Teed Off (13-02-2011)
with Robert Bicknell
Just like during a round of golf, we finish one celebration and begin an new one without even the opportunity to catch our breath. In this case, everyone is recovering from over-indulging during the Tet celebrations and now Valentine's Day is rolling around.
It kind of feels like standing on the tee box of a seemingly benign Par 3 after scrambling like crazy on a treacherously long and dangerous Par 5. Despite appearances to the contrary, we subconsciously know the friendly little Par 3 has very large teeth and would like nothing better than to eviscerate us at the first small misstep.
Yes, that also describes Valentine's Day pretty well from a male point of view.
Tet was an exciting start to a new year filled with hope, good friends, family, banh chung, copious amounts of alcohol followed by the inevitable motorbike crashes into trees.
After surviving and returning wearily, but happily to the office, we are now faced with the annual February 14th antics known as Valentine's Day. It should be also remembered that, in the US, this date became infamous when legendary Chicago gangster Al Capone decided to wipe out all his enemies and is remembered as the "St Valentine's Day Massacre."
Having said this, how do we survive this seemingly harmless little holiday invented by chocolatiers and confectioners, and subsequently hi-jacked by the diamond, greeting card and florist industries?
Let's be honest here… no matter what we get for our respective wives, girlfriends, etc, we are in mortal danger of getting it wrong. It's just one of those constants in the universe and understand that, regardless of her outward expression of happiness, she is still annoyed with you for reasons you will never understand. Leave it at that.
The truth is that females tolerate us and grudgingly accept our failings to a point, then evisceration happens, usually because we don't spend enough time with them, which is a valid complaint.
Therefore, it seems to me that, instead of bombarding them with chocolates, which will inflate their waistlines, or flowers, which die in a day, or a diamond, which will cost you an arm and a leg, you might just be better off taking your better half out for a nice round of golf.
Yes, I am serious. Once I started playing golf with my wife, life improved greatly and we found a common ground.
Think about it this way…with all the hustle and bustle in our lives nowadays, people working like maniacs, children underfoot or intruding on a possible romantic moment, time together is a precious commodity. So, why not spend an entire day walking together in the fresh air and enjoying a sounds of nature with your beloved, dearly beloved, hopefully-soon-to-be-beloved or soon-to-be-ex-beloved-if-he/she-doesn't-change-his/her-attitude?
Golf can be quite romantic.
Birds chirping, puffy clouds, balls thwacking off trees, ripples sparkling on the water from a recently errant shot and, of course, the heart-wrenching screams of agony echoing through the trees.
Sure beats a candlelit restaurant and food you cannot pronounce, doesn't it?
If there is a small wager on your game, such as washing dishes, a back massage or just bragging rights, so much the better. But remember something, she knows you better than you know yourself and listens carefully to your moaning and groaning when you return from a golf outing with your friends. She knows you'll choke on the closing holes because you always do and if you're in danger of winning, shank one OB.
Trust me, you don't want to win.
You can buy all the gifts in the world for your better half, but trust me when I say that none of them will give her the same satisfaction of dropping in a birdie putt to win the hole or match and make you eat a cold plate of crow.
It's just another one of those universal constants.
So, I wish all of you a Happy Valentine's Day and, if you take her out to a nice restaurant and give her flowers after the golf, that would be nice too.
It couldn't hurt. — VNS