Shedding Some Light On Those Ridiculous Shows Your Wife or Girlfriend is Watching

Sometimes when your only friend is a woman, no matter how hard you try, you’re accidentally exposed to the girly things in life. For example, I never would have even considered the doomed-from-the-start idea of reading and blogging about Fifty Shades of Grey if I wasn’t living with someone who already owned the books.

When we lived in San Francisco, it was easy to ignore all the pointless TV shows my girlfriend watches because  A). we didn’t live together, and B). when she was at my apartment, it was understood that I’d be watching sports on the living room TV and she’d be relegated to the bedroom TV to watch her stuff. But now that we live in a one-TV apartment, the content of these shows has been slowly seeping into my brain. I feel violated by it, but there’s really nothing I can do…800 square feet doesn’t allow for a lot of isolation.

In nine short months of living together, I’ve gone from not knowing whether it was called Sex in the City or Sex and the City to being able to quote lines from about 60% of the SATC episodes. There’s no hope for me at this point.

But even a guy with no exposure to the female world knows that Sex and the City is about four way-past-their-prime women passing around STDs in New York. That one’s easy. But what about all of those mysterious reality shows that your wife is watching? You know, the ones that seem so pointless because they’re reality shows without an actual competition involved (the only kind of reality TV men watch I’m pretty sure). The ones you’d never have to subconsciously pay attention to if your cable provider would just go along with your pleas to eliminate Bravo and E! from their services.

Considering I’ve been exposed to these shows for nine months and still don’t always know what the fuck is going on in each of them, I’m assuming there are plenty of other men out there who are equally stupefied by Say Yes To the Dress Bridesmaids Edition and Kourtney and Kim and Khloe and Kris Take New York.

Well prepare to be confused no longer. I may not know all the nuances of these shows, but I do think I have a basic understanding of the premise/their reason for existing. Here are spot-on descriptions of the four TV shows I’m exposed to most often:

Keeping Up With The Kardashians/Kourtney and Kim Do New York: I know a lot about the Kardashians actually (doesn’t everyone?). Kim did the sex tape, Bruce did the Olympics, the rest of them ride coattails. The three main girls have a store named “Dash” because “dash” is in their last name. I assume Khloe runs the store because she seems to be the only one with a brain. She’s married to Lamar Odom. He’s retired from basketball I think. Khloe and Lamar are the only two who associate with the Black Sheep Brother, Robbie. Every now and then the two younger sisters (twins?), who also have names that begin with “K”, make an appearance, but they’re boring because they’re not old enough to do photo shoots or make sex tapes. I’ve also been noticing more air time for this weird male friend of Kim’s. Don’t know his name, but he’s either gay or secretly wants to bang Kim. But he’s fully in the friend zone so that’ll probably never happen. Then there’s Scott (or “Lord Disick” as his friends call him). He’s the best. He’s a star. If E! did a spinoff just about him, I’d watch every episode. I have no idea if he or his family were rich before he was part of the Klan, but he’s set for life now. No matter how him and Kourtney end up, this guy should be the envy of all men. From what I can tell, he doesn’t have a job, his girl Kourtney doesn’t even expect him to raise their kids, so he spends every waking hour either partying, meeting other famous people or driving race cars. I’m assuming Kourtney and Kim “do New York” because the family wants to be on TV as much as possible, but no network would ever let a single show run 52 weeks a year.

Real Housewives of (fill in the blank): I always assumed the housewives were wives of famous people. I never bothered to verify whether that’s true or not. I assume the show is “a day in the life” of these rich, over-the-hillish women and what uninspiring things they get up to in their city. But I feel like every time my girlfriend’s watching Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, they’re actually in Paris in that episode. And Real Housewives of Atlanta was taking place in Barbados or some other tropical island the one time I paid attention. So I wonder if the (fill in the blank) part is even relevant since they’re never in that city. The housewives are predominantly blonde, full of plastic surgery and definitely on the wrong side of 40 (except for the Atlanta show…those women are all black). A typical episode goes like this: All of the women except one who isn’t there at the time start gossiping about that missing person. Then they’ll all get together at one of their houses for a party, and someone will spill the beans to the woman who was missing before that everyone’s talking about her because she ruined so-and-so’s marriage. The singled-out girl will start to confront everyone else, and eventually a few of the women’s husbands get involved. The word bitch is tossed around like it’s the last day in history anyone will be able to use that word. And then all of the sudden we’re watching a reunion show where the flamboyant host is showing the women these uncomfortable scenes from the season and all the women claim to be good friends again. There are a ton of reunion shows for the Real Housewives franchise for some reason.

