Reluctant Townie: How to valentine like the best of them

Reluctant Townie: How to valentine like the best of them

Valentine's Day is right around the corner. Is your V-Day game locked tight?

This year, you shouldn't just celebrate Valentine's Day, you should conquer it. And it looks like you've come to the right place at the right time because I have the inside track on the hottest Valentine's Day advice from a player who would know.

That's right, I talked to Val, the dude who bags my groceries and always seems to have a story about a new lady in his life. If anyone is an expert on romance, it's this guy. I'm married, so it's all over for me. But Val's still flying free, living the bachelor's life at an experienced (and impressive) 47 years old, and he's got plenty of wisdom to dispense about the game of love.

VAL'S HOT TIP NO. 1: SAFETY IN NUMBERS

If you're looking to rock Valentine's Day like a boss, Val suggests you diversify your prospective valentines.

"Look, it's simple math: If you only have one valentine and something goes wrong — you forget to make dinner reservations, you call her by her sister's name during an intimate moment — then you ruined the only valentine you got.

"However, say you have four valentines, and you blow it with one ... oh well, you still have three left to get it on with. I mean, get it right with.

"It's arithmetic, baby. It's like when you were in second grade and you asked the teacher, "Why bother to learn addition and subtraction? It's not like I'm ever going to use it in the real world."

"Well, you shouldn't have dropped out of second grade and joined that doomsday cult because your teacher was right: One plus two equals a better chance for you."

VAL'S HOT TIP NO. 2: STAGGER YOUR DATES LIKE A BOSS

Val cautions you to plan your dates carefully on Valentine's Day.

"OK, say you have three valentines, but you accidentally promise to take two of them to dinner. Oops. Rookie mistake. What do you do? Well, you could just go for it and take them both at the same time and try to morph things into a menage a trois (which is an ancient Vietnamese word that means porno merit badge), but I've got to be honest, in all my years in the game, it's never worked out for me. And that's not for lack of trying.

"Instead, you should stagger your dates.

"If you have three prospective valentines, book three separate breakfast, lunch and dinner reservations. Or better yet, just tell one you'll be over at noon, the next you'll be over at 2 and the last you'll be over at 3 or 4 depending on traffic (aka if Valentine No. 2 will give you a ride).

"I find it's best to schedule my dates based on who looks the least horrendous in daylight."

VAL'S HOT TIP NO. 3: CHOCOLATE IS FOR CHUMPS

"Reconsider the traditional approach to Valentine's Day.

"If you give any of your valentines chocolate, she's going to say, 'What, are you trying to make me fat?'

"And who knows, maybe you are. Personally, I like a little bubble wrap with my Amazon order, if you know what I mean ... but you should never, ever call attention to the weight of your valentine. Even if it's in a positive manner like, "Baby, I thank Cupid every day for bringing your juicy fat folds into my life." It will be misinterpreted as negative.

"It's hard to recover a Valentine's Day after you've been slapped in the face. I mean, it CAN be done — believe me, I've done it — but it eats up a lot of unnecessary time."

VAL'S HOT TIP NO. 4: DON'T SPEND ANY MONEY

"What you get out of Valentine's Day is ultimately dependent on how little you put into it.

"Every day is Valentine's Day in my world. And if I were dropping loot on chicks every time, I'd be broke.

"I'm already broke. And on top of that, my hours just got cut back because Margarita, who does the scheduling for the checkers and baggers and is also my girlfriend, saw me and Sharon from customer service consummating a pretty steamy Valentine's Day in her Jeep last week.

"But, uh, yeah, anyway, free stuff. You can always steal flowers from your neighbor's garden, as the saying goes. Unless it's February and the flowers are frozen."

VAL'S HOT TIP NO. 5: WHEN IN DOUBT, PLAGIARIZE

"Appropriate existing art for your own Valentine's Day purposes.

"If past experience is any teacher, writing your own valentine card is not as effective as copying the lyrics of a song that is already written and then passing it off as your own words. That being said, my career as a Boyz II Men songwriter has certainly made the Valentine's Day of a few couple dozen lucky ladies."

VAL'S HOT TIP NO. 6: AVOID THE L-WORD AT ALL COSTS

"Avoid being on the giving or receiving end of the L-word.

"Whoa, are you crazy, guy? Do you want to survive this Valentine's Day or not? Never tell your valentine that you love her. And if she tries to tell you that she loves you, say, "Yeah, that's nice. Thanks," and then make it very apparent to everyone else around you that you did not say I love you back.

"I don't even put hearts on my valentine cards. I keep it simple and light: cartoon characters and puns.

" 'Will you BEE mine?' 'I think you're pretty COWABUNGA!'

"These are acceptable things to say to your valentine and will get the point across just fine."

Ryan Jackson L-words his wife pretty hard and he can be reached at thereluctanttownie@hotmail.com.

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