Pam and John: On Compatibility | by William Ifeanyi Moore

A third date in John’s book was a sign of not just interest, but progressive interest. If a woman was going to go through the trouble of seeing you three times, she had to be somewhat interested in you. There was the option that she was just bored beyond the word itself, or she just wanted the attention, but Pam wasn’t that kind of woman. At least from what he could tell so far. This time, he decided to try something different from the regular ‘drinks on a table’ date. He took her fishing on his small boat.

Pam wasn’t a fan of fishing, in fact, she hated  water and couldn’t swim, but the idea of a boat ride seemed different enough to interest her. Plus who knows, maybe she liked fishing and had never realized it because she never tried to fish. This was what relationships were about, right? Exploring new horizons with someone else? She cautioned herself about thinking of their ‘thing’ as a relationship, they hadn’t even kissed, yet. She cautioned herself about ending that thought with ‘yet’. Expect nothing. It was a principle she had picked up from a short spell in Buddhism. Not a very easy one to apply every day.

‘Have you ever gone fishing before?’ John asked as he baited the hook.

‘I don’t even like eating fish. They are like underwater snakes.’

‘I will take that as a no then. And if it makes you feel better, think of snakes as fish that move on land, not the other way round. Evolution and even creationist stories put fishes here before snakes.’

‘Thank you for the biology lesson. You have changed my opinion on fish with just one sentence.’ She said, playfully with a hint of sarcasm.

‘Well, I am here to help. You can watch me on this first go then you will take over for the next.’ He threw the baited hook into the water. ‘And please can you make yourself useful and pour us some wine. I fish better when I’m not sober.’

She reached for a cooler on the boat and started seeing to the matter of wine.

‘Oh, and you can turn on the radio too. I ever only listen to it when I’m out here.’

‘Anything else you want me to do while I’m at it?’

‘Well…I can think of a few things.’ He turned and raised an eyebrow.

‘Yeah, hold those thoughts. I don’t even want to hear them.’

‘You asked for it.’

After Pam poured the wine, she carried on with the radio but couldn’t settle on one station. She would tune it, listen for a few seconds, and then tune out to find something else.

‘Like seriously, there is nothing to listen to on the radio these days. Music is crap, presenters are silly, we might as well throw this into the water.’

‘Calm down now Miss. You don’t listen to the radio while fishing for entertainment, the fishing is entertaining enough. The radio is just for background noise, kind of like elevator music.’

‘Entertaining for you.’ She said.

‘You know if you gave it a chance, you just might enjoy it. Same thing with the radio. You can tell a lot about someone’s character by their reaction to the things they aren’t really fond of.’

‘And what are you trying to say about my character?’

On second thought, he should have left out the last part of this statement, but it was too late for a take back now. He had to see it through.

‘I’m just saying that I find, in general, getting along with people has more to do with how you maneuver differences than how you celebrate or share similarities.’

‘So I should pretend to love fishing?’

‘No, but you don’t have to make it look like I brought you out here to frustrate you. You can show some interest, talk about stuff, even just sitting back and enjoying the wine would not be a bad idea. Now I’m not enjoying my fishing.’

John could sense himself getting upset.

‘It’s like when women drag us through malls. Guys don’t really like shopping but we won’t make you feel like its punishment because we know you like it.’

Pam sat quietly for a few seconds. He had a point. She was sure there were things she loved that would make his skin crawl. Telemundo and reality shows were the first to come to mind. The last thing she needed was him sat by the corner telling her how unrealistic and pointless these shows were. She imagined him indulging her with a foot massage or something sweet like that.

Contrary to the illusion that compatibility was the key ingredient in managing a healthy relationship, being able to intelligently negotiate differences was actually a lot more important. Virtues like tolerance, good temperament, compromise, and the likes were far more important than sharing the same taste in books or movies.

Beyond compatibility, being able to intelligently negotiate differences is actually a lot more important in managing a healthy relationship Click To Tweet

‘Oh shit, I got one!’ he struggled with the line.

‘Jesus that’s huge!’ she leaned over the railing to get a better picture. ‘Not as big as I thought though.’

‘That’s not what she said.’ He couldn’t help it.

‘John, aren’t you a little too old for that?’

‘Nope, never too old. You’re next. Who knows, you might even find something bigger.’ He winked.

‘I will not be baited into your perversions mister.’

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