A Man’s Guide to Surviving Valentine’s Day

(Works for Anniversaries, Too!)

If you are a man, chances are you have forgotten that Valentine’s Day or that all-important anniversary is coming up soon. Now that you know, this seems a good time to pause for a large hysterical fit.

The angst you are feeling right now stems from a complete lack of understanding about what makes a woman feel romantic. I don’t know either, but I did look it up on the Internet.

Not counting about 5,000 Web sites that seem to correlate the word “romance” with “hot mamas,” here’s what I found out.

HOW TO ROMANCE A WOMAN: Call her. Hug her. Compliment her. Smile at her. Laugh with her. Cry with her. Cuddle with her. Shop with her. Give her jewelry and flowers. Hold her hand. Write love letters to her. Go to the end of the Earth and back again for her.

Conversely, if a woman wants to romance a man, she would only need to show up wearing anything remotely revealing, including a hazardous material suit.

This may sound like an oversimplification of gender romance differences, but it isn’t far from reality. It’s always Valentine’s Day for men, if you get my drift. Women need a special day.

Because it involves a woman’s feelings, Valentine’s Day is something of a mystery to men. So is the top of a box of Cheeze Doodles, but we’ll save that for another column.

The following is a basic guide to Valentine’s Day survival for men, which was faxed to me by the nice ladies down at “Romance Anonymous,” formerly known as “Men Are Pigs But We Can’t Kill Them.”

  • STEP ONE: The minimum requirement is to let the woman know that you care. The least expensive way is to look at her — preferably somewhere on her face — and say, “I love you, [her name here].” If you forget her name, don’t bother with the rest of the steps. You’re dead.
  • STEP TWO: A Valentine card is an acceptable nonverbal token of appreciation. Best of all, it’s cheap. Good Valentines are pink with lots of lace and have cute words such as “I’ll love my sugar bunny forever and ever and ever and … ” Bad Valentine cards say, “Good for one free quart of motor oil.”
  • STEP THREE: Candy. For some scientific reason that makes no sense, women regard chocolate the same way men view beer. While a handful of M&Ms is OK, women tend to expect something a bit nicer. Wrapped for starters. By the way, since the candy is supposed to be for her, she’s going to notice any test bites. Stay out of it.
  • STEP FOUR: Jewelry. A bit pricier, especially if you didn’t bother with steps 1-3. If you did, you might get by with a small but hideously expensive ring, necklace, or tiara. Keep in mind that most women, even in Utah, do not consider aluminum, tin or a Mylar balloon to be a precious metal.
  • STEP FIVE: Lingerie. Be careful. Few men are smart enough about women to figure out their underwear. Not only does it have to be the right size and caliber, it must also match any of the approximately 8 billion feelings she currently has about herself. To be safe, tell the clerk that you’re looking for something that can’t be used to strangle you in your sleep.
  • STEP SIX: Romantic getaways are good for couples with more than 0.002 kids. Studies prove that not even bacteria can reproduce when a toddler is beating on the bedroom door with a Fisher-Price toy. Depending on the size of your family, the romantic getaway may have to cross at least three international boundaries.
  • STEP SEVEN: Unlike men, women give points for trying. So do something. Anything is better than nothing. If you don’t believe me, I can show you last year’s knot on the back of my head.

