I Was Unaware We Should Have Things In Common

My husband and I have nothing in common.


Well, that may be a bit of hyperbole as we both have an endoskeleton and are citizens of the United States. We did once even order identical meals at a restaurant, but it was from a place with a tasting menu that bound us to the same dishes if we wanted to eat at all. Most of the time I’m convinced we even derive from the same genus and species though I’ve witnessed moments, often preceded by heavy highway traffic, that have cast doubt on his provenance. We both like vacations and guacamole, but if those were the standards by which compatibility was assessed, all the world’s people would be braiding each other’s hair and sharing bowls of Pirate’s Booty.

If there were a God of Free Time and Hobbies and Other Things Parents Don’t Have, and that God were to bestow upon us hours to do anything with, G would do something that involved Active Wear. And oars. The very fact that I refer to it as ‘active wear’ reveals my proclivity for everything sedentary and for spending too much time at TJ Maxx.

We’ve always been different, from the very start, though it was less apparent then, mostly because I lied. There were times a bold-faced lie escaped my lips, like “Of course I hike. All the time. Sheer cliffs and rocky passes. I hike all that shit. Yes, in ballet flats. They’re really sort of cross-trainers.” More often the lies come in the form of omission or avoidance, deflections of inquiries into camping, running, and preferred sports teams. Once we were married, the facade crumbled and it became achingly evident I had no idea who the Patriots were and that all of my hobbies centered upon trans-fats and reading about tawdry political scandals.

We’ve tried to find synergies in our activities, but most efforts led to disastrous results. He once hatched a plan to get me on a boat, a jaunt that resulted in the frequent blowing of a safety whistle while I silently wept into the synthetic fibers of my two life jackets. I tried taking him to a foreign film, a regrettable decision from the moment he learned independent theaters don’t have stadium seating nor serve nachos and cheese. I once assembled a handful of his friends into a book club that was soon dismantled due to G’s plodding reading pace and unwillingness to publicly analyze conflicts and themes with the men he stands next to at adjacent urinals. Several years of half-hearted dalliances with bowling, yoga, golf, tennis, walking, croissant-eating, body surfing, cooking, and batting cages concluded similarly. We steeled ourselves to separate interests unless traveling outside of the continental United States because everyone does things out of their comfort zone when holding a phrase book and filled to the brim on unpasteurized cheese.

But every now and then, and not whilst on vacation or in a hypothermic survival situation, we stumble into something that we can do together. Someone points us toward a book, game, movie, or a show that contains the DNA helix bound to catch our joint fancy. I had my doubts when mutual friends suggested we watch the series Friday Night Lights, a show depicting the ups and downs of life in a dusty town besotted by football. After all, the only movie I have ever stormed out of in my cinematic career was a movie about NFL players.*

We’ve been at it for a couple of weeks. The instant the kids are asleep, we resume our posts in front of the screen’s glare, attention held by the stories unfolding. We’re both transfixed, breaking our gaze only to jeer at the other when a prediction about the plot materializes or goes completely counter to our guess. If one of us has to pee, the other threatens to insert a catheter before deigning to pause. If one of gets hungry, the other flings a leather strap to place between the teeth before allowing a disruption to the show’s inertia. If a child wakes, we assume our football personas strategizing our way to the first down. “Hot route to the crib. Clock running out. We’re gonna blitz. Red doll, Blue blanket, on three.”

It’s nice to have something to do together even if it doesn’t involve talking, discovering, or eye contact because it also doesn’t entail drowning, falling, or sweating. When friends extend to us an invitation to socialize, we need only to glance at each other, telepathically acknowledging that we will not be engaging in anything other than the show until we have worked our way through five seasons. We are committed to our hobby, dutifully seeing our way through every dramatic climax and intercepted pass together, willing to waterboard or backhand each other at the first sign of drooping eyelids.

All this time spent communing with each other in front of on-screen entertainment has left us wanting more, wondering what will bewitch us next. G was hoping my newfound attraction to a drama about football might generalize to traditional sports viewing. Over the weekend, he patted the cushion beside him and said, “Come hang out with me and watch the game.” I approached intrepidly, lowered into the seat, and turned my focus to the Giants vs. A Different Color game. Exactly four seconds later, I said, “This sucks. I’m going upstairs to stare at my pores.”

Because shared hobbies don’t come in one touchdown. They’re a series of downs and timeouts. And are aided by cute boys speaking lines crafted by great writers.

(Do you do things together? Hobbies?)