Four Weddings: Four soon-to-be-married women who can’t afford a honeymoon compete to have the best wedding of the group to try to win a honeymoon. The judges are the girls themselves, which seems like the dictionary definition of “conflict of interest.” So it’s like a regular wedding’s happening, with the bride, groom, all their friends and family, and then this random table of three women with a ton of cameras and lights on them. And their whole purpose is to find problems with the wedding they’re at. Sounds like a fun time for everyone. So the girls in the wedding competition do this whole thing where they’re all complimentary around each other and say things like, “Oh I like the way she decorated the banquet hall, such a great use of the natural ambience.” But when they’re talking to the camera one-on-one they say, “I just do not understand having your wedding in a banquet hall. No amount of decorating can make a banquet hall look nice. I’m giving Tammy a three out of 10 for her venue choice.” And then the girls give scores for venue, food, efficiency and dress. And then the winner gets to ride off into the honeymoon-winning sunset with her husband as the other three girls sulk back to their miserable existence.

Say Yes To The Dress: Brides who go to a wedding dress expert looking for the perfect dress. But not perfect in the way you’re thinking. Perfect in that it pleases the bride, her parents, her brothers, all of her bridesmaids, and even her weird male lifelong friend. You can imagine how well that works. And the people who run the dress shop are constantly pissed off at the brides for wanting to find the perfect dress. What, are they supposed to shop for their wedding dress the way I shop for shoes? Walk in store, close eyes, spin in circle, buy the exact pair you’re pointing at when you open your eyes. And then, when the bride still isn’t making a decision, the owner says “It’s time to jack…her…up!!” I always expect something negative to happen when she says she’s gonna jack someone up. Like she’s gonna yell and belittle them, or tell them she doesn’t want them as a customer, something. But it turns out “jack her up” means “spoil this fatso by dressing her up in jewelry, tiaras and other accessories to make her look extra special.” I don’t understand any of this.

Having all of this knowledge in my brain about these shows feels as useless as when you accidentally memorize the lyrics to bad songs. I’m not mad at my girlfriend for any of this because I know I’ll get my payback on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays starting in September.

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Out of an Endless List of Negative Personality Traits, This One is By Far My Worst

Many people don’t have the self-awareness to know what their good personality traits are and what their bad personality traits are. I’m not one of those people. I’m probably more self-aware than anyone you’ve ever met. Which means out of a long list of unflattering personality traits, I know exactly what my worst one is.

I’m not sure if there’s a simple name for this behavior so I’ll just describe it instead: Whenever I receive positive feedback on something I’ve accomplished—no matter how insignificant—my immediate instinct is to slack off and stop doing that thing I just got complimented on. Maybe you’d call it over-contentness, I dunno.

A few examples to make sure you know exactly what I’m talking about:

  • A couple weeks ago my teacher at UCLA gave me some glowing remarks about a pilot script I’m writing. My immediate reaction was to “take it easy” the rest of the day…relax, have some drinks, watch some hockey. Nevermind the fact that I had another section of my script due to her in 10 hours that I hadn’t started writing yet. I deserved to coast the rest of the day because someone said something nice about my writing.
  • When I was training for a half marathon in January, I had decided that I’d probably keep the training going and try to run a full marathon later on in the year. But after I ran the half marathon, the people who ran it with me commented on how good of shape I seemed to be in during the race. I haven’t gone on a single run farther than three miles in the seven weeks since I got that positive feedback.
  • It was no different when I was in sales. Any day that I actually made a sale, I was already inclined to mentally check out of work for the rest of the day, even if that sale happened at 9AM. But if my boss or one of the executives got particularly excited about the sale and complimented me on it, look out. There was no limit on the lack of productivity you’d see out of me for the next couple weeks.

You can’t really call this characteristic I’m describing “procrastination.” It’s not like I’m delaying a task and taking on things of less priority. I’m literally doing nothing but soaking in self-satisfaction in these situations.

So why am I wired like this? Some people are wired differently, right? Some people make that big sale and immediately pick up the phone to make more of them. I’m assuming the top writers in Hollywood sell a script and immediately get to work on the next one, probably the same night they make the sale. First time I make a big sale with my writing, I’m vacationing until the money’s all gone.

