You mess with Harpo Marx, you get the horns.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

It's Valentine's Day! Don't Make a Mess of It

Today is Valentine's Day, the most dreaded holiday for the year for many men. You know the type I'm referring to: the guys who can't remember their anniversary but know the batting average for every ball player in the starting lineup of their favorite baseball team, even lefty and righty averages for the switch-hitters. These are the guys who will clock out of work, notice the box of chocolates on a female co-worker's desk, ask "Are you gonna eat all of those?" and then panic when she announces they are a Valentine's Day gift from her boyfriend, the sous-chef at the local five-star restaurant, the one who rides a Harley but also has season's tickets to the local musical repertory company. They will then rush out the door and spend $150 on a leftover arrangement of flowers and picked over candy boxes, and try to explain to their sweethearts that they're having take out at home because they wanted to "recreate when they started going out" instead of the truth, which is that they were laughed off the phone by every maitre'd in town when they tried to book a reservation at 5:30 p.m.

Those of us with a little more experience in this arena know that you have to be prepared for February 14th. (Our church pastor recently revealed that he married his wife on Valentine's Day, just so he wouldn't forget the anniversary. That is seasoned thinking.) Be prepared means giving some serious thought to your gift-giving.

Photo by Jebulon - Usage under Creative Commons
Now, has offered some advice about the "worst" Valentine's Day gifts, but it was a disappointing article at best. For example, Mrs. Fando wants and expects roses with baby's breath every year and specifically asked for a gift card - possibly because I can't always remember how to find her Amazon Wish List online. Married couples like tradition. Not every couple is composed of a pair of trendy, consumerist, freelance writing metrosexuals who are quickly unsatisfied if their dreamland domestic fantasies aren't regularly fulfilled.

Still, there are ways to royally screw up your Valentine's Day gift. (Trust us! Since we deal in the unfortunate, we're kinda experts on this sort of stuff.) The following are some gifts you simply must avoid, unless your idea of a great Valentine's Day fighting off your paramour and her angry chain saw.

  • Sporting goods. This is a surprisingly common mistake. Guys think these say, "You're fit and sporty," when they actually say, "You need to work out and I'd rather be hanging out with the guys, playing catch anyway." Avoid them, even the cut off football jersey. (Why exactly would you want your babe to dress as a kittenish version of one of your favorite players?)
  • Edible underwear. First off, this is not just creepy. This is damn creepy. Second, what exactly is this stuff made of? Mashed up Fruit Roll-ups? Beef Jerky? How well does it keep? It just doesn't sound very practical.
  • Video games. I know it's hard to believe, but these are simply not very romantic. Especially, Duke Nukem. (Again, trust us on this one.)
  • Any music by Chris Brown*. You want your gift to say how much you care about your special someone, not "I'm a thug who will beat on you just because you're much more talented than me." (Corollary: Phil Spector-produced records)
  • Gift certificates to fast food restaurants. To any guys considering this: Liz Lemon is a fictional character.
  • Paintball equipment. If you want to paint all over each other, get a brush. Unless you're a sentimental Olympian sharpshooter dating a beekeeper, air rifles and stinging welts do not make for romance.
  • Shoes. Yes, ladies like them. However, ladies do not like guys with fetishes. Even Imelda Marcos insisted on buying her own shoes.
  • Electric Guitars. Unless you're dating Joan Jett or that one sister from Barlow Girl, your gal will know this is one of those gifts you bought so you could borrow it all the time. Not even accomplished guitarists can get away with this. Now, an acoustic guitar...
  • Rims. Really? That's what you're going to go with?
  • MMA Tickets. Unless your girlfriend is Rihanna and Chris Brown is getting his *** beat in the ring, this is a non-starter.
  • Snuggies. It's a blanket with sleeves. A blanket. With sleeves. Maybe you want to get her a pillow with a headband while you're at it, Einstein?
  • Anything Oompa Loompa related.
  • James Bond DVDs. Don't get me wrong. There are plenty of women who like Bond. The problem is, "There are plenty of women who like Bond." Getting this gift will only remind her that you are not James Bond. It's a license to kill ...your relationship.
  • Power tools. Maybe you ought to read the intro to this list a bit more closely?
*I think Wil Wheaton might agree.

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