Deconstructing Takeout

More proof that Hillary Clinton and I are, like, totally soul sisters. Speaking to Australian radio hosts Hamish & Andy about life at home with Bill, she explains that even ordering takeout can be fraught:

If he says to me, “What do you want for dinner tonight,” I will say, “What do you want?” Then he’ll go, “Well, I was thinking of maybe picking up some Thai.” And if I’m in a good humor, I’ll say, “That’s fine.” But if I am feeling not enthusiastic about Thai, I’ll say, “Well, maybe we should consider something else.” And he’ll say, “Well, then you choose.” (Laughter.)

Here’s how the conversation might go in my house:

Him: “What do you want for dinner tonight?” Me: “Whatever you want is fine.” Him: “Whatever I want?” (tone: skeptical) Me: “Yeah, sure, I’m easy.” Him: “You’re easy? (tone: skeptical-plus) Ok then, how about tacos?” Me: “Tacos…not so sure I’m in the mood for tacos.”

Economists would describe this kind of jiu-jitsu as a problem of revealed vs. stated preference. My stated preference is that I don’t care what we eat. But my revealed preference–which I reveal when push comes to shove–is that I do care, and quite a bit. The problem is, the more my revealed and stated preferences contradict each other, the less my husband believes a word I say, like, “I’ll be home by 6, I swear,” or “No thanks, I already ate.” Fortunately, he’s a fast learner.  He never waits up, and always makes enough for two.

photo courtesy of scriptingnews at flickr

Posted in marriage, strategy

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