Need An Assist From My Male Readers: Awful Couples Activities To Watch Out For


I’m looking for some pretty simple feedback in the comments section below this blog post. Historically most of you have been comment-averse, but I need you now more than ever before.

Julie and I continue to have almost no friends in Los Angeles, and I feel like she’s getting to a point where she’ll try anything to meet people. Just the other day she actually started a conversation with someone in our apartment elevator. This is bad news.

For the past nine months we’ve been doing normal couple stuff with our free time: trying new restaurants and bars, hiking or renting bikes on the weekends, taking nice long trips to Trader Joe’s every Sunday, bringing our Andre the Giant-like dog to the dog park. And still no prospective new friends on the horizon.

While I’m perfectly happy with the lack of developments in the friend department—after all who needs friends when you have a perfectly good television and internet connection—Julie is probably less than happy. And now my concern is that she’s going to irresponsibly sign us up for some corny couples activity that makes me rethink our entire relationship.

Many months ago she expressed an interest in a couples cooking class. I laughed at her refreshing sense of humor only to realize she was serious. At the time I think I made it crystal clear that I would never show up to a cooking class.  I barely enjoy cooking at all. I certainly wouldn’t enjoy cooking with a group of strangers. Who gets pleasure from paying money to be in a room with six other desperate friend-seeking couples while being told what to cook for your dinner?

Just to make sure I understood exactly what a cooking class entailed, I did my homework on google. While perusing a website that claimed to offer these classes, I noticed this little blurb:

  • “With recipes and photos emailed to attendees after the event, you can reminisce and recreate your favorite dishes together at home. You never know, you might even witness a marriage proposal!”

Here’s the deal: In our one bedroom, one-TV household, we view dinner preparation time as welcomed time apart. When Julie is in the kitchen cooking, it’s my precious time to watch what I want on TV (sports). When I’m handling dinner, that’s Julie’s precious time to watch what she wants (junky BRAVO shows). This class will not inspire us to cook together at home. I promise you.

And this probably goes without saying, but…a marriage proposal in cooking class? Look, buddy, I’m just trying to be a good boyfriend by humoring my girlfriend with this class. No need to make the rest of us look bad by proposing in front of everyone. Save that for a different moment, specifically one that won’t have my girlfriend giving me a look that says, “I had to drag you here and put up with your sulking the entire time and this Prince Charming didn’t just come with his girlfriend, they actually enjoy this stuff so much that he decided to propose to her right here”. Not cool.

I had this little rant about cooking class saved as a draft on my blogging site for the better part of six months because I wanted to wait until I had more material. And just like the gift that keeps on giving, Julie brought up a similarly unexciting couples activity a few nights ago: Art & Wine Classes (aka “Sip-n-Stroke” according to one website).

Now here’s the part where she almost accidentally tricked me (and the reason I need all the men reading this article to comment on other undesirable couples activities). She called it a “art & wine thing” and my first instinct was that it’s probably just a museum event where you can drink wine while pretending to appreciate the art. I can do that. I can pretend to give a crap about art in the interest of drinking alcohol and making my girlfriend happy.

It turns out the type of activity she was referring to is one where we’d pay $30 for the privilege of drinking wine and painting with a group of strangers. A local art instructor would show us how to replicate an existing masterpiece as we laugh and sip the night away. I can’t do that.

This actually sounds much worse than a cooking class. The best way to describe my artistic talent in one sentence is this: I am most likely the worst stick figure drawer you’ll ever meet.

So, no, I don’t have any deep hidden desire to try painting/drawing/sculpting in my free time.

I’m racking my brain for other similar activities that Julie has brought up in the past, but I don’t think there are any. But just in case she’s reading this, here are some other hobbies or activities that I have absolutely no interest in:

  • Dancing lessons. Doesn’t matter which kind, I will not show up.
  • Ice Skating on a tiny sheet of ice with 300 other people. This is the worst. I grew up skating and playing hockey, but the activity I’m describing is an insult to the actual hobby of skating. I’m talking about that makeshift rink that every downtown sets up during the winter holidays. Where they cram as many people as possible onto the ice so you can’t even play a good game of tag with your friends. Awful, awful way to spend your time.
  • Gardening. We bought a bunch of plants when we first moved to LA, and they immediately died. Some things just weren’t meant to be. I just think we’re going to be the type of people who buy our food at a store for the rest of our lives. And that’s fine by me.
  • Book Club. It’s a slippery slope. We’re talking about the characters’ feelings and desires in a book we just read, and boom, all of the sudden we’re talking about our own feelings and desires. Yuck.
  • Ballet. I already mentioned not wanting to ever take a dancing class. Let me be super clear that I also never need to pay to see other people dance.

In the “giving credit where credit is due” department, Julie has either suggested or gotten on board with these ideas that I think would bring us much more happiness than the list above:

  • Buying bikes and going on weekly bike rides
  • Brewing our own beer
  • Surfing
  • Making our own jerky
  • Playing poker at the local casinos

So you see, gentlemen, there are several couples activities that we can enjoy together. But my worry is that I haven’t yet thought of all the possibilities that I need to say no to. That’s where you come in. If your girlfriend/wife/friend with benefits has ever suggested a couples activity that was as awful-sounding as the ones I listed above, please leave a note so that I don’t have to suffer the same fate you did.


