A GUY’S GUIDE TO Valentine's Day


valentinesdayhhm2Make her feel special without making the rest of us look bad


These things are sweet as treacle, but they all say the same thing: “I have fulfilled the basic requirements of Valentine’s Day as mandated by the Hallmark corporation, and request that we get romantically marital at your earliest convenience.”

Do not be fooled, gentlemen: If it is sold in the impulse buy section of the local grocery store, it is not a valentine. It is an instrument of surrender.

Obviously these things are beneath you. For your lady, you search the depths of your soul, mining for that rich vein of gold marking the essence of your love for her. And once you strike that ore, you coax it out of your being, crafting those feelings like a master jeweler into the ultimate Valentine’s Day expression of your love.

Your soul bared, your heart on your sleeve, you present your beloved with the stirring majesty of your most tender feelings. “Behold!” your masterpiece tells the world. “With my love I have created art! Let all who look upon it know the eternal devotion that feeds my essence and urges the every beat of my heart!”

Your masterpiece complete, your inamorata quivers before you, her heart melted and her soul pooling in tears of joy down her face.

And then some stupid jerk down the street outdoes you.

Suddenly your big romantic gesture gets lost in the chatter of your beloved’s girlfriends. Your grand day of passion is spent being regaled with the story of how Bob three doors down commissioned an ice sculpture depicting him and his wife embracing atop a dolphin majestically captured in mid-leap, or how Chad from work hired the surviving members of Chicago for a private performance of his and Tina’s wedding song while a professional theatre troupe performed a Julie Taymor-directed reenactment of their first date.

Last year, Blufftonian Roddy Medders (who is neither stupid, nor a jerk, for the record) essentially ruined Valentine’s Day for every romantically inclined male out there when he took his paddle board to the May River with the intention of crafting the most honey-dripping Valentine in local history.

Using GPS technology, an intimate knowledge of the May’s tidal ebbs and flows, and no small measure of amorous inspiration, Medders recorded the course of his adventure using a specialized app and presented his girlfriend Jaime Patillo with the image of his final route: A perfect heart, emblazoned along the bend of the May River.

So for anyone planning that for their sweetheart this year, sorry. Roddy got there first, and ruined it for the rest of us. And while we salute his ingenuity and respect the Righteous Brothers-levels of romance, we can speak for guys everywhere when we kindly ask Roddy to put a cork in it, as he’s making us all look bad.

That’s obviously intended to be playful, but there is a terrifying sentiment behind it that has kept more than one would-be Casanova up during the month of February. Namely, how do you keep making Valentine’s Day special? There are only so many times you can go back to that well before it dries up completely. We know that we can’t go the safe route; no romance lies that way. The only option is for bigger and grander gestures of love. But how?

Search us. We’ve been married far too long to come up with any original big, grand gestures of our own. So, we’re giving you our crib sheet of history’s most grand romantic gestures and websites where you can create your own modern twist.


THE PLOY: Legendary composer Richard Wagner ruined romance for a lot of 19th century husbands when he penned the symphony Siegfried Idyll for his beloved Cosima. While she slept, he set up a whole orchestra on their staircase and she awoke to the sounds of a beautiful symphony written just for her.

THE MODERN EQUIVALENT: You can either be a brilliant composer or, failing that, create your own love song using the lyric generator at www.song-lyrics-generator. org.uk. Just fill in a few details about your beloved, select your genre and presto, you’re the next John Mayer.

THE POSSIBLE DRAWBACK: The lyrics that the website gave us for our love song were (seriously) as follows:
All you need is snow tires.
All you need is snow tires.
All you need is snow tires, snow tires.
Snow tires is all you need.
As romantic as the notion of snow tires may be, we simply can’t get on board with a love song that doesn’t follow proper subject/verb agreement.


THE PLOY: For a generation, this singular moment in cinema is a visual shorthand for romance. John Cusack, the sleeves rolled up on his trenchcoat for reasons that don’t make sense outside the 1980s, holds a boombox aloft and serenades his sweetheart with the timeless strains of Peter Gabriel, an artist who made no sense in or out of the 1980s.

THE MODERN EQUIVALENT: Download the Spotify app from Spotify.com. Load up a playlist with romantic music (or just grab someone else’s — we recommend Absolute Love Songs by Absolute Music) then stand outside your bedroom window streaming some sweet, sweet Andrea Bocelli from your iPhone.

THE POSSIBLE DRAWBACK: At the height of the gesture’s romantic impact, you get a phone call and your AC/DC ringtone ruins the mood.


THE PLOY: When his wife Mumtaz Mahal died during the birth of her 14th child, Emperor Shah Jahan hired 20,000 workmen to build a glorious white marble tomb in her honor. He called it the Taj Mahal. He then chopped off the chief mason’s hand so that nothing as grand could ever be built again.

THE MODERN EQUIVALENT: While obviously enslaving a few thousand people to build a valentine takes a flying belly flop over the line between “romantic” and “insane,” the closest we get in modern times is Joe Dimaggio, who took a 20-year standing order with a local flower shop to place fresh blossoms at the grave of Marilyn Monroe three times a week. Keep in mind the couple had been divorced for eight years when she died.

THE POSSIBLE DRAWBACK: Building something of breathtaking beauty and eternal fame in her honor is a pretty solid Valentine’s ploy. However, if she isn’t dead already, building your wife a tomb might send off the wrong vibe.


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