Tara Kaprowy

As you know, I never tire of noting the differences between men and women. And over the past months, I’ve realized that nothing illustrates those differences more than a good, old shopping spree for electronics.

Our shopping extravaganza started in January when we had our basement renovated. Sick of our bulky and, P.S., ugly entertainment unit, we opted for a nice, narrow credenza to stuff our stereo, DVD, and knots of cable into.

But, as you might imagine, a nice, narrow credenza does not accommodate a big, fat TV.

And so the search was on for a thin boob tube, the flat kind with the picture that looks, yes, more real than real life.

That search quickly led the boyfriend into Barney Miller’s in Lexington, a store seriously dedicated to home entertainment. There we met Kenny, a man who had a splash of Vince Vaughn in him and who clearly wore briefs because I could see his panty lines through his khakis.

Soon, Kenny had shown us all of his TVs and had deftly steered us into the speaker room. Somehow, and I still don’t remember how this happened, we found ourselves listening to an Elvis Costello song that resonated from speakers so fancy they had gold knobs for feet.

As Elvis crooned, I watched the boyfriend’s eyes glaze over.

Soon, mine had too, and I was chiding myself that I had never gotten into Elvis Costello.

Then Kenny changed the wires (that’s when I noticed the briefs situation) and played the same song on a pair of plain, small speakers.

The song sounded tinny. Elvis’ voice was too quiet and the instruments too loud. And was that, gasp, distortion?

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that’s when Kenny sold us a new set of speakers.

Or so I thought.

After the song, the boyfriend politely shook Kenny’s hand, picked up some brochures and we left. Then we headed straight to Barnes and Noble and Joseph Beth where he proceeded to buy every speaker and TV magazine he could find.

For the next two months, the boyfriend read every last word in those magazines, staying up late with his tiny book light as I slept. Then he went to Barnes and Noble and picked up more issues. Before long, he was eating and sleeping speakers and televisions and, unfortunately for me, wanting to talk about it.

“‘Electronic House Magazine’ said the high-output 1-inch tweeter is mounted in the center of a 5-inch midrange driver that employs an innovative ribbed diaphragm geometry,” he said casually one evening. “That’s cool because breakthrough driver design raises the bar for accurate sound.”


“They also said for maximum effect you have to keep those speakers three feet from the wall.”

“Umm, that would put them on top of the coffee table.”

In addition to speaker placement, the boyfriend discussed the importance of good quality wire, he went to Best Buy to be with the TVs, he wrote a dissertation on the life expectancy of plasma, he asked me how big I thought the new TV should be until I flatly told him I didn’t care.

And then one day, after digging out of a fort of magazine subscription cards, he emerged.

“It’s time,” he said and called Kenny to place his order.

He bought the speakers and TV the Barney Miller man had shown us two months before.

The day the guys came to install the system, the boyfriend could hardly stand to stay at work. For the nine, yes nine, hours they were there, I stayed out of the way. Midway through a chocolate mousse recipe, though, I realized I would need brandy, which we keep downstairs. I tiptoed down, apologized to the guys and went for the liquor cabinet.

“So what do you think?” they asked me.

I turned and saw an exceptionally large TV flanked by building-size speakers. The sitting room cowered beneath the squawking screen, with the bulldog-smoking-a-cigar lamp whimpering.

“It’s shockingly big,” I said before hearing the door fling open upstairs.

“I’m home!” the boyfriend said breathlessly and ran down the stairs.

He came into the middle of the room and stared at what he’d created, nearly fainting when he heard the whole system just needed one remote.

“What do you think?” he said, his eyes shining.

And that’s when I realized what all his hard work would mean for me.

“I smell a serious ‘Sex in the City’ marathon, don’t you?”

Staff writer Tara Kaprowy can be reached by e-mail at tkaprowy@sentinel-echo.com.

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