OCH: Opposites Attract (Except When They Don’t)

Rebecca and PhineasThis post is part of the Odd Couple Habits series, in which the idiosyncrasies of my relationship with Phineas will be revealed, to our mutual embarrassment and hopefully to your enjoyment. 

When Phineas and I first met, we weren’t immediately aware that we were complete opposites. Part of it was that people tend to see in others what they want to see (until they’re proven wrong). Another part of it was that we kind of misrepresented ourselves. For example, I thought that Phineas was a intellectual guy who read books by Carlos Ruiz Zafón and wrote short stories in his spare time (he’d put one up in a Facebook note that was pretty good…since then, he hasn’t written rien). He encouraged this image by offering to read my novel-in-progress, which culminated in our first 12-hour-long “date”. As for me, Phineas thought that I was an innocent, naïve girl who would never think of skipping class, drinking, or hooking up. When we started dating, we realized that our differences extended to every facet of our lives. I think I once told my therapist that the only things Phineas and I could bond over were 1) food and 2) sex.

Au contraire, here’s a list of the many things we can’t agree on:

  1. Movies. I’m not kidding when I say that we’ve broken up with each other over film preferences multiple times. The first few times we watched animated movies together, I was compliant because I figured it was a rare occurrence. And I really did enjoy How to Train Your Dragon and Up. After all, they were excellent, well-executed films that happened to be animated. Then, I quickly realized that Phineas liked certain genres (i.e. animated, Jackie Chan, musical) no matter the quality of the movie. This was something with which I could not comply. No, there is no way in hell I’m watching Ice Age 4, which received a measly 37% at Rotten Tomatoes.
  2. Music. Where do I start? I like indie rock, à la Arcade Fire, The Magnetic Fields, and The Decemberists. The most mainstream stuff I can take is Modest Mouse and Mumford & Sons. Phineas likes mainstream. He also thinks that Arcade Fire’s vocals hurts his ears. When he’s feeling edgy, he goes for Adele. Otherwise, Fall Out Boy is his favorite. Thank god we both can enjoy musical “trash” once in awhile — don’t be shocked to catch us jamming to Gangnam Style.
  3. Food. Alright, so I said that Phineas and I could agree with food. That needs a caveat: sometimes. We love many of the same restaurants — Tomukun, Jerusalem Garden, Kang’s — and we both love ethnic foods of all kinds — Indian, Japanese, French — but we still manage to disagree plenty. If Phineas goes grocery shopping on his own, he ends up with: three boxes of spaghetti, tomato sauce #1, tomato sauce #2, three boxes of Hamburger Helper, and ground beef. If I ask him where the fruits and vegetables are, he laughs in my face. On the other hand, my body is a sensitive bitch and if I don’t constantly nourish it with vitamins, I end up with canker sores and indigestion. This is why I do all the grocery shopping.
  4. Sports. I always thought that I’d be the cool girl my boyfriend was so proud of because I actually liked football. Phineas doesn’t like football. I love watching tennis. He doesn’t. I love playing racquet sports — tennis, squash, badminton, you name it. He doesn’t. I used to do ballet and I still appreciate it, but he prefers modern dance. Not interpretive dance, mind you, but hip-hop. He plays volleyball and kendo (I know you don’t “play” kendo, but I always say that to make him mad). What kind of man plays volleyball?! Okay, I know that’s sort of sexist, but I grew up at a high school that didn’t have a boy’s volleyball team.
  5. Hours of the day. I know this sounds ridiculous, but hear me out. Phineas does not believe in mornings; I do. If left alone, he’d happily sleep at 2 am and wake at 11 am. Again, my body is a sensitive bitch, so if I don’t get 10 hours of sleep, I physically fall apart. This means that I’m adamant about getting to bed by 11 pm. This also means that by the time it’s 9 am, I’m raring to go. Hey, let’s hit the gym! Let’s go get brunch! Let’s study at a café! Hello, Phineas? Where art thou, Phineas? Phineas status: MIA.
  6. Languages. As many of you know, I love languages. I speak English, Mandarin, Spanish, French, and Catalan/Italian conversationally. I always thought it’d be hot for my boyfriend to speak in foreign tongues and I thought he’d think it was hot for me to do so too. Not Phineas. He finds it annoying when I speak in a language he can’t understand. French in bed? Forget it.
  7. Cold remedies. Every Asian person in the world knows that when you’re sick, you avoid spicy/fried/cold/sweet foods. Those all aggravate sore throats and induce coughing fits. Phineas doesn’t understand why I don’t want Five Guys when I’m sick. When I insist on something soupy, he suggests soondubu jjigae. Soondubu looks like this:
Soondubu Jjigae

Although this is one of my favorite Korean dishes, you’re seeing that right: red = spicy. Image courtesy SheBlogsHeRambles.