Someone Who Desperately Wants To Make His Girlfriend Happy, But Only If It’s On My Terms

Adventures in Relocating: Exploring the Five-Block Radius Around my Apartment

I guess by now I was supposed to have explored a lot of Los Angeles, considering I moved three weeks ago.  The girlfriend arrives on Friday, and she’s probably gonna ask me all sorts of questions I don’t have answers for, like, “Where’s the nicest beach?” and, “Where do you like to get your hair done?”

Only problem is I haven’t been to the beach, and I definitely haven’t gone to the salon since I’ve been in LA.  The first 10 days were a waste because I was laid up on the couch with a herniated disc in my back that was caused by three straight days of moving (OK, it wasn’t anything nearly as severe as a herniated disc; it was actually just a stiff neck, but a really stiff neck!).

But once I was out of the ICU, you’d think I’d start exploring my new city, right?  Am I allowed to say that exploring LA completely on my own never sounded like fun?  That I’m not in the same mindset I was when I traveled by myself through Europe and Australia three years ago, willing to go anywhere and meet anyone?  Also I knew that once Julie got down here she was going to want to explore all the popular places anyway, no matter how lame I tell her they are.  So I’m waiting.

But before I moved down here, LA experts told me that I better live in an area that had everything I’d need close by…restaurants, bars, grocery store, hospital, homeless shelter, and any friends you actually want to keep up with.  Obviously this is because of the ridiculous traffic and how spread out the city is.

So if I couldn’t explore all of LA in my first three weeks, the least I could do is explore the five-block radius around my apartment.  I wanted to know what’s within walking distance, hoping to minimize how often my car leaves the garage.

Here’s what I’ve discovered is within reasonable walking distance of my apartment:

-Essential fast food: In-n-Out Burger, Rally’s Burgers, Wendy’s…In hot weather, I typically average nine milkshakes per week.  All three of these restaurants meet my requirements of proximity and shake thickness.

-Essential fast casual Mexican: Chipotle…How I haven’t eaten here for 20 straight days is a mystery.

-Restaurants: Millions of them, an abundance of Thai places, Harrison Ford’s son’s restaurant, no big deal

-Bars: My biggest concern moving to Culver City was a perceived lack of dive bars in the area, places I could get a $2 PBR and the only food they serve is the three bags of chips hanging in the corner.  I still haven’t found any true dive bars in walking distance to my apartment, but I have found a couple decent sports bars.  They’ll each go through try outs in August to see which one turns into my Sunday football bar.

-Grocery Stores: Trader Joe’s, Albertson’s, Smart & Final.  The S&F is so close I could go purchase something right now and get back before you finish reading this sentence.

-Cosmetic Surgery Facility: For the ass implants I’m planning to get eventually.

-Hospital/ER: For future slipped disc issues

-Starbuck’s: I still don’t drink coffee, but I can suck down a hot cocoa like a champ.

-Farmer’s Market: Tuesday afternoons, meaning if you live in Culver City, you have to choose between having a job or getting fresh vegetables.

-Movie Theater: Apparently it’s a good thing this is so close because my go-to activity for when I’m bored and by myself is seeing a movie.  I’ve seen four and counting since I’ve been down here on my own.

-Frozen Yogurt: For when I’ve overdone it on milkshakes.

-Dry Cleaners: Assuming one day I come out of retirement and look for a job, might have to get the suits that currently sit in a ball in my closet dry-cleaned.

-Brazilian Steakhouse: Already bought a Groupon deal to eat here soon. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept of a brazilian steakhouse, slap yourself in the face and then go find the nearest one now.

-Sony Studios: People have suggested I should sit outside the Sony buildings and write movie scripts all day, theorizing that someone who works for Sony might see me and offer me a job.  More likely someone will see me there day after day and call the Cops.

-City Hall & Police Department: No idea what the benefit is to having these things close to me, but it can’t be a bad thing, right?

-Culver City Park: A pretty decent park that includes basketball courts, baseball fields and a skate park (three things I will never use), running/hiking areas (which I will use), and a pretty sweet dog park (debatable whether I’ll ever use this or not):

-Balona Creek: Sure, there’s nothing pretty or scenic about it (see picture below), but it’s a four-mile bike and running trail that goes to the beach, meaning you can run or bike to the beach and back and never have to deal with cars or traffic lights.  Even if some of the Yelp reviews told stories about women getting attacked by homeless people along the creek, well, good thing I’m not a woman (if Julie ever has to be on the trail alone at night, I’ll arm her with a butter knife or water gun).

-Flower Shop: Obviously good to have right next to my apartment for when I piss Julie off by suggesting she ride her bike alone along Balona Creek.

Basically what I’m saying through this long-winded blog is good luck getting me to leave Culver City once I do the obligatory one month of LA exploring in July.