Dear Luv Doc
Please help! I work in the tech department in a large area hospital. Much of my day is spent sitting on my butt, staring at a computer screen until I’m bug-
eyed. I’m dating an incredible woman who I really like, but here’s the rub. She is an ER nurse and works in an insanely busy level-one trauma hospital. She races about for 12 hours, like her pants are on fire, tanked up on caffeine and adrenaline. When she gets off work, she wants to crash and watch Netflix, which I get, but the last thing I want to do is sit on my butt again and stare at another screen. I really, really care for this woman. Is there any way to make this relationship work where we are both happy?
—Bug Eyed

It sounds to me like the ER nurse is looking for some mindless distraction and relaxation. You can’t do much better than Netflix for that. The nice thing about Netflix is that it allows you to dial up something stupid almost instantly. That’s really handy when you don’t want to be challenged either intellectually or emotionally—like when you’ve just spent a twelve-hour day making crucial, emotionally charged decisions in a trauma unit. My guess is that you don’t want to go home and watch a respiratory intubation on an episode of ER. Rather, you want to go home and watch a few episodes of The Big Bang Theory, which, although its name makes it sound intellectually challenging, might just be the stupidest show on TV right now. It’s so dumb, it makes you want to punch a wall, but if you’re a couple of glasses into a nice bottle of chardonnay, I imagine it might make you titter uncontrollably. At least, that’s the only reason I can explain its ongoing success.

If you’ve been staring at a computer screen all day, however, watching Big Bang Theory is like gouging your eyes out with a rusty fork. It’s going to be painful no matter how many glasses of chardonnay you can gulp down. After being on your butt all day, you probably want to play laser tag or enter a dance marathon. There’s the rub: you and your girlfriend are almost polar opposites when it comes to the amount of physical exertion your jobs require. She wants to relax at the end of her day, and you’re all amped up and ready for action.

Here’s a possibility: Give your girlfriend a nice, long, relaxing massage while she watches Netflix. Really focus and put your back into it. That way if she ends up watching an episode of The Big Bang Theory, you’ll be too engrossed in providing her relaxation to notice the abomination that’s happening on the TV screen. You might want to invest in some earplugs too. The Big Bang Theory isn’t just a visual feast.

I know what you’re probably thinking at this point: “What do I get out of this deal?” Well, eventually you will have your girlfriend’s undying gratitude. After a week’s worth of wonderful post-work massages, she might even feel compelled to join you for a game of laser tag. Remember, however, that whatever you do, it needs to look very unlike a trauma center. Hunting and fishing are probably out. I wouldn’t even suggest a cooking class. Too many knives.

If you do decide to try to go out, make sure whatever you do is relaxing, light-hearted, and fun. Maybe a nice dinner or bowling (that’s the closest sport to sleeping besides golf and fishing) or a concert (seated . . . and not on your shoulders). Some people even take classes, like ceramics or painting. Hey, if painting can take George W’s mind off his troubles, it can probably work for anybody. Bonne chance!