By James Passantino
I’ve been away from keeping a tank for a few years. I made those years (my mid-late 20’s) away from my tank pretty productive. I traveled to 30+ countries, learned another language, got my advanced diving license, got stuck in a major hurricane (and had to be helicoptered out by the US Army), dated a plethora of beautiful women from all over the globe, volunteered in 3rd world countries, camped out for a month at the Galapagos, found meaningful employment and lastly, I got married. This is for those of us who try to keep a significant other (and a tank too).
Keeping a tank when I was single and unattached was so much easier. If I wanted to get a fancy toy or creature for my tank, I stopped going to the bar for a month to save up some money and bought it. Simple as can be. If I want anything tank related now I need to go through a huge process to just get it approved. See, this is because of something called a joint bank account. My wife holds veto power over my purchases and I hold the same power over hers… a veritable “checks and balances” system has established itself in our household. Now, I have to go through the following steps to make sure my purchase will not get the scrutiny that it surely deserves.
Making Purchases for the tank (Guy edition)
Step 1: Soften her defenses. This could be something as simple as a compliment to her hair or as complex as a well planned night out on the town. I like to use the NYC tried and true method of a nice dinner followed by a play. (Thai food is cheap and good and off Broadway deals can be had; if you are a high-roller softening the defenses will be significantly more expensive but then again you most likely don’t need to justify expenditures to your wife anyway).
Step 2: Casually mention what you “need” for the tank. (Skipping directly to step 2 will almost always result in failure unless step 1 has been achieved without your prompting, for example she just came back from the spa with her friends or found a shoe sale or something). I do this with careful planning. For example, when I needed a skimmer, I told her that the skimmer compartment was noisy with dripping water because there was no skimmer in it. She hated the dripping sound and was happy when I put the skimmer in (and also filled up the tank so there was no cascading water that is an advanced tactic that I cannot discuss in this article).
Step 3: Purchase and justify your purchase by saying she said yes. If she did indeed say yes, you are home free. If she didn’t say “yes,” say that you were unclear on exactly what she said and there must have been some misunderstanding. Then explain that there is no return policy on that product and buy her something like a new purse or makeup. A rose and a card with profuse apologies can work in a pinch. You should stock up on pre-written apology cards that can be filled out quickly to deal with any impulse purchases you make.
Step 4: If all else fails, LIE through your teeth. I am not condoning step 4 but let’s face it, sometimes a little white lie is better than sleeping in the doghouse for a month. Here is a real life example; I recently used this tactic.. a little advanced but I think you guys can do something like this too, especially with frags. I recently bought an LED setup. To start the process I put 80% down. Then, with wife in tow, I went and picked up my lights and paid the remaining 20%. I made sure that my wife thought that was all I was paying for the lights. Had she known the true price of LED’s; my upgrade and my private parts would have been in serious jeopardy. As it stands now she loves the new lights and the tank, she even shows it off to people that come over and is starting to learn about it. SUCCESS! the ultimate goal is to turn her into a reefer.
Making Purchases for the tank (Girl edition)
Step 1: Buy beer, wine or scotch.
Step 2: Make sure there are fresh batteries in the remote and a comfortable seat in front of a cable or satellite-equipped big-screen T.V.
Step 3: Buy whatever you want; he won’t notice anyway.
Editor’s update: We have it on good authority that steps 1 and 2 of the girl edition are unnecessary 9 out of 10 times. It is safe to proceed directly to step 3 with minimal risk.
Making purchases for the tank (same sex edition)
Step 1: Decide who wears the pants in the relationship.
Step 2: Follow instructions to either “making purchases” for guys or girls depending on the answer to part 1.
Step 3: Listen to Lady Gaga, dance, buy frags, but only fierce and fabulous ones.
Good luck, if you follow this guide, you may escape with your relationship intact—- maybe.
Disclaimer: All 3 of these guides are filled with plenty of stereotypes and probably do not fit 90% of us, but I know one fits me.