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Column: Still time for a Valentine’s save
Jim Tatum (press).jpg
Jim Tatum

Here we go again.

Just when you’re almost dug out from under the Christmas bills, along comes Cupid to shoot his arrow and drop you right back into that hole.

And don’t laugh, guys; the little bast -- uh, cherub -- is closer than you think he is.

Unless, of course, you take a frugal approach, as I do. After while, you learn that mere trinkets like flowers, candy and champagne are just that, trinkets. Consumables. The flowers turn brown and fall off the stems; the champagne goes flat; the candy goes -- ah, to places I have learned to not mention, for fear of the severe concussion that will shortly follow if I do.

Nope, after awhile you realize it’s all about attitude. There’s an old joke that illustrates what I mean, about a long-time married couple who are out shopping right around Valentine’s and somehow get separated. The wife, a little annoyed at her spouse’s ability to disappear, texts him to inquire of his whereabouts. A few seconds later, her phone rings.

“Where are you?” she snarls.

“Remember that little jewelry store we wandered into that Valentine’s weekend about 10 years ago, when you saw that gorgeous diamond necklace and I said I would break my back working so I could buy it for you the day I actually had the money in hand,” he says.

“Yes,” she says, choking back a sentimental sob.

“Well, I’m sitting in that Irish bar two doors down from that store.”

In other words, it’s the little things, the simple, sweet, heartfelt and sincere gestures that really count.

I know; perhaps I should be a little less generous with all the great advice I have to help you keep that sweet bird of romance a-twittering merrily in your life. Alas, I realize there is also such a condition known as “too much of a good thing.”

Still, a few things bear mentioning. For those seeking romance, remember, sincerity, sincerity, sincerity. Ridiculous come-ons and cheesy opening lines just don’t make it, as this little scenario shows:

He: Care to come up to my apartment for a whiskey and sofa?

She: No thanks, but you can certainly buy me a gin and platonic.

Of course, humor is the great equalizer and many a romantic flame has been kindled with the spark of a particularly witty one-liner. However, it is important to note that not everyone shares the same sense of humor -- and guy humor v. girl humor can be tricky. A simple friendly jab or off color observation that draws guffaws from your best guy friend will earn you a dirty look, and possibly a restraining order, from a random female unfamiliar with your brand of wit and wisdom. Firing off a line like, “Gee your apartment looks so much different through my telescope,” too often completely bypassed the funny bone only to crash headlong into the 911-on-speed-dial button.

On the other hand, female humor can be downright cruel -- remember the one about the single guy checking out at the grocery store. He is buying single serving frozen dinners, single item toiletries, and other such items, when the attractive young woman running the register remarks, “Gee, you must be single.”

He looks at her, amazed at her perceptivity. “How could you tell?” he says. “The fact I’m not wearing a wedding ring? The things I was buying?”

She replies, “No, you’re ugly.”

To be fair, 10 times out of nine, the guy is usually quite deserving of the barb. Indeed, there is truth to the notion that a woman can never truly be a man’s equal until she can walk down the beach, grossly overweight, wearing nothing but a skimpy wife beater, skimpier Speedo and sporting a comb-over that looks like a giant number seven flying from her head in a stiff breeze -- and still think she’s hot.

With those perfectly unglued observations and random nuggets of sage advice, I will wish you all an early and successful Valentine’s.

Remember, hell is a lot closer than you think it is.