Valentine's Day 2013: 8 Valentine's Day Tips From a V-Day Veteran

Do they still distribute valentines in elementary school? I remember making “mailboxes” every year – a shoebox, decorated with pink, red, and white construction paper hearts and lacy doilies – thumb tacked to the bulletin board wall to be filled with homemade or store bought valentines from my classmates. The exercise was totally a popularity contest. The most popular girls and boys got the most and the “best” valentines – the ones with “BE MINE” or “CUTIE PIE.” The ones with Pepe Le Pew and cowboys went to the least popular kids. At least I never got a skunk.

Why do we still put ourselves through some form of this stupidity now that we’re supposed to be adults? From the perspective of 34 years-of-marriage-and-counting, I think I’m beginning to figure this out and have a few bits of advice to share with younger seekers of wisdom and love.

First of all, this entire mid-February tizzy is simply another corporate commercial effort to goose sales out of the post-Christmas doldrums. Inventory is over, the winter clearance has moved out of the stores and until the weather improves, basically nothing is going on in the retail world, right now. I know. I work in it. Somebody had to do something to keep sales going until Easter and Mothers’ Day. So, keep this in mind while you’re out there being dazzled, tempted and lured.

Advice for Women:

1. Cook for him.

That adage about the way to a man’s heart – it’s true.

2. Skanky lingerie itches...

...get out of it as fast as possible.

3. Never trust a man...

...who says “Trust me.”

4. Dark chocolate produces the same brain chemical that sex does...

...if you don’t have a date, buy some expensive truffles and enjoy them with your favorite novel, movie, etc. You’ll feel much better about yourself in the morning.

Advice for Men:

5. Don’t buy her skanky lingerie as a gift.

Women do not appreciate it. Most will be good sports about it but it itches – see above.

6. Good manners always impress women.

Open doors for her. Come around to the passenger side of the car to assist her in and out. Pull her chair out for her at the dinner table. Turn off your iPhone at dinner!

7. Surprise her with romance...

...take her out on some night OTHER than February 14th, to a really nice place with low lighting and quiet music, good food, fine wine. Take her to someplace cultural: an art exhibit, the theater, a street fair, or a jazz club.

8. If you have decided she’s the woman for you...

...and you want to propose marriage, DO NOT, under any circumstances, put her on the spot with a proposal in a public venue. This means no cutesy kneeling while the Jumbotron broadcasts to Times Square, or skywriting, or any other macho competitive stupidity that enters your mind. Just. Don’t. Do. It!