May 05, 2008

Take Care of Yourself

I'm watching House MD right now and there was a scene just now that I really love because it sums up very well the problem I've had in several of my own relationships.

The Cancer Doctor, House's BFF, and his girlfriend, Bitchy Doctor, were buying a mattress together for his apartment.  They went to the store and she expressed her opinion for the one she liked and he indicated which one he liked.  And then she got called away and she told him to choose the mattress.

He wound up choosing the one she liked even though it was his mattress and when she found out, she got angry.

Him: What?

Her: You bought the firm mattress

Him:  I thought that's the one you wanted.

Her:  It was.  [pause]  Why would you do that?

Him:  [chuckling] Is this a trick question?

Her: I left it up to you.  You were supposed to get the one you wanted.

Him:  I got the one you wanted because I love you.

Her: No. [Pushing him up off of her] You did it because that's what you do.  With all of your ex-wives, you did whatever they wanted because it was easier and you ended up resenting them.  Don't you dare do that to me.

Him:  What?  Take care of you?

Her: Have you met me?  I can take care of me.  I need you to take care of you.  [leaving]  I have work to do.
Many, if not most, people would have said, "Do what you want" and mean "Do what I want," but she didn't.  She told him precisely and plainly without hint of manipulation that she wanted him to do what he wanted.

Of course, the show is imperfect, so the scenes don't provide such clarity.  in the show, she just got done lying and manipulating the mattress salesguy in order to get a better deal on the mattress she wanted.

But I still appreciate her clarity around the need for mutually understood and respected independence in their relationship.  It's a difficult balance for many people to strike, I think.  Healthy, rational romances are so terribly rare and even more rarely portrayed in art.

It's one thing to do something nice for your mate and there are certainly situations in long-term relationships that may arise where you have to make a decision together and if you disagree, one person has to go along with the other's choice -- retaining the privilege of saying 'I told you so' later, although that is probably a very unwise privilege to exercise -- but it is quite another to go along with your mate's decisions on principle.

I mean, are you thinking for yourself or not?

Posted by: Flibbertigibbet at 09:30 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
Category: Romance
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1 I thought exactly the same thing about that scene.

House is a show about conflicted characters.  Dramatically, conflicted characters are great - when there's an ideal to compare them with.  House's problem is that it lacks the ideal.  CB is just another conflicted character - she has good bits and bad bits.  The tedious thing about House is that, without an ideal for the characters to work towards, nothing much happens.  Perhaps it is a side effect of the television format.  Doesn't keep me from watching, though.


Posted by: Qwertz at May 05, 2008 10:27 PM (oXrE3)


Overheard in New York:

Man: So, whatever you want to do, I'll do.
Woman: But...
Man: I'm fine doing whatever makes you happy.
Woman: But that's stupid.

--Starbucks, 87th & Lexington

Posted by: Mark Wickens at July 05, 2008 11:49 AM (++D8a)

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