It seems that, in every relationship, there is a sticking point. A weird, niggling annoyance, like a stubborn hangnail or a splinter. A very big, or very small, issue—always sort of nebulous, but solid enough to pit you against each other. One stubborn, the other pushing.
Our just-big-enough sticking point is On Demand movies. Specifically, On Demand movies that aren’t free.
There are few things J. won’t do for me. If I’m honest, he probably does most of the heavy lifting around the house—keeping toilet paper stocked and milk fresh and plants watered. On his days off, he wakes up early anyway, just to drive me to the train station so I won’t have to wait out in the cold. He leaves me love notes and fills up my gas tank when it’s low. He’s generous, too: I’ve somehow convinced him that it’s not out of the realm of possibility that shoes can cost more than $400. He’ll pick up flowers at the grocery store for no reason, and he’ll buy me the perfect vintage beaded purse for me for an Easter present (Easter!).
But, under no circumstances—even dire ones, like when we were housebound during Hurricane Sandy—will my otherwise very lovely, very generous husband order a freaking $3.99 On Demand movie.
I’ve scrolled through the listings hopefully—the Oscar nominees, seasons of Downton Abbey, Argo, a million and a half movies that are better than Attack of the 50 Foot Woman and I Married An Axe Murderer. But those are the movies we watch, because J. loves me, but he does not love me enough to tack on $3.99 to our cable bill.
A friend of mine has an equally doting husband. His sticking point? Flowers. He will not—absolutely, positively, staunchly refuses to—spend money on something that will inevitably wilt and die. Another woman I know has a wonderful husband who would take a bullet for her—but he will not give up a parking space in their city neighborhood to pick her up from work on bitterly cold, rainy nights. Or drive her to an early Saturday morning workout class across town. So she cabs it.
Still another friend commiserated with me: “Matt will not call to order takeout. He will pay for it. He will go out front to pick it up from our stoop. He will dial the phone number. But he will not speak to the person taking the order. I mean, Jesus Christ.”
And another: “My boyfriend more or less refuses to respond to emails like a normal person. He just hates them. And he’s a really communicative guy—he calls all the time (we’re doing the long-distance thing, and I find this very sweet, obviously), but he just will not answer an email normally. He sees email as a business-only technology. I just think it’s so weird.”
I asked J. about his hatred of spending money on movies. After all, we’ll go to the movie theater and shell out over $20 to sit in uncomfortable chairs that smell like fake butter. We spent the early part of our relationship in Blockbuster, plucking rom-coms and psychological thrillers from the shelves, which we’d only watch snippets of, in between kisses. It didn’t add up.
He didn’t have an answer for me, only a shrug. So I guess we’ve found our sticking point. I suppose we’ll spend our evenings in snuggled on the couch, watching sci-fi flicks from the 1950s and bad family movies from the 1990s. And my one friend will continue her fruitless emailing, and the other will keep making the take-out phone calls, and another will keep racking up cab bills.
In the end, I’ll settle for not watching Argo and I’ll jump on the Downton Abbey bandwagon in five years, once everyone else has jumped off. But when I do jump on, I better be wearing the shoes I bought myself with the money we’ve saved from watching really bad movies. I guess that’s my sticking point.
Are we the only ones, or do you have a groom who would do anything in the world for you—except one weird, little thing? What is it?