the upsell

Waiters upselling when it’s not called for: “How about an iced tea to go with that?”  What?
“Be sure to save room for dessert. The tiramisu is homemade.” That shit drives Phil crazy. Or, when the server pushes an appetizer you know they were told to push, grates him to no end. Herein lies one of our many differences. I’ve come to ignore the upsell. I never order the appetizer they’ve committed to memory, unless it was my plan before they arrived at the table. Small stuff like this never bothers me. Next. Oh, but Phil, the boy can rant.

Film inconsistencies, in any way shape or form, are worthy of complaint from Phil. I’m swimming in the story, so I don’t much care that the actor was holding a bowl a second before; now he’s not. Press on. But to Phil, his entire enjoyment of the film is lost. Okay, not entire, but he can’t leave it alone and pretend it never happened. He’s gotta make a point of it.

Do you think we’re hard-wired one way or another to care about this shite? Because I’ve never cared. It’s not that I’ve actively had to remind myself not to sweat the small stuff. I just don’t sweat (for real, even at the gym). It’s not in my nature. Or maybe I’m just so self-absorbed that these things wouldn’t ever come to mind, as my mind is always engrossed with other things. I’m an introvert. I’ve got a whole busy world going on in here, so I can’t be tasked with caring about the small stuff.

Now, here’s the tricky part: when Phil wants to talk about these things. If we were first dating, I might’ve feigned interest. Looked to see it as a positive, maybe. I doubt it, but maybe. I certainly took a lot more interest in his stories then. I would ask questions to show that I was engaged. I still ask questions, but I rarely care about the answer. I do it because I know it’s the right thing to do. Just as he, I’m sure, asks me questions about shit he doesn’t care about. Though, sometimes he doesn’t.

Sometimes, he pulls down the curtain and just says, “I have no interest in discussing this.” Which I kind of love! Because when he wants to talk about music—specifically some song that plays while we’re in the car, and he just has to tell me when he saw this band in person, for whom they opened, blah to the blah—I can play the same “get out of bored” card. “I have no interest in discussing this.” Oh, that delicious free slide into happy.

[Tweet “A man loves a woman for how she loves him.”]

It doesn’t foster love, though. So, I try to remind myself that there’s a woman out there who’d love to do nothing but listen to him reminisce and nitpick. Love him for these delicious quirks. I was once that woman. And what’s more, I know it in my bones; we all want to be loved for our smaller streets. It’s good to remember that a man loves a woman for how she loves him. If I take a loving interest, however forced it feels in the moment, it breeds feelings of love. Fake it ’til you make it. Act as if you care, and eventually you will. Maybe.



  1. This makes me sad. Do you think you were ever truly interested in his likes, dislikes, and stories – the little things? Or have you just lost interest in each other over time? It seems to me (as someone with no knowledge of the heart of your relationship, obviously) that you’re missing out on the joy of the little things that make up a marriage. Do you still enjoy being around Phil? I hope you are both happy, deep down.

    (side note – I’ve wondered for a while, now. Does Phil read your thoughts on issues like this? How does he respond?)

  2. My husband and I love talking/analyzing stupid minutiae like this, so we’re a really good match in a lot of respects. HOWEVER, about a year into dating, we visited my parents and my mom just off-hand said “Wow, he sure does talk a lot.” And right then I realized that he DOES talk, a ton. Long, long stories with no point or end and that go on and on. And I have been harboring a secret resentment towards my mother for saying that to me because I HADN’T REALIZED BEFORE. Ever since that Easter Sunday (it’s years later, we’re married with twins on the way) I’ve noticed how much he talks, and it pisses me off how annoyed I get, because if this is his worst habit, then there is plenty to be thankful for. But I can’t tell you how many times I’ll be listening to his mouth move, thinking “I have absolutely no interest in this at all.” I’ve never outright said it, because he’s very sensitive, and I think it would hurt his feelings (I can occasionally say something jokey if he’s being particularly verbose). But man, I wish I could turn back time and un-hear what my mom said to me, just to see if maybe I would be living my whole life just happily listening to all his stories.

  3. Phil’s annoyance with the upsell and the nit picky attention to detail are both traits in my family of origin. Perhaps not this exact example, but similar situations.

    One thing that I’ve noticed as an underlying theme is the feeling that you don’t want anybody to get something past you. Don’t pull the wool over MY eyes!

    This personality trait is excellent when making a large purchase, serves us well in our careers (my mother was an editor and I’m an accountant). But when it spreads to everything, it becomes more about protecting the ego then having a good time. More accurately, protecting the ego is considered a good time.

    So I appreciate where Phil is coming from; I’ve thought similar things. Sometimes my husband will sarcastically say “thank god you were here to spare us from spending $2 extra.” It snaps me back to reality, or at least a much more pleasant place to be.

    1. Author

      I just love this response. It’s so insightful and dead-on. Phil often feels “disrespected.” Whether he admits that’s the feeling, I KNOW it’s often the culprit. He’ll many times use the word “respect,” and so much of what irritates him is linked to respect. Also, I think it’s his nature, just as you said, to distrust people’s motives. He doesn’t want the wool pulled over him! That would be disrespect, insulting. How deeply accurate you are with “protecting the ego is considered a good time.” Brilliant!

  4. I’ve been reading you for years, so this post comes a quite a compliment! Thank you!

  5. Phil and I are going to start a continuity editing company together! Lack of continuity distracts me from the story. I’m an introvert too, but a voracious people-watcher.

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