Monday, March 30, 2009

Netflix and other rooms for disagreement

Some couples fall in love over shared passions for sashimi, Wes Anderson movies, and Orham Pamuk books. They stay up talking until 5 a.m. on their first three dates debating things like whether the best French onion soup can be found in the 8th Arrondissement or Avignon. (Avignon, for god's sake! You're paying for real estate, not food, at the former.)

My beloved and I aren't like that.

We're more like the couples in this article:

"And so began their siege in this new trench on the front lines of American marriage: the shared Netflix queue. ...For many couples, ... the queue is the new toilet seat that somebody left up.

Men and women from perfectly happy partnerships report their own dysfunctional cohabitation within the confines of the queue. Once upon a time, these sorts of disagreements were sorted out in the aisles of a video store, before a movie was selected. Now, when the conversation begins, it’s already too late."- New York Times
March 27, 2009

He's a scientist; I'm a poet. He writes research papers with page-long sentences. "Shut up and love" is the best sentence I've ever written. He hates fish, and I just had sushi for breakfast. He loves DJ Tiesto beats and computer games, and I heart Jay-Z lyrics and shoes. He loves action movies, and I love horrifying comedies by Pedro Almodóvar.

We are different on all the little things, but agree on all the big things (more details in a later post). Still, little things come up every day, and I am heartened by the fact that the only "Netflix divorces" reported have been when couples give up sharing a queue and sign up for two separates accounts.

So, do any of you have a lot in common with your loves? How does that happen? Don't you get into petty fights about Willa Cather vs. Mary Shelley or iPod Touch vs. classic? (Cather, w00t! Classic, WHAT!)


  1. I've always wondered why people make big deals over relatively small matters of taste when it comes to partnerships. A lifetime romantic alliance shouldn't hinge on things as small as these - for seeing this, I applaud you both.

    This said, you know my view on love in general.

  2. It's so funny that this should be your post today. I was JUST RIGHT THIS SECOND talking with a friend in Korea about how nice it is to have a lot of things in common with your partner. My partner and I have so many similar interests it's scary, and it is really nice to be able to just be a big fat nerd with each other.

    Unfortunately, there are a lot of big things we don't agree on, and those are the things we fight about. I mean big things like, meaning of life and the nature of God, that kind of big.

    In fact, sometimes we assure ourselves that our fights are productive and meaningful, and we take great pleasure in the fact that we don't ever argue about what movie to watch or where to go for dinner.

  3. GL, I know your professed feeling (not view), but I also know your gooey center, and when the day comes, I'm crashing your wedding to do an obnoxious little dance and sing "I told you so." (Just in case you'd forgotten my view.)

    I think these differences in taste become big deals when people think of their identities as merely a sum of their likes and dislikes. Marketers actually recognize and take advantage of this (see Seth Godin's book Tribes).

    Beth, that's amazing. How different are you in the medium-sized things like how to raise children or spend money?

  4. I just want to say here that I don't "hate" fish, I just don't like it which sounds a little bit more positive and also Ivy likes Tiesto too because this is where we met.

    I do indeed write long sentences. But as long if we differ only on those small things, I will be happy in my relationship.

  5. I’m a scientist as well and he studies literature and history. We have different cultures and backgrounds, and when in comes to conversations, he usually has the point of view that I haven’t notice before, so he broadens my mind ... and I enjoy it!!



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