Of all the ways we can disagree, these seven are just a small sampling. They say that opposites attract, but I say: be careful. If you’re the type that avoids conflict, then do not date your opposite. If you’re like me, though, who thrives on drama, then proceed at your own caution.

Are you attracted to opposites? How has dating them fared for you?

Au revoir,


OCH: My Abusive Relationship

Rebecca and PhineasThis post is part of the Odd Couple Habits series, in which the idiosyncrasies of my relationship with Phineas will be revealed, to our mutual embarrassment and hopefully to your enjoyment. 

If Phineas and I ever went to couples counseling, we’d probably get psychoanalyzed to death for having this odd habit. I can picture the middle-aged lady peering at us through her glasses, asking, “You two enjoy insulting each other?” As the French would say, oh la la, that’s not a good sign. Maybe we’ll end up killing each other someday, but for now this is a bad habit we love to have. Last night, we had a conversation that went like this:


Me: Phineas, what would you ever do if we broke up? You’d start dating normal girls and you’d try to be weird with them, but they would just stare blankly back at you.

Phineas: Ahem, I’m more concerned about you. You’d never find anyone to listen to your crazy talk ever again. Plus, there are plenty of weird girls out there. I’ll just find one that’s weird, but not as weird as you. More manageable.

Me: But you’ll be bored in no time, because you like challenges!

Phineas: You give me a headache.

Me: Stop being so white-washed. [Note: this is not a racial slur. I use it because it makes no sense at all, and Phineas is the most Asian person I know.]

Phineas: Stop being so green-washed.

Me: I’m sorry! God. Hey babe, so today I was thinking about redheads. [I tend to change subjects very quickly in a conversation.]

Phineas: Naturally. [It’s a well-known fact that I’m obsessed with gingers.]

Me: I was thinking that if all redheads had babies with brunettes, gingerness would die out in like a few generations. But there’s still so many redheads in the world, so that proves that redheads regularly marry other gingers or blonds. That got me thinking how people tend to date people who look just like him. Like us, for example. If people looked at us, they’d think we could be siblings. Cuz after dating for so long, we’re bound to have adopted each other’s mannerisms.

Phineas: Ew. I do not have any of your mannerisms.

Me: But we’re both Asian, relatively thin and tall, you know. We look like the same kind of person.

Phineas (groans): Can you stop thinking for awhile? My brain hurts.

Me (huffs): You just can’t keep up with my conversations.

Phineas: I just don’t want to.

Me: Stop being so white-washed.

Step one.

Step two.

Step two.


This characterizes most of our interactions. I think we may or may not have a communication problem. Or, perhaps, we are subconsciously harboring years’ worth of resentment towards each other that will inevitably erupt in a shootout. Stay tuned, y’all!

Do you and your significant other have an “abusive” relationship? What are some of the most original and senseless insults you’ve used?

À la prochaine,


OCH: TV Shows

Rebecca and PhineasThis post is part of the Odd Couple Habits series, in which the idiosyncrasies of my relationship with Phineas will be revealed, to our mutual embarrassment and hopefully to your enjoyment. 

As many of you know, I am notoriously bad at keeping secrets. Whenever I try to keep something from Phineas, I always end up telling him that there’s something he’s not supposed to know. Which, inevitably, leads to me spilling the beans. In any case, I just wanted to tell all of you that…there’s something I’m not supposed to tell you but it’s killing me inside! This time, though, I will have to keep mum because it has to do with my reputation as an author. I’ll just leave you with this: keep an eye out for the Creative Process series.

In the meantime, as I nervously pick at my cuticles and wait for news, I shall entertain you with the next installment of the OCH series. Previously, I wrote about the weird names Phineas and I give our inanimate friends. Now, I’ll be talking about our animate friends. Hey, get you mind out of the gutter (ahem, Fabrice) — I’m referring to our favorite TV shows, of course.

In chronological order, voilà:

1. Brothers and Sisters.

[youtube http://youtu.be/fNYs3vR-qYg]

This above clip embodies everything we love about this show. First of all, it’s a scene with our two favorite characters, Kevin (mine!) and Scotty (Phineas). Full disclosure: Phineas has a huge man crush on Scotty. Secondly, it shows how family is incredibly messed up and complicated, but that’s what love is about. I began watching Brothers and Sisters a long time ago. When Phineas and I met, the last season was playing, which made me enormously sad. After the series finale, we went back to the pilot and watched it together. I think we were mid-season 3 when we caught our first case of TV show ADD and hopped on to…

2. True Blood

[youtube http://youtu.be/wpPYMHpZwTU]

Kind of an odd transition from B & S to TB, but that’s how we roll. For people who haven’t seen True Blood, do not judge a book by its cover! This is no Twilight/Vampire Diaries. TB is magic realism at its second-best — sometimes I find myself wishing we lived in Bon Temps. Unfortunately, we broke up with TB somewhere after season 2 when we found…

