Ah, Valentine’s Day, the one day of the year that men are mandated to show their womenfolk that they love them, in socially acceptable and commercially prescribed romantic ways.

Take her out to dinner, but only at a “nice” or “romantic” place.  Not sure what those places are?  Ask the women at work.  Just make perfectly clear from the beginning of the conversation that you are looking for a romantic place to take your GIRLFRIEND, so you don’t get brought up on sexual harassment charges.  Don’t go rogue and think that you know that she loves Chinese food so you’ll bring her to the Chinese buffet, or your fortune cookie is going to say goodbye to nookie.  The Chinese buffet you always go to and enjoy isn’t “special” or “romantic”, and she will not feel special or romantic as a result.  Stick to the romantic place Debbie in accounting suggests.  Debbie’s been married three times, so she knows romance.

Flowers are one of the biggest tokens of love, but make sure you get red roses, according to all the advertisements and romantic comedies.  If you are adventurous, you can get a mixed bouquet, but make damn sure there are red roses in there, buddy.  Didn’t you know that flowers have meanings?  Different colored roses even have meanings, and if you try to be avant garde and show up with well meaning but naively chosen yellow roses, you have just sent her a coded flower message of friendship, and you sure have some explaining to do.  Unless you enjoy the couch, you had better stick with the red ones.  The price of red roses is jacked up to the sky all of a sudden?  Of course it is.  They know they have you, and they know that any other color is going to keep you from “getting some”. Pay the extra money, or she’ll think you’re cheap, too.

Chocolates are a dangerous area. All the commercials and the store displays show chocolates in hearts, so you figure, of course that’s a good idea. Wait a minute.  Think this through.  Yes, most women like chocolates, but are you sure that yours does?  If you bring home nut clusters and she has a nut allergy, you are going to spend a romantic evening in the Emergency Room.  Is she diabetic?  Bringing home sugary sweets is going to make her know, not just suspect, but KNOW that you don’t listen to her, and there will be a battle instead of some sweet, sweet love.  She’s been dieting like a religious fanatic for the last two months?  DO NOT bring her the red velvet heart box with the big flowers on top, no matter what.  If your off-hand comment about her giggly bits was what prompted the diet in the first place, bring home some chocolates and you’re a dead man.

You want to show the world that you will not be brainwashed by commercialism and ridiculous customs, and you decide to forgo any Valentine’s Day presents or plans?  Have you lost your damn mind? Unless you and your woman live in a yurt and have a composting toilet, you are off on a trail marked with red flags and warnings. This is the biggest land mine of all. You should heed the warnings, cave, and run out to CVS for something, anything red and frilly, right now.  Get a little stuffed bear that says something repulsive like “I Wuv You” or a goopy card, or something, anything, for the love of all that is holy.  Make your stand against the corporations and advertisers some other day, but save yourself, and get something for Valentine’s Day.  Make it heart shaped.  You have been warned.

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