Monday, February 14, 2005

Valentine's Day

I was doing a little research on the history of St. Valentine's day (as you can probably tell, this blog is nothing if not meticulously researched and edited) when I discovered that nobody is really sure about who St. Valentine is. Among the contenders are the following:

Valentine Saint #1: There may have been a real Valentine, a third-century priest who defied Emperor Claudius II's ban against wartime marriages. According to legend, Valentine performed secret marriages until he was discovered and beheaded.

Valentine Saint #2: There's another legend in which a Valentine, persecuted for helping Christians during the reign of Claudius II, was thrown in jail. While there, he restored the eyesight of his jailer's blind daughter, and then maintained a secret correspondence with her to which he signed his name "your Valentine." He was later beheaded on Feb. 14.

Clearly, Claudius the II doesn't come off all that well in these stories. We all know how difficult it can be to be single on Valentine's Day, but isn't beheading someone going just a little too far? Geez, it's like advertising that you're single and bitter. If I were him, I would have just sent myself flowers and been done with it.

Anyway, that's not the point of today's entry. In fact, I'm not really sure what the point is. Let's begin again, shall we?

Ah, Valentine's Day. A day of celebration for not only people in love, but also for florists and card store owners across the land. Me? Well, I'm a romantic soul and, consequently, a sucker for this kind of stuff. As a result, I got up this morning, showered, and threw on my silk boxers with pictures of hearts on them (I like to feel pretty sometimes), and headed out to begin the day. Along the way, I considered how much the stakes rise every year. Remember when we were young? All we had to do was give out little cardboard cards to everyone in our class. Low risk-low reward. Later, we were more selective. We all went through our "do you like me? yes / no (circle one) phase, and then to the awkward teenage years where we prayed that our voices wouldn't crack and our...ummmm...interest wouldn't be too obvious in our sweatpants. Despite all of the years of practice, some guys still continue to struggle with the whole Valentine's Day concept and so I thought I'd give a little advice (for whatever it is worth).

Flowers: Okay, the basics. Get roses, not a bouquet of other flowers. I know you are trying to be different and special, but all you are going to do is make her go through the day explaining to her friends why she didn't get roses and making excuses about it. Also, spring for the entire dozen, not just a single rose. I know, you think that a single rose is more romantic. It isn't. It's just cheap.

Candy: Don't do it, unless you want to hear her complaining for the rest of the year about how you made her fat by giving her chocolate. Then you'll reply by saying that it wasn't the chocolates that did it, it was the pint of ice cream that she eats every night. Then she'll call you a callous bastard and throw a pillow at you. It's just not worth it, I tell you.

Taking her to Mickey D's and telling her that she can have anything on the menu just isn't the way to go - even if you do let her super size it. Instead, pick a special restaurant and ask for a quiet table. Then again, a million people have probably beat you to this idea. I mean, it's Valentine's Day for crying out loud! It's not like the day sneaks up on you. You had a year to plan, so get off my back about not giving you this idea until the last minute! Oh, carried away for a second there. Wait, I have an even better idea. Cook for her! Light some candles, put on some soft music, spread a blanket on the floor, and have a nice quiet dinner. Spread rose petals across the floor. Don't worry if you can't cook. The rose petals will distract her and the candlelight is just so that she won't see how badly you burned the food.

Pampering: Let her hold the remote (just for tonight). Watch a chic flick. When she asks you why you can't be like the ultra-romantic guy in the movie - don't reply by saying you could be if you had a team of scriptwriters like he does. Just tell her that you'll try harder. Let her lay on your lap and rub her head. Afterwards, run her a bubble bath and sit with her and talk as she soaks. Wash her hair for her. Dry her off and lotion her body, then lay her down and give her a long, slow massage.

The most important thing of all is this. Even if you don't tell her throughout the year, today is the one day to let her know how much she means to you. Don't blow it.

Then again, if you're taking advice from me about this stuff, you're probably in more trouble than you know.