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Author's Chapter Notes:
This is the sixth riffed item for "Mystery Science Theater En Masse" and the Egg Spiral's third individual riffing. The article is the property of Piper Weiss.

Memo to men: Valentine’s Day is on February 14.

Manic: Apparently, all men are cavemen who have never heard of this thing called a "calendar".
Amy: Congratulations, ma'am. You may have cemented your single status by that first sentence alone.

In years past, Yahoo.com has noticed a spike in men searching for an answer to the question: “When is Valentine's Day?” as the day fast approaches.

Sonia: *rolls eyes* Because all men are this stupid, right?

Of all the holidays on the yearly calendar, the one designated for romance never fails to trip guys up.

Amy: Well, they have the other 364 days to prove their worth.
Sonia: I'd rather have my spouse remember my birthday and our wedding anniversary. Screw Valentine's.

Blame mixed messages:

Sonic: Or stereotypical women constantly nagging!

While retailers consider the holiday worthy of diamonds, many women take the stance that it's no big deal.

Manic: Until they make you sleep on the couch, punishing your lax behavior.

Don’t fall for any of it. Valentines Day is when a guy’s affection, compatibility, and commitment are put to the test.

Manic: *in a falsetto voice* If you're going to prove your love to me, eat this lightbulb.
Sonic: Hang on... this overblown "holiday" where everything's tripled overnight is the one day that I have to prove myself? Whatever, lady.

Forgetting the day is just the first mistake to avoid.

Amy: Not caring is the second.
Sonia: And sleeping with her sister is the third.

There are six other common mistakes men make on February 14.

Sonic: Including following this article.

Here's a cheat sheet.

Manic: Guys, this only applies if you're this lady's unfortunate significant other.

Mistake #1: Getting words of wisdom from your local drug store.

Sonia: That Morning-After Pill? Not a good start.

There's a time and a place for Hallmark poetry and it's never on Valentine's Day.

Amy: Because you can't be like everyone else! No, sir!

No matter how cursive, heartfelt, and close-to-home the text, you still didn't write it.

Sonic: Well, you did... if you peeked at it and made it homemade.
Manic: Hallmark says: Nobody has to know it's plagiarism!

Why it’s bad: Women want to feel special.

Sonia: So give her some diamonds, and she'll shut up. Happy frickin' V-Day.

Giving a card that’s designed to cater to millions of women on Valentine’s Day sends the message that your love is a lot like everyone else's.

Sonic: Well, it is. Haven't you ever read "Twilight", lady?
Manic: You can't enjoy true love unless you're snowy white!

It also suggests you bought some Rite Guard in the next aisle while you were at it. Nobody wants to feel like one of two birds.

Manic: Well, the one that got shot down in that "Duck Hunt" game, at least...

The fix: Cliché as it seems, the thought really does count.

Amy: I don't get it. Is she saying "Give me the card anyway"?

More than 75 percent of women claim to want nothing more than a heart-felt love letter on February 14.

Sonia: I don't know. That sounds kind of cheesy.

Relationship psychologist Dr. Terri Orbuch

All: *groans*
Manic: Nobody wants to listen to shrinks, especially when it deals with this day.

also suggests a personal note trumps even chocolate.

Amy: Whatever, just give me the chocolate. I'll even share it with Sonic.
Sonic: Uh... yeah.

"Which says 'I love you' more: a box of candy or a handwritten note telling your partner you'd still choose him/her if you had to do it all over again?" asks Orbuch.

Sonia, Amy: Candy.
Manic: Because why go back to the past?
Sonic: Either way, you're going to the couch.

"Show your partner why he/she matters so much to you."

Sonic: Prove it with money!
Manic: Nah, prove it after hours...

Mistake #2: Letting a bear do your bidding.

Amy: And what's wrong with a bear?

Stuffed animal tricks are for kids.

Manic: And so is Trix itself.

Giving your special lady a teddy bear holding a balloon with a pun like "I Yearn Fur You" is sweet if you're both in junior high.

Sonic: Nah, it was never sweet.

But in a poll by ShopRunner, a women's shopping site,

Manic: Bias!

members claimed teddy bears were the worst gift they had ever received on February 14.

Sonia: All superficial women prefer ugly shoes that cost a thousand bucks, anyway.

Flowers and chocolates (standard accompaniments to the stuffed animal) aren't going to win her over either.

Amy: But that one half of your house? She's eyeing it, guys.

Why it's bad: A stuffed animal not only suggests you don't take your partner seriously, it's also generic.

Manic: Therefore, you should cut out your own beating heart. Try something new.

Flowers, candy, and anything that's stamped "buy this for Valentine's Day" suggests limited thought went into the gift.

Sonic: Yeah, god forbid I get you anything for this overrated day. Ungrateful woman.

The fix:  Don't run to your nearest jeweler.

Amy: Then what the hell can you do?!
Sonic: Leave her. Only logical answer, Ames.

It's not about the money—

All: Oh, yes it is!

besides, a dozen roses and a build-a-bear don't come cheap.

