A couple feuds over what kind of computer to buy.

Advice on manners and morals.
June 25 2009 7:19 AM

Computer Love

My husband hates Macs, and I can't live without mine. Is our marriage doomed?

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Dear Prudence,

I recently married my dream husband. We have incredible chemistry and a shared commitment to each other. When we disagree, we settle our differences by balancing logic and gut feelings. That is, until we came to our disagreement on which laptop I should buy to replace my Mac PowerBook. We are both in the software industry and have strong preferences on which operating system we prefer. I have been a happy Mac user for years. My husband can't stand the Mac, and his only explanation is the image associated with Mac users. Whenever he sees me with my PowerBook, he thinks of the "Get a Mac" commercials where Justin Long, who is a Mac, ridicules John Hodgman, a PC. I agree with him that the commercials are obnoxious, but they have nothing to do with the usability of the Mac. My husband said jokingly that I could get a Mac only over the divorce papers. I don't believe he was joking. It's getting to a point that we cannot discuss this without getting our blood boiling.

—Boiling Blood

Dear Boiling,

Adultery and alcoholism are well-worn grounds for divorce, but advertising incompatibility could open up a new chapter in matrimonial law. I agree with both of you (and Slate's Seth Stevenson) that the Mac campaign is smug and sanctimonious, and has enhanced the appeal of the PC. However, what's going on in your marriage has transcended the purported reason for your disagreement and entered the Jungian realm of shadows and projection. Too bad the blessedly commercial-free HBO therapy series In Treatment, which examined divorce, suicide, infertility, and cancer, didn't tackle the issue of operating systems before finishing this season. I suggest you buy a copy of John Hodgman's book More Information Than You Require and give it to your husband as a gift, explaining that you will always prefer Hodgman to Long. Tell him it's causing you great distress that what should be a minor disagreement has become such a source of dissention. Point out that your husband fell for and married you despite your PowerBook. Now it's time to upgrade, and, yes, you could get a PC to make him happy, but you don't really think it would. You'd be resentful, and he'd feel guilty for forcing you. You could also quote a final word of wisdom from King Solomon: "[C]omfort me with [A]pples: for I am sick from love."

—Prudie

Dear Prudie,

A year ago, I broke my leg. During my recovery in the hospital, I contracted an infection and had to have a below-the-knee amputation. I have been seeing a girl for a few weeks. I'm afraid she'll be freaked out and leave if she finds out I'm less than whole, and I can't say I blame her. I have been trying to put off the physical part of the relationship for a while, but I don't know how much longer she'll stick around. Should I come clean or just try to milk the relationship for all it's worth? I probably should have told her already, right? I know the third date is when you push for sex, but when is the correct time to tell somebody you're deformed?

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—Not Normal