*For those of you who care, the movie I walked out of was Any Given Sunday. I maintain it’s a barren and base piece of shit, and I would tell Al Pacino that if we were ever eating chicken parm together.



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28 thoughts on “I Was Unaware We Should Have Things In Common

  1. We used to watch TV…then we gave up cable. So now we each spend the evening watching TV on our computers instead. With headphones. On separate couches.

    So I’ve instituted mandatory game night on Saturdays. We may not talk then, but we do enjoy gloating whenever we manage to beat each other into the ground in an intense round of Rummikub.

    And having re-read my comment, I’m off to go research retirement homes. Because that, apparently, is where we would best fit in…

  2. I have never seen ” Any Given Sunday” . Why would I? Sounds like a sports movie! I have gone fishing to impress a guy and then broke up. I may know who the Pats are and the BOSOX but don’t ask me about any other team. I didn’t even play sports in high school. This being said, I taped the ’98 World cup soccer games for my boyfriend ( now husband). I don’t think that we are required to have the same like and dislikes, as long as we find common ground and think he’s cute , even in a bright orange life jacket, then it’s ok! And you know, having too much in common leads to unpleasant things like matching christmas sweaters. Shudder..

  3. Active Wear. And oars. – I died, I really did. And then I got to the part about you lying. Because I lied so bad when I was dating K. Honest to god, he thought I was a runner. And then he tried to kill me by making me run along the East River. I was almost asphyxiated by exhaust fumes.

    This is truly one of your funniest. LOVED!

  4. “Giants vs. A Different Color game.” Snort!

    Fortunately for me, the husband watches nothing but dirt bike riding and the Dakar. Surprisingly, I find that intriguing, men on motorcycles battling the elements. Ahem. (sometimes, there’s drama – crashes, grown men crying etc)

    So what happens after you run out of 5 seasons? I hear the show was *gasp* cancelled!

  5. Ah yes the lying phase. I knew it well. I said I loved experimental electronic music and skateboarding. Now, I’d rather eat a bug.
    We just got rid of cable but I’ve been lobbying to get it back. You just gave me a great idea how: I will insist that since we can no longer enjoy The Soup and Tosh.0 together perhaps we should take a pop music appreciation class together.

  6. Baby, it’s TV that binds us. I sometimes wonder if we wait for the hype to billow and then puff out of the sails of popular media before we embark on a journey of Lost or 24 proportions. There’s something more personal in it for the Hubster and me if we watch seasons one through umpteen back-to-back over the course of a few weekends. It’s our bonding time. And then, because we stayed up until 2 AM to watch the last episode of season something, we can join each other in not cuddling while we sleep. Romance isn’t dead, it’s just not out on DVD yet.

    PS–Damages is our latest treasure. We got it free form the library until they could no longer sate us. Then it was Netflix for the win. Cheers. And great writing, as always.

  7. Husband and I both like to read. Only he reads Nietsze, Plato and Kant for fun and thinks it is acceptable to discuss the global effect of China’s one child policy at 11 pm, whereas I prefer Jane Austen, Philipa Gregory and Agatha Christie for my reading and at 11 pm I only want to discuss wether OPI’s ‘Tasmanian Devil Made Me Do It’ suits me better then ‘Eiffel Me This Color’.
    Also, he runs marathons. For fun. The only sport I’m any good at is the ’100m couch potato for pro-athletes’.
    But he likes to eat and I like to cook, so I guess we complete each other…

  8. Craig and I are always looking for a good series to watch together, but I don’t think this could replace Eastbound and Down which he probably would discuss at the urinal.

  9. I think my husband is actually the one who lied at the onset of our relationship. As it turns out, he hates the beach and possesses no wanderlust whatsoever. So, there go my dreams of owning a tiki bar in the islands and going on an African safari.

    When I asked him why he lied, he told me, “Because I was courting you.” Oh… OK then.

    Our marriage was then held together by the bonds of Lost. And later, Friday Night Lights. And now, The Office. Not sure what we’re going to do when that gets cancelled.

  10. So, what I hear, here is that it’s all physical.

    Nothing wrong with that.


    *fingers crossed this comment takes..testing..testing..Have gimletgaze Poppy on stand by.*

  11. Last year, my husband called me from the Galleria by our house & was hyperventilating because Coach Taylor was standing right in front of him. Then we both squealed like 12 year olds.

    Hilarious stuff, my friend.

