Oliver Callan advises: How can I get her to accept me for who I am?
Guest uncle this week...
I've been seeing a girl for a couple of months now, and I really like her, except for one thing. She's mad into leftie politics: saving the environment, campaigning for gay marriage, and that whole Robin Hood mentality.
At first, I really liked that she was passionate and opinionated. Now it's beginning to get on my nerves.
She's constantly on at me because I work for a large bank, and for not having a 'worthy' career like her (she's a full-time activist).
She's always trying to pick arguments with me and my friends about politics.
She even got into a row with my father, who's a county councillor from a political party she hates. He says he doesn't want to be in her company.
She's recently become a vegan, meaning it's difficult for us to have a meal together. She seems to judge me because I like a bit of steak, and looks at me like I'm some kind of monster.
I like to go out at weekends or go away on short breaks, but it's nearly impossible because she always has some picket, protest or demo to attend.
Her latest thing is that I'm not allowed to flush the toilet when I'm staying in her place because it's wasteful of water. She just says: "If it's yellow, let it mellow, if it's brown, flush it down". I laughed thinking it was a joke, but she was serious.
All that said, I still want to keep seeing her. She can be fun, and the sex is amazing. But I'd like for her to accept me for who I am.
What can I do?
Dear Troubled Bank Worker,
You are the master of the understatement. "I really like her, except for one thing..." The "one thing" just happens to be the verbal diagram of a hippy hate figure. She won't even let you flush the toilet, for pity's sake. And how can the sex be that good if she doesn't eat meat?
Yes, you are undoubtedly the king of restraint. In fact, you sound rather like your banking bosses on the eve of the crash, staring over the abyss of a bankrupt romance yelling, "The fundamentals of the relationship are sound".
If I was in charge of Anglo Irish Bank, I'd hire you on the spot as the reassuring spokesman who could stare the nation cold in the eye and insist the banking bail-out is still "fun", even while the pong from unflushed toilets brings water to your eyes.
I also find it impossible to envisage how her "fun" side pops out when she seems to devote her time to ticking off your father, your friends and even you. It appears her primary bone of contention is that you don't have a "worthy" job. Although she may have a point there, considering your bank is probably now worth less than the price of her last vegan glass of hedgehog milk, or whatever pretentious plonk the hippies of the post-recession now indulge in.
Still, though, who is she to talk? It's not like "full-time activist" ranks highly in the "worthy" stakes. Wasn't Heather Mills a full-time activist? Perhaps that's what happened to her marriage; perhaps Paul McCartney simply couldn't hack any more toilet back-logs.
Also, if "she's mad into left-wing politics" now, what is the future of this relationship? Can you really envisage yourself waking up beside the next Moan Burton in 10 years' time? Worse, by then, she might look more like another lefty banshee, the Greens' Dan Boyle, who clearly likes his sticky tofu pudding dipped in Fair Trade chocolate fudge.
It's my view that you need to put your best banking abilities to the test on this one. Treat her as though she's applying for a loan, not love. Assess her for risk; hippies are notoriously polygamous, so know that she could swap you for a tree crawler in the Glen of the Downs the very minute you turn anaemic from a lack of dead cow.
Then research her credit history: how many other monstrous animal-eaters has she defaulted on in the past?
Finally, project her future career stability: will she tire of hemp cardigans and Richard Boyd Barrett in a matter of months and have swapped Ivana Bacik for Manolo Blahnik by Christmas?
You have tolerated far too many late payments from your debtor already. You must stick steadfast to your own institutional rules, ie remain being you. Behave more like a bank -- more take and less give. Refuse to change your interest rates; heck, hike them at short notice or, better yet, no notice.
Threaten to throw her out of the home if she doesn't play ball and demand that she bails you out if things go awry. You need to practise smart economy on this relationship and if the sex remains good, then you can rest assured the Bank of You is getting sufficient bang for its buck.
After all of that, if she still refuses to accept you for who you are, then perhaps it's time to close the lid on this mess, flush down what's left and promptly leave the relationship until the smell has fully gone.
Good luck, happy banker.