By Jack Sharkey, February 14, 2016.

Well, the second most romantic holiday of the year, Groundhog Day, is past us, so that means only one thing…the single most romantic day of the year, Valentine’s Day, is almost here! Because February is such a horrible month (at least here in the Northeast), the people who put the calendar together decided that Groundhog Day and Valentine’s Day placed just a few short weeks apart would help us all climb out of our collective mid-winter funks. Which being as it’s going to be a balmy 1 degree Fahrenheit here on Sunday, is much appreciated.

But romance is not always easy. In fact, it’s often a completely unpleasant experience that leaves all involved looking forward to Monday morning. And that goes for normal people. Audio geeks are in a whole other category. A category that rivals gamers, stamp collectors, ichthyologists and people with active accounts. The sad fact is what we think is romantic is generally far less romantic than it actually is.

Except music. Music is romantic, in lots of different ways. So allow me to speak directly to the audiophiles amongst us as I try to help you translate your inner concept of romance outward for the love in your life.


Audiophile Romance Don’ts

1. Air Guitar.  Air guitar is right out. There used to be a bar near me that held air guitar contests on Thursday nights. I brought a date there once. Nothing says “what you have to look forward to for the rest of your life is me pretending I’m a rock and roll animal” like a few windmills and Angus Young struts. Leave the air guitar for those endless hours you are alone. Also banned: air drums (even when Rush is playing), air harmonica, air Robert Plant or Jay-Z. Got it? Good, you’re on your way.

2. Listening to Rush. Maybe you got lucky, and your love interest is also fluent in the ways of outrageous time signatures and sci-fi lyrics, but seriously, how many love songs are in Rush’s catalog? Something to consider when you put together your romantic evening playlist. Other artists that are not recommended: Judas Priest, Metallica, Fall Out Boy and Bjork. Remember, romance is about drawing your loved one closer to you, not pushing them away.

3. Don’t Discuss Your Gear. Now on the surface this may seem like a no-brainer. Open discussions of one’s gear as a prelude to a romantic evening will generally leave most partners feeling underwhelmed. Yet, as a music lover who is really into your equipment, long, drawn out dissertations on why your gear does what it does and how much your gear cost you only serve to make your romantic partner hope he or she gets a stomach ache and has to go home early.

4. Unfortunately, Stereos Are Not Porsches. It’s a well-known fact that owning a Porsche is extremely helpful in the romance department, at least on a surface level. Let’s just say that owning a Porsche is a good compensator and even better ice breaker. Not so much with a stereo system. And for Heaven’s sake don’t opine on your speaker cables! Break your romantic partner down slowly. Let him or her first hear the wondrousness of the sounds your system produces over a long period of time. It’s an insidious brain creep thing this audio hobby. You have to be patient. Also, owners of all other German-made cars: Only Porsches work as ice breakers. After that you’ve got to go Italian.

5. Don’t Discuss the Music.Did you hear that?” and “Wait! This next part is awesome!” generally serve to crush the vibe rather than amplify it. You’ve got awesome stereo gear, let it do for you what you can probably not do for yourself – set a nice relaxing, romantic vibe while making you seem like a sophisticated and dashing romantic.

Audiophile Romance Do’s

1. Vinyl Can Be Romantic. Every twenty minutes or so there’s a break in the action, allowing you, the fine, romantic host, an opportunity to refill a wine glass or get more cheese for all those toothpicks you put on the platter. Plus, during lame songs, it gives you a chance to maybe spark up some conversation, or tell a decent joke or something.

2. Streaming Is A Wonderfully Romantic Invention. Find a decent station on your streaming service and let fly. Particularly recommended are flamenco and Mediterranean music, and old school American soul. However, nothing screams “cheap date” more than those intrusive commercials on your streaming service. Pony up and pay for your Spotify or Pandora and keep the mood intact, which will also let your date know that you aren’t fooling around and aren’t afraid to drop some coin now and again. Also, two words you should avoid while trying to talk romance to your date: “however” and “intact.”

3. When Things Get Serious, Go Classical. Congratulations! You’ve put some Classical music on for your romantic evening! You are now as sophisticated as the Dos Equis guy or Michael Caine! However, amateurs are advised against going to Classical music too soon in a relationship. There are a lot of different songs and genres to choose from and making the wrong choice could be disastrous. (Imagine getting ready to get things sparked up and Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture queues up. Horrifying.) Also, Classical music sends the message that you are ready to get serious, and well, that could have a lifetime of consequences if you go Classical too soon.

4. Tough Out A Rom Com.  This one is directed more specifically to the guys out there. Sometimes you have to take a hit for the greater good. Maybe your date wants a movie instead of music. Fine, go with it. Some movie about people in Europe baking desserts and falling in love, or maybe a bunch of people who are friends and then, suddenly, beyond all expectations fall in love, or maybe some woman rescues dogs and she falls in love with the guy who delivers her dog food in bulk but all he really wants is to be a poet. Whatever dude. Get your home theater system tuned up and dig on the sweet sounds your system makes while pretending to be interested in the story of a quilt that makes people fall in love or whatever she’s making you watch. Helpful Hint: Stay engaged enough to nod approvingly or go “awwww” at the cute parts. If you can make yourself tear up, that’s always a bonus.

5. Music Is Romantic. Music is how our emotions communicate with each other. You’ve spent your money on some awesome gear, now make it work for you. In fact, no matter what your system is like, let music make the date.


The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and not necessarily those of KEF or its employees.