Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Some Valentine's Day suggestions

I interrupt my travelogue with a Valentine’s Day post. Never one of my favorite holidays, possibly because it’s also my birthday. You’re supposed to feel in love on Valentine’s Day, not older.

I find it interesting that arguably the most romantic movie of all-time is about a married woman who has an affair and is ready to dump her husband. The movie is CASABLANCA.

Guys always dread Valentine’s Day because it comes with a huge heap of obligation. You have to buy her a present, you have to take her out to an expensive dinner. There’s a lot of just going-through-the-motions. And any true sentiment gets buried in a price fixed menu.

Might I make a suggestion?

Another way to show genuine affection is to make her laugh. Is there something you can do to celebrate Valentine’s Day that’s fun? Any place you can go that’s a little off-beat and silly? Any way you could let your hair down and do something a bit crazy and out of character? Think of those great old romcoms – guys are always doing slightly embarrassing things to win the hearts of their Audrey Hepburns. Often they wind up fully dressed falling into pools or getting arrested for serenading in a library but the thought is there. Spontaneity can be romantic, too. Is there an Improv show you could take her to?  Goofy motel shaped like a wigwam you can stay for the night?   Drinks on the roof of a police station? A home cooked dinner then watching VOLUNTEERS on TV (that's if you REALLY want to pull out all the stops)?

When I was a teenager and wanted to really make an impression I did not take my dates to expensive restaurants. First off, I couldn’t afford them, and secondly this made more of an impact. Eckberg’s Steakhouse. This is a small excerpt from my upcoming book on growing up in the ‘60s:

I took Helen to Eckberg’s Steakhouse. This was maybe my favorite restaurant in the world. It was in an actual house, on a side street off Ventura Blvd. in Woodland Hills. The living room had been converted to a dining room large enough for maybe six or seven tables. You could see into the kitchen where the stork-like Mr. Eckberg cooked the steaks. His dowdy wife was the waitress. All she would ever say was “ice box rolls” when she put a basket of them on your table.

They were both in their 70s, although who knows? They could have easily been in their 90s. They lived upstairs. Mr. Eckberg was a force of nature. He took your order, he cooked your steak, and all the while, cackled like an insane person. If a customer put a nickel into an old juke box, the song “I’m Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover” would play. Mr. Eckberg would turn it up full blast and begin to dance and sing at the top of his lungs, all the while ringing dozens of bells. Helen thought this was a riot.

Mr. Eckberg would only take cash, and when you paid at his antique register he would chortle, “Money, money, money!” ring a few bells, and make you kiss a rubber chicken.

See if there’s an “Eckberg’s” somewhere in your town.

For girls, wanting to please their guys on Valentine’s Day, it’s much easier and requires much less thought. Just give them sex.

Happy Valentine’s Day. Tomorrow the romance continues with my surviving a harrowing cyclone in the Tasman Sea.

29 comments:

Roger Owen Green said...

Happy birthday.
Confidential to my honey: what Ken said.

Helena said...

Happy birthday, Ken! And thank you for a great blog!

Cathy S. said...

Happy Birthday Ken! And thanks for the pictures and travelogue. I once spent 3 weeks in New Zealand. It's one of the most beautiful places I've ever been.

Debby G. said...

Happy birthday! Remember: Getting older is better than the alternative.

Tim Ahern said...

Mr. Eckberg would ask, with an arched eyebrow, if you wanted steak sauce w/ the meal. The correct answer, if you knew what was good for you, was always "no".

RS Gray said...

Happy birthday!

WV: Bobomalt - Get on that Koreatown! That sounds delicious!

RCP said...

Happy Birthday! (okay to use an exclamation mark?)

Where did the Eckbergs get their meat? That's what I want to know.

Eric said...

Happy Birthday, Thank you for all the entertaining and educational posts!

Johnny Walker said...

Happy birthday. A lovely post, too.

Tom Quigley said...

Ken,

Happy Birthday! -- And I hope that whatever you and your wife decide to do to celebrate both occasions today (which I'm sure will be in the privacy of your own home) will make the day a memorable one!

Jake Mabe said...

Happy birthday, Ken! You share it with my all-time favorite comedian, the late, great Jack Benny!

Brian said...

Happy Birthday Ken.

Remember, nothing says "I love you" like a gas station rose"

John Leach said...

Happy birthday Ken! Thanks for the wonderful work over the years and the terrific blog.

