Valentine’s Day

I love Valentine’s Day. It’s about as emotionally mature as guys are going to get short of growing boobs and hyphenating their last name. And since it’s coming up on Tuesday, I’d like to provide some quick words of advice.

Do not buy her jumper cables. Do not buy her cable TV. Do not buy her anything that contains the words “Decline”, “Fall”, and “Roman Empire”. Valentine’s gifts aren’t mandatory. If you can’t think of something clever and specific, don’t get anything at all. A two years supply of hand lotion from The Body Shop on Mass Ave is not an acceptable default.

So what is acceptable?

The answer is something she can show off. Rather than expensive, it should be thoughtful. Whether you’re looking for gifts, flowers, or dinner reservations, keep that litmus test in mind.

People often miss the point of February 14th. They think it’s like OPEC, where a group of smarmy-faced business men get together and decide, hey, our wives’ burqas aren’t quite bedazzled enough; we should hike up oil prices. This is only partially true. Valentine’s Day is just as much driven by female psychology as by corporate revenue. Women are suckers for Valentine’s Day not because they actually want chocolates or roses, or prefer prix-fixe at 200% mark-up over a nice meal some other time of the year. Rather, they care about what you’re signalling when you walk into their abstract algebra class with champagne and the answers to the next assignment, or, in the case of my blockmate and his long-distance girlfriend, when you fly two-thousand miles home and surprise them on the dance floor of their semi-formal.

You’re signalling that to you, they mean a lot.