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Mike's Take: When 'no' really means 'no'

Tuesday - 11/29/2011, 5:25pm  ET

Mike Causey, special to wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Pets can be a problem in a relationship. He's a dog person, she likes cats. Or he hates animals and she can't imagine life without them. Mars, Venus, right?

The pet issue is something that needs to be settled before the couple gets married or even moves in together. Yet, often times, it becomes a problem after the initial getting-to-know-you period.

So it's no surprise that one of the guys (let's call him "Justin") at our office is having trouble convincing his wife they need a pet.

She says absolutely not -- typical woman. She won't even consider it. Doesn't see any of the benefits, even though she wouldn't have to do any walking, grooming, bathing or taking-it-to-the-vet chores.

He is still trying, but he's been married long enough to realize tact and diplomacy are better than the straight-line approach.

Oh, I forgot to mention ... the pet he wants? A jellyfish. A giant jellyfish.

It turns out giant jellyfish require special aquariums, and you can get a starter kit (a tank and one jellyfish) for around $249.

When he first asked his wife what she thought about the potential purchase, she said 'no.' He later pointed out that unlike a dog or cat it didn't need to be walked. No litter boxes in jellyfish tanks.

She said 'no.'

More recently, he pointed out that it would be a great conversation piece when people, especially new people, visited their home.

She said 'no.'

Since simple logic failed to persuade her, he did what most men do in similar situations: He groveled.

He said he needed it for his self-esteem. He said it wasn't like he was going for the bad boy image, and it wasn't as if he was trying to act like one of the would-be rulers of the world, like in the James Bond films. He wasn't asking for a shark tank or a vicious tiger. All he wants and needs, he said, is one jellyfish.

She said 'no.'

His next step is to appeal to her maternal side. He is currently looking online for baby clothes -- maybe a cute bonnet or tiny booties -- for jellyfish (maybe at Lands' End?). Possibly a little gym set for the tank. It could only strengthen their marriage. And yet, he anticipates a 'no.'

He thinks his last hurrah, his Hail Mary plan, may come over an early December weekend during a long drive. He's thinking of ways to work "jellyfish" into the conversation. He plans to look for landmarks -- maybe a tree, a rock or even a cloud formation that looks like a jellyfish. Anything that doesn't appear to be contrived, but that will steer the conversation to Rex or Tina, two names he has in mind.

Emily, who shares an office with Justin, says, privately, that he doesn't have a prayer. She says nobody in their right mind would have a jellyfish for a pet, and that it is not a woman thing -- it's a sane person thing.

Emily, by the way, is shopping for a crocodile. A small one to be sure. She's read somewhere that crocs grow to the size their environment permits. Big river, big croc. Small creek, small croc. She plans to keep little Aldo in a small tank where he will remain tiny -- but happy and cuddly at the same time.

Makes sense.


Mike has spent the majority of his life inside the Beltway and has an interesting and humorous perspective that he will share every Wednesday. Mike has spent his career covering the federal government for the Washington Post and now for Federal News Radio.

Mike also writes a daily column for Federal News Radio
.

(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved)