Valentine’s Day Ideas

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Okay, ladies, listen up. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, it’s time for your significant other to start thinking about what he’s going to do for you and how he’s going to make that day a very special one. As a result, I’ve decided to dedicate this entire column to ideas about how your man can surprise you. So would you please hand this newspaper over to him right now so that we can have some guy talk about how we’re going to surprise you? Thank you very much.


Okay, guys. Now it’s your turn to listen up. Since the ladies have left the room, forget about everything you read in the first paragraph. This column is not about Valentine’s Day—that holiday where guys are supposed to do all kinds of stuff for their sweethearts. I know it’s the Valentine’s Day issue, but we go through this every year. And if you’re old enough to be somebody’s significant other, you already know the candy-flowers-jewelry-dinner drill for Valentine’s Day.


So since the ladies aren’t reading, let’s talk about guy stuff.


Things that only people with a Y chromosome can understand or appreciate.


Things we guys like.


I’ll start with my personal favorite—the big-screen TV and comfortable chair. Every guy wants one of those in his house. I know a few guys who have more than one. I can just hear how they pitched it.


“Yes, honey. The sixty-inch plasma and leather couches in the family room are for when we all want to get together to watch a movie. But that fifty-incher and reclining Barcalounger with the built-in speakers and drink cup holders that I got for my study—well, that’s for those quiet times when I want to watch a movie or sporting event and not disturb the rest of the family.”


I’m imagining that right now, some of you guys are nodding your heads knowingly, and the rest are circling the paragraph above for future reference.


It’s okay. It’s just us guys.


And what about that “beverage cooler” you’ve got out in the garage? We all know how you sold her on that one.


“You know how hot it gets here, sweetie. I just need to have a cold bottle of water when I’m sweating bullets out there in the yard. And you wouldn’t want me tracking sand into the house, would you? You’ll be able to use it to store cheesecakes and things that take up too much room in the kitchen refrigerator.”


Yeah, right. Let’s see how many cheesecakes she’ll fit in there with all the beer. Come on, guys. You know you got that extra refrigerator so you’d never run out of cold beer. But it would have been a really hard sell trying to convince the little woman you needed a “beer fridge,” wouldn’t it?


I pause in the writing of this column now to go out to the garage and get myself a tall cold one from the “beverage cooler” and hoist it in salute to the guys in Madison Avenue’s marketing circles who coined that euphemism.


On the other hand, I wonder sometimes about the people who design kitchen appliances. They certainly don’t have guys in mind. Do we really need a microwave oven that does more than tell time, make popcorn, cook a TV dinner, and reheat coffee? When was the last time any of us nuked a potato or vegetable unless it came out of a cardboard box and was sitting on a plastic tray along with pot roast, corn, and a cherry cobbler?


The other day, I went to an appliance store with my wife to look at ovens. Not only did the new models have automatic settings to prepare more than 1,000 things I’d never think of cooking, but the salesman said they now were designing ovens with men in mind.


“Ovens for men?” I said, looking at him skeptically. “How do you design a kitchen appliance for men?”


“Oh,” he said, turning an oven on. “The control panel is an LCD that has light blue text on a dark blue background.”


Wow, I thought, so manly!


The salesman continued, opening the oven door.


“And the interior also is blue.”


For a minute there, I thought he was going to say that the ovens designed for men don’t come with directions, since men don’t ask for directions anyway.


And one more thing, guys. If you’re like me, you probably realized long ago that they didn’t teach things like pumping gas and checking oil in the girls’ driver-education classes back in high school. However, they did do a bang-up job teaching them how to wash, wax, and vacuum, which is why her car always looks clean inside and out and yours looks and smells like a guy’s car. It also took me a long time to figure out why there are a lot of guys at the gas station Saturdays. It’s because that’s the day their wives don’t need the car to go to work.


Okay. If your significant other wants the newspaper back, you can give it to her now. But just remember, this Valentine’s Day, it’s candy, flowers, jewelry, and dinner. Pick any three in any order and you’ll be covered. If you want it to be a memorable occasion, do all four.


Now, tear out this column and stick it in your pocket before she sees it. If she asks why you tore it out of the paper, tell her it had all kinds of tips about how to surprise her for Valentine’s Day, and you don’t want to spoil the surprise.


Then, if you don’t already have one, tell her what you want most for Valentine’s Day is a beverage cooler.


You’ll even let her put cheesecake in it.

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