Vicki Wentz: Men, get a clue; ladies, stay in the zones

Feb. 09, 2013 @ 03:21 PM

Well, people, this Thursday is Valentine’s Day, and I’m sure you’ve prepared meticulously, shopped exhaustively, and designed this day for your sweetheart in every possible way, right? Of course you have ... (snicker) ... not! But, don’t sweat it. In my never-ending quest to be of service, I will hereby present a few basic suggestions to guarantee a successful Valentine’s Day. Follow these directions to the letter, and you will, at the end of the day, be buried in flowers, chocolate, diamonds, or – if the gods are really smiling – a huge, flower-shaped diamond inside an enormous box of bonbons.
To the ladies first. let me just say that hints are a total waste of time. Men are literal people. If you want to go to the restaurant where you had your first Valentine’s Day together, don’t drop enigmatic (look it up) little comments like, “Remember our first Valentine’s Day?” He won’t remember your first Valentine’s Day ... or your last Valentine’s Day ... or actually ANY Valentine’s Day, due to the fact that, bathed in the afterglow of the Super Bowl, sweating out his wife’s or girlfriend’s basic gift-giving expectations is just too much; the man will usually just stop at a grocery store flower stand on his way home, grateful to live another day. You’re simply asking too much.
You want to go to Casa di Tortellini? He’ll say, “Sure, whatever,” because he’s watching game highlights, and he “senses” your voice droning on somewhere in the back of his mind. But, he doesn’t really “hear” you. You need to preface your suggestion with something like, “Sweetums, I saw that issue of the SPORTS ILLUSTRATED SWIMSUIT EDITION hidden in your bottom drawer, and by the way...” (this targets both his love for sports and his undying belief that he could actually have a swimsuit model if he wanted one, plus his fervent desire not to be humiliated by you for that belief).
Or, you might try, “Pookie Bear, your friend Jerry called to see if you wanted to go bowling next week on ALL BEER IS FREE night, and by the way...” (this targets his other major zone: consumption). You now have his undivided attention, and are in perfect position to follow up with, “You wanna go to Casa di Tortellini for Valentine’s Day, which is TOMORROW?!” Trust me, you’re there.
As to the male’s genetically weak gift selection capabilities, if you’re too much of a romantic simply to say what you want, remember that a picture is worth a thousand hints. Cut out pictures of the Valentine’s gifts you desire, and place them strategically around the house: a photo of a diamond tiara taped to the TV remote; a perfume sample slipped into his smelly basketball sneakers (which kills two birds, if you know what I’m saying); an ad for a day at the spa stuffed inside his Cap’n Crunch. These are all messages he will appreciate.
When it comes to buying something FOR your guy, remember those three major zones, plus the always-popular “Some Assembly Required.” Because, with a set of un-assembled bookshelves (especially when the directions are in Farsi) most men will be happily occupied for weeks.
He does NOT want a candle, a poem, or an Enya CD. And, if you have flowers delivered to him at work, just to be cute and quirky? ... well, his coworkers will be driving by at all hours of the night, shouting derogatory epithets and then speeding away laughing raucously, for years to come ... not that I ever did that. Stay in the zones, ladies. Stay in the zones.
Now, as to you gentlemen, I think the most beneficial thing I can do is to help you “decode” some common female gift proclamations:
Let’s take, “Oh, honey, don’t get me anything big.” In lady-language, this means, “Diamonds come in very small boxes.”
“Baby, I don’t want anything. Really. Nothing!” Transcribed, this is, “Baby, I definitely want something. Really. Something incredible!”
“Oh, Schmoopie, just give me what you’d like me to have.” Watch out for this one, guys. The hidden translation of this sentence, as written in The Gentlewoman’s Guide to Gift Warnings, is, “Schmoopie, if you give me a Roadside Emergency Kit, I will tell my mother and sisters, who will make you pay.”
Or, “If you bring me anything remotely associated with power tools or lawn maintenance, you will be sleeping with it – IN THE GARAGE.”
And, “God forbid you should bring me anything that has to do with housework or cooking ... or anything that requires words like ‘louvered hoods, lowered 4-inch ‘55 Merc taillights, stainless steel dual exhaust’ … for, I will sell it on eBay to pay for my divorce lawyer.”
Finally, you might get, “Honey, just give me what you think I deserve.” Translation: “There isn’t enough money in the world.”
Vicki Wentz is a local writer, teacher and speaker. Readers may contact her at, or visit her website,