Sonia: It's only cheap if you're an A-list actor or actress.

"In fact, depending on where a couple is in their relationship, extravagant gifts like expensive lingerie or fancy chocolates can seem overwhelming," author and etiquette expert Leah Ingram tells Bankrate.com.

Amy: As a matter of fact, if you don't like the gifts, sell them on eBay.

"If you've just started dating, a big gift can imply more depth to the relationship than is really there.

Sonia: What depth? This statement's pointless if the relationship's as shallow as this article.

It can also be awkward if the guy splurges on a big Valentine's gift, but the woman doesn't do the same."

Sonic: Long story short, don't give her an engagement ring.

Instead, find a simple gift that shows you've been listening to your lady, like a DVD of her favorite series, or a book by an author she's mentioned.

Manic: Just as long as the author isn't Stephenie Meyer. That will cause one big-ass rift in your relationship.

Dr. Orbuch has a more direct approach: "Think of something your partner really needs," she says.

Sonic: Like a restraining order, or divorce papers for the future.

"Get the car detailed. Replace her tattered briefcase. It may not sound romantic, but thoughtfulness is a turn-on and shows you really care about your partner."

Amy: I thought that was a courtesy that can be done on any other day!

Mistake #3: Declaring Valentine’s Day a ploy for consumers

All: It is!

No matter how you rationalize it, the holiday is not going away.

Sonia: Unless you give your partner a memory wipe.

Even if your partner trumps your own disdain for the day, the risk of going along with her is too great.

Sonic: Because the man is always in the wrong.

Why it’s bad: It feels like an excuse.

All: *flatly* What.

Despite all the arguments against the day, it comes down to celebrating your relationship.

Manic: Well, this day is only great if you're a woman, of course.
Sonia: Isn't that what anniversaries are for?

“In the larger picture, cultural rituals like Valentine’s Day structure opportunities to do good things that we could do any day, but usually do not,” writes social scientist Bill  Doherty in Psychology Today.

Amy: So do them on any other day! Dur-hay!

“The year I took my wife to Subway on February 14 was the low point.

Sonia: A free sandwich? I don't see the problem here.

Eventually I realized that the cost of minimizing Valentine’s Day—the disappointment and the missed opportunity to connect—is greater than the benefits of maintaining my freedom to be spontaneously romantic on my own timetable.”

Sonic: Translation: Be a slave to your ungrateful significant other on this stupid day.

The fix: If if really pains you to observe the date, celebrate your valentine the day before.

Manic: That way, you'll end up celebrating your evening alone on the couch.
Amy: Don't forget the day after.

You can also keep it low-key.

Sonia: So you can have no heart attack inducing surprise parties!

Dinner is optional.

Amy: Actually, it's required.

The most important thing is to set aside time to talk about things that aren't "important."

Manic: Like how you never touch her like that anymore.

"Have a 10-minute conversation with your partner about anything besides kids, work, money, or domestic responsibilities," says Orbuch.

Amy: And it better be at least ten minutes long! I'm keeping track!
Sonic: My ten minute conversation involves leaving you. Bye now!

"I found that the '10 Minute Rule,' practiced daily, increases intimacy, bonding, and happiness."

Sonia: And a side effect: boredom.

Take a drive or rent the movie you watched on your first date: external triggers that don't cause stress can help take you back to the way you were before your everyday lives trumped romance.

Sonic: As if everyday lives didn't trump romance before any relationship.

Mistake #4: Sharing the day with your BlackBerry

Manic: This can only fly if you're from the really snobby upper class. Otherwise, don't try it.

One in five guys will text their loving message on Valentine’s Day and one in ten will take to email.

Amy: Remember, guys: expressing your love in any way or medium is terrible.

That doesn't even factor Facebook and Twitter professions of love.

Sonia: Hell, you're already criticizing everything. I'm amazed that you've left those things out.

As sweet as 140 characters can be, old-school letters are more romantic.

Sonic: And cliché.
Sonia: Who in the hell would spend this day with just a letter?
Amy: Wait, so you're telling me that I should counter something that's generic with something else that's generic?
Manic: And you wonder why we always say that women send mixed messages.

One survey found the obvious: women would be disappointed by an electronic gesture of affection.

Manic: Because god forbid that should happen, even if you're in a long distance relationship.

Why it’s bad: In terms of effort, it’s minimal.

Sonic: Jeez, nothing pleases this lady, huh?

It also brings a third party into your affair: your P.D.A. (your Personal Digital Assistant, not public displays of affection).

Amy: Because you know you have problems if you're jealous over something like that.
Sonia: Um, the P.D.A.'s basically the eqivalent of the beeper. Way to be out of date, Piper.
Sonic: I'd hate to see what would happen if this woman was dating a doctor who had to deal with a heart patient for surgery.

It should be a given to turn it off during your candlelit dinner, but using it to profess love is detached.

Manic: Because the letter of love also contained a worm to screw you over. Happy Valentine's Day.

