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You ‘think’ you’re low maintenance

August 12, 2006

Picture this, Billy Crystal is talking on the phone to Meg Ryan and they are both watching Casablanca on the television from their beds.

“Ooh, Ingrid Bergman, now she’s low maintenance,” he says.

“Low maintenance?” she asks.

“An L.M. definitely,” he replies.

“What does that mean?”she asks.

“There are two kinds of women in the world, low maintenance and high maintenance,” he tells her.

“What kind am I?”

“You’re the worst kind. You’re high maintenance but you think you’re low maintenance,” he says.

“I don’t see that at all,” she says.

Of course she doesn’t see it. We H.M.’s rarely realize how high maintenance we are.

Personally, I know I’m an H.M. and I have no problem with it … well aside from the fact that most fellas think they want a gal who is low maintenance.

But that doesn’t bother me too much because, I may be high maintenance, but I am also high performance. I realized this about a year ago, after I broke up with my last boyfriend.

He was definitely an L.M., but he was low performance too. Like my car. It’s a cute little Eagle Summit and I don’t have to do much to it. I just fill it with gas now and then and clean it so that I don’t get dirty while it’s taking me around town.

He was basically the same way. I just had to cook him dinner now and then and help him dress occasionally — like in the rare instances that he had to wear a tie and needed it tied for him.

The thing is, who wants an Eagle Summit for a boyfriend?

Not me; I want the Batmobile!

Ah, the Batmobile. It seems like a nice dream at first — right, guys? But have you ever thought about how hard it is to keep the Batmobile running at peak performance?

Honestly, that’s probably what Alfred is always doing in the Batcave. (I hope that’s what he’s always doing in there, cause if he’s just hanging out in a cave that’s creepy.)

To be completely fair I was pretty happy with my low maintenance man. He was a good kisser and he looked good in the ties when I tied them for him.

Furthermore, I should tell you that he broke up with me. Yeah, he finally realized I was high maintenance (Sorry Chris).

I felt bad about being an H.M. for awhile. Until I started thinking about the Batmobile, and I realized something.

I’m the Batmobile! I’m a Cadillac! I’m a Dodge Viper! I’m a cherry-red ’78 GTO!

Now guys, would you treat a dream car like it was a beat up Olds? I think not! You would put tons of energy into that car!

So, is your woman an Olds or is she a Cadillac? I bet she’s a Caddy and I know she deserves to be treated like one.

I know I do. Because I’m a dream car and dream cars are high maintenance. But I am high performance too, so it’s okay.

It seems to me that guys don’t mind putting a lot of work into their vehicles in order to get the performance they desire, so why is it so hard to maintain a relationship in order to get high performance?

If men would think of women more the way they think of their cars relationships just might be easier.

I’d like to say, “You get what you give,” because to some extent I think it is true. But even if you treated my Eagle Summit like it was the Batmobile it’s never gonna sense danger or throw a net on an oncoming assailant.

So first you gotta make sure you’re working with the right model. But remember, no matter what you’ll have to put some work into it.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Doug permalink
    October 14, 2010 10:21 pm

    There is a reason that Honda Civics and Toyota Camrys are the nations top best-selling cars. When people buy a car, they want to drive it and get them from one place to another. They want to know when they turn the key, she’ll start right up every time, and not fear having to get a jump or push her down hill to help her get started.

    Very few people buy a car that they know will be a lot of work. How many people own a batmobile or a 78 GTO compared to Camrys or Civics. If they are a mechanic, and find joy in fixer-uppers then sure they will buy a classic. But for most of us we want reliability. The point of a vehicle is transportation, not to hone our mechanical skills. Who wants a car you rarely get to drive because it is always in the shop? Not to mention the cost involved for constant repairs.

    The numbers speak for themselves.


    • October 15, 2010 8:24 am

      Do you realize how mean you’re being? And that you’re suggesting that I should be less of a person and not hope to get anything out of a relationship?

      I’m not a Honda Civic.

      And I’m not a fixer-upper.

      Really mean, Doug. Really mean.


      • Doug permalink
        October 15, 2010 3:40 pm

        Being mean was far from my intention. Not only do I really enjoy your blog posts: full of insight and refreshing use of the English language; but I genuinely appreciate the perspective you offer. Perhaps high maintenance equates with high performance. Is it not possible to imagine low maintenance with high performance as an option as well?

