Friday, June 24, 2011

Talking Turkey About The Chicken Story

By Susan Esther Barnes

There's a post up at The Bloggess that's getting a lot of comments. It's called And That's Why You Should Pick Your Battles.

I ought to mention I haven't read any of the other posts on this blog, so I don't know whether this particular post depicts typical interactions between the blogger and her husband. This may just be an anomoly, although I doubt it.

Glancing through the first few of the over 1,000 comments posted so far, it sounds like everyone thinks this post is hilarious. I think it's kind of sad.

It starts out with the blogger arguing with her husband about towels. Later, when she's leaving the house to go shopping, he orders her not to buy any more towels. In retailiation, she ends up buying the enormous metal rooster (she refers to it repeatedly as a chicken in her blog post) pictured above. She seems to be proud of herself for getting back at her husband in this way.

What I find the most disturbing about this blog post is the lack of communication and empathy between the husband and the blogger.

He doesn't seem to understand the difference between bath towels and beach towels, and there is no indication that she made a real attempt to explain to him why she would want to buy the former after she had already purchased the latter.

The husband is obviously concerned about the amount of money being spent. Ordering the blogger not to buy any more towels is not a great way to communicate this concern.

My husband and I have a rule called, "No pronouncements." Neither of us is allowed to tell the other one what he or she (or we as a family unit) will do. We can each do our own thing, but if one of us wants the other one to do (or not do) something, we discuss it. Sometimes it's a short discussion and sometimes it's a long one, but neither one of us thinks we can tell the other one what to do (or not do).

Even though the husband erred in trying to tell his wife not to buy towels, she then errs further by buying something completely useless. I admit, the rooster is funny, and I can see buying it for fun, if it's something you can afford. But to buy something just to irritate someone else, particularly your significant other, is an unwise and hostile act.

I see so many missed opportunities in this story.

The blogger could have explained to her husband why it's important to have both bath towels and beach towels.

The husband could have taken the time to talk about why he's concerned about the cost of the towels, and to discuess their finances. Are they able to meet all their bills? Are they saving enough for the future? This could be a jumping-off point for them to sit down and agree on financial goals. If they agree on a household budget, there might be fewer arguments like this.

The wife could have told her husband how she feels when he orders her not to buy something. This could have been an opportunity for her to talk about how disempowering it is for him to do that, rather than jumping at the first possible opportunity to agressively reassert her power by purchasing something neither one of them can really use.

So yeah, I can see how some people would think this story is funny, but I think it's pretty sad.


  1. OMG, I never saw a blog post with 2500+ comments. I guess I don't get around enough.

    As for towels, I have been known to buy way more towels than I need. I mean, I do have 6 kids, and they go to camp and one will soon go to college, and they tend to lose/ruin towels. I try to buy them when they go on sale for $3 at Kohl's, anyway.

    I am very lucky that even when I was a SAHM for 9 years, my husband never told me not to buy something or that I was spending too much. (Once when I mentioned a $300 Valentino handbag on, he said he didn't think it was a good idea).

    Now I work and earn decent money, and I spend much less. In fact, I sometimes do request that my husband not spend so much because money and the fear of not having enough of it weighs on my mind. But I doubt I could turn that into a post with 2500+ comments.

  2. I read the chicken story last night and I could not stop laughing. You might enjoy it more if you took it for what it was meant to be. HUMOR.

    I trust the writer knows what level of "razzing" her marriage can take. What works at her house might not work at yours but that's no reason to judge it as "sad". Maybe she would your arrangement "inflexible". Nothing like random strangers assigning a name you might not care for to your home life now is there?