As Valentine’s Day approaches, our thoughts turn to love—both romantic love, and the kind that requires red lace underwear.
Love is simple, but it isn’t always easy. In any intimate relationship, there is the need for both romantic love, and the red lace underwear kind. The key to a successful relationship is in striking a balance.
Women tend to regard red lace underwear as a non-essential but sometimes nice ending to a time otherwise made fabulous by hand holding, cuddling, and general intimacy. If it were a business project, then the red underwear would be happy hour.
Men tend to regard hand holding, cuddling and general intimacy as a non-necessary morning huddle—a pre-cursor to getting down to the real business of the red lace underwear.
The good news is that we are already sitting in the same boardroom, we just need to understand each other’s business model.
What ladies need to understand about men is just how much of their behavior is driven by their brain. No, the other brain. To be clear, let’s refer to the male brains as Big Brain and Little Brain….And since we know how sensitive men can be about the size of their, um, brain, let me clarify that Big Brain is NOT the one resting behind their eyes in their cranial cavity. That’s Little Brain. While Little Brain is still mostly asleep, and has maybe just begun to note the sun coming up, Big Brain is often already wide awake, apparently fully caffeinated and ready to do business. Men tend to regard this as a sign that they should actually conduct business. Although the reason for this “morning business readiness” is not entirely known, most doctors and researchers believe that men awake feeling ready for business because they in fact just had a dream during which business was conducted. In fact, this morning readiness is probably the last in a series of “readinesses” that took place throughout the night, during periods of REM sleep. Because of this morning readiness, Big Brain will try to conduct business before anyone else is really awake. And since Big Brain isn’t checking for a pulse, faking unconsciousness is not an effective defense. Just know that your man is not being as obnoxious as you think. He’s sort of on autopilot. In the evening, alcohol may have the same effect on Big Brain, although his business readiness isn’t as ready for business as it believes itself to be. The bottom line is, though, that man are always on standby, and able to get business ready at the site of some exposed skin.
Women are different creatures altogether. I mean, there are some women who are business ready all of the time. You can pay them cash, conduct your business, and be on your way. And there are some women who can get business ready pretty fast. They don’t work, they have maids, and they have no children. But most of us are more process-oriented. We need extra time to process, plan, and shift priorities. We might to do a root cause analysis to figure out why the need exists for the business at this time, and in this way. You should be prepared to make your business case by giving work samples. This would include things such as hand holding, hugging, kissing, and whispering sweet nothings. It would also be very beneficial if for you to highlight other skills that you bring to the table….you, know value added skills such as helping clean up after dinner, taking out the trash, and assisting with parenting responsibilities. Seeing these sorts of skills in action can do more to close the deal than anything else, and you may find yourself in business much more quickly than you would otherwise.
These basic principles can easily be seen at work on Valentine’s Day more than any other time of year.
When you ask most of The Fairer Sex what Valentine’s Day is about, you’ll hear frequent mention of champagne and long-stemmed roses, expensive perfume and heart-shaped boxes of chocolate. Oh, and anything with diamonds. Girls are fond of “long walks on beaches” and kissing under the moonlight. Poetry and proclamations of love should not be ruled out, and guys, if you’ve lost all sense of masculinity, you may even be expected to serenade your lady-love. It might also be good to go back and remember the lines you had to memorize in 9th grade, when your class read Romeo and Juliet.
If you ask young men what the day is about, you may see a wicked flash in the eyes and a slight smile creep across their faces. They do understand the above referenced expectations, and may even be fully prepared to execute on some, or even all of them. Of course, they have a set of their own expectations, and will provide for you—in the same gift box as the perfume— the lingerie to carry them out. Oh, you don’t look good in handcuffs? Too bad…He looks silly down on one knee trying to sing “Love Me Tender” with a red rose in his mouth.
When you ask mature men what Valentine’s Day is about, you are likely to see some anxiety creep across their faces. Why? Because they understand completely what their ladies believe Valentine’s to be, and they are frightened. Most men are inherently horrified at the thought of writing poetry, or crooning their love out in song, and equally afraid of screwing up on the purchase of perfume or diamonds. Never mind the absurd amount of money that many of them feel compelled to spend on this day. This group of men is usually called husbands, and they have the firmest grasp on reality. I’m glad that’s what I have at home.
Speaking of what I have at home, the quickest he ever closed a business deal was the evening I came home late from work and completely exhausted. And there he was…….in his birthday suit………sweat dripping off his pecs……… biceps bulging……….while he stood in the bathtub scrubbing the ring of soap scum away with a big brush and a can of scrubbing bubbles.
His value proposition was clear. And he was in business.
So that everyone gets what they want, might I suggest serving your Valentine some lobster?
Here are three of my favorite recipes featuring Lobster. If either the availability or the price of lobster is a hindrance for you, try using the biggest shrimp you can find, instead.
Lobster Mango Carpaccio
2 4 oz lobster tails, steamed until 75% cooked
1 cup orange juice
¼ cup lime juice
½ fresh jalapeno, finely minced
1 ripe mango
1 tablespoon minced cilantro
1 tablespoon olive oil
Carefully remove lobster from the shell, and slice crosswise very thinly into medallions. Place in refrigerator to chill.
Place juices and jalapeno in a small saucepan over medium heat, and simmer until reduced to about ¼ cup.
Peel the mango with a paring knife. Use a cheese slicer or mandolin to slice very thin slices. Arrange the mango in a circular fashion on two small plates, overlapping a bit.
Arrange the lobster in a circular pattern over the mango, overlapping the slices. Drizzle with the olive oil, the warm orange juice reduction, and sprinkle with minced cilantro. Serve immediately.
Surf and Turf, Two Ways
The Traditional Way:
2 lobster tails, 4-5 oz each
2 Tablespoons soft butter
2 6 oz beef tenderloin steaks
Ancho Cocoa Grill Rub
Using kitchen shears, cut the lobster tail down the length of the bottom, and split open slightly. Spread butter into the slit, and sprinkle with the grill rub. Sprinkle both sides of the steak with the rub. Grill both lobster and steak over hot flame, 3-5 minutes on each side, depending on desired doneness.
Serve with salad, and not much else, because steak and lobster are all anyone really needs to be happy.
Traditional Surf and Turf
The Casual Way:
2 lobster tails, 4-5 oz each
2 Tablespoons soft butter
1 pound ground sirloin
Ancho Cocoa Grill Rub (see below)
2 kaiser rolls
2 teaspoons olive oil
½ cup mayonnaise
A few leaves of butter lettuce
Using kitchen shears, cut the lobster tail down the length of the bottom, and split open slightly. Spread butter into the slit, and sprinkle with the grill rub.
Divide the meat into two hamburger patties. Sprinkle both sides liberally with grill rub.
Place lobster tails and meat over medium flame, and cook through (actual time will depend on how thick you made the patties, and how well done you like them). For safety, ground meat should ideally be served well done. When removed from grill, use a large knife to cut lobster tails all the way through, lengthwise. Carefully remove from shell.
Brush olive oil over cut sides of rolls. Grill over flame until toasted nicely.
Mix mayonnaise with 2 teaspoons of grill rub. Spread on buns, and top with lettuce, burger patty and lobster tails.
Ancho and Cocoa Grill Rub
1 cup coarse salt
¼ cup brown sugar
2 T black pepper
1 T ground cumin
1 T onion powder
1 T garlic powder
1 T unsweetened cocoa powder
1 T ancho chili powder
Place all ingredients in a jar and shake well. Store with your other spices.