“Argument of the Week” is a series written by Brenna Jennings. It will feature the daily domestic battles she gets into with her husband Steve. Arguments I guarantee will sound very familiar. This one’s interesting because Mike and I are actually great with sharing a meal. But I have this argument all the time with my dad, who is constantly picking the best bites off my plate without permission. Drives me crazy!
My husband will only begrudgingly share his food. I’ve learned to approach gently, after he’s finished his first few bites and ideally half his beer. “Can I try that?” I wait for a sigh or an eyeroll, depending on his mood, and then his resigned nod of approval. He never says no, but he won’t just say, “Sure!” either.
“If you wanted to try this, why didn’t you order it?”
“Because I wanted this, but yours sounded good too. Taste mine, it’s delicious.”
“No, I like mine. That’s why I got it.”
I’ve explained to him the Hierarchy of Sharing, where spouses, immediate family, and close friends are automatically allowed a small sample from your plate (though never the first, last, or best bite) while all others must request permission. I remind him that legally, half his entire meal is mine, and resist downing the rest of his beer to prove my point.
In the seventeen years I’ve been with Steve, he’s offered me a guilt-free, grumble-less bite off his plate probably about ten times, not including our wedding cake. It’s just one of his things. I know lots of people are like my husband; they don’t want some random fork poking around their food even if that fork belongs to the woman who labored with their only child for upwards of twenty hours.
The thing is, I love trying all kinds of food. I’ll taste almost anything that’s not still moving, and purposely order something different than Steve to maximize the deliciousness at our table.
I’m an “Oh my god you have to try this” girl married to a “Hands out of my fry box” guy.
We were at a restaurant I’d been dying to try and it was the kind of date night you’re supposed to have: No kid talk, good drinks, easy conversation.
The food was amazing; I was about a third through mine when I glanced at him, and before I even asked the question, he exhaled like he just emerged from thirty feet of water.
“It wouldn’t kill you to share.”
“It wouldn’t kill you to order what you actually want to eat.”
Now we’re both annoyed, skipping dessert, and no one’s getting lucky after dinner.
On the drive home, I was frustrated, trying to figure out how a man who grew up with three siblings had never learned to share. He sat in the passenger seat, probably trying to figure out how he could recover enough to get a little action.
The next day, I asked what was really behind his annoyance, and it was almost endearing. (Almost.)
“You always order the healthier thing instead of the thing you really want. I just wish you’d eat what you like and stay off my plate.”
In addition, he admitted, he just doesn’t like to share. “I want to finish my own meal.”
Even so, I appreciate that he wants me to eat happily, instead of longing for eggplant parm and ordering the grilled salmon instead. But I still think I’d want a bite of his because I love food, so…what could we do?
I said I’d let my self order the more indulgent meal now and then and he agreed to be better about offering a taste of his sometimes.
So far, no one’s been stabbed with a fork.
What’s your sharing policy with your spouse? Is dinner out a smorgasbord or a food fight? Tell us in comments.