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The Guys You'll Meet on Earth, But Not in Heaven: Anal-Retentives


Before Isabella met Peter she thought that a guy who was "anal" was someone who was into backdoor sex.

Before Isabella met Peter she thought that a guy who was "anal" was someone who was into backdoor sex. And so when her friend, Lisa, set her up to meet Peter at Joe's Pub in the Village one Saturday night----Lisa's warning that Peter was a very successful guy but "a little anal" did not adequately prepare her for the "my way or the highway" man she was about to meet.

Lisa was referring to anal as in anal-retentive a la Freud which describes rigid, detail- oriented people whose inflexible approach to the world may have started way back when they were toilet trained a bit too strictly. This is where the anal sex analogy begins and ends because men who are anal-retentive actually tend to be quite conservative about moral and sexual values. They believe that they know the planetary rules and no one can deviate from them without incurring their wrath.

Yes, if Isabella had only known that Lisa's use of the term anal meant not kinky sex but rather someone who has an obsessive compulsive personality disorder she might have taken a couple of steps back that night rather than plunging into a relationship with Peter.

At first, Peter's excessively orderly world was comforting to Isabella. Nothing was ever out of place in his perfectly organized apartment. He had every minute of the day carefully scheduled and that gave him a predictability Isabella could count on. It was only after Isabella became a part of Peter's world that the pathological nature of his perfectionism became apparent. Gradually, she understood that he expected her to adopt his rules-

Never be late
Never spend a dollar you can save
Never throw things away
And never ever get in his way

When Isabella found out how much Peter made as a successful CPA she couldn't believe how few dollars he lived on. Of course, Peter took in the shows at Joe's Pub. At $15 a ticket they were the best deal in the city. For her birthday, Peter took her out to Tad's Steak Restaurant because it was quick and cheap. The sex that night was also quick and as usual in the missionary position. Things had to be quick in Peter's life because he always had to get back to work. And every job took forever because Peter had to get it just right, not about right but completely and perfectly right.
Finally, one weekend Isabella persuaded Peter to go with her on a trip. He immediately took over planning the trip and chose a low rent bungalow by a lake in the Catskills. On the drive up Isabella had to stop for a bathroom break but Peter would not stop. He had calculated the trip to take an hour and 45 minutes and he would not tolerate it taking any longer than that. No, there would be no peeing on the way and certainly no stopping to smell the roses. When they decided to build a campfire that night Peter needed to do it completely on his own---in order to get it just right. On the drive home, Peter complained he was falling asleep but he could not tolerate Isabella's offer to share the driving. Every time Isabella tried to pitch in Peter rejected it with a snarl. He was convinced that he alone could get things done correctly and it made him too anxious to let anyone else try.

Eventually, Isabella decided that following Peter around wasn't worth it. She became tired of the details, the penny pinching and the lurking anger triggered by Isabella just being Isabella. 
The day she broke up with him Isabella found herself quite spontaneously in Borders where she bought a rather expensive edition of Sigmund Freud's Introduction to Psychoanalysis.

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