Valentine’s Day: Re-Running My Same Plays From Last Year & Two Things Women Should Do In Return

How can I possibly top my blog post from February 14th, 2012? After all, it was the most important article ever written on this website. Why was it so important? Because it got me more than 17 page views for the first time, reinforcing my decision to become a full-time blogger. If you’re struggling to remember that post, or if you’re someone who started reading my blog within the last 363 days, take a minute to review The King of Romance’s Valentine’s Blog.

Now if you just read that post, you obviously pissed yourself with laughter and realized there’s no way I’m going to top it with a new Valentine’s Day post. I completely agree. But let’s review my four rules from that 2012 post to see if I’m sticking with it this year:

1). Celebrate Valentine’s Day on any other day but Valentine’s Day

Success! This year it was a combination of not wanting to compete with amateur hour on the actual day and the fact that we’re leaving town at 6AM on Friday morning. No need to fight Los Angeles’s other couples for a reservation while stressing out about how early we have to wake up the next morning. We actually celebrated V-Day twice this year. First, we went to a comedy show on January 25th (because it was seriously the only weekend night we had available in the month surrounding February 14th), and then we went out for a romantic French bistro dinner on February 12th.

2). You need a post-dinner plan…and it needs to be more elaborate than “I hope she invites me back to her place after.”

First of all, I don’t have to hope she invites me back to her place anymore. We live together. And as I mentioned above, this year we split up the dinner and the post-dinner plan into two separate nights. So after our filet and mussels dinner last night, instead of going somewhere to waste time until she didn’t feel fat anymore, I decided on a different tactic. I made her buy me gelato at the local gelatotarium and then I complained about feeling fat, which made her feel skinny because she didn’t eat the gelato. Unfortunately this didn’t have the effect of ending our night on a sexy note like I had hoped. It just caused us to get into a big fight where she yelled at me for “being a gigantic fat ass who eats too much ice cream.” I calmly told her that it’s gelato, not ice cream, and boy did she feel stupid.

3). The end-of-the-night payoff

OK, that fight didn’t really happen. Here’s how our night ended. After we got home from our super romantic dinner and even more romantic gelato-binging, she was totally in the mood I was hoping for. So she wasted no time taking…our dog outside to poop while I watched the Bruins game on tape delay. That’s romance to a couple of co-habitating 30 year olds.

4). Don’t completely ignore Valentine’s Day

Last year I made the case that even if you celebrate on a different day, you should still do something nice for your girl on the actual day. I still believe that theory, but this year because of our travel circumstances, I decided to also give her flowers early. She got them yesterday, and they’re awesome of course. But I’m curious what other people think. She now has two days to enjoy the flowers before we’re gone for almost four days. When we return, I fully expect the flowers to be dead. Should I have waited until we returned from our trip and surprised her with post-Valentine’s Day flowers? Or did I make the right move by getting them early? Anyway, the best chance she has of getting something from me on the actual day this year is when we stop for gas on our way to Mammoth and I surprise her with beef jerky and a sleeve of Pringles (obviously the orange sleeve, her favorite).

A couple more notes:

  • The astute observer will notice that I pretty much copied my exact plan from last year this time around: a comedy show and dinner at a French bistro. What can I say? I’m not one to change things up when everything went as smoothly as it did last year. But I do think I’ll be pushing it if I run it back one more time in 2014.
  • If you read this blog and wisely choose to surprise your girlfriend with Valentine’s Day dinner on February 12th or 13th and she gets mad because you didn’t celebrate on the actual day, she’s a complete fucking asshole and you should surprise her on the actual day by dumping her.
  • For the guys who are muttering under their breath right now that this is a bullshit holiday because it’s completely geared towards women, I totally agree with you. It doesn’t seem fair, but there’s nothing we can do about it at this point. Whatever men were alive way back when Valentine’s Day was created should be rotting in hell right now. This whole charade of a holiday started on their watch. But I do think there are two things we can ask our women to do in return for us making them feel so special on Valentine’s Day:
    1. Don’t just be ready on time for once. Be ready five fucking minutes early. Is that too much to ask? This is a night we planned specifically for you. Chances are us men aren’t even going to enjoy this night because we’ll be constantly calculating the cost of all this pomp & circumstance in our heads (“Waited too long to order the flowers…$60 F-ing dollars for six roses.” “Couldn’t pronounce the name of the cheapest bottle of wine on the menu, so we had to order the $55 bottle of Pinot Noir.” “She wants to try the creme brulee dessert…I know she’s only gonna have one bite before she starts to feel fat. Fuck, I guess I’m paying $11 for her one bite of dessert.”) Just surprise us and be ready early. It won’t kill you.
    2. Steak & BJ Day is on March 14th. Don’t make us tell you twice what you can do for us in return for the amazing Valentine’s Day. You don’t think it’s a real thing? Well would a fake holiday have a legit website with a live countdown on it? Steak & BJ Day

Watching Sports on Tape Delay: a Stressful and Chaotic Practice

Being able to listen to the Red Sox radio broadcast on WEEI through my iPhone is one of my favorite things about modern technology.  With the subscription, I can actually watch the Red Sox games on any of my devices, or if I happen to be in a situation where I can’t look at a screen, like when I’m driving, I can still listen to the game live.  So even though I was faced with the daunting task of driving the six hours back to San Francisco from LA by myself on Tuesday afternoon, I was excited that three of those hours would be spent listening to the Sox/Royals game. With the converter I use that plays audio from my iPhone over the car’s speakers, I was set.  A 16oz Red Bull, some beef jerky, a full sleeve of Sour Cream -n- Onion Pringles and the Red Sox game on my car radio… where’s the downside?

