Is ‘Dirty Mary’ my dream girl?

I love my girlfriend dearly and deeply, and have often thought that we should move in together. We’ve been going out for two years now.

She makes me laugh so much, she’s great in the bedroom, cooks up a storm, and she’s also gorgeous with the kind of body that you can’t take your eyes off. The trouble is, she’s what my mum would call a ‘Dirty Mary’.

She lives in complete chaos, rarely clears up properly or does a spring clean, and to be honest, she’s none too brilliant with things like shaving.

She grows her underarm hair and her leg hair, and it doesn’t seem to worry her at all when we go out in the summer and she’s got a strapless top on and she’s strap-hanging in the Tube. People do tend to stare at her armpits. I’ve asked her to shave and she says she wants to be like nature intended, and that doesn’t particularly worry me, either. In fact I’ve got quite used to it. It’s just the reactions of others I’m a bit unhappy about.

The other thing is that she smokes. She’s always saying she’ll give up, but she never does. I don’t know if I’m attracted to her because my old mum was the complete opposite. She was the kind of woman who moved the beds every time she vacuumed, and she’d kind of chase you round the house with the vacuum cleaner. It was always going. And then there was the disinfectant, down the drains, all over the kitchen and bathroom. The smell of that particular disinfectant still turns my stomach. Our house was like a hospital ward, which wasn’t surprising, because she was a hospital cleaner. She’d turn in her grave if she knew that I was in a relationship with someone who leaves the washing up overnight, just piled in the sink.

When I’m round there, I usually do it and she’s very grateful, but tells me not to be so obsessive. I don’t want to be obsessive, I just want to find some middle ground, but I have to admit that although sometimes the chaos and the clutter gets to me, I feel really relaxed in her flat, even when she’s smoking!

So, can you tell me if I’m in love, which I think I am, or am I just trying to rebel against my mother, even now, five years after her early death? Could I live with the chaos? Sometimes, when I leave her place and go back to mine, I think I’m too minimalist and too clean and organised, and too lonely without her.

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Barbara says: Come on now, you’ve answered your own question! You’re lonely without her. You need to loosen up after living with a clean freak all your life. This girl may be the opposite of your mother, and you may think you’re rebelling and overdoing the rebellion, but I just see you as a normal bloke who’s been living in the shadow of a hospital cleaner for too long, and I see your girlfriend as a normal girl with quirks.

Grab the girl with the hairy armpits, and her cigarettes, and carry her over the threshold of your new and funny adventure of a life together!