Dear Lola,

My girlfriend and I have been an item for three years and I am considering proposing to her. She is a wonderful partner in almost every way, but she does have one personality trait that I find annoying. She can be clingy at times, wanting to hold hands as we watch TV on the couch or hugging while we are sitting next to each other at a restaurant. I do not find this trait intolerable but I’m wondering if marriage will turn this into something unbearable to live with. What do you think I should do?

Martin May Marry

A cartoon rendering of Lola running across a television screen with the phrase 'previously on Dear Lola... a ball was chased for hours.' TV Lola is chasing a ball.

Dear Martin May Marry,

I can hear the church bells ringing, accompanied by cheers from the delighted crowd who eagerly throws birdseed as you run down the steps, ready to tackle the first days of marriage. Fast forward two decades and you are sitting on a couch, flinching at the mere sight of another human being after years of forced hand holding and nightly cuddles.

That bleak picture would send any potential groom running out of a room.

Yet that may not be the future that unfolds before you. I used a complex set of scientific formulas to calculate other options you may explore before tying yourself to a woman who turns you into a frightened chihuahua, trembling at a mere gust of wind. When those formulas failed, I turned to the trusty minds who wrote the Back to the Future movie trilogy.

Using this cinematic masterpiece, I was able to map out other potential futures for you.

The first alternate path sees you sitting alone on a couch, clutching a beloved treasure from your childhood. You never proposed marriage to the slightly clingy girl who loved you. Bereft at the loss of your youth, the ones you loved have slowly migrated away from you as they built lives that didn’t revolve around video games and the Friday night party scene. When you do receive invites from friends, their children shy away from you and the garlic odor that seems to hover when you are around.

Somewhere along the way, you just gave up on doing laundry entirely.

The second alternate path is much brighter. You are in a beautiful home, filled with laughter and love. You proposed marriage to the slightly clingy girl who loved you. You have a wonderful wife, two kids and a dog. You excel at a job you love and your friend group gathers around a weekly table to catch up. As you take walks in the park, it is you reaching for a hand to hold.

Best of all, you are wearing clean underwear and the garlic odor is nonexistent!

I’m not sure about you, but alternate path number two looks pretty great to me. Your partner has a single annoying personality trait, according to your own words. I’m not sure you will ever find a life partner who lowers that number to zero – though you are welcome to give it a try.

You should probably build a working time machine first, just as a precaution.


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