Monday, August 10, 2009


When two people meet, fall in love, and decide to spend the rest of their lives together (or at least a couple of months), there are certain things to consider. I'm not an expert, but I watch them on TV, and here are some of the things they seem to feel are important:
  • Common interests
  • Common or compatible career goals
  • Money
  • Sex
  • Other (children, religion, general morality, etc.)
I must say, when one of these "relationship experts" begins pontificating about how "important" it is to "get to know" the "person" you plan to "marry" in so many important "ways," I scoff. I also chortle, guffaw, and occasionally reflux. (It's my diet.) Because they never talk about the things that are really important, the things that make or break 99% of otherwise happy marriages and relationships, according to my opinion:


So, here is Deb's Guide to Petty Compatibility. Understanding your Petty Compatibility, on its own, does nothing. However, if you are compatible on the BIG THINGS, take a look at some of these little, petty things. These are in no way based on my relationship.*

1. Toast compatibility.
A. Toasters: some people like leaving the toaster on the counter, some prefer it be put away, necessitating one partner's hovering over the cooling toaster like an anxious mother bird, waiting for it to be cool enough to handle and/or not ignite the paper grocery bags stored in the toaster cabinet because who puts away a toaster, honestly?
B. Toast Material: some people like Pop-tarts that are hot, frozen waffles, or other toaster fare that is not, exactly, toast. Does your partner ever check the darkness setting? Or does he blindly press the button down and walk away while the last two pieces of bread are transformed into charcoal?

Solution: This problem is far from insurmountable. Visit the home of your intended. Is there a visible toaster? If not, make a casual request ("Say, I feel like some toast right about now."). Observe your beloved as he or she toasts the bread. Be prepared.

2. Bread Compatibility
A. Type: some people like hearty, flavorful, whole-grain breads or those crusty breads that are fresh-made. Others prefer the squashy, white, slightly damp plain white breads devoid of all nutritional value. Who is to say who is right? (Me.)
B. Use: some people prefer to use bread down to the last piece. Others prefer to allow the heel and the "buffer" piece to be discarded. In addition, some people eat the bread "in order," starting with a heel piece, while others save the initial heel to help keep the remaining bread fresh. This can be huge.
C. Storage: some people are casual about their bread bags, giving it a twist and tuck and allowing the little plastic-coated metal wire to go by the wayside. Others are obsessive about tracking that little piece of wire to the ends of the earth, if necessary, and use it to seal the bread by twisting it both clockwise and counter-clockwise 87 times with each use.

Solution: While at the home of your intended, take a casual peek into the pantry, breadbox, cabinet, or cardboard box, provided no one is sitting on it. See what varieties of bread are available. If it is unsatisfactory, send your future partner to the grocery store to get some "good bread" and see what he comes back with. (Ladies, you should all do this anyway. It is loads of fun.)

3. Cabinets, drawers, switches, and appliances
Some people are careless about leaving cabinet doors or drawers open, or light switches on. These people are relaxed, carefree individuals who simply have more on their mind than closing some stupid cabinet or drawer. Others may not appreciate this sort of freedom and, Gestapo-like, prowl through the house ferreting out doors to close and switches to flip.

Solution: I'll just shut the cabinet.

So, there you have it. Three points of Petty Compatibility for otherwise happy couples. I haven't even made it out of the kitchen yet. There are countless points I haven't even found yet, because they haven't come up. But they will. If there is one thing I've learned from my 23 years on earth (quiet, Mom) it is this: people will find things to fuss about. I try not to do it, but goodness knows I'm not perfect. And some people don't even try!

But, compromise is possible, when two people love each other and someone is willing to change.

I put my foot down on the bread, though.

*This is totally about my relationship, as I'm sure you have not figured out by now because I did such a good job of keeping things vague and non-judgmental.


Kristina P. said...

This is so funny! Adam and I have actually been having this passive-aggressive fight about some compatibility issues, that I hope to post about soon.

And thanks for thinking of me and Billy. It's such a tragedy.

Boy Mom said...

Petty Compatibility, I see an Oprah Book Club best seller in someones future. "It was all about the bread Steadman!"

You are astoundingly vague and non-judgmental for a 23 year old.

Joanna said...

Dear, I put away the toaster. All civilized people put away the toaster. It's just a fact of life. Happy 23rd (cough, choke, sputter) birthday!

Mummy McTavish said...

Oh wise folksy guru... Should the messer of the microwave be the one to clean it up? Should all the condiments in the fridge remain on the shelf I put them? Should the Peanut butter go in the fridge at all? These are the Petty Pontifications here... and the bread, toast and cupboards come up too. Glad to know we are normal!

Mr. and Mrs. Nurse Boy said...

You make me laugh!!

Mrs. Nurse Boy

sheilanneharrison said...

Deb, you are a riot! Another Erma Bombeck for sure!!! I love it!

Sneaky Momma said...

This is great!!! So funny! I'll have to send my honey out for some good bread soon. :)