I got home late last night from work. Hungry. Irritable. Exhausted.
As soon as I crack the front door I am overwhelmed by the strong aromas of cheese, garlic, and toasty bread. You know that delicious smell of buttery bread baking to a flawless brown? The way it smells right before it burns? YUM. I make my way upstairs and spot my boyfriend through a cloud of billowing steam over the stove. My inner secret agent surfaces … I semi-subconsciously start taking notes of all the things in my peripherals that were not present when I left the house 12 hours ago.
He smiles. I smile back.
While looking directly at him, I walk toward the kitchen as the mental list begins to compile: one bottle of uncorked wine — a glass has been poured from it — another unopened on stand-by, the floors are shiny, candles are lit, pillows from upstairs are piled on my favorite comfy chair, those imported olives from the nearby Italian store (that are absolutely to-die-for) are arranged in an accessible dish.
Wait, have I mentioned that my boyfriend doesn’t cook? Yeah … he doesn’t cook.
Look at all this! Did he charter a plane and fly Paula Dean in to whip up some feel-good food? I read somewhere that she has sons, she probably told him what to do in order to make it look like he really is the chef of this chicken pasta? Paula squeezed into my closet to hide just as I was entering didn’t she? She’s hiding in there as we speak isn’t she?
“Hi,” he says. My brief trance is broken. “Hi back,” I say. He takes my heavy, supersized work bag and replaces it with a glass of 2005 Rombauer Chardonnay chilled to perfection. I have no objections. A sip reveals the crisp and flavorful layers that make this one of the few Chardonnays that I genuinely enjoy. He knows this. He leans in, kisses me on the cheek and says, “I’m glad you’re home.”
Is he seducing me?
Or worse …
He’s guilty of the unthinkable and is about to drop the bomb on me?
None of the above. I knew exactly what was going down when I first smelled the damn garlic and cheese downstairs. My boyfriend is romancing me at 7 o’clock so that by 10:30 I’ll be knocked out, giving him the opportunity to morph into Illidan and retreat to the Ironforge, to engage in some creature-on-creature combat with thousands of his fellow nerds from around the globe.
Yes, I am dating a nerd and not just any nerd, but a WOW nerd. The worst of their kind.
If you are not (and don’t care to become) familiar with the phenomenon that is World of Warcraft, I will put it to you briefly and bluntly. WOW is a sophisticated game played online by dorks across the planet. Its challenging tasks, or “quests”, are extremely tough for even the most experienced gamer. The game has many tiers, owned and operated by a steep hierarchy of bosses who have had to earn their powers and abilites. Abilities are gained in a variety of ways, but really, it breaks down to the hours and levels at which you play. Like in the real world, the need to be powerful is strong and once you find a way to achieve that power … it’s dangerously addictive. Nerds who play WOW are holed up in rooms for days … did you hear that? Days. Think I’m exaggerating?
A friend of mine lost 35 pounds. Not from excercising or eating healthy foods, he just played WOW so much he forgot to eat. My best friend, who is a third grade teacher, watched a member of her own staff sell his car. He said he had “no need for it anymore” … he’s always at home playing WOW. My co-worker’s cousin actually quit his job, as it was obviously interfering with the World of Warcraft. Yikes.
Cut to my yikes moment in the kitchen last night. I’m sipping wine and sampling alfredo sauce from a giant wooden spoon, knowing damn well that this fancy evening is designed to leave an imprint on my brain … an imprint so distracting that I’ll forget — or simply won’t care — that in a few short hours my boyfriend will be downstairs wearing a headset commanding his virtual staff of managers to attack monsters, cast spells and deliver damage.
Guess what? It totally works.
What do I care if my BF gets his kicks from a server? He’s a bonafide dork, I knew that when I met him. I’m no uber chic glam god myself and I’ve got the dvd and book libraries to prove it. Discovery and History channel documentaries in alphabetical order, stacks of autobiographies written by unheard of people — and we won’t get into my secret obsession with Ewoks. Another topic for another blog. I’m barely escaping, perhaps even brushing the nerd title, so who am I to judge?
If BF wants to pull an all-nighter to crush some monsters, it’s fine by me. If one day I come home to find no pre-WOW seduction because BF is unemployed, riding a bicycle, and battling with an eating disorder unrelated to body image … well, that’s another story.
One thing I know for sure … the face-to-face time we spend with our loved ones — whether it be family or significant other — is what really matters. So if you’re finding yourself dedicating the majority of your hours to your job, your virtual friends, your computer, your Wii, your crackberry, etc … you’re gonna miss the love boat. I promise you, the captain won’t wait.
Prioritize. Wake up and smell reality. Kick bad habits that are hogging your precious time.
Or there’s Option D, the one my BF has selected. Divide your time … aka hypnotize your honey with chores, wine, a candle-lit dinner, and some quality one-on-one before you log in to your underground lair … she’ll notice and appreciate that you care enough to take the time to dismount from your burning phoenix — the Ashes of Alar — and put Warcraft aside to let her know you do, in fact, give a sh–.
Just remember all you WOWers … life is short and mana can’t buy love.