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A Single Guy's Strategy Guide for Surviving Valentine's Day
 By Jason Eastwood

I've always thought of Valentine's Day as a "dark" holiday, created so that men are annually put into awkward positions.

Look, I've got enough pressure -- like worrying whether or not the Chicago Bears are going to beat the spread.

Who needs this added obligation every February?

So every year up until last year, I devised a clever scheme to "skip" Valentine's Day. Several years ago, I convinced Elaine ( the cute college tennis player I was dating at the time ) to completely ignore the dreaded holiday "with" me.

I talked up all the negative points -- how Valentine's day is a huge marketing scheme, how the media conditions you to feel lonely if you aren't with anyone, and how children die in Africa mining diamonds for all the new engagements. She totally bought into it.

At this point I'm thinking I've finally met "the one" and I'm totally marrying her because she's the one girl that isn't putting up a HUGE fuss about hearts, candy, and surprises.


There's something very different, very intriguing, and very cool about this one.

So, yeah, great, no V-day for me! Just an ordinary day.. and a cool girlfriend. I decided to pack it up and go visit my friends at home that weekend. I think I might have called her, I don't remember.

I guess you can see where this is going, and really, I guess I should have known better.. no girl is THAT cool to blow off Valentine's Day.

Back at school the next week, she's pissed. I get nothing but an icy stare.

Weeks of damage control follow.

Because of the massive amount of recovery effort it takes to restore the damage of a Valentine's Day blunder, my best strategy was, of course, to NOT have a girl friend in February.

A lot of breakups occurred sometime after the new year, and then if they were worth it, I'd find a way to get back together with them in March or April.

My excuse to myself went something like -- "I shouldn't have to be OBLIGATED to freaking buy something on Valentine's Day."

I'd get all philosophical about it and rant about how the media and marketers have made it so that you, as a man, are socially liable now to provide a well-thought-out gift in February. Bonus points if you "out-do" yourself.

That was crap, I thought, and if I was going to put out the effort ( which, if by now you're thinking I'm just a male pig or whatever, I'll have you know I DID actually put in a lot of effort and thoughtfulness occasionally. Just not on "the day". ), I was going to do it on my terms.

I liked the surprise.

Valentine's day is so "expected".

Last year, I thought I'd try something different, though. I caved in. I went against my standards .. partly out of an experiment to see what would happen, and partly because I wanted to give this particular girl a great day.

Of course, I did the flower thing which was painful in every way -- not because of the ordering process, but because it was going against everything I previously took a stand against.

I got all creative and cut up some construction paper into about 100 pieces, put them in a cool box, and wrote reasons why I thought she was cool .. or hot ... or whatever ;) I got her a cool card, oh and that movie "The Notebook".

Then I sat back, thought about how cool and clever I was and waited.

This girl lit up. I do have to say that the benefits of "coming through" are so much better than damage control after ignoring the holiday.

So, now -- even though I still don't think the holiday is cool .. I make it work. I found a couple of websites that will get the flowers and a few other unique gifts shipped in a hurry. This leaves me free to sit back and enjoy all the benefits of "coming through".