Dear Chairman Mal,

My girlfriend is normally pretty cool about my gaming habit. She doesn’t play much herself, but she doesn’t give me any grief about it. And she will go out and do her own thing if I have a raid or something.

But I’m wondering if I might have just crossed a line.

She’s dragging me to the wedding of one of her friends in a couple weeks. She’s a bridesmaid, and it’s far enough away that we’re spending the whole weekend in a hotel. 

This is a college friend, and I don’t know any of the people there (besides my girlfriend). So I came up with a great way to kill time during all the boring wedding preparation stuff. I could bring my PC! That way, I would have something to do while she gets her hair done and puts ribbons on flowers, and whatever else bridesmaids do.

Only when I mentioned this in passing, just to test the waters, she rolled her eyes and pretended I was joking. But I still think it’s a good idea. And she didn’t say, “no,” exactly. So what do you think?

–Proud Member of the PC MasterRace

Dear Proud PC Guy,

This … this right here … is why people buy consoles.

I mean, it’s not the only reason to buy a console. There are many more, ranging from price to available titles, to not getting involved in a pointless pissing match over tech specs on the internet. But the point I’m trying to get to here is that a console would solve your problem.

Why? Two reasons. Number one, it would be a lot easier to subtly pack into the car for your trip without worrying about damage or getting found out. You’ll already have a TV at the hotel, after all.

(You will have a TV, won’t you? Better check your reservation. Do you see the words, “historic” or “quaint” anywhere in the hotel literature? If so, you’re screwed, my friend. Expect a weekend of substandard internet and a toilet designed for people whose growth was stunted by tuberculosis and polio.)

The other reason a console would be ideal is that people perceive them as being more social. So in her eyes, you wouldn’t be packing a PC so you could disappear into your own game. You’d be packing a console, in case some of the new friends you meet want to hang out and play a few games while the bridesmaids tie inedible candy almonds in mesh bags and have someone make them up to look like a drag version of Lady Gaga. But I repeat myself. The point is that when there’s a bunch of you playing games together, you can call it male bonding, and your girlfriend will respect it — or at least not raise a fuss over it.

But you asked if you can ignore your girlfriend and check out for hours at a time while she experiences the emotional ups and downs of being in a friend’s wedding. Her reaction suggests to me that she won’t be happy about it, but you could probably get away with bringing the PC if you’re careful to only use it during your downtime. That is when you’re not supposed to be somewhere else or getting ready to go somewhere else.

However, the first time she has to lie to her fellow bridesmaids about what you’re doing … well, you’re in for a headache. So if you want to bring your PC and get no grief about it, you’ll have to do some extra work.

First, commit the following phrases to memory: “I have everything I could ever want right here.” “Just being here with you makes me realize how lucky I am to have such a beautiful, funny, and cool woman in my life.” “You know, you’re not like other women. It’s amazing how well you understand people.”

Do not, whatever you do, deviate from this list or go overboard. Saying things like, “I don’t deserve someone like you,” runs the risk that she will look at you, hand glued to your mouse, headphones blinking blue, and decide that you’re right.

Having set the stage by saying the right thing, bring it home. The first time you have an opportunity to get some gaming in, get the details about her plans — where she’s going to be, when, and so on. Then say, “I was going to go out, but I want you to really enjoy your time with your friends. And I might have a little surprise for you.” Then show up with some stupid over-flavored coffees or drinks that come with parasols and fruit (depending on the venue), give them to the bridesmaid crew. You can now disappear again, secure in the knowledge that you will not hear a single word of criticism about your gaming for the rest of the weekend.

Follow these instructions and you should be fine. Your only remaining challenge is getting the computer in the car without damaging anything. I suggest using the fluffy bridesmaid dress to cushion the area around the tower while wrapping the keyboard in the sturdier rehearsal dinner outfit. And be sure to keep the monitor well away from her shoes and make-up bag. They’re basically a barbed wire/poison gas hut for delicate electronics.

And whatever you do, don’t lean over during the reception and whisper, “I give them six months.” Unless she’s thoroughly sick of the bride and has been complaining about her all day. In which case, you should definitely do that.


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