Ah, Valentine's Day. Here you come again. Urging me to be romantic. Telling me that if I buy my wife a dozen roses, a box of chocolates, a Hallmark card and dinner at a fancy restaurant, she may keep me around for another year.

You say that good romance, lavished on the right woman, can be just as effective as bribery.  Perhaps you're right, but I have a few questions: 

Does it have to be a dozen roses? Can I get away with one rose, one carnation and ten dandelions?

Since my wife enjoys both flowers and vegetables, can I give her a dozen heads of cauliflower? Or would that be considered TOO romantic? I don't want to overdo it, you know. I might have to beat her off me.

Roses are rather expensive at this time of year. A dozen could set me back as much as 100 bucks. For that kind of money, I could romance 30 women in Mexico. I've tried buying roses a few weeks early, but they don't freeze well.

Me: "Happy Valentine's Day, sweetie! I got you a dozen roses. An entire dozen!"

Wife: "Really? What a surprise! That's 12 more than last year. Where are they?"

Me: "In the microwave. They'll be ready in 30 seconds. You like them warm, don't you?"

Then there's the chocolate question: Do I have to spend $29.95 on some fine imported chocolate or can I just get my wife a large jug of chocolate milk? It would be a lot cheaper and I'd be doing the patriotic thing -- supporting American cows.

I'm even willing to paint hearts around the jug. And scratch a poem on the label: "Roses are red, violets are blue, this milk is almost the same color as you!"

As for the card, does it have to be Hallmark or can it be some other brand, such as Dollar General? One card seems just as good as another -- even if I have to cross off a few irrelevant words such as "sympathy" or "Bar Mitzvah."

And what about the fancy restaurant I'm supposed to take my wife to? What if it's fully booked, forcing me to make reservations at another high-class restaurant, namely Burger King? Would that be OK?

Me: "Sweetie, order anything you want on the menu. Anything. I just withdrew five bucks at the ATM. Get a giant order of fries or a large Coke. It's a special day."

Wife: "This place is not romantic enough. Can't we go somewhere else?"

Me: "We can, sweetie, but I don't know if we'll get a good table at Taco Bell. How romantic do you want it to be? I've already asked the manager to dim the lights. And the cook is not just grilling heart-shaped burgers, he has promised to hum a Sinatra song. Only the best for you."

My final questions: What if I do nothing on Valentine's Day? How much trouble would I be in? And is there some kind of government agency that would rescue me?

Me: "Sweetie, I thought about getting you roses, but didn't get around to it. It's the thought that counts, right?"

Wife: "Yes, sweetie, it's the thought that counts. By the way, how do you like the atmosphere in our living room? Is it romantic?"

Me: "Yes, it's very romantic. Why?"

Wife: "Well, I just THOUGHT you might like to spend the night here!"

Me: "You mean I can't come to the bedroom?"

Wife: "It's Valentine's Day. I want to be touched by Cupid, not stupid!"

(c) Copyright 2001 Melvin Durai. All Rights Reserved.

Melvin Durai is an Indiana-based writer and
humorist. A native of India, he grew up in Zambia
and moved to the U.S. in the early 1980s. Read his
previous columns at


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