A Man's Guide to Surviving Valentine's Day
By Robert Kirby, February 10, 2000
Copyright 2000, The Salt Lake Tribune


If you are a man, chances are you have forgotten that Monday is Valentine's Day. Now that you know, this seems a good time to pause for a large hysterical fit.

The angst you are feeling right now stems from a complete lack of understanding about what makes a woman feel romantic. I don't know either, but I did look it up on the Internet.

Not counting about 5,000 Web sites that seem to correlate the word "romance" with "hot mamas," here's what I found out.

HOW TO ROMANCE A WOMAN: Call her. Hug her. Compliment her. Smile at her. Laugh with her. Cry with her. Cuddle with her. Shop with her. Give her jewelry and flowers. Hold her hand. Write love letters to her. Go to the end of the Earth and back again for her.

Conversely, if a woman wants to romance a man, she would only need to show up wearing anything remotely revealing, including a hazardous-material suit.

This may sound like an oversimplification of gender romance differences, but it isn't far from reality. It's always Valentine's Day for men, if you get my drift. Women need a special day.

Because it involves a woman's feelings, Valentine's Day is something of a mystery to men. So is the top of a box of Cheeze Doodles, but we'll save that for another column.

The following is a basic guide to Valentine's Day survival for men, which was faxed to me by the nice ladies down at "Romance Anonymous," formerly known as "Men Are Pigs But We Can't Kill Them."

STEP ONE: The minimum requirement is to let the woman know that you care. The least expensive way is to look at her -- preferably somewhere on her face -- and say, "I love you, [her name here]." If you forget her name, don't bother with the rest of the steps. You're dead.

STEP TWO: A Valentine card is an acceptable nonverbal token of appreciation. Best of all, it's cheap. Good Valentines are pink with lots of lace and have cute words such as "I'll love my sugar bunny forever and ever and ever and ... " Bad Valentine cards say, "Good for one free quart of motor oil."

STEP THREE: Candy. For some scientific reason that makes no sense, women regard chocolate the same way men view beer. While a handful of M&Ms is OK, women tend to expect something a bit nicer. Wrapped for starters. By the way, since the candy is supposed to be for her, she's going to notice any test bites. Stay out of it.

STEP FOUR: Jewelry. A bit pricier, especially if you didn't bother with steps 1-3. If you did, you might get by with a small but hideously expensive ring, necklace, or tiara. Keep in mind that most women, even in Utah, do not consider aluminum, tin or a Mylar balloon to be a precious metal.

STEP FIVE: Lingerie. Be careful. Few men are smart enough about women to figure out their underwear. Not only does it have to be the right size and caliber, it must also match any of the approximately 8 billion feelings she currently has about herself. To be safe, tell the clerk that you're looking for something that can't be used to strangle you in your sleep.

STEP SIX: Romantic getaways are good for couples with more than 0.002 kids. Studies prove that not even bacteria can reproduce when a toddler is beating on the bedroom door with a Fisher-Price toy. Depending on the size of your family, the romantic getaway may have to cross at least three international boundaries.

STEP SEVEN: Unlike men, women give points for trying. So do something. Anything is better than nothing. If you don't believe me, I can show you last year's knot on the back of my head.