Of course not, you should know by now that we don’t do that kind of garbage. But if it gets a few more halfwits to click through, we can increase our advertising rates minimally and maybe make an extra nickel this year. Hey, we don’t call it Control Your Cash for nothing.
The misleading title notwithstanding, we recently discovered something fascinating: a couple whose marriage is mostly if not entirely utilitarian. Meet Bethany Soule and Danny Reeves, 2 nerds with 2 kids who claim to have decreased or eliminated resentment by asking each other “What’s it worth to you?” whenever a roadblock appears. Every non-sexual act in their relationship has a dollar figure attached. They charge for chores, in a fashion that we can only assume (honestly) goes something like this:
Bethany: [sees FedEx tag on door] Dammit. The ship facility is 5 miles away. I don’t want to pick this up.
Danny: I don’t want to pick it up either. But hey, finders keepers. That includes FedEx tags.
Bethany: You know our agreement doesn’t work that way. You sure you don’t want to pick it up? I’ll give you $5, plus our standard 27¢ a mile.
Danny: I wouldn’t get out of bed for $5 + 27¢ a mile.
Bethany: Neither would I, but someone has to get this. Make me an offer.
Bethany: No. You want $12?
Danny: You’re getting there. Wait, what if this is just some stupid legal notice that we already received in the mail?
Bethany: That’s the chance you take. $12 is my final offer.
Danny: I’ll give you $15.
Bethany: [stretches out hand] Love you! [drives away]
It can’t be that simple, can it? Apparently it is. Plus it seems to work, judging by the looks of glee on Bethany’s and Danny’s faces.
They also use separate bank accounts. We don’t know why, but can only speculate that doing so makes it easier to keep score. As Bethany pithily states, money is utility. If you want to do a chore, or pass off a chore, it’s either going to give you a positive or a negative feeling. So why not quantify it? And what better to quantify it with than our universal system of fully fungible pluses and minuses, money?
A radical idea, the future spread of which remains debatable. Still, its progenitors seem to take it past the bounds of reason. “They submitted sealed bids worth several thousand dollars” for their kids’ names. That would be Faire and Cantor, which makes us wonder a) what the winning bids were and 2) what the losing choices were. Moon Unit and Dweezil? Erik and Lyle? Coheed and Cambria?
Okay, maybe we can tie this into Valentine’s Day (or as the Italian kids in our neighborhood always pronounced it, “Valentime’s”) after all:
Fellas, ATTEMPT THIS ONLY IF YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER IS A COMPUTER SCIENCE MAJOR. (Even then, don’t suggest it on Valentine’s Day.) Bethany has a master’s in such from Columbia. In other words, God bless her, she thinks like a dude. Trying this with a woman of standard female intellect* would likely mean tears and possibly mean projectiles being thrown. (Fortunately, with the elbow as a fulcrum, so at least whatever’s being thrown won’t be moving that quickly.)
By the way, not only is Danny a computer scientist in his own right, the 2 of them are competitive stair climbers. Of course they are. Again, they’re doubtless happy with this curious system they’ve developed.
Seriously, though, what would the harm be in trying this in your home? You’d have to devote time to the task, every chore that needs to be transacted upon now requiring a discussion, but eventually that would work its way down to mere seconds per chore. And even that isn’t necessarily a cost, because it would supplant the feelings of mild resentment that normally occur when you’re confronted with something you hesitate to do.
Practically speaking, it seems it would help if each partner has similar income and/or net worth. Also, there are inherent differences between the partners. The Soule-Reeves household adjusts the parameters to account for such factors as Bethany being unable to sell or otherwise transfer the cost of her pregnancies.
Here at CYC we wouldn’t dare preach anything that we wouldn’t practice. We’ll implement a modified version of this system in our own household, and see if it (the system, if not the household) doesn’t implode before our next post is scheduled. Which would be next Wednesday. Don’t hold your breath, but we’ll attempt this with an open mind. And a clear heart. And an ignorant disregard of the potential pitfalls. ‘Til next time.
*Ladies, you’re offended by that phrase, but there is no way you could explain why.