Monday, 15 May 2017

Honey, What’s On Netflix Tonight?

“Yo babe, have you decided what we’re watching tonight? Oh, and I’m not watching another sorry ghost story.”
“OH-kay…I’ll pretend you didn’t say that. Anything you like lovebug. Just make it a good thriller.”
“Hmm, that’s narrowing it down. How about Once Upon Time in America? It’s a mafia…”
“Tttt ttt…no mafia movies. Baby, you know how much I hate them.”
“Oh, but you did like Godfather. What if I’d said Godfather?”
“I’ve already seen it.”
“So then you don’t really hate mafia movies.”
“Uggh…I don’t want to see a mafia movie tonight. Not Godfather. Not any other Al Pacino or Robert De Niro movie.”
“First of all, just cos they’re Italian, it doesn’t mean they play only mobsters. Racist much? And what’s with you shooting down my ideas all the time? It’s almost like you want me to suggest something so you can just say it’s not good enough.”
“I only like to have options. OK how about we watch…”
“Nope. Not another depressing, artsy-fartsy movie. And for God’s sake not 13 Reasons Why. We don’t have enough Nutella to survive it.”
“Now what’s that you’re doing? I was gonna say The Office marathon !!!”
It’s yet another Friday night in happily-ever-after land. Married couples, let’s face it. The weekend isn’t “Honey I so wanna grow old with you” until you’ve demonstrated to your partner with deep, contextual examples about how painstakingly dumb and thoughtless he/she is about art, cocktails and life in general. For us, as just another city-dwelling couple, Friday night marks the beginning of the plopping selves in front of TV ritual. You know, just some good old-fashioned way of spending “quality time” together in the eternal quest for entertainment. Maybe, it’s followed up on Saturday, maybe not. But Friday Night is our thing. Speaking of TV, remember the time you both got equal and fair play on your TV remote? Yea, me neither. The only time I recall as when we both got absolute control and were pretty satisfied with our watch list, drinking cocktails and leaning romantically on each other’s shoulders was when we were way up in the skies, among two hundred other peace-loving couples.

I could watch what I want on my laptop and likewise for him but then ‘Where’s the we in that?’ as couple therapists would annoyingly point out. Besides I can’t watch anything by myself. I’m the kind of person who prefers solitary reading to watching. Anyway, coming back to this age-old conflict. We have tried to resolve this by negotiating turns to decide what to watch and allotting time-slots. But every time we do that, one of us ends up grumpy, wondering out loud, “Since when we have become those boring couples who behave like brother-sister?” And then when you’re seven years into marriage, that kind of prefix summons up an entire Pandora’s box. Since when are we the kind of boring couple that don’t go out on Fridays…that choose TV over other things…that need alcohol to get high…Besides, in my experience, having complete watch-power leads to bad decisions. So maybe it’s best to get your partner on board first. (No pun intended.)

Before we do become one of those couples whose TV gripings have gone a bit too far and public, settling scores on Facebook with passive-aggressive status updates and gritting our teeth over another bad movie suggested by the other, I thought why not put some people-negotiation tactics at work? Here are a couple of negotiation-cards that I’m going to put to use. I mean before eventually giving up and declaring our house a No-TV zone.
  1. The Getting-into-the-groove Card:
    "Are we really in the mood to watch that sugar?" [Slowly, gently, runs fingers through his hair.]
  2. The Unexplored-terrain/ Adventure card:
    “Sure, I’d love to learn about Star Wars. In George Lucas, we trust. But how about we watch something we both haven’t seen today? I mean, wouldn’t it be wild?”
  3. The Nausea-inducing Love Card:
    “It’s got terrible ratings, I know. But when was the last time a bad movie came in the way of true love?”
  4. The Downright Despair-filled Defeatist Card:
    “Oh, have I picked the wrong movie? Well, here’s one more thing I suck at.” [The tone is everything here.]
  5. The Not-so-subtle, Mildly-threatening Card:
    “Oh, sure. Let’s watch, “The Jihadist Next Door”. Who knows where they are and what pisses them off? I mean you may be very well be married to one without even realizing she’d be ready to suicide-bomb the apartment over TV control repression.”
  6. The Yes-I'm-Judging Card:
     “Wait, who’s recommended this movie? Your friend Paul? The one who badgers and harasses his wife with really sexist comments at parties? Yea, let’s watch what Paul says.”
  7. The Passive-Aggressive Card:
     “Oh, of course honey, I’d love to watch that! It’s the perfect movie to fall asleep to on a Friday, especially on a night like this, with no better prospects.”
Of course, if this doesn’t work, there’s a more philosophical, love-affirming question to ask each other, before letting go of the cable and choosing real conversations over TV to solve our spats. “Do we really want to be that couple who doesn’t watch Netflix?”

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