(This was last year's Valentines column.)
Contrary to what my wife says, I am, without a doubt, the most romantic guy I have ever met. It is with this thought in mind, and the fact that Valentine's Day is only days away, that I am writing this column to give advice to the men out there who find themselves romantically-challenged. If nothing else, here are a couple of tips to muddle through that dreaded day with your testosterone intact.
The most important thing about the holiday, and I can't stress this enough so I'm only going to say it once, is buying the perfect Valentine's Day card. I read on Wikipedia (so we know that the figures have to be accurate) that the U.S. Greeting Card Association estimates more than 190 million cards are sent out each year in the United States. That figure goes up to a billion if you count all the cards that are exchanged in elementary school classrooms throughout the nation. That's a lot of people buying a lot of cards, and you need to be one of those people.
Don't be the schmuck that waits until after work on Valentine's Day to stop by the card shop to pick through the leftovers that nobody else wanted. I like to go during lunch hour and beat the rush. There is nothing more heartfelt than a piece of cardboard with some sappy sentiments written on it. Especially if it plays "Baby Got Back" when you open it up.
Many of you guys out there will feel the need to pick up a heart-shaped box of chocolates and maybe a bouquet of roses for your special someone. I really feel the need to warn against this compulsion. My theory has always been and always will be, "Keep expectations low." This may sound bad but remember that whatever you get her this year, you're going to have to meet and/or exceed that gift quota for next year. Through basic mathematics, a box of candy this year could turn into a trip to see Willie Wonka sometime in the next decade.
Valentine's Day is a great time to take your significant other out to eat. Unfortunately, reservations are usually required at most restaurants on this holiday, and if you're anything like me, you forgot to get reservations because something really good was on TV. But don't despair. You can still salvage a nice meal out on the town. As you're waiting in the drive-thru line to pick up your food, just stare deeply into your wife's eyes and say, "Doesn't this remind you of our first date?" This ought to smooth things over, at least until you realize that they forgot your fries.
Sometimes I like to rent a movie on Valentine's Day. There is nothing on the face of this earth that will make you look more like Don Juan than coming home with a nice romantic movie selection. Unfortunately, and I hate to sugar coat this, but romantic movies stink. There, I said it, and I feel better because of it. The typical romance movie has very little gun-play, car chases, light saber duels, talking animals or the hilarious use of flatulence as a subplot. You know, the stuff that makes cinema great. And when they use the term "romantic-comedy," don't believe them. It just means that Tom Hanks didn't feel like making a "good" movie this time around.
I have found one standby movie that I can stomach that my wife finds kind of romantic. That movie is "Titanic." I'll warn you guys the first half of this three-hour epic is pretty slow with the building love story between Jack and Rose, but if you wake up at the right time, you get to see a boat sink and a bunch of people drown in the icy North Atlantic. More often than not, I spoil the romantic mood by pointing out that much of the disaster could have been avoided if all of the passengers had been issued a pair of those inflatable floatie things that you put over little kids arms when they go in the pool.
If you guys play your cards right, you'll probably have one of those Cialis moments just like on those television commercials where you and your lady end up in matching bathtubs sitting in a meadow, drinking a glass of wine and watching a crimson sunset.
Those were briefly some of my sure-fire points to survive, uh I mean, enjoy a successful Valentine's Day. If anybody else has some more helpful tips, don't keep them to yourselves. Help keep your fellow man out of the proverbial doghouse for at least one day a year.
By the way, I had to Google the word "Cialis" in order to know how to spell it. That will be a fun one to explain to the wife.
Published Saturday, February 11, 2012, Bureau County Republican.
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