For those of you reading this who are psychologists, behavioral specialists or motivational coaches, can you give me some feedback on how to break a 30-year-old slacker of this behavior? (And don’t you dare say you enjoyed the blog in your feedback!)

Oh, and for those of you who saw me at the wedding in Boston last weekend and complimented me on losing some weight, thank you. You know what I was doing at 2AM after taking in all of your generous comments? I was destroying a 30-count of buffalo wings alone in a hotel room. I washed the wings down with a tall glass of blue cheese. So thanks again. All you did was guarantee that the next time I see you, I will be 100lbs heavier than the fattest I’ve ever been.

Poll Question of the Century: NFL Sunday or Opening Day March Madness

After moving my annual Vegas trip from the opening weekend of March Madness to the weekend before—Conference Tournament weekend—I promised myself I wouldn’t care about the big tournament as much as I usually do. The ability to order a bucket of beers at 9AM while making the twenty-foot walk from your cushy leather sports book seat to the betting window to put money down on each game will make you care, regardless of who’s playing. So I figured for the first time in eight years, this opening weekend would be a little underwhelming.

As I write this, we’re only five hours into the Thursday games, and I’m ready to admit I couldn’t have been more wrong. After trying to half pay attention during the first couple games and busy myself with other tasks, I slowly but surely turned my living room into a sports book as best as I possibly could: watching two games at once, betting website up on my computer, brackets everywhere and a fridge full of beers. The only thing missing is access to a blackjack table (though if I really get the itch, my betting website will take blackjack action).

I’m all in on this tournament, which brings me to perhaps my most interesting poll question of all time: Which is the more exhilarating full day of sports: the first Thursday/Friday of March Madness or a late-season NFL Sunday?

Here are some considerations before we get to the vote:

  • Yes, March Madness is the playoffs so you could call this an easy vote. But that’s why I’m saying a late regular season slate of NFL games. Think late December with a bunch of division games (Minnesota vs Green Bay this past year, for instance)
  • The NFL is the greatest sport on earth (also the greatest form of entertainment)
  • But March Madness produces so much insanity every year
  • 16 games per day during these first days of March Madness. Never more than four going at the same time. The day begins at 9AM and ends around 9PM (12 hours of entertainment)
  • 14 games per NFL Sunday during non-bye weeks. Usually about eight morning games, five afternoon games and one night game. The day begins at 10AM and ends around 8PM (1o hours of entertainment)
  • With the Red Zone Channel you really can see everything important in football and not move from your couch the entire day
  • With CBS and its affiliates (TNT, TBS, TRU), you can pick any of the basketball games you want
  • With both sports, you can add a “second TV” to your viewing experience by watching games on your computer
  • For some people it probably boils down to “Sunday versus a week day.” Shame on you for not using one of my many excuses to leave work for these next two days

I’ve made my case. If I had to choose, I’d go with NFL Sunday only because football is such a superior sport. Your turn to vote.

I Don’t Know If My Guest Blogger Can Handle Being In Charge While I’m In Vegas

Don’t worry about the blog slowing down while I’m researching more stories in Las Vegas. The dog’s in charge for the rest of the week.

Even last night she was already hard at work writing the Vegas blog post while I dictated to her out loud:

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Problem is she can’t keep up with my 3,000-word entries. She tires quickly…

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Read My Vegas Memories While I Go Create Some More

Today is the start of my 8th annual March Madness Las Vegas trip. Since I haven’t been able to focus on anything else all week (aside from rainbows), why not run through some random thoughts, stories and tidbits about the past seven Vegas experiences. If you’ve ever made the trek out there with friends, chances are you’ve also seen some of this stuff first hand. Let’s see if we can organize them into categories:

MISCELLANEOUS

  • Anyone who’s been paying attention to my yearly Vegas trips will note that this week is not the start of the NCAA “March Madness” Tournament. For seven years, we’ve descended on Vegas for that opening weekend of basketball games. Sadly, it’s the end of that streak, at least temporarily. Due to scheduling circumstances and a few people’s desire to “check out conference tournament weekend,” we’re going a week early this year. 
  • My friends who are on the upper end of the basketball nerdery spectrum (BNS) assure me that this year could be even more fun because there are a lot more games being played each day compared to the first weekend of March Madness. They need to remember I don’t really care about the basketball. I care about the experience. As long as it’s not a drastically different atmosphere, I’m in.
  • Someone in our group pointed out earlier this week that the weather in Vegas right now is in the upper 80s. This led someone else to question if it’s ever been that warm for any of our seven previous trips. Our email thread died out when no one could even remember ever being outside during any Vegas trip.
  • If you’re new to the blog or you just didn’t have the patience to read the 3,000 words I wrote on The Vegas Experience last year, now’s your chance. I especially recommend that the guys who are joining me this weekend give these posts another read. It’ll get you psyched for the trip. Here’s PART ONE of the Vegas Blueprint. And here’s PART TWO.

