My baby sister's taking the plunge. Some day. They're living together and there's a ring involved, yet she insists they're not engaged. But she's getting a jump start on reading up on marriage advice and planning her fairy tale wedding on Pinterest.

Notice I said “reading up on marriage advice” and not “asking her big sister for marriage advice”. I like it this way. This way, if things go wrong, she can blame it on some random stranger on the Internet and not me. Not that she would blame me, but this removes all possibility! It can't be my fault. I didn't give her the advice.

So as I was nosing around her Pins, I found an article titled 16 Ways I Blew My Marriage. Number two on the list is “Don't stop trying to be attractive.”

Obviously when I was working to woo her, I would do myself up as attractively as I possibly could every time I saw her. I kept perfectly groomed. I always smelled good. I held in my farts until she wasn’t around. For some reason, marriage made me feel like I could stop doing all that. I would get all properly groomed, smelling good, and dressed up any time we went out somewhere or I went out by myself, but I rarely, if ever, cared about making myself attractive just for her.

IF I COULD HAVE A DO-OVER: I’d try and put my best foot forward throughout our entire marriage. I’d wait to fart until I was in the bathroom whenever possible. I’d make myself desirable so that she would desire me.

I've got mixed feelings about this bit of advice.

Hygiene, of course, is important. No one wants to be around someone who doesn't wash regularly, or brush the stank off their morning breath daily. Not doing that stuff, to put it bluntly, makes a person smell bad. But in life, we've all got our own definitions for just about every little thing we do, and hygiene's no different.

Case in point:

We know a heterosexual fella who shaves his legs and chest, which means he probably does a bit of manscaping, too. His hair is always gelled into interesting spiky 'dos, only think “Jersey Shore”, not Candlelight Red. He never steps outside without brand new clothes, a fresh shave, bling, superstar sunglasses and enough cologne and/or aftershave to choke a horse, even if he's going to work on another dude's car all day. If you ask him, he'll tell you this is his idea of personal hygiene. And not just for men.

He'll go on to explain that women should always make an effort to “look good”. He insinuates that in order to look good, a woman must dress sexy, wear makeup and do her hair. They should get their nails done regularly, tan often, and get frequent pedicures. “Down there” they should at least trim, if not shave or wax most of it off. And we're not talking bebop down to the local Walmart Supercenter for a quick trim and some French tips. No, he expects hours spent at spas, $300 hairdos, gel nails with intricate designs, and makeup from Sephora.

But that's okay, because if you're with him, he'll pay for all that before he pays his rent. Hint: don't move in with this guy.

M doesn't shave his chest, and I'm happy to say that he does no manscaping. He's probably the cleanest person I know. He always smells good, but if you don't get close to him, the only thing you'll notice is that he doesn't smell bad. My man knows how to wear cologne and aftershave.

I am not the girly type. I take care of myself, but most of the time, I don't wear makeup or do my hair unless we're going out, and sometimes not even then. I mean, I'll make sure my hair is tidy, and my face is clean, but makeup every time I leave the house? Surely, you jest. And this isn't something that developed over time in our relationship. I have always been this way.

“This way” as if not getting all dolled up any time I'm in public is some kind of crime against humanity.

And I mean really...think about it. Your partner gets up in the morning, makes him or herself all purty, and then goes to school, or work, or the gym, or somewhere else you're not. Aside from a quick glance in the mirror to be sure they don't look like a complete slob, most people don't always freshen up all the other things they did before they left the house unless they're going out again. By the time you're alone together, all that fresh, fancy purtiness is no longer fresh or fancy, and has been wasted on coworkers, classmates, and hot bods getting hotter.

On the other hand, you hear it all the time. People complaining of their partners “letting themselves go” as time goes on. They're not always talking about weight gain. Sometimes, it's simply that we start the relationship behaving one way, and then do a complete one-eighty by spending all our time in our pajamas, or only trying to look nice when we leave the house.

If I were writing advice about “making yourself attractive” for your significant other, whether you're dating, living together, or married, it would sound a little more like this:

Don't set yourself up for failure. Be yourself from the very minute you meet, and then get so comfortable that you can let your guard down completely. But don't ever stop trying to win their affection. Don't ever let them forget why they were attracted to you in the first place. That's when things start to go wrong.