  12. “I hike all that shit.” I miss the lying phase. It kept things exciting. :-(

    *Erin, E and I have also taken up the same hobby… We’re on Season 5 of Rescue Me and also like Weeds. Friday Night Lights is next on our agenda!

  13. My husband and I are both Geeks. He is their King, and I am the slutty castle washerwoman he’s banging. Slutty washerwomen have all the Power in the Geek Realm. We bond over Dr. Who, Top Gear, Portal, and which one of the 20 sided die in our collection is the “luckiest”. I maintain the sparkly purple one. He will eventually come around to my way of thinking and then we will merge into one being.

  14. I love Pirate Booty!!!

    We have nothing in common either but I didn’t lie. He says he didn’t think I really meant it when I said didn’t want to cook, clean, do laundry, give birth, or camp. I also told him I wasn’t sharing closet space. After 15 yrs, you’d think he’d finally believe me when I tell him something but he still thinks I’m joking.

    Good story, thanks for the laugh!

  15. So as it turns out, there IS a God of Free Time and Hobbies and Other Things Parents Don’t Have.

    And I asked him (Him) why he hadn’t bestowed a lot of common ground between you and G. And I may have hinted that this oversight was kind of crappy of him. (Him.)

    That’s when he said, “Dude. I already gave them the endoskeletons and the guacamole. I guess there’s just no pleasing some people.” And if you must know, his tone was kind of harsh.

    So sheesh. I’m Glad I’m not married to him.

  16. Ha!
    We don’t have a lot in common but we do enjoy movies.
    A great night out or curled up on the couch – either way.
    We use to enjoy travelling but that one’s been kiboshed until boys get a bit older.

    He thinks it’s ‘quality’ time when he’s watching soccer together, but I HATE soccer. He does not understand this, whatsoever.


  17. So loved this!

    I thought I was certainly bound for divorce court and then a crazy love for Entourage brought us back together. Of course now that it’s on the DVR he doesn’t wait for me. Big Bang Theory does the same.

    We do have lots in common. I mostly find that out from his co workers or friends. We probably Gould make time to talk more, but the offspring we have in common are killing us. :) .

  18. Ah, but I bet y’all are watching FNL for completely different reasons, no?

    My hubs and I are both pretty sporty, but the only thing we can do together is hike…we are both too competitive and piss each other off when we try to do anything else athletic. Oh wait, we play Frisbee together sometimes. You know, quality time spent 25 yards away from each other!

  19. My husband and I have a surprising amount in common but our attempts to watch FNL together was interrupted by my pregnancy. I find the combination of shaky camera work and “morning” sickness leaves me vomiting about 1/2 way through each episode. We plan to resume once the baby breaks free.

  20. We’re both at home all day every day, so we have a lot of time to spend together. Luckily, we like a lot of the same shows. (I’ve even developed a vague enthusiasm for WWE, even if it’s through a lens of my calling it “Modern Vaudeville.”)

    But I did take a huge step for him. I learned Magic the Gathering. It’s his favorite thing. Actually, he eats, sleeps and breathes the thing. Which is to say, he talks it. He uses analogies from Magic to explain things in real life. So, in a way, I really just learned it because I had to figure out what the hell he was talking about half the time.

    It actually is fun. I’ll never be as enthusiastic about it as he is. And when I took a break while we saved for a house, I became far less tolerant of it. I had other shit to do and bills to figure out and I just didn’t care about the latest goddamn card STOP TALKING ABOUT IT.

    But now I’m about to get back into playing, so peace has been re-established.

  21. The husband and I have pretty much no hobbies in common. We have a few shows that we can watch together [Community, 30 Rock, Modern Family - mostly because I want to watch them and he'll accomodate], but it’s hard for us to see a movie together since he wants to see something gripping and angsty and I just want to laugh and forget about this awful awful world [I see enough misery on a daily basis, thanks, I don't need it played out for me on the big screen.]

    PS I went to every single college football game the year the husband and I first started dating. In the 19 years since? I have not attended a single one. Zero.

  22. I read this post the other day and laughed so hard! I have never watched Friday Night Lights but if it brings you and your man together like that, I might just have to change my mind. We do things together, though. This Friday night we are taking a segway tour of downtown just so we can try out segways together. We also fight together.

  23. This sounds like my life… I think the one show we watch together at the moment is Suits…. Or I watch and he is on his iPad, or working… Or I am on my iPad, or reading the Who.

  24. Thank god I stumbled across this post. The techie and I have absolutely nothing in common except a love for travel. Since we currently can barely afford to take a tuk-tuk from home to work and back, we are really struggling.