THE MOST DANGEROUS THING IN VEGAS IS YOUR OWN HOTEL ROOM

  • In Part Two, I quickly mentioned that you should shower every morning in Vegas because you don’t want to return to the room in the afternoon or evening if you can avoid it. I wanted to expand on that thought some more. I actually think the most dangerous thing you can do in Vegas is go back to your hotel room alone…specifically for that mid-afternoon or early evening visit. You’re there to take a shower, or change, or most likely to sit on the toilet in peace and quiet. But then the bed starts calling out to you. A nap sounds good, and you start to question how much longer you can put up with all the bullshit down at the casino: breathing pure cigarette smoke, losing your vacation fund in a three-minute debacle at the Craps table, stuffing yourself with free drink after free drink just because it’s there. When these thoughts creep in to your head, your only option is to run out of the hotel room, even if you’re in the middle of showering. Obviously a nap during a long weekend in Vegas actually sounds fantastic, but I’ll warn you that the funniest, most outrageous thing that will happen all weekend will happen while you’re up in the room. Don’t succumb to the midday nap. It’s powerful, but with the right amount of Vodka & Red Bull drinks, you can avoid it.

FLYING

  • Speaking of napping…in a long list of ridiculous stuff that I’ve done in Vegas, here’s the one that gets the most laughs. In year one of this annual trip, me and my two brothers flew back to San Francisco from Vegas together. For some reason we booked a flight with a layover in Los Angeles (not the point of the story, but a pretty terrible logistical move when all you want to do is get home as quickly as possible on a Sunday leaving Vegas). On the flight from LA to San Francisco, I was sitting in the middle seat between my happily-sleeping brothers. I started feeling nauseous and sweat immediately began to soak through my shirt. I woke one of the brothers up and asked him what I should do if I feel like I have to puke. He handed me one of those paper bags that’s in the back pocket of each seat. I told him it wouldn’t be nearly big enough to hold what I had brewing. He fell back asleep. I continued to panic. Finally I decided to get up and walk to the bathroom, if only to get some circulation going and distract myself. I went into the bathroom, sat on the toilet and the next thing I knew the plane is landing in San Francisco. I passed out for roughly 40 minutes on the airplane toilet, only waking up because of the normal turbulence that comes with landing. I have no idea how many people might have knocked on the door during that time. Even though every return flight from Vegas is miserable, none has ever approached that year one level.
  • Another quick flight story from two years ago. It’s Sunday morning at 5AM. My brother and I have a 7AM flight out of Vegas. We weren’t staying in the same hotel room. I’m in the lobby when I realize it’s well past the time we agreed to meet. I call his phone 30 times and get his voicemail 30 times. I call the cell phones of the guys who he was staying with. I call other people in our group just to see if they know where he is. No one answers. I go to the airport alone. The whole time I’m laughing to myself at what an idiot my brother is for falling asleep and missing his flight. I sit down next to my gate in the airport with about 30 minutes until boarding begins. I wake up some time later thinking only a few minutes had passed. After all, there were still a ton of people sitting nearby waiting for the flight to board. Then I hear over the PA system “Final boarding call for Southwest flight 1461 nonstop to San Francisco. Paging Ross Gariepy. Ross Gariepy please report to gate C7 immediately?” I quickly realize that the people sitting next to me aren’t on my flight; they’re on the next flight leaving that same gate. I got to experience walking down the aisle of the plane with 180 pairs of pissed off eyes staring at me. Apparently they had been waiting for me for quite a while. If only they knew I was sitting 15 feet away from the gate the entire time (How much better would this story have been if my brother had shown up for the next available flight a couple hours later and found me passed out near the gate of the original flight?).
  • OK, one more thing about the airport in Vegas. In our seven years of doing this trip, we’ve had two instances of someone going to the airport more than 10 hours before their scheduled flight home. In both situations, the person basically said to themselves “I’m done with Vegas for a long time. I need to get the fuck out of here now. Not tomorrow morning, right now.” I bet Vegas gets more people who show up and try to get on an earlier flight than any airport in the world. If you have bad luck long enough in Vegas, you get to that moment where you have to decide between removing yourself from the situation or taking out a cash advance on your credit card.