3. Lost

[youtube http://youtu.be/yIFL104E9Ts]

Don’t watch the clip if you don’t want spoilers! Actually, I’d already watched Lost for the first time back in high school, but Phineas had never seen it, so of course he had to be initiated. Now, Lost is magic realism at its very best. There’s nothing I could say to describe how much I love this show. I definitely cried when the series finale aired and I don’t think anything will ever match this. Phineas and I are slowly working our way up to the end, savoring the last few episodes…

4. Bones

[youtube http://youtu.be/v1xMnkNsgA8]

Essentially, we watch this show because I’m Bones and Phineas is Booth and it makes us feel better to watch other couples have our fights. We finally caught up on all 8 seasons, so now we have to wait to watch the newest episode. In the meantime, we alternate between Brothers and Sisters and Lost.

What are some of your favorite shows? Do you and your significant other have the same tastes?

À bientôt,


OCH: Naming Inanimate Objects

Rebecca and PhineasThis post is part of the Odd Couple Habits series, in which the idiosyncrasies of my relationship with Phineas will be revealed, to our mutual embarrassment and hopefully to your enjoyment. 

After last week’s rather heavy post, I thought I would lighten the mood with a fun series on the weird things Phineas and I do. Don’t worry — I haven’t forgotten the Creative Process series. I’m just waiting for my beta readers’ feedback before I continue editing, and then I’ll keep everyone posted on my progress.

In the past two years Phineas and I have known each other, a most curious phenomenon has developed. Last night, as I lay half asleep, I realized that we have named almost all the inanimate objects we’ve given to each other. Not only that, but they have the most bizarre names in the world. The list of names is growing so long, it’s getting hard to keep track of. I kind of feel like the sultan Ismail Ibn Sharif who fathered 867 children and couldn’t recognize most of them. Phineas himself has quite a few names — Sebastian, James, Jesus (don’t ask about that last one). So that I never forget all these fabulous monikers, I’ve decided to share the many names of our “children” with you.

1. Henry

Meet Henry, a Christopher Ward watch that I gave Phineas for Christmas this year. I know it’s not even Christmas yet, but we had an early gift exchange because on actual Christmas I’ll be in Boca Raton and he’ll be in New York. Henry is named after King Henry VIII to honor his English roots and because, well, he’s a handsome guy. Let’s hope he ages better and doesn’t execute most of his wives. If you happen to own a female watch, though, you better watch out ‘cuz I hear this one’s a real ladies’ man.

Christopher Ward C5 Malvern Automatic Watch

2. Eunice and Eugene

These twins are probably our eldest. I don’t remember exactly how or why, but Phineas gifted them to me on two separate occasions. If you can’t tell, Eunice is a stuffed version of an egg (and I don’t mean chicken egg) while Eugene is her counterpart, the sperm. Now that I think about it, it’s a bit risky and incestuous to tie them together, but I didn’t want Eugene to get lost!

Stuffed Sperm and Egg

3. Maynard

Okay, so my dad actually bought Maynard the panda for me in Chengdu, China, home to the world’s largest panda breeding facility. But he’s a irreplaceable part of our family now and enjoys riding on the dashboard of our car.

Stuffed Panda Bear

4. Sushin

Speaking of cars, my trusty Honda Civic coupe has been with us for years. Arguably, he’s the most popular family member, as Phineas and I often fight over him. We also can’t agree on his gender — I insist that he’s a he and Phineas insists that she’s a she. While I agree that Sushin has a very nice ass, he clearly also has a package (the gear shift, duh!). He is, alas, named after me — my middle name is Sushin. And no, it’s not because my parents love sushi. Sushin is the anglicization of my Chinese name.

2007 Black Honda Civic Coupe

5. Frédérique

Of course, there is the obligatory French name. I bought Frédérique for Phineas on his 23rd birthday, probably because I secretly wanted him for myself. While a messenger bag isn’t the most useful thing in the world, boy is Frédérique good-looking.

J Crew Beaumont Messenger Bag

6. Hector

For our one-year anniversary, I gave Phineas a three-part present, one of which was Hector the helicopter. Naming credit goes to Phineas, who clearly enjoys alliteration. Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo of him, but toy helicopters are all the same anyway, right? Hector is the child we enjoy abusing, as we frequently crash him into walls.

7. Candy

Candy isn’t really an object…she’s more of a title given to whatever laptop Phineas happens to own at the moment. Currently, she’s a really old, beat up Dell without a battery. But like all other Candy’s, Phineas adores her and regularly fondles and caresses her. When he’s not with me, he’s with her. I get jealous sometimes.

I’m sure there are many more I’m forgetting, but there’s the line-up! Do you and your significant other ever name inanimate objects? What are some odd couple habits you’ve developed?