At the risk of sounding even more curmudgeonly than usual, we have found that one of the many advantages of living a solitary life is being able to take St. Valentine’s Day off.
The more amorous sorts of men don’t have this option, as the women they are incessantly pursuing simply will not permit it. Any man hoping to maintain a romantic relationship with any woman is required by unwritten law to expend a certain amount of money and effort on some elaborately gooey gesture each St. Valentine’s Day, and the unwritten penalties for a violation are too bothersome to contemplate. We well remember from the entanglements of our wasted youth how very giddy the expectations are on St. Valentine’s Day, and how very sullen a woman’s silence can be when they are not fulfilled. Our best advice to a young man is to find a good book and avoid such nonsense altogether, but for those who persist in seeking companionship we will offer a few more practical tips.
First of all, don’t forget the date. The mnemonic device we’ve used is that Darnell Valentine, the great point guard who earned all-American honors at Wichita Heights High School and the University of Kansas before a long professional career spent mostly with the Portland Trailblazers, always wore “14” on his jersey. We never figured out a trick for remembering the month, but always counted on the advertising industry for a timely reminder. Whatever methods a smitten young man might use to remember St. Valentine’s Day, a failure to do so will lead to a most unpleasant February 15.
Also, have roses delivered to the object of your foolish affection at her workplace, school, or whatever location will allow the delivery to take place within view of other women. Some will argue that roses on St. Valentine’s Day have become so obligatory as to become meaningless, and that something more imaginative is required to express true love, but in romantic relationships as in everything else the obligatory remains obligatory no matter how meaningless. Throw in something imaginative if it occurs to you, but don’t omit the roses, and make sure they’re adequate in quantity to arouse some noticeable degree of jealousy among your loved one’s dearest unattached or inadequately courted friends.
Something chocolate is another a good idea. Legend holds that a gift of chocolate is a metaphor for the sweetness of one’s sweetie, but our more modern theory holds that there’s no better way than inviting a woman to chow down on a box of chocolates to assure her that you don’t think she’s fat. We’ve yet to meet a young woman who didn’t harbor a slightly debilitating fear that you think she’s fat, even the ones with the physique of an Andersonville Prison inmate, and chocolate seems to have a strangely calming effect.
A fine meal delivered to a cloth-covered and candle-lit table rather than through a drive-in window is also required. Even here in lost-cost Wichita such a repast with a sufficient amount of drinks might run as high as $100, or $100.50 with tip, but on this damnable date there is no advantage in being a cheapskate.
Yet another toughtful gift is advisable, but we cannot make any recommendations regarding what it should be as we have no knack for such esoteric things. We once bought a girlfriend one of those shower massage nozzles and it had her climbing the walls, so we realized too late that we should have purchased the hand-held model. In no case should you offer anything that might be by any stretch of the imagination construed as implying that you think she’s fat.
The law of averages dictates that some miniscule portion of our readership has already found true love, and we humbly defer to their superior judgments on these matters. To those still holding out hope for such a lasting love we do not mean to offer any discouragement, just a mild bemusement. Our contemporary popular music and cinema and tax code do little to encourage lasting relationships, so let us wish you all a most happy and heartwarming St. Valentine’s Day.
— Bud Norman