharing an experience is that nobody ever remembers what you want them to. There is nothing worse than saying, "Honey, remember that time in Hawaii when I stepped on a starfishand cut my toe?" and having their response be: "We were in Hawaii?"
Perhaps my aversion to sharing started early. As an only child, I had a bedroom and a loo all to myself. My friend Liza has a twin sister and I envy their closeness. But they shared a womb. Once you've shared a womb, sharing a room is a piece of cake. I was doomed before I was born.

When friends would sleep over, they'd touch things and move things and bring all their stuff; it made me nervous. Nothing's changed. When my ex moved in, it was an adjustment. He had this theory that if you're kissing someone and don't mind their tongue in your mouth, sharing a toothbrush is no big deal. I didn't share that theory. Having someone's tongue in your mouth is sexy; having their leftover broccoli isn't.

Plus, it mystified me that he had no problem moving a lounge chair the size of Ohio into the flat, but bringing an additional toothbrush would take up too much space?

Worse than sharing space was sharing food. He would insist that we share the popcorn at the cinema because, as he said, it was "romantic", even though what he actually meant was: it costs less. At first, I agreed. Why not? I'm adventurous. But five minutes into the previews, I would reach for a handful of popcorn and the bag would be empty. This meant either I had to speed-eat or take control and hold the bag in my lap. Which was an even bigger disaster. Because then his hand would drift over, fumble around, grab a handful, spilling most of it before re-reaching for more. And in between he would wipe his nose or sneeze in his hand - and then dig that same hand back into the bag. No thanks. Nobody ever mentions that sharing food equals sharing bacteria.

I decided the only way to share the movie was to make sure we didn't talk and sit with our individual bags of popcorn - the same as if we were seeing the movie alone. We'd share the same air. That counts, doesn't it?

Sometimes I do think how nice it would be to have somebody to share my hopes and dreams with, but then I remember: I don't really have that many hopes and dreams. So I'm not missing out.