Five Valentine’s Days have passed since I wrote the following. But the thing still holds up quite well today, if I do say so myself …
The Things We Do For Love
Feb. 13, 2004
It’s tomorrow, fellas.
Yeah, you know … Valentine’s Day.
“You’ve never seen so many men in a Hallmark shop,” Dana Fuget, an employee at Kirlin’s Hallmark in Ottawa, Ill., said earlier this week about the store’s surge in male clientele during the days leading up to Feb. 14. “Two days before (Valentine’s Day), the day before …”
Some on the day of.
“Oh yeah,” Fuget said about those 11th-hour Romeos. “And some guys, you can sell them about anything … But a lot of them, they do know what they want.”
Apparently, they’re the lucky ones. Because, according to Regena Thomashauer, the proprietor of Mama Gena’s School of Womanly Arts in New York City, most men don’t have a clue when it comes to Valentine’s Day.
Recently, Thomashauer launched a toll-free “911” hotline for the romantically-challenged (1-866-595-6832) where men — and women — can call for advice on what to do for their sweethearts on Feb. 14.
According to Thomashauer, the biggest question from men is, “What do women want, and why won’t they tell us?”
And the women?
They wonder, “How come he doesn’t know what I want?”
Good luck, everybody. Looks like you’ll need it.
In honor of Valentine’s Day, here are a few more of the outrageous, the quirky and the downright bizarre “love bytes” culled from a search of the Internet, wire services and newspapers from around the world …
Now, that’s puppy love
In Kailai, Nepal, a 75-year-old man lost all of his teeth — and then miraculously saw them grow back, in spite of his advanced age. Local custom dictates that when an old man regrows teeth, he must marry a dog to “avoid great misfortune.”
The man followed through — only to die just a few days later, leaving his pup a widow.
Don’t blow it, buy this …
For Valentine’s Day, the Circus World Museum in Baraboo, Wis., is hawking bouquets of bright red, long-stem noses for your sweetheart.
Think of the red rubber kind that clowns prefer.
“It’s saying, ‘I love you’ in a funny, fun way,” said Ed Taylor, spokesman for the museum, which attaches with each bouquet a note stating that, “These noses were picked especially for you.”
Am I the winner — or just a loser?
Last month on the online auction site eBay, an 18-year-old female college student in California put herself up for auction as an “imaginary girlfriend.”
The offer included four weeks of an “imaginary relationship,” during which she would mail a photo and write one love letter a week on perfume-scented stationery, detailing whatever the highest bidder wanted her to say.
“What this date does NOT include,” wrote the woman, “are real face-to-face dates, phone calls or much effort from you … After your time is up, you can ‘dump’ me with whatever crazy story you feel like.”
Winning bid: $53.00
And for your birthday, a can of Raid
As part of its Valentine’s Day adoption program called “Give Your Beauty a Beast,” the Ross Park Zoo in Binghamton, N.Y. is promoting hissing cockroaches as the perfect gift.
For $10, you can adopt a hissing cockroach for your sweetheart. The adoption includes a photo, cockroach fact sheet and a free pass to visit the little hisser at the zoo.
For those whose don’t feel that a cockroach says “I love you,” there are some romantic alternatives. The zoo has bearded dragons and black vultures available for adoption, as well.
Whatever you need to tell yourself
On Saturday in more than 40 countries, people will be celebrating International Quirkyalone Day as an alternative to Valentine’s Day.
Meant to be social gatherings for single people who believe in celebrating romance, friendship and the independent spirit, the events stress that they are NOT meant to be self-pity parties.
And they wonder why they’re overpopulated
According to the China Youth Daily newspaper, between 30 and 44 percent of all condoms on sale in China are defective.
Honey, you’ll never guess what I did today
In the Maylasian state of Terenggau, a law allows married men to take another wife — without even informing their first wife beforehand.
And monks are from Jupiter
Before he became an author, Dr. John Gray, 50, who wrote the best-selling field guide to understanding the opposite sex, “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus,” spent nine years living in the Himalyan mountains as a celibate Hindu monk.
This will be going on your permanent record
In China, match-making services have become a big deal with between 300 and 400 agencies in the nation’s Hebei province alone. But for those people wary of meeting strangers in such a way, service members can demand to see a person’s “behavior certificate,” reportedly issued by the person’s employer to ascertain his or her good behavior and character.
And people complained about Janet Jackson
The 2004 MTV Asia Awards will be held in Singapore on Saturday. With the date being Feb. 14, the event will naturally feature a Valentine’s Day theme.
In fact, scheduled to make several appearances during the awards show is a group of “student cupid” mascots.
Who it turns out are a bunch of burly, hairy and unkempt men.
Well, forget Atkins …
According to a survey published in an Italian health magazine, it’s love that will make you thin.
According to the February issue of Dimagrire (translated: Lose Weight) magazine, 8 out of 10 Italians find that a new love interest is the best way for both men and women to get in shape.
The slimming doesn’t last forever, though. For one-third of those surveyed, the pounds shed to impress their lovers do return.
When they get married.
Who needs Hallmark?
The Katong Flower Shop in Thailand is using a new technology that allows people to print a love notes on flower petals.
The florist offers a choice of four messages: “Happy Valentine’s Day,” “With All My Love,” “Be My Valentine” and “I Love You.”
Called “Speaking Roses,” the blooms cost twice the price of regular roses.
Now, if he can just find the cure for cancer
Turkish scientist Onur Gunturkun spent hours in airports, train stations and beaches in the United States, Germany and Turkey doing research for a study in which he discovered that 64.5 percent of couples tilt their heads to the right when they kiss.
If you don’t know, you probably aren’t
In a recent poll done by the International Mass Retail Association, 65 percent of Americans said they consider themselves romantic, while another one-third said they weren’t.
The rest said they just didn’t know.
Maybe it is easy being green
A poll in Malaysia recently asked 20 couples who they thought the world’s hottest onscreen lovers were.
No. 10 on the list was Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy.
A Rocky Mountain low
Derek Monni, 33, of Denver, Colo. recently climbed to the top of a mountain along with his girlfriend, Debra Sweeney, intending to propose to her at the summit. Upon reaching the mountaintop, however, the couple accidentally dropped, and lost, the engagement ring while slipping it on Sweeney’s finger.
That would be the $11,450 engagement ring.
After this, he was a real bleeding heart romantic
A recent survey on DateableSingles.com asked women what was the least romantic gift they’ve received on Valentine’s Day. Runners-up included a Nordic Trac, a vacuum, a Black & Decker screwdriver and a broom.
But the winner?
Roses — with a card for another woman.
Doin’ it like they do on the Discovery Channel
In 1989, after noticing that the penguins get frisky every February, San Francisco Zoo penguin keeper Jane Tollini cut out paper hearts, decorated the penguin pool and put some Johnny Mathis music on the boombox. She then invited a select crew of colleagues to come over and enjoy the “show.”
Today, the zoo’s “Valentine’s Day Sex Tour” has become so popular that it’s a reservation-only affair with tickets that cost $40.
Uh, guys, stick to the stock market …
As an example of how to surprise your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day, the Wall Street Journal had this zany piece of advice:
“Champagne is perfect for Valentine’s day, of course, but the problem is that your valentine is expecting it. So this year, have a glass of champagne …
“And then surprise your valentine with a bottle of red Burgundy.”