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Getting in the Valentine Mood.

by Dear Jon
February 10, 2004


Dear Jon,

I love having the latest technological gadgets. The problem is the new stuff is always too expensive for me and by the time it's affordable, it's obsolete. And if I do happen to splurge on something cutting-edge, I'm disappointed a year later, when the new model hits the market. How do I cope with this endless cycle of advancing technology?

-Tech Junkie

Dear Junk,

You answered your own letter. You do not love the “having,” you love the “getting,” but you are not in an income bracket to afford the latest toys as soon as they appear. The only solution for a person with your desires is to get hired into the product testing department at Motorola® or Sony®.

Otherwise, be content to be about 18 months behind. Affordable obsolescence offers a much improved product, with consumer-friendly features added on and the bugs expelled from the earliest cutting-edge models. Think about DVD players on the market now versus five years ago.


Dear Jon,

I'm married and some years, on Valentine's Day, I don't feel very romantic because of other things going on or I'm just not in the mood. If that's how I feel this year, should I fake a romantic mood or try to explain to my wife that I'm not up for the whole romantic evening on that particular night?

Cupid's Occasional Enemy

Dear Cupid,

That’s really funny. I’m trying to figure out just how, exactly, a guy can “fake a romantic mood.” A guy’s appetite for romantic engagement, or his loss of appetite, is pretty obvious.

On the other hand, romance is not a mood. Romance is a relationship. Buying your wife flowers and/or a box of candy is not about being “in the mood.” It is about remembering your wife as the one who is special to you in every romantic sense, and who also chose you to be special to her.

Beyond the remembrance, there are other things associated with Valentine’s Day that you might not have the energy for. The candlelit dinner, a “girl” movie, dancing or ice skating, champagne in a hot-tub, and other activities that depend more on appetites that cannot be faked. Those are all negotiable assuming that your wife is reasonably well-adjusted. She might agree that another evening in the week suits her better too.

This is the great thing about grown-ups. They can work this stuff out.

If your wife is neurotic, and will feel unloved, rejected, and forever bitter unless you have a French chef in your kitchen and your dining room filled with heart-shaped balloons, then there is nothing I can do to help you.

If, for you, the romantic “mood” strikes approximately once a year, falling somewhere between March Madness and the Stanley Cup finals, you might need to practice being affectionate to your wife, even if you do not feel like it. Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to show your wife that she means so much more than your monosyllabic grunts during breakfast can tell.

It is one thing if Valentine’s Day falls on a Tuesday. It can be understandable to postpone celebrations. This year, Valentine’s Day falls on a Saturday. This means you are without excuse. Unless you are working at a convenience store, what other plans could you possibly have for Saturday evening other than paying attention to your wife? “Televised hockey” is not an answer.

With four days until Valentine’s Day, you can reconcile yourself to Cupid and have a great time with your wife:

1. It is easy to prepare. Candy, flowers and wine are all available at large super markets.

2. If Saturday is a movie night, go to a movie or rent one that she would want to see. Hint: It probably does not star Vin Diesel.

3. If you eat out or go clubbing, why should this Saturday night be any different?

4. Four days of foreplay can have a big pay-off. Imagine cuddling her this evening for no reason at all. Then tomorrow, give her a back-rub and ask about her day. Actually listen, and ask questions that show you are reflecting on her stories and her feelings. Then on Thursday, kiss her on the couch for ten minutes straight without making any other moves. On Friday, draw her a hot bath with suds and oils, and then read out loud to her from the novel “In Her Shoes” or anything else written by Judy Devereaux. By Saturday when she discovers the chocolate, flowers, and wine, she will be completely, madly in love with you like she was the week after you got engaged, but it will feel like the week after you got married. You will be “in the mood” by then, too. Trust me.

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