Close friends and family know that my life is full of women. I married one. I have two as daughters. I have a sister and a mother, two grandmothers (one a widow). So what? My wife has a mother, a sister, a close aunt, a close cousin and two grandmothers -- all single. So, the shtick of "my life with the women" really stems from stories of all the women on my wife's side of things when they visit. There is literally no men. And though in recent times a couple of men have the courage to play a role in the womanhood, when the ladies come to my house the men usually stay home. They need a break. So, I'm literally screwed.
It's not rare and very common to have as many as 12 women in my house at any given time. Not only are there the blood-related XX-ers, but with them come a myriad of roommates, friends and tag-alongs -- all female.
With that in mind, and even after 16 years of this lifestyle, I still forget that certain comments will instigate vile arguments. I get lambasted, as I got on Sunday night, during Game 7 of the 2008 ALCS. Oh boy, what was I thinking? I should have been drinking...
So, one thing I have been able to do is convert most of the women to Red Sox fans. Granted, the zeal and approach is not welcomed by all, but if we're all at home watching the game, it's Red Sox jerseys and caps all around. And, when the ladies are feeling really adventurous, it's long necks and wings to go with a good game.
We hosted a monster karaoke/sleepover party for my youngest daughter on Saturday (side note: a party like this requires the help of many, and when your life is mostly women, things go a lot smoother). I say monster because the party was complete with an 8x12 stage; 1000 watt fog machine; lights galore; four mikes; and a sound system that could manage 14 screaming 7-year-old girls. Only 7 slept over, and on Sunday morning, I was able to motivate the ladies into breaking down the stage and cleaning up the joint for a noon kick-off of the Dallas Cowboys, and more importantly, a decisive Game 7 between the Red Sox and Rays at the Beer Can (my term of endearment for Tropicana Field, which to me looks like a giant beer can crashed into the earth).
We made the noon deadline just fine, but of course, the Cowboys disappointed us greatly, which warranted a long nap. With eyes on 7 p.m. for a first pitch, we ate a good lunch and took a good nap, trying to recover lost energies from the monster party and the Cowboys disappointment.
A trip to Starbucks and showers for all gave way to a good, crisp group at home for Game 7. We paused the DVR, for my little girls had not finished homework. But, as soon as their last "T" was crossed, on to TBS for first pitch.
What better start than a first-inning HR from Dustin Pedroia? What a great feeling?! I was rather chatty this evening, and was giving the girls background stories on some of these players. They had questions about rules and things like, "batting streaks, ERA, bullpens, etc." Unlike the guy who asked, "How do you watch baseball?" I was answering all their questions gallantly.
Capt. Veritek came to bat at the top of the 7th with runners on first and third. The at-bat gave way to another pause and several potty breaks, as my girls (all of them) have come to appreciate the meaning of an at-bat like this, where you have runners in scoring position and a shot at taking the game back. At that point, the score was 2-1, Rays. Surely, like in Game 6, Tek would come through.
If you know baseball and are a fan of your team, you have a visual image of each player's batting stance and the quirks that come with it. Veritek is a switch hitter and one of the things he usually does after a pitch is tap his bat on his shoes. That, and every now and then, there is a crotch grab for cup re-adjusting. Usually nobody cares. We've become immune to this because, well, every body's used to it. Well, in spite of all the training and game watching we've done at my house, I've learned there are things my ladies are still unwilling to forgive.
I said, "In his defense, he's wearing a cup that needs re-adjusting to feel comfortable."
(Picture this: three grown girls sitting 'round the family room. The TV is 12 o'clock; one is ten o'clock; I'm 7 o'clock; another is dead center 6 o'clock; and the third is 4 o'clock.)
At the last breathe of my comment, all eyes fastened to 7 o'clock.
Let the firing line begin (for identity protection purposes, I'm not going to say who said what).
"WHY, WHY DO YOU GUYS DO THAT?" (as if I had just grabbed mine)
"I KNOW, IT'S SO GROSS TO SEE A GUY GRAB HIS BUSINESS IN FRONT OF THE TV. THEN, THEY ALL SPIT!"
I made a futile attempt to salvage the situation, the male species and -- most importantly -- Veritek's at-bat, which quickly fell to 1-2.
"Ladies, it's not comfortable to wear that cup, and it needs readjusting so it's doesn't bother the players when batting."
"WELL IF THAT'S THE CASE (WHILE TAKING HER TWO HANDS AND GRABBING HER BOOBS) I'M GOING TO GRAB MY BOOBS AND ADJUST MY BRA WHEN IT GETS OUT OF SYNC."
I almost made a reference to this boob-grabbing comment and how it would fit very well with men, but decided against it.
"AND WHY DO THEY SPIT? EVERYBODY SPITS IN BASEBALL? DO THEY ALL CHEW TOBACCO?!"
"UUUGH, THEY'RE SO GROSS WHEN THEY PLAY. WHEY DO THEY THINK WE WANT TO SEE THEM GRAB THEIR BALLS?"
"IF THAT'S THE CASE, WHEN I'M ON MY PERIOD, I'M GOING TO GRAB MY CROTCH (no use of hand signals on this one) AND ADJUST THE YOU-KNOW-WHAT!"
I kept sinking into the sofa, and avoided direct eye contact. Just when I was feeling pretty overwhelmed, Veritek strikes out swinging, furthering my feeling that this game was slipping away.
The Rays hit a HR in the bottom of that inning. The crotch-grabbing comment took a full inning to die, and when we started the 8th, the Red Sox were now down two. J.D. Drew had bases loaded in that inning, and I really hoped he would erase the deficit and memories of the previous inning. I said, "If J.D. hits it out of the park, they can bring all the man-failure comments they want. We'll be going to the WS!"
Drew struck out on a check-swing, and the ballgame was over for all intents in purposes. They had one last shot in the ninth, but the gods of baseball had moved to the Rays dugout. It was evident.
So, the lesson is this: When you think your ladies are full-fledged fans of baseball (or any sport), beware! Like wolves in sheep skin, any little eccentricity in the male world can and will set them off. Red Sox lovers or not, ball grabbing, spitting and anything unbecoming in charm school is unacceptable. Never mind the fact that the Red Sox almost pulled off another stunning come-from-behind rally, after being 1-3 in the ALCS.
I guess my "How do you watch baseball?" friend could have benefited from being at home with us that night. If baseball was still unwatchable for him, the boob grabbing incident, coupled with the male disdain would have been enough to create a Fall Classic memory for him.
Rays in 6, by the way.