Living with a boy: Make a half-hearted attempt to unscrew the lid. Whine exasperatedly. Immediately give up and hand the jar over sweetly to your common-law partner with a sheepish, knowing grin. Demurely purr, “heyyy, can you open this for meee?” Don’t forget to give him a “my hero!” look when he successfully unscrews the jar, feeling super-pleased with how masculine helpful and he is.
Living with a BFF: The jar is a common enemy, an arch-nemesis/competition that you must conquer right now. Open a bottle of wine. Take turns trying to open said jar, giggling like fools and exclaiming, “OMG I can’t believe we still can’t open this freakin’ jar! LOL.” Whoever is successful at opening the jar feeds the other one shots, while losing roomie insists, “I loosened it for you” in a drunken, sleepy way.
Living by yourself: There is nothing sweet or funny about this jar-opening experience. It is one more reminder that you are not only utterly alone, but also useless at doing the most basic of human functions. How are you going to eat? How are you going to survive on your own without getting into the contents of this jar? Fear not: there are ways around this predicament. With rubber kitchen gloves on, give that jar a run for her money with a solid, well-gripped twist. Watch in awe as the lid pops open, shocked at your own jar-opening prowess. Be a bit disappointed that you are the only one who witnessed it. Congratulate yourself, and allow this experience to re-affirm your single existence. That jar had no shot against an independent, resourceful, single mama like you. Hum “I don’t need a man” happily, and proceed to consume the jar’s contents, forgetting the moment of sheer panic that had paralyzed you just two minutes earlier.
Interacting with the cat
Living with a boy: Cat always competes for attention with boy, and Cat always wins. This is a fact that is never discussed out loud. Cat can also be a helpful companion as you make snarky comments to your significant indirectly; “Isn’t he such a brute, buttons? You should pee on his pillow, my sweet little shmoo.” Occasionally, however, Cat can be a wonderful distraction from everything that is going wrong in your relationship. Are you in a huge fight over who forgot to take out the garbage? Interrupt it, because Cat needs to be fed. You suspect one partner of cheating? Forget about it, there are more important things at hand — like Cat needs a petting. Besides, you two can’t split up — think of Cat!
Living with a BFF: Cat makes the two of you more insufferable to the outside world than ever before, and this suits the both of you just fine. Assume your Friday nights out will culminate in a tequila-soaked race home to get back to Cat, so you can chase after her drunkenly and pet her while cooing in tandem, “pretty kittyyyy.” Spend Saturdays lounging around hungover while you each take turns snuggling with Cat. Occasionally, a jealous fight will break out over Cat’s love, coupled with smug declarations like, “she slept with me last night,” or “look OMG she LOVES me!” as Cat purrs contentedly on the lucky roommate. Neither of you be fooled — Cat knows exactly what she is doing. She likes to keep roomies on their toes.
Living by yourself: Rationalize with yourself that you aren’t really living alone — after all, you have Cat! You have someone to come home to, someone to share your feelings with and someone to cuddle with at night. Sing songs to Cat and share intimate details of your life with her in an earnest and sincere fashion, followed by sighs of, “oh Kitteh! Only YOU understand me!” and hefty sobs into her fur. When you go out, let your mind wander back to Cat — I hope she’s ok, or I wonder what she is doing right now? Rush back to her with a cheery, “Honey, I’m home!” no matter how often she poops on your floor.
Living with a boy: Cook dinner together in a sickening, lovey-dovey ritualistic way. Light candles. Play music. Exclaim, “Honey, you chop the onion and I’ll start on the chicken!” with enthusiasm. The meal must always be something you imagine to be quaint, like homemade lasagna — anything that will sound cute to your friends the next day when you regale them with tales of your dinner (“It was SO romantic, we went to the farmer’s market and made bolognese with Caesar salad!”) Exchange kisses between thoughtful conversations about how everything should be prepared. Cry out, “taste this!” as you feed your sweetie a spoonful of this loving masterpiece you have created together as a testament to your enduring relationship. The dish complete, exclaim it’s the most delicious thing you’ve ever had and pick off each other’s plates with blissful gusto. Ugh.
Living with a BFF: In your hungover, pre-party state of mind, scream out from the kitchen to your room-mate –“Hey, I’m making some spaghetti, want some?” BFF thinks about it for half a second and screams back from the confines of her bedroom, “yeah, awesome.” Spaghetti = cooked noodles with a dollop of jarred tomato sauce added on top. The jar took awhile for you both to open, so you are drunk off wine and giggly as you heap parmesan onto your plates. Sit in front of the communal laptop and with Cat in-between you, scarfing down said pasta dish while watching Sex and the City, and proclaim that various points in the show are, like, so true.
Living by yourself: Open fridge. Close fridge. Open fridge again. Peer at its contents, trying to solve the inevitable puzzle — what can one make out of condiments, one wrinkled tomato, and a bottle of vodka? Your meal is always either on one side of the spectrum or the other — a delicious, healthy, tiny little salad that makes you feel like a sexy single lady who has her shit together, or a horrifying mixture of whatever you can find in the back of your refrigerator. No one knows you’ve eaten Special K for dinner for the past three nights in a row. Nobody is around, so nobody can judge you as you eat tuna out of the can with a fork, and let your cat’s tongue “wash the dishes,” if you know what I’m saying.