Hurricane Survival Quiz

  • How are hurricane’s names selected?
    a. Named after Congressmen who are full of hot air
    b. Names of spouses are submitted by divorced people
    c. Page 824 in Miami’s phone book
    d. Hurricanes don’t care what you call them
  • What do they call the most severe hurricane?
    a. Category 5
    b. Red Alert
    c. Costly
  • If a hurricane Guido, with wind speeds of 104 MPH leaves the Northwest African coast on Wednesday at 7:04 AM and is traveling West at 16 MPH and hurricane Isabel, with wind speeds of 93 MPH leaves Key West at 24 MPH on Thursday at 11:32 AM; when would they meet?
    a. Tuesday at 3:18 PM, but their luggage would be in Paris
    b. Never, Isabel doesn’t want to have anything to do with a blowhard like Guido
    c. Never, Guido said that there’s no place for Isabel to stop and ask directions; she’ll probably end up in Rio
    d. Trick question – hurricanes don’t depart from Key West
  • You’re flying in a small, single engine plane. You look up and see a hurricane directly ahead. What’s the first thing that enters your mind?
    a. It’s got the right of way! It’s got the right of way!
    b. This is the last time I fly no-frills
    c. I can’t believe she’s going to get EVERYTHING now!
    d. I gotta change my shorts!
    e. The windshield
  • A hurricane is dangerous if…
    a. you get in it’s way
    b. it’s had a REALLY bad day
    c. you try to stop it to ask directions
    d. you do not yield right of way
  • How do forecasters know a hurricane is coming?
    a. Hurricanes ALWAYS leave a forwarding address
    b. They have REALLY good binoculars
    c. Hurricanes LOVE the beach
    d. They send out a bunch of small boats and plot the sinkings
  • How can you protect your house in the event of a hurricane?
    a. Sell it – QUICK
    b. Bury it and dig it up later
    c. Cover it with leaves and pretend it’s a big bush
    d. Two words — Duct tape
  • What is the first thing you should do if a hurricane is confirmed to be heading in your direction?
    a. Check your supplies for the big hurricane party
    b. Air drop a roadmap, of another area, into the eye
    c. Put out all your trash for immediate air disposal
    d. Begin drawing plans for the new house you will soon be building
  • What should you NOT do if a hurricane is coming?
    a. Begin those remodeling plans you’ve been putting off
    b. Put the cat or dog out (unless on a LONG leash)
    c. Cancel your homeowner’s insurance
    d. Go on a picnic and/or to the beach
  • When is it a good time to evacuate your home?
    a. When the water level reaches the roof
    b. When your in-ground swimming pool becomes airborne
    c. Shortly after your roof is declared a UFO
    d. When people ask how you constructed a home without outer walls
  • Where should you evacuate?
    a. a nearby lowland to wait out the floods
    b. A tall location, like on top of a radio tower or one of Florida’s many mountain tops
    c. Anywhere that has a happy hour and free munchies
    d. Out to sea on a small craft
  • Why should you NOT stay close to the beach?
    a. All the best spots are probably taken
    b. Track in too much sand
    c. Cooler keeps blownin’ away
    d. Hard to stay put under the 50′ waves
  • If the eye of the hurricane passes overhead, you should not…
    a. stare; it’s impolite
    b. make direct eye contact
    c. offer it some Visine
    d- ask if it’s seen Dorothy and Toto
  • What happens after the eye passes?
    a. Stay very still; maybe it didn’t see you
    b. It can’t see you any more
    c. You can expect a large nose, followed by the mouth, etc.
    d. It winks and waves good-bye
  • What should you do first after a hurricane passes?
    a. Locate your computer
    b. Determine if your computer is operational
    c. Contact your insurance agent about replacing your computer
    d. See if your spouse, kids and pets are around; get back to your computer
  • Who should you turn to if you need help after a hurricane?
    a. Local government (also blown away)
    b. State government (can’t afford to help)
    c. Federal government (doesn’t care)
    d- Foreign governments (the Japanese are looking for investments)
  • What services should you expect to be without, after a hurricane?
    a. Electricity (no cold beer)
    b. Telephone (no modem)
    c. Your computer!! (Eeeeeaaaaahhh!)
    d. Callgirls (prey the rebuilding begins soon)
  • What happens a year after you’re hit by a hurricane?
    a. Still looking for pieces of your house
    b. Still looking for pieces of your computer
    c. Still looking for pieces of yourself
    d. The government sees you’ve started rebuilding; concludes you need no emergency help
  • Mom’s Survival Tips

    • Don’t sweat your every mistake or faux pas. They make up for the things you got away with that nobody knows about.
    • Avoid marrying anyone who deliberately flushes the toilet when you’re taking a shower.
    • When someone tells you that what he’s about to say is “for your own good,” expect the worst.
    • The value of a dog is its constant reminder of how much fun it is to act idiotic.
    • If you are lavishly praised, enjoy the taste but don’t swallow it whole.
    • When a politician says, “let me make something perfectly clear, remember that he usually won’t.
    • You children may leave home, but their stuff will be in your attic and basement forever.
    • If someone says, “I know what I mean, but I just can’t put it into words,” he doesn’t know what he means.
    • Two people cannot operate a TV remote control in the same room at the same time.
    • Don’t waste time trying to be your own best friend. You can’t pat yourself on the back, and it’s unsatisfying to cry on your own shoulder. Find a real friend instead.