You knew where you were in the old days.
A man would present you with a ring, or would ask to speak with your father, or he'd sit in the family hut and make an offer of some cattle in exchange for the daughter. Hands would be shaken, cows would moo, and the deal would be done.
But these days there is nothing so blunt with which to chart your progress with a man. He's not going to kneel and offer a tiny velvet box unless it's some kind of cheesy retro gesture. He's not going to speak with my father as I have two - one who looks like Rod Stewart and one who looks like the big one from the Bee Gees - so that would just throw up all kinds of awkwardness.
I've been with The Proclaimer for three months now and the only firm sign that things are 'going well' is that his chequered boxer shorts are in my laundry basket.
Surely a line is crossed when a man peels off his pants and feels easy enough to just toss them in with my laundry? His stiffened socks are there too. And his shirts. It's all there. He must feel quite at home with me.
So is this the modern day equivalent of a ring, moonlight, and a handshake with your dad? Crumpled man-pants in the washing?
It must take some confidence, I thought, for The Proclaimer to just assume he can mix his sweaty togs in with mine. And, he never really goes home anymore. I think he lives with me, but I'm too shy to ask him. I keep expecting to find post for him on my doormat.
He goes back to his old flat every now and then - just to check it's intact and maybe to collect more socks, but I'm almost sure he lives here now.
I admire that! Had it been me I'd have been agonising over the details: have I stayed too long? Does he need some space? Am I being pushy? Will I just let him wash my stuff? Is that rude? If I scoot off home will he miss me or be glad?
But with The Proclaimer there's none of that. He just seems very honest and relaxed. When we get home, he locks the door behind him, goes into the kitchen to put the shopping away, then flicks the kettle on and asks if I want a cup. This all seems to say I live here now.
We'd been to North Berwick a few weeks ago and I bought him a bath bomb in one of their touristy gift shops. It was fat and pink, shaped like a fairy cake, encrusted with glitter, designed to explode in luscious creamy foam when dropped under the hot tap. This is an odd present for a man, I know, but I had long mocked him about his bath-time rituals when I found out he shaved his legs. He insisted - forcefully - that it's because he's a cyclist and they all do it. It just means it's easier to wash all the mud off at the end of the ride. No pesky wee hairs for the dirt to cling to.
Always keen to lovingly mock him - whether for his Somerset accent, his willingness to cry, or his resemblance to the Proclaimers - I now jeered at him for having silky smooth legs. I asked if he wrapped his hair in a towel when he had a bath, and lit tea light candles, then lay back in the bubbles listening to Celine Dion whilst texting his pals OMG u ok hunni???
He gruffly denied doing any of these things.
To prolong the ablution-based japes I bought him this extravagant pink bath bomb.
We chucked it into his bath that night and the bubbles foamed and climbed up and over one another till they threatened to brush the ceiling.
'That's some bath,' he said. 'Worthy of a eureka moment.'
I left him to soak, but couldn't resist putting Celine Dion on my laptop and leaving it to play outside the bathroom door.
Later, he came padding into the living room in a steamy fragrant haze, trailing wisps of bubble and wet footprints. He didn't have his glasses on so I had to beckon to him and he wandered over to me, clutching the towel round his waist.
'Good bath?' I asked.
'Yes, a good bath. I had a eureka moment.'
'Oh, what was that?' I asked him.
'Why don't we live together?'
I frowned at him. He was trailing glitter all over the floor.
'There's no point in us paying for two flats,' he said. 'We could move in together. Get somewhere else.'
'In the West End?' I asked.
'The West End!' I said.
'That would be good. Then you wouldn't need to walk so far to get to work.'
'West End,' I nodded.
'OK, I'll get dried and we'll see what's available. I just had to jump out of the bath to come and ask you.'
Seeing as it's settled that we'll be living together I felt a bit more at ease. He's no longer a guest, which means politeness can be abandoned. So I shouted to him, 'gonnae turn that daft Celine Dion off?'
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