Valentine’s Day: How to manipulate the one you love

Peter Borchers

Guys, I really hate to bring this up, but I thought I should remind you that this Monday is Valentine’s Day. I know, I know, and I’m sorry, but you know she’s not going to forget, so it might be something you want to think about.

Don’t get me wrong; I dislike Valentine’s Day as much as the next guy. All those hearts, flowers, teddy bears and pink colors are enough to sicken any man. But Valentine’s Day is a holiday created by women, for women. If men had anything to do with it, we would celebrate by holding a demolition derby or something.

But I suppose it’s OK for women to ask us to set aside our testosterone for one night. Besides, there are some manly holidays out there too, like the Fourth of July. If a day devoted to skipping work to blow things up isn’t a manly idea, I don’t know what is.

In fact, a lot of holidays favor one sex over the other.

Arbor Day: A day for celebrating the beauty of trees and celebrating the serene tranquility of nature. Classification: Women’s Holiday.

St. Patrick’s: We celebrate our Irish heritage by singing profane songs and getting completely hammered on green beer. Classification: Men’s Holiday.

Mother’s Day: Mom is taken out for a nice brunch, and Dad and the kids attend to her every whim. Classification: Women’s Holiday.

Father’s Day: Dad has to miss game seven of the NBA playoffs to eat the lousy meal his kids made and open the thoughtless presents they bought. Mom spends the day reminding him that there shouldn’t even be a Father’s Day until they have to go through all 14 hours of labor too. Classification: Women’s Holiday.

Boxing Day: Despite its name, has nothing to do with the sport of boxing. Classification: Canadian Holiday.

But Valentine’s Day remains the queen of all holidays. Women’s expectations of us are never as high as they will be on Monday. This is the one holiday when, despite its claims of being the “perfect gift for any occasion,” giving your girlfriend a Hy-Vee gift card isn’t going to cut it.

Of course, you single men out there don’t need to worry about any of this. Sure, there are thousands of single women out there staring at the flowers they sent to themselves and eating a box of chocolate ice cream. Yes, you could try to make one of them feel special, but why worry about them when Monday night wrestling is on?

But if you are like me and somehow suckered some poor girl into dating you, your work is cut out for you. If you want that sweet girl of yours to put up with your lazy attitude and poor hygiene for another year, you’ll have to prove your worth on Valentine’s Day. That means be a complete gentleman.

For an entire day, you ask? Don’t be silly. Women know that’s not possible. Belch, fart and scratch yourself all day long if you need, but from the time you pick her up until you drop her off, you’ll need to be on your best behavior.

Even so, being a gentleman is only half the battle. That’s why I’ve compiled this quick reference guide you can follow to prevent your girl from figuring what a bum you really are.

Flowers: If you don’t show up with flowers, you might as well not show up at all. Normally I would recommend stealing them from your neighbor’s flower garden, but women are smart — probably smarter than men. They knew we would try something like this when they invented the silly holiday, so they put it in the middle of February when everything is dead.

But speaking of death, what better place to round up some free flowers than at a funeral? Trust me, a dead man won’t put up much of a fight. I cannot, however, condone killing someone solely for this purpose.

Dinner: You have a couple of options here. Your could take your girlfriend out to eat, but she’ll probably expect you to splurge for a restaurant with plates and silverware. Even if you avoid that, at the very least the true gentleman will offer to super-size her meal.

That’s why I recommend cooking dinner yourself. She’ll think it’s sweet, and it’ll save you money, but you need to be careful. The trick is to cook a dinner of cafeteria quality. Good enough to make her think you care, but bad enough that she doesn’t want you cooking for her more than necessary.

The Gift: Whatever you do, don’t buy her jewelry. Sure, you’ll look good this year, but jewelry is highly addictive for women, and soon they will be expecting jewelry for every holiday and eventually almost on a daily basis. This can be hard to provide at $5.50 an hour.

If you’re lucky, you might not have to get her anything at all. The key is to remind her constantly how broke she is. Tell her that you aren’t expecting anything extravagant from her. Eventually she will suggest not exchanging gifts this year. BINGO! You’ve hit the jackpot. It worked for me, and that knife set I ordered for my girlfriend on the TV was on its way back to the Super-Chef corporation the next day.

Good luck, men, and remember: If the women get the best of you this Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day is just a month away.

Peter Borchers is a senior in advertising from Bloomington, Minn. He is not responsible for any loss or damage to your relationship as a result of this column.