        I probably should have phrased the last post more carefully. I have found in life that you only really get out of something what you put into it, regardless of the experience or the relationship. The more one invests, the more one sows, the greater the ultimate reward. So I agree with the spirit of what you said. Celebrating “high maintenance” though, I suppose, touched upon something in me.

        Everyone says that “relationships take work”. ugh. I’m still the eternal optimist that believes with the right person things should be easy. Perhaps never simple, but there should be sufficient joy in the pursuit that it doesn’t feel like perpetual effort is involved just to keep the thing running.

        “High Maintenance” invokes, in so many of us guys, an infinite amount of negative connotations (like some previously mentioned, in perhaps poor taste). It could be that we use the title as a way to justify the lack of effort we are willing to make. I don’t think it is something women should celebrate as an attribute however. If a relationship requires a high level of maintenance from either party, then I would think it not a relationship worth pursuing. When you find someone with whom it “clicks”, then dive in and see where it may lead.

        I’m sorry if I came across as insensitive or mean. Geez, why do you have to be so high maintenance? (joking, of course) 🙂


        • October 15, 2010 4:13 pm

          Okay, to be fair, I was hungry and sleepy when I read your post so it might have hurt my feelings more than it should have.

          I did assume that you weren’t trying to be mean. (At least, I hoped.)

          I don’t think that high maintenance always means high performance. Nor do I think one has to be high maintenance in order to be high performance. But I am high performance, so I don’t think there is anything wrong with having high maintenance moments. And I do. I wrote this post after I had been in a five-year relationship with a man who wanted all of the perks of a relationship without putting in any personal effort. By the end I wasn’t getting anything out it. Not even things that I consider common courtesy.

          No affection, no attempt at conflict resolution, no sweet nothings…

          Basically I wasn’t getting anything out of the relationship and his attitude seemed to be that I was too high maintenance (because I wanted him to be places when he said he was going to be there and to give me compliments from time to time and things like that).

          I guess my point was to try to remove the stigma of the idea of being “high maintenance.” But I’m fighting the culture so I’m losing.

          Things fall apart. I mean, even roses wilt. I think that without maintenance things fall apart faster. And I think that relationships are the type of thing that are either being built or breaking. You have to constantly invest in them or they are unraveling.

          And, just because you’re putting effort into something doesn’t mean you will be getting something equal out of it (as in the aforementioned relationship).

          I do think relationships take work. And I’m not as frustrated by the idea as you seem to be. But think of it this way. Playing your guitar takes work. Writing a song takes work. Leading worship takes work.

          I think it should be that kind of work. Satisfying. Maybe even fun.

          And I do think a lot of men use the term high maintenance in reference to women in order to justify the lack of effort they are willing to make in a relationship.

          I guess this whole post (and the basic argument) is my way of saying I’m not going to settle. And I shouldn’t have to. I’m high performance. And, I can handle high-maintenance. But high maintenance is only worth it if it is also high performance — in me or anyone else.


  2. January 28, 2011 10:41 pm

    From what you have described, you don’t sound high maintenance to me. I agree that “high maintenance” is a term men often banter about in order to justify what complete arseholes they are being. Expecting a boyfriend to turn up when he says he will or hold your hand from time to time is certainly not high maintenance in my opinion!

    I once had a long-term boyfriend who sounds not unlike yours. I can clearly recall one argument that stemmed from him telling me he’d come and visit me after lunch. Now what time would you consider “after lunch” to be? 1pm? 2pm? Certainly no later than 3pm, right?

    4pm came and went.

    Despite my better judgement and a flatmate who told me to stop plucking my eyebrows and go out and do something instead of hanging around and waiting for my bastard of a boyfriend, I still waited. Actually, I did pop out for an hour or so, but he didn’t arrive during that time anyway. I sent him a text message, to which there was no reply, followed by a phone call that he did not answer.

    He finally decided to rock on up at 6.30pm, by which point I was livid. And to make me even angrier, he did not see a problem with his actions, as technically, it was still “after lunch”. He had apparently been busy with friends and time had gotten away from him. The icing on the cake was when I asked him why he hadn’t had the decency to call me and let me know. His reply? Why have an argument about it on the phone and then another argument later when he arrived, when we could just have the one argument later on?

    Game over! When I broke up with him for not having the decency to treat me with anything even remotely bordering on respect, he accused me of being high maintenance. What a cop out.

    Good luck in your search for that bat mobile! I wouldn’t mind one of those myself.


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