IT'S HERE, that special day in February we guys mark in red on the calendar, the day we rekindle our love. This, of course, is the day pitchers and catchers report.
Apparently, something called Valentine's Day falls somewhere near it and seems to have meaning to you ladies. We know because there is a sudden increase of man-bashing on coffee-klatch shows starring scary, largish women.
Overall women seem to be saying, "All men care about is sports! They don't listen! They don't understand us!" To which we nod mindlessly and reply, "Hon, did you TiVo the NASCAR for me?"
But before the Luge World Championships start tonight, we would very much like to say, "Why is it always about you? How about you trying to understand us for once?" For instance...
When you say, "Rub aloe on that cut. It'll reduce the scarring," you don't get it. We want it to scar more.
Just because we haven't played catcher in years, it's not O.K. to throw out our jock and cup. Do we throw away your pom-poms?
Whatever amount we say we lost or won in our fantasy league, double it.
With our bookie? Triple it.
If you have something important to tell us, don't do it during SportsCenter. Because when you come up and say, "I've decided not to get my masters and do something else, like sing," we hear, "I've decided the Masters will be won by Els or Singh."
You say it boggles your mind how we can watch a college basketball game that was played in 1969. We say it boggles our mind how you can watch Rachel Ray make a meatloaf.
You can vacuum all you want, we're not turning off the third round of the Buick Open.
We don't really get Valentine's Day. Flowers? Candy? Why is it a one-way street? Why can't it be the day when you give us a new sleeve of Titleists?
Really, honestly, no joke: We don't give a deceased rodent about which curtains to pick. All we want is one room where we can sit in the Chicago Bears helmet-chair you hate and put up our chin strap collection.
And when we get home from playing golf, there's no point asking, "So how did Leonard's transplant go?" We have no idea. When we're on the course, we're either talking about the last shot, the next shot or sex. It ain't Dr. Phil.
Here's what we don't get about you: 1) Your friends don't have nicknames; 2) You never spit; 3) You never want any fries—except ours.
We know some of us go too far. Our guys in sports jerseys are like your women in tube tops.
Why do you say, "If your team frustrates you so much, why do you still watch them?" That would be like us asking you, "If your kids frustrate you so much, why don't you sell them?" They're our teams, forever.
We know we've got zero shot with the swimsuit models. But do we spoil it for you with George Clooney?
We never stop competing. Ever. Whether it's not letting that Porsche behind us pass, or tossing crumpled paper into the trash can, or getting the promotion—we're trying to beat the other guy. So if we lose at H-O-R-S-E and don't speak till Tuesday, now you know why.
Just to be clear, the following are never to be brought up in front of the guys: the Lakers pajamas, the jarts incident and the time we got pinned by Dick Button. Ever. Otherwise, we're going to your book club and we're spilling about the Botox.
Never stop asking us to lift stuff, open jars and kill bugs. We like it.
Women aren't the only ones who are insecure. When we meet a guy for the first time, we think, Could I kick his ass? When we meet a woman, we think, Would she sleep with me? Except in the cases of David Spade and Halle Berry, respectively, we don't want to do either, we're just trying to find our spot on the ladder.
Tonight at the neighbor's party, you can hug him as long as you want and giggle too much at his jokes. That won't make us jealous. But if you come back and say his plasma is bigger, it's over.
You say that we don't plan for the future. That's a lie. For the Super Bowl, didn't we buy two cases of beer?
You don't get why the last two minutes of the game take 30 minutes. We don't get why, "I'll be ready in two minutes" takes 30.
But the truth is, we love you more than we say and need you more than you know. Now will you tell us where you hid the remote?
If you have a comment for Rick Reilly, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Why do women say, "If your team frustrates you so much, why do you still watch them?" That's like men saying, "If your kids frustrate you so much, why don't you sell them?"
RIFFS of REILLY
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PETER READ MILLER