“Todd, I spent three hours this afternoon curating a Christmas playlist,” she scolded him. “Just take one night off from listening to your hockey match and help me decorate the tree.”
She had several ornaments sitting next to their couch while Todd put the finishing touches on stringing the lights.
“It’s so embarrassing we’ve waited this long to do the tree and put up the mantle,” she explained while organizing the ornaments by color. “Katie’s had her tree up since, like, Thanks-freaking-giving.”
Her playlist consisted largely of Michael Buble and Justin Bieber’s Christmas album with several tracks from a Starbucks-created Spotify list sprinkled in. She had posted it on her previously-defunct blog earlier that day in hopes of gaining some subscribers, but none had taken the bait yet. She also debated posting photos of her Christmas decorations should the filtered pictures turn out well enough, but that was still “tbd” in her mind.
“You okay?” Todd asked while she aggressively and deliberately sorted everything.
“Yeah, I’m just, like, annoyed,” she responded.
Todd debated whether he should remain silent or ask what was wrong, only to decide that he really had no other choice but to hear her out.
“It’s just, like, I know I didn’t plan a Christmas party this year, but I’m always the one who hosts it,” she explained. “If you think Katie’s going to host a successful ‘Secret Santa’ party, you’re just, like, dumb.”
Todd had completed stringing the lights on the tree but decided to pretend like he was still making some adjustments in an effort to look distracted and avoid doing anything else. His scotch was across on the other side of her on the coffee table, but he knew seeking it out was going to be a dicey move.
“It’s just like, sorry I’m so busy planning to be her maid-of-freaking-honor and you’d rather throw Christmas parties,” she went on. “Ugh, I don’t know why I even care.”
Todd followed with a half-hearted, “Right?” even though he wasn’t totally sure what she had just said. At this point, getting his scotch from the table was paramount and more important to him than pretending to be busy. Stepping over her, he asked, “Alright, should we get these ornaments on the tree or what?”
“Chill,” she said, “I’m still sorting. I have a method.”
Unsure of what to do, he sat down on the couch next to the tree and picked up his phone to check his group text. Thirty seconds after seeing what had transpired since they began their night of decorating.
She rose from the box of ornaments and stood over him – “Are you seriously just going to sit there while I do all the work?”
He was confused as to what he was supposed to be doing, so he did the only thing he could: ask what he was supposed to be doing.
“What am I supposed to be doing?” he chimed in.
“I don’t know, but you’re being super unhelpful just sitting there on your phone talking to your friends about the hockey or whatever. But I get it, it’s fine, you don’t want to help.”
He attempted to give some sort of justification for his actions but he couldn’t come up with any because, frankly, his actions didn’t need any justification. Beginning to stutter with confusion, he set his phone and scotch down and stood up to again pretend like he was helping.
“Okay, what can I do?”
“Can you pour me some more pinot?” she asked.
He approached the kitchen, and in an attempt to make good, he loudly complimented the mantle she had put together while he was at work that day.
“I mean, I get it, you’re trying to be nice,” she began, “But it still looks like shit. The ribbon is all smushed and half of the greenery is already dead.”
“Well,” he gently responded while filling up her wine glass, “I think it looks good.”
“Yeah, but you don’t get it, Todd. You’re a boy.”
He wasn’t totally sure what that meant, but bringing the wine to her was easier than asking for clarification or making a statement about reverse sexism.
“Okay, now we can put the ornaments on the tree,” she said while standing up from her crouched position. “I have a whole aesthetic planned out, so don’t feel badly if I move your ornaments. I’d tell you not to help at all, but I want you to be in the Insta I post.”
Grabbing a mid-sized red bulb, he gently placed it on the bottom branch on the left side of the Douglas Fir she had delivered earlier that morning.
“No, not there,” she scolded him. “Put it at the top so I can get this picture.”
“Here?” he asked.
“Ugh, no, let me show you. You’re so clueless. Like, do you even know what you’re getting me for Christmas yet?” .