You can always tell when it's Valentine's Day, because the lingerie at K-Mart gets really slutty-looking. It's kind of like looking for the first crocus of spring if the crocus was red and with black lace and garters.
I'm not real big on Valentine's Day. It's a lot of pressure, really. You have to make your significant other feel special on the exact same day that every other guy in America is trying to make his significant other feel special. That means you have to fight for dinner reservations, gift ideas and hotel rooms. Valentine's Day promotes competition between men. It is my belief, however, that men shouldn't fight with each other. Men should band together and rise up against the capitalist puppet masters who try and tell us when and how to show affection to our women!
My guess, however, is that the revolution won't be occurring this year. So, for now, Valentine's Day is an inescapable reality, and we might as well make the best of it. To that end, I've decided to use my column this week to hand out romantic advice to the love-stupid. Because, let's face it, some of you guys couldn't romance your way out of a wet paper sack. And why are you in a wet paper sack to begin with? It's Valentine's Day and now you're all damp and smell like a grocery store!
Rest easy, though Patrick's here to make it all better. I'll be addressing my advice to the menfolk in the crowd, because let's be honest women really don't need advice on how to romance a man. Romancing a man is very simple it's called being anatomically correct. Romancing women is much harder, though, because women are complex creatures.
Because women are so complex, I advise against trying to figure them out. Figuring out when is hard and unnecessary to the work ahead of you. Most people can use a computer without really knowing how it works, and women should be approached much the same way. Also with women, as with computers, never touch anything if you don't know what it does.
My advice on romancing women breaks down into three areas: attention, gifts and affection. If you can master all three of these areas, you will find yourself well on your way to the most romantic Valentine's Day you've ever had. Let's begin.
Women love attention. As unlikely as it seems, most women like it when men notice them. This is hard for men to wrap their minds around. As men, our goal is to make it through most days unnoticed, whether it's by our bosses, our families or the police.
Women, however, like to be noticed. They like to be told that they look nice, or they did a good job on something, or their rash is clearing up nicely. They also like to spend time with their loved ones. That means you you're a loved one.
So this Valentine's Day, consider moving your two TVs into one room so you and your wife can watch your shows together. Or when the two of you are eating dinner together, try replacing the eternal moments of soul-crushing silence with romantic phrases like, "You look so pretty," or, "I like being with you," or, "I think this chicken is undercooked; I hope I don't get salmonella poisoning." Giving a woman attention is just that easy.
Women also love gifts. That's not to say that women are greedy, materialistic, money-grubbing gold diggers who suck every last penny out of you and leave you a dried up husk of a man without a dime to your name. It just means they like little reminders that you care reminders like gold necklaces and diamond bracelets.
Never mind the fact that you can barely pay your first or second mortgages every month. Never mind the fact that you're paying all your bills with a credit card. She wants a present because apparently, taking her out to eat every night doesn't tell her you love her. Apparently, a $20 lobster tail just says, "Hey, nice to see you," and now you ...
Wait, was I going somewhere with this? Whatever. Buy her a present.
After you've given your woman some attention and a gift, it's time to give her some affection. A lot of guys probably think they can stop reading here. A lot of guys think they have affection covered. But the fact is, affection isn't the same thing as slapping your girlfriend or wife on the butt when she walks by. Affection isn't rubbing yourself up and down against her while she's doing the dishes. Affection isn't grabbing her chest while she's sleeping.
Don't get me wrong, women love that sort of thing, and they want you to do it more often and in front of company but they also want genuine affection. They want kisses on the forehead. They want you to brush the hair out of their face when you're talking to them. They want you to rub lotion on their corns at night.
Those are examples of true affection. Those are ways to express your love and tenderness physically. And yes, these kinds of activities can occasionally lead to sex, but that isn't a given, so leave your clothes on until you're positive.
Now let's review: attention, gifts, affection. The three A's. Well, the two A's and a G except that doesn't sound as good. You could call it AGA, I guess.
You know what, who cares? It doesn't matter what you call it. The point is, these are the three things you need to master if you want to have a memorable Valentine's Day.
I mean memorable in a good way not memorable like last year, when you did that dance of the seven veils thing and set the drapes on fire when you knocked over a candle.
Ha! What were you thinking?
Patrick Drury can be contacted by e-mail at