CLUBBING

  • Have you ever dreamed of being in a dance club and having strangers crowd around you while screaming “he’s on fire”? Me too. I always thought that moment would come because I was tearing up a dance floor and all the people would stop to watch me. What actually happened a few years ago was this: I was smoking a cigar at the club while waiting in line at the ATM. A woman standing in front of me turned around abruptly and her elbow hit the tip of my cigar. The cherry of the cigar flew into the air and landed inside my polo shirt (I swear this all happened in slow motion). My shirt and chest caught on fire. I started shaking my shirt out. Smoke started billowing out of my shirt. A bunch of girls screamed “He’s on fire!” Not the way that moment happens in my dreams.

“THAT’S GAMBLING”

  • You only understand what I’m saying here if you play Craps. For some of us that go on this trip, our first impression of our buddy’s best friend from the east coast was seeing him play the Don’t Pass Line on a Craps table while six of us in his group were playing “normal style” at the other end of the table.
  • This same guy once threatened to “take his money elsewhere” when a pit boss wouldn’t let him jump into a Craps game at a reduced rate. He was arguing to be allowed to make $10 bets instead of $25. You can imagine how nervous the casino was to lose him as a customer.
  • We’ve spent about 28 nights in Vegas over the seven years and only one time did an “everything we touch turns to gold” night happen. I don’t remember the year, the night or the exact people who were there, but for a three-hour stint at the Mandalay Bay, our group couldn’t lose. You probably think I’m getting ready to say that we walked away with a combined ten grand that night, but no. What happened was we were all split up so by the time we got back together and realized it was one of those nights for the group, it was too late. If you’re ever in one of those situations and don’t know if the hot streak is over, go throw $100 on black or red in Roulette. As soon as you lose, it’s over. It’s worth the hundo just to see what might be.

But seriously, take a few minutes and re-read my blogs from last year’s Vegas trip. It’s the only way to get a full tour of the four-day March Madness experience.

Sign My Petition To Stop Rainbows From Making A Big Deal About Being In The Sky

I’m calling for a permanent moratorium on people being wowed by rainbows. I assumed we hit our rainbow saturation point years ago with the “double rainbow” phenomenon, but apparently not.

I was walking home from the dog park last Friday afternoon and all of the sudden it felt like I was in the opening scenes of Independence Day. You remember early on in that movie when the alien ship is first hovering over Los Angeles and Will Smith is reading his newspaper on the sidewalk? Then all of the sudden he looks up and sees all of his neighbors either standing in their yards pointing to the sky or frantically packing their cars to evacuate? That’s the exact scene that was playing out around me while I walked home. When I finally turned around to see what all the excitement was about, I half-expected to see a legit alien ship or a hologram of Jesus Christ.

Nope, just your run-of-the-mill rainbow. Not even double.

I might be slightly exaggerating with my Independence Day analogy, but only slightly. People were running out of their houses with cameras. Others were pulling over to the side of the road and hopping out of their cars for a photo op. I tried to do a google search on the frequency of rainbows in Southern California. I wanted to give my fellow Angelenos the benefit of the doubt. Maybe these things never happen around here. The search yielded nothing helpful because all the results that came up were for rainbow trout or some local LA band with the word “rainbow” in their name. I’m just going to assume rainbows happen in this area about as frequently as any other area of the world.

My biggest problem with the unnecessary gawking over a rainbow is where do you go from there? You have to have separately increasing reactions to all the natural phenomena that you might see. So if seeing a rainbow is on the low end of craziness in the sky, and an alien ship hovering overhead is the high end, you need to have appropriate reactions for everything in the middle. If you’re freaking out over a silly little rainbow, what are you going to do when things like a tornado, a meteor shower, ball lightning or St. Elmo’s Fire appear in your sky? Start packing your belongings and evacuate?

This is all a longwinded way of saying “let’s just cut the crap with rainbow adoration.” If you can see the pot of gold or the leprechaun from where you’re standing, that’s another story. Go nuts.

What’s the end game with taking a bunch of pictures of a rainbow anyway? I can find 10,000 pictures of rainbows on google that are significantly better looking than your shitty iPhone picture. I’m not impressed and neither are any of your Facebook friends. Knock it off.