D. McEwan said...

Natal Felicitations to you, Jack Benny, and Thelma Ritter, all 39 today.

All great romantic movies end with the couple seperated forever. For women, they get the good weep that, for some reason, they like to get from movies, and for the guys, it's a happy ending. The hero can ignore Valentine's Day again.

One movie that was first released on Valentine's Day, 1931, with the romantic tagline on the ads: "The strangest Love Story of all," was Dracula with Bela Lugosi, and it was one of the biggest hits of that year, and remains popular despite being perhaps the dullest movie ever to become a "Beloved Classic Movie."

So Happy Birthday Ken and Dracula. Now I have to take my hand to a fancy dinner if I want to get any tonight.

Charles H. Bryan said...

Happy Birthday, Ken! Thanks for the always entertaining blog. May you enjoy many more years, all gloriously free of watching American Idol.

Coincidentally, this is my ex-wife's birthday. May she have a happy one, as far away from me as possible, maybe in a North Korean jail cell.

Frank said...

Happy birthday Ken and cheers for the many laughs and funny writing tips.

Cap'n Bob said...

Happy birthday, Ken.
I took my girlfriend on a romantic dinner cruise around Puget Sound once. At the end of the night she dumped me. Talk about romancing the stone.

Ron Rettig said...

Happy Birthday Ken. . .hope you had a birthday meal at Moskva Cliff in Studio City, on Ventura on the hillside before it went the way of Whittinghill's and Tail O' The Cock, no less Perino's, Romanoff's, etc. etc.

RonnyBergman said...

Long time lurker from cold Sweden here.Happy birthday and,above all,many thanks for years of informative and always entertaining peeks into the world of broadcasting,radio or otherwise.keep it up,best wishes to your loved ones!

benson said...

Happy Birthday Ken.

You, Jack Benny, Thelma Ritter and the real "Some Like It Hot". And CHB's ex wife, and her North Korean jail cell. (Isn't that a current plot line from 30 Rock?)

Kirk said...

Happy birthday, Ken. In addition to you, Jack Benny, Thelma Ritter, and the Bela Lugosi version of Dracula, it's also Arizona's birthday. It became a state 100 years ago today (no, I don't live in Arizona. I just now read it on a blog of somebody who does.)

Claudia poemas said...

You have to be happy to celebrate two important thing when your family and enjoy all day the life now is very fast and you dont know what will happen tomorrow

R's Woman said...

Happy Birthday, Ken.

I feel lucky that my honey - R - and I don't do anything more on V-Day than what we do generally: laugh hard, play hard, rest hard, have nice dinners, good wine, go to the beach, listen to music, play Scrabble...

Hope you've laughed and played hard today!

Pat Reeder said...

If you want to impress your sweetie with something whimsical, might I suggest the Valentine's Day tour of the Newtown Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant in Brooklyn? Ladies will especially enjoy the up-close views of the egg-shaped "digesters" that turn noxious waste into gas and sludge (no, not their husbands). They even send you off with a free Hershey Kiss, although it's possible that the term "Hershey Kiss" has an entirely different meaning to a sewer worker.

I like to think that if they made "The Honeymooners" today, Norton would use that line in the first episode.

VW: "Prativ" - Prone to public prayer at any moment. "During the primary season, Republican candidates are extremely prativ."

Dan Tedson said...

I bought my girlfriend this which is about the most awesome thing that's ever existed ever.

I also drew a pretty heart on the envelope of the card. Then I gave it a gigantic ANGRY cock and balls. Her reaction was a mix of horror and laughter, my cocaine.

Breadbaker said...

Happy birthday, Ken. My wife answered my question that I "did both", i.e., made her laugh and got her a prix fixe dinner. There was an in-joke involved in where we went even though it was otherwise filled with twentysomethings on dates. The joke was better, I'm afraid, than the food.

cshel said...

Ken - Happy BVD's! (That's for Birthday and Valentine's Days.)

If you don't get sex every year on that day, with that double-header (excuse the pun) going for you, then it's your own fault.

I'm not sure if there's more than one WigWam Motel, but I saw a show on TV about a guy who won the lottery and bought the WigWam Motel for his wife. Now that's an idea for a Valentine's Day gift!

Dennis S. said...

Mr. Eckberg would also ask you how you wanted your steak — raw, rare, medium, medium-well, well or cremated!

Bill Fleming said...

Eckberg's had one dessert a killer apple pie.