If you're either a long-time reader of this blog or one of the dozen female friends who suffered with me through my early 20's, you know that I do not have an abundance of experience with relationships. I have dated, some people for more than one month even, but until R, I did not reach the coupling milestones many people achieved by the time they hit college.
As such there are times when I'm just not quite sure what to do. Do I compromise or stand my ground? Do I give mushy love or tough love? Do I be cuddly or sexy? Surprising or steady? And can I just go watch TV in the other room if I don't want to watch Sports Center, on a loop?
There is no rule book on being the best, better half in a successful relationship (or there are hundreds but they're in a section of the Barnes where I won't venture), so we relationship newbies are forced to turn to the only resource we have for lessons of this nature: the television.
I learned how to flirt from Winnie Cooper, how to be evasive from Felicity, and how to be an idiot from Serena van der Woodsen. But when it comes to how to be an all-around fantastic partner, there's only one woman I look to because she always looks right back with eyes that say, "we've got this, baby."
Nevermind that Claire Huxtable was a married lawyer at least 15 years my senior with five kids. She knew exactly how to handle every scenario encountered with her man Cliff. Therefore, whenever I have a "what should I do?" moment, I look down at my wrist where the bracelets I'll soon be marketing would sit, and repeat six, simple letters: WWCHD?
Here - in my opinion - is precisely what CHWD in the given, extremely random situations:
- Your boyfriend is asleep on the couch, but you have your heart set on dinner and dancing for the rest of the eve. Any man worthy of Claire (or a Claire protege) will wake if the right tunes hit his ear. Claire would skip the shake-and-wake routine and head right to the record player (2012 version: iPod). She'd pop on some tunes to set the night's mood then start dancing her heart out at the feet of her man until he opens his eyes to the sight of a deck-out lady whose face says, "you try and sleep through this party I'm having in my batik blazer."
- You've just had an argument about how to raise a child/plant a garden/cook a meal/clean the house. Your man has insulted your approach to the task leaving you pouty and hurt. Claire would make it clear that he can't treat her like that and get away with it. Her approach: step one: dress in your sexiest palazzo pants and trapeze top. Add a chunky, African-inspired necklace to prove you mean business. Step two: curl up on the couch with a nice, thick book. Something that says, "I'm a lawyer/as smart as a lawyer, so watch it." Step three: When your man approaches to reconcile, don't budge, don't even look in his direction. Make him sweat through a few funny jokes and forced cuddles until you finally give him a look out of the corner of one of your eyes that says, "I'm not going to get mad because mad doesn't look cute on me, but you best not do what you did again." Step four: put your book down and nuzzle into him like all is completely forgotten.
- You need something done in the house that's definitely a two person job, but your man insists on doing it his way, on his time. Weeks and weeks go by and you still haven't framed hung that framed picture of your entire family singing with Stevie Wonder on the wall. Claire wouldn't wait, but she also wouldn't shove that fact in Cliff's face. She'd go to the store, get the picture framed, hire someone to hang it in the house, marvel at her resourcefulness, and sit down on the couch with a nice, thick book. When he finally notices the picture is hung, don't cry, "well nobody else was getting it done," just smile and nod. "Looks nice, doesn't it. I'm very pleased with how it's all come together." Claire lives by a simple model. If you want something done, don't complain about it until someone else does it, just do it yourself and be happy that it's done.
- You and your man are finally headed for a night out on the town after weeks without a proper, adult date. You want to look like a knock out without straying from your normal, everyday style. Claire's answer: palazzo pants jumpsuit. It's that same reverse fit-n-flare that marks your daily dress, but this time it's synched at the waist with some form of sexy rope belt. Go with an eggplant or a royal green. You're regal, and he should know it.