August 8, 2001


David and I had our first official *marital argument* a few days ago.

We didn't argue about any of the typical stuff that newlyweds argue about: money, sex, starting a family, in-laws, who made the more compelling Darren Stephens, Dick York or Dick Sargent?

Nope. The *issue* of contention for us was People Magazine.

Specifically, we were arguing about whether it would be better for me to continue buying my favorite junk magazine off the newstand, once a week (usually after our Saturday morning bike ride, so I can sit and read it in the bathtub that night), or whether I should just break down and pay for a subscription to the damn thing, once and for all.

David -- who abhors People Magazine, the way he abhors Entertainment Tonight and Us Weekly and Mary Hart and anything else that smacks of what he calls  "The Hostess Cupcake School of Journalism" -- but who tolerates such fripperies because he is married to a quivering pop culture junkie -- argued that buying a subscription made more sense. 

"You just pay for it once," he says, "and it's delivered right to your mailbox." Plus, he says, it would save us a significant amount of money in the long run.

I, on the other hand -- the quivering and indiscriminating junkie -- argued that I like to have "control" over which issues of People I purchase. "I don't want to open my mailbox and find Celine Dion's boogly eyes looking out at me," I said. In other words, why should I commit to 56 issues if I'm only going to read 55 of them?

Besides: there are a bazillion other things I will gladly cut back on in the name of debt relief.  Lambchops. Moustache wax. Power tools. Boy Band records. Lawn furniture. I'll cancel three of my AOL accounts, quit my ISP and move *FootNotes* back to GeoCities, if I have to.

"Just don't ask me to give up my People Magazine fix," I pleaded.

We're both looking for ways to trim unnecessary expenses for the next little while ... just until we pay off some of the wedding-related debt we've accumulated. (Read this: just until we're safely through what I'm already calling the "Generic Toilet Tissue Years" of our marriage.)  So I guess that technically, yes, this was an argument about money ... except for the fact that I was going to win, regardless of which way the argument went. Newstand or subscription? Either way: I was going to wind up in the bathtub on Saturday night, reading about Meg Ryan's latest plastic surgery.

And except for the fact that we were both laughing too hard for it to qualify as an actual "argument."

"You know," I said, "we still suck at this arguing stuff." This was after we'd gone round and round on the issue for ten minutes without resolution ... and without throwing anything at each other. David agreed. Arguing is obviously not going to be any easier, now that we're married, than it was when we were merely shacking up together: we just can't seem to get the hang of the thing. It's pretty hard to maintain a decent head of steam when you're giggling over the absurdity of the subject at hand.

(And when you're laying in bed holding feet while you "argue.")

Eventually, though, we did reach a compromise. I'm not going to lay out the cash for a subscription just yet -- I've got too many Tot-related expenses coming up, later this month -- but I will try to exercise a little self-control. We both agree that I am free and clear to buy any issue of People Magazine featuring:

  • Matt Lauer.
  • Anyone in rehab. (Except Melanie Griffith. The only thing she is "addicted" to anymore is publicity. And collagen, maybe.)
  • Any of the surviving Beatles.
  • Ed Kaz.

On the other hand, I will avoid wasting perfectly good money on any issue of People Magazine featuring the following:

  • Celine Dion.
  • Neil Diamond (unless it's a goddamn FAREWELL ISSUE).
  • Diana Ross (DITTO).
  • Joan and/or Melissa Rivers.
  • Sting.
  • Anna Nicole Smith.
  • Regis Philbin.
  • That annoying horse-faced blonde woman from the Old Navy commercials.
  • Anyone named "Jennifer."
  • Anyone named "Gary Condit."
  • Members of the British Royal Family (unless they're dead -- or The Queen Mother -- which is sort of the same thing anyway).
  • Martha Stewart.
  • Rod Stewart.
  • Al Stewart.
  • Stewart Devries, who threw a canoe paddle at me during the summer of 1972 (and who then spent the rest of Bible Camp braiding lanyards in the Arts & Crafts Hut).
  • Talk-show hosts.
  • Best-selling authors.
  • Talk-show hosts who have written best-sellers (and who are now going around appearing on OTHER TALK SHOWS to promote their best-sellers).
  • Tori Spelling ... just for old times' sake.
  • The Jeffersons.
  • The Klumps.
  • The Kennedys.
  • Nicole & Tom/Meg & Dennis/Julia & Benjamin/Kim & Alec/Melissa & Julie.
  • The cast of "Friends."
  • The cast of "Little House on the Prairie," especially if they include a recent photo of Michael Landon.
  • Dogs.
  • Supermodels.
  • NASCAR drivers.
  • The "50 Most Beautiful" ANYTHING ... because 1.) they aren't, usually, and 2.) you could buy a regular issue of People AND an Us Weekly for the cost of one "50 Most Beautiful Issue."

Of course, now that we've temporarily resolved the People Magazine issue ... we're going to have to look for other ways to cut costs around our household.

And other stoopid things to argue about.

Stay tuned.

one year ago: bugged
throw a rock