The fix: Buy a blank card or take a photo of the two of you and write a message on the back.

All: Cliché.

It doesn't have to be long, it can even be a quote from your favorite song.

All: Boring.

But in this technological world, handwriting holds a certain intimacy.

Sonic: Besides, it'll add something new for the uppity woman to nitpick at.
Manic: And don't forget to add macaroni to your letter!
Amy: Edgy!

If words just aren't your thing, make a mix CD and write out the songs in pen.

Sonia: Well, pray that all the songs aren't rap. Obvious reasons.

Your music choices will do the talking.

Manic: *singing* I wanna sex you up--
Sonic: Hey! No, man.

Mistake #5: Expecting her to make the plans

Sonia: Because V-Day equals spoiling an ungrateful woman.

In the United States, 64 percent of men do not make V-day plans in advance.

Sonic: Maybe it was because the whipped man was spending this stupid "holiday" massaging his whiny spouse's smelly feet.

That can be a problem when at least 30 percent of women expect guys to map out the entire evening, according to Women's Health.

Amy: Because the woman's too damn lazy to plan the flipping day. Praise her.

Who's right?

All: *flatly* The woman.

Who cares.

All: *flatly* The woman.

To avoid conflict, just make a plan.

Manic: The plan ends with the man on the couch, as he has failed in his quest for Valentine's nookie.
Sonic: Already got my sheets, bro.

Why it’s bad: Making plans is a sign of commitment, even if they're not exactly what your partner had in mind.

Sonia: Again, because the man's always wrong.

The task of putting forethought into your time together suggests you see a future together.

Sonic: Or being whipped, your call.

It may sound like a leap, but on Valentine's Day, it's nothing to take lightly.

All: *points to a couch*
Amy: I'm also burning your things because you didn't set up a dinner date.
Sonia: Yeah, let me make plans to a restaurant that is heavily booked.
Sonic: And even if we do have a spot, I'm spending three times as much on your ungrateful, lazy butt!
Manic: I guess money really is the way to a woman's heart, huh?

The fix: Even if you’re strapped for cash or shut out from overbooked restaurants on what might be the busiest day for reservations, there's still hope.

Manic: Take her to a McDonald's! Because all women love salads!

Preparing a meal she’ll love or simply plating a prepared meal on a candle-lit table will do the job. Providing dessert and a little wine will suggest you’ve really put thought into the night, even if you just went to the supermarket.

Sonia: Holy crap! We have our first wonderful suggestion!
Sonic: Yeah, too bad that even sounded condescending. For crap's sake, can't us guys do one thing right on this stupid day without some snobby woman nitpicking at us?

Mistake #6: Under-dressing

Sonic: And our seventh mistake, overdressing. Why are you wearing that stupid tuxedo? You're not getting married!

Don't wear jeans. No matter how well they fit, denims are not invited to your romantic evening for two.

Sonia: Don't even wear them if you're just staying at home, or if you're spending your night digging a grave.

Why it's bad: It suggests the day isn't as important to you as it it may be to her.

Amy: Please her, you filthy men!

Plus, getting a little dressed up adds an element of excitement that breaks the casual routine you may share on a standard date night.

Manic: You'll enjoy it, even if those suspenders were on too tight.

And excitement boosts oxytocin, the bonding hormone

Sonic: Now you're just proving that you're full of it.

released during new, exciting activities that brings couples together.

Sonia: Like bungee jumping.

The fix: Whether you're staying in or partying like a rock star, let Daniel Craig, aka James Bond, be your style muse, says men's fashion site Dappered.

Amy: And order that martini for that extra edge.

For a night in, try casual khakis and a crisp white shirt, like Craig wore during a scene in an Italian villa in "Quantum of Solace."

Sonic: Apparently, looking like yourself is not good enough. No, you have to be specific in looking like somebody else!
Amy: What if we've never seen this film? Are we screwed?
Sonia: According to this stupid thing... yes.

For a red carpet look, try a skinny tie, or a slim-lined gray suit, like Craig has donned at premieres.

Manic: So, what have we learned here?
Amy: Um, I'm supposed to turn my boyfriend or husband into Daniel Craig, squeeze every penny out of him, and whine at everything he did on this day, even when he put his best efforts into it.
Manic: Yeah, that sounds about right.
Sonic: Eh. Anyway, let's get outta here... this article was just horrible.
Sonia: Yep. And there was no closing paragraph or anything. Jeez.

Chapter End Notes:
Obscure References:

Sonic: Well, it is. Haven't you ever read "Twilight", lady?
Manic:
You can't enjoy true love unless you're snowy white!

Manic: Just as long as the author isn't Stephenie Meyer. That will cause one big-ass rift in your relationship.

Obscure if you've never heard of this. Apparently, "Twilight" caused relationships to be strained or ended. Also, a few girls were stupid enough to actually get knocked up by males named Edward. Manic's "snowy white" line actually makes a hard-hitting jab in which the couples (mainly the "vampires") that were actually... that way... were in higher status (more money, owning a private island, etc.).

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