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Tuesday, February 14, 2006


Advice to the Young Bachelor on Valentine's Day

I didn't date a lot in college. I had girlfriends periodically, but I didn't really go out on many according-to-Hoyle "dates" with them. Mostly, it would be hanging out with friends or going to a theater party or something along those lines. And given the fact that, for the great bulk of my college years, I didn't have a girlfriend, I left Kent State University not knowing that much about how to get dates or what to do when I mysteriously wound up on one.

So when, about a year out of college, I began dating the enchanting creature who would eventually become my wife, I had little practical dating experience and had to fall back on other methods to figure out what the hell to do.

The one thing I had going for me was my patented "coffee shot". As a high percentage of the dates I had been on had ended up at Denny's or some other dinerish place, I'd come up with this little trick that I used in place of actual charm. I would pull the lid off of a non-dairy creamer container, pour some sugar on the area of my hand between my thumb and index finger, lick it off, pour the creamer down my throat and follow it with a coffee chaser. I'm not going to brag by telling you how many co-eds I bedded with this little beauty, but suffice it to say the number hovers in the zeroes.

Other than the coffee shot, though, I had nothing. No moves; no strategies; no clue. I didn't realize, for example, that a first date is not the best time to discuss what drugs one has or hasn't done. It leads the person with whom you are out to form probably not an entirely accurate picture of you. I didn't know that it's probably not a good idea to suggest to your date that the two of you leave a play at intermission, even though you know--thanks to your BFA--that you've been watching complete shit. She's likely, you see, to think you're an utter theater snob.

But the biggest mistake I made when I started dating my future spouse I can blame entirely on Cosmo. I was sitting around with some friends one night and one of the ladies had brought an issue. There was an article on dating dos and don'ts for guys. They said, for example, that you should, without saying a word, remove your date's shoe and begin giving a foot massage. This turned out to be pretty good advice, actually, except I found out you should not do this while the woman is standing. The other suggestion that I took to heart was that a great second or third date is to invite the woman to your house and cook a meal for her.

Now, I have to stop here to say that the majority of my attempts at cooking since I'd been on my own had been along the lines of dumping a turkey pot-pie on some egg noodles to create an instant casserole. Not exactly out of the Cordon Bleu cookbook.

But I was game. I tracked down a recipe for manicotti. I got stuff to make a salad and followed Cosmo's helpful hint that you should have the lady help make the salad so that it becomes more of a shared experience. The dinner was a success. The manicotti was pretty good and it got me to a fourth date and fifth and so on. The problem was that it encouraged me to experiment with more cooking, which led to me being the primary chef when we moved in together, which further led to the atrophy of even the most rudimentary cooking skills on my wife's part, which still further led to her being unable to scramble a couple of eggs without consulting The Joy of Cooking.

I don't mind cooking. I often find it quite enjoyable. But I wish to hell I'd known on that fateful Phoenix evening that I'd end up down the road cooking every frickin' night for the rest of my natural life. And so I say, to any young man considering a run at Crepes Suzette this February fourteenth, think twice. Maybe you should just get sandwiches from Subway instead.

If a man cooks for me I will clean for him.

That Girl
I laughed, I cried, now make me a veggie pot pie.
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