The downside was that I basically had to keep my hand on the radio’s volume knob for three hours in case WEEI wanted to interrupt the broadcast to update its listeners on the Celtics playoff game.  Over the course of the baseball game, I think WEEI did this four times.  Luckily I was ready each time and avoided hearing the score of the Celtics by immediately turning the volume down.  Other than almost hearing the score accidentally a few times, the other problem was that I had to dedicate one of my hands to the volume the whole time.  I was already one hand short because I kept getting my entire right arm stuck inside the Pringles container.  So I was basically driving up the 101 at 80 miles per hour steering with my knee.

The reason I had to censor the score updates is because I had the Celtics game taping on my DVR back at home.  Knowing I’d be in the car at the same time the C’s were trying to close out Atlanta, I wanted to avoid any exposure to the score so I could watch it later Tuesday night.  On top of the radio situation, I also had to avoid all text messages, phone calls and the urge to scroll through Twitter while driving.

While this was far from my first time doing the tape delay of a live sporting event, it really got me thinking.  Is it worth it to temporarily cut yourself off from the entire outside world because you want to watch a previously-played game as if it’s happening live?  Are some games acceptable to do this for while others are not?  Are you allowed to strangle someone if they happen to mention the score of the exact game you’re trying to avoid hearing about?  It’s a dangerous game we play when we try to create an alternate reality where a sporting event is “live” only when we’re ready for it to be live.

Like I said, I’ve been dealing with this conundrum for years.  Living in California makes it even more relevant because during the week, most games played by my Boston teams begin by 4 or 4:30, and unfortunately getting out of work early isn’t always an option.  So you do the whole song and dance of taping the game and telling all your coworkers that if they check on the score and happen to mention it to you, they’ll never see their families again.  And generally that works because people don’t want their loved ones to die, and because it’s just one hour or so that you have to avoid all spoilers for.

But what about those weekend days when a game starts at 1pm, but there’s just no way you can watch it until 7 or 8 that night?  How hard is it to avoid a spoiler in that situation?  On that kind of day, it’s not like you can sit in a dark cave shut off from the rest of the world until you’re ready to watch the game.  If that was the case, you’d be watching the game live.  No, on that weekend day you’re inevitably in a situation where you have to go for a hike with your girlfriend; or go apartment hunting because you decided on a whim to move 400 miles away.  So you’re out in the real world where all sorts of idiots can screw up the game for you. You somehow have to avoid the game being ruined by people who are around you as well as accidentally seeing the score on TV or hearing it on the radio.  It’s stressful to the point where you’re not even remotely enjoying whatever that other activity is that you got sucked into.  And then the person that made you participate in it gets pissed off because you’re ruining everyone’s day…and suddenly she wishes you had just stayed home and watched the game live.  (Hint: ruin enough of her Sunday hikes and brunches and she’ll never ask you to miss a game again)

There’s one other problem with this practice of taping the games.  This past Tuesday night I was taping the Celtics game to watch it by myself when I got home, but many times a group of us will decide to avoid seeing the score of a game, and we’ll all get together later in the night and watch the taped version.  So in theory you have three or four people who are all on the same page, having shut themselves off from all communication about the result of this game.  But then you start watching, and suddenly one of the guys is on his iPad screwing around. You warn him that if he sees the final score online, he better not say anything.  He doesn’t say anything, but the next thing you know the Celtics are down by seven points with three minutes left, and this guy is putting his shoes on and getting ready to leave.  Gee, I wonder if maybe you already know the Celtics’ comeback fell short if you’re walking out the door in silence as the game is still happening on my TV?  If you have that friend who really can’t commit to avoiding the result, just stop inviting him over for these delayed viewings because his body language will ruin the outcome for you every time.  It’s similar to when you tell your friend not to mention the score because you have it taped at home, and then he says, “ahh, I’ll save you some time, they got crushed tonight.”  He thinks he’s doing you a favor, but what he doesn’t know is that now you’re planning to get back at him by ruining something he really cares about, like his upcoming wedding.

My final take is that you cannot do the tape delay thing for the biggest games…The Super Bowl, The NCAA football and basketball championships, any championship games really.  These games are important enough that you should be watching live.  And you can’t do it everyday for regular season baseball, basketball or hockey games.  That’s just obnoxious to be avoiding the outcome of a game every single day. And you can’t do it for football on Sundays because then you miss the RedZone Channel and following your fantasy team live as the games are happening.  So really, the only appropriate time to watch games on tape delay is for early-round playoff games in all of the major sports.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go setup Game 6 of the Celtics/Hawks series to tape later tonight.