I was going to title this column “Don’t Take My Wife Rope Shopping” but I realized that among the bad ideas I have, that’s got to be up there in the top 20.

Anyway, first some background. We all have our little areas of expertise or extensive experience. After we work at something for a time, we develop preferences and even get quite particular regarding the qualities of whatever it is that we work with.

For example, I’ve noticed that people who sew a lot get very picky about their scissors. Don’t even bother to think that they would ever lend you their scissors to cut a few wires in a pinch. And if you happen to do that without asking, it seems to give them the incentive to try and stab your eyes out with the very same scissors they said were only to be used for ribbon.

This critical appreciation for tools or materials extends to all trades and practices. Carpenters have strong opinions about their preferred wood screws while musicians develop a sensitivity for all the personal attributes of their instrument. This is why BB King didn’t have just a guitar, he had Lucille.

But you don’t have to be a professional to have favorite objects or a preference for the quality of things that you occasionally use. Personally, I have a few not-so-well-known appreciations for certain articles. Now don’t hurt yourself rolling your eyes but I’m very fussy about my extension cords. I know … And don’t get me a pocket knife for Christmas because even I can’t find the right one. I could talk at length about paint and brushes but I’ll stop here in case you get the impression that I’m marginally obsessive.

My wife is extremely discerning about the wine she drinks, her tablecloths, napkins and all her linens but when it comes to rope, to her, clothes line … halyard … parachute cord: it’s all the same thing.

Not so! Allow me to introduce rope; I’ve used it a bit for tree work in my college days, in construction and for everyday things for which a guy may use rope even though it’s never been an every-day professional item. Nonetheless, I’ve acquired a respect for rope, as it can perform feats of connection and strength. Furthermore, I’ve developed a reverence for rope when it is given the responsibility of keeping me alive. When you’re dangling off the ground at any lethal height, a guy tends to build an intimate relationship with the rope that’s keeping him from falling and crashing through death’s door.

Which brings us to my recent shopping for rope experience.

I found that the rope store is not the ideal place to convey to your wife the nuances that define a beautiful rope. In spite of standing in front of a vast array of ropes, there is not enough time to build a love relationship between the wife and the rope. To hope for a successful ménage à trois is just pure folly.

Come on; take the rope in your hand, feel the texture, gauge the diameter and squeeze it to test the hardness. Does it feel good in your hand? Would it be easy to handle with gloves? Go ahead and bend it. Is it soft and pliable or more rigid? Would it be hard to coil? Easy to tangle? Can it hold a knot and, if so, would it be easy to untie?

Oh, there is so much more to learning the ropes: are they stretchy or inelastic? How do they work when wet or frozen? Does the color and construction do anything for you? When you touch it, can you feel what it’s designed to do, can you sense that it’s ready to perform?

A comment like “How much does that rope cost?” from your loving wife can really break the spell.

If you feel like I do, it might be a good idea to go rope shopping by yourself, in private. Bringing along a rope skeptic with whom you already have a relationship won’t help. If they don’t have an existing measure of adoration for rope, it probably won’t happen spontaneously.

You’ll know that it’s time to abandon the rope shopping excursion when you hear: “Hey, this rope is cheaper than the one you’re looking at.”

Ouch. It’s rope, and we’re talking price? Please. At least we understand each other completely on different levels. Like I would never use her sewing scissors to cut my rope.