Some two decades ago, prior to getting married, my wife and I went through the ritual of picking out dishes. And, because she is a saint, she structured the process thusly: She spent hours looking for plates, knowing that my main criteria for plate is “holds food.” Upon identifying three possible patterns, she brought me into the mix, asking if any of the three were especially preferred or, more importantly, especially offputting.
Once I confirmed that all three patterns of plate would successfully hold food, I told her that I really didn’t have a favorite, so whatever she went with was great by me. And we still use those plates to this day, so they seemed to have been a good choice.
Fortunately, my wife takes this approach to a lot of things. It’s not that I am not willing to help. It’s that with a lot of these things, I really, truly do not have an opinion one or the other, in particular on appearances. I am far more concerned with the utilitarian aspect of objects in our life.
Add to the fact that I have the color matching skills of a fence post and you can also see that, even if I am contributing, I’m probably contributing poorly.
We employed this technique recently when shopping for furniture. Our den furniture currently fulfills its desired functions, which are primarily (1) sitting and (2) napping during sporting events.
But my wife has wanted new furniture for a while, as these are getting older. Additionally, they do not match our new flooring, which is something she assures me is a fact but that I just have to accept.
When we went to the furniture store, we fortunately picked one right next to a sporting goods store that sold fishing gear. This was critical, as we brought our 14-year-old son with us, and if there is one thing that is the most awful thing on the planet for a teenage boy, it’s shopping for furniture with your parents.
I dropped my wife off at the store, and she said she would browse while I took him to the sporting goods store. If she found something, she would text me. I do want a little more input on a furniture purchase, as I am very particular about just how comfy my nap space is, so my wife assured me she would let me take it for a test drive before pulling the trigger.
After a while, I got a text. “I found a few things.” I told her we would finish up at the fishing place and head next door. “Hooray!” said my son, not once.
When we walked into the store, my wife was standing at a lovely couch in the showroom, along with the salesperson. I sat on the couch. Niiiice.
I kicked off my shoes, which caused my wife to roll her eyes and the salesperson to look at me a little cockeyed. “I don’t want to put my shoes on the couch,” I said, as I swung my feet up on the couch and nestled into napworthy position.
My wife mentioned that she had seen a few others as well. “Do you like it?” I asked? She said she did. “Well then let’s stop looking and start enjoying!”
“Hooray!” my son said internally, as no one actually says “hooray” any more.
The couch will be delivered soon, and I look forward to it giving many years of service. And I hope excited to have a couch that matches our floor color. Whatever that means.
Mike Gibbons was born and raised in Aiken, S.C. A graduate of the University of Alabama, he now lives in Mt. Pleasant. You can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @StandardMike or at www.mikeslife.us.