For years people the world over have sought my advice as a foremost authority on matters of the heart. Perhaps it’s because I’m half-German. Or maybe because I got an A- in French in high school – the language of love. I don’t actually have any formalized training in this arena. And I still don’t quite understand position #27 of the Kama Sutra.
My love advice credentials stem from a series of devastating, soul-crushing, failed romances in my formative youth, all of which ended catastrophically. (To this day, I still can’t look at a wrist corsage without suffering traumatic flashbacks.)
February 14th is Valentine’s Day, officially recognized by Hallmark as the one day each year men are expected to demonstrate their love for their wife by buying a sappy card with flowers and chirping birds, inside of which is written a banal poem with hackneyed rhymes like “you’re my wife” and “rest of my life”. Oh, and don’t forget the heart-shaped box of chocolates. Here’s a useful tip: Make sure you leave at least 5 chocolates for your wife – I’d suggest the caramel-centered ones. You know how much she loves caramel. The other 364 days you guys can go back to not showering and channel-surfing between ESPN 1 and ESPN 2. Your job is done.
Most readers of this column know me simply as the Love Doctor because of the insightful advice they come to me for on matters of romance. As my Valentine’s gift to you, here’s a tiny sampling of the deluge of letters (estimated to be almost six) I received last month seeking my love counsel.
My wife and I have been married for 27 years. The spark went out of our marriage years ago. She likes going to art galleries, reading trashy romance novels, and crying. I prefer watching football, playing poker, and getting sh*t-faced at bars with my fishing buddies. We have drifted apart ever since the cancellation of the show Friends, the one form of entertainment we had in common (although we disagreed about who was hotter – she said Phoebe and I said Rachel). Is there anything we can do to put the spark back into our marriage?
– Tired in Texas
Dear Tired, from where I sit, your wife is completely wrong. Just flat out wrong. Rachel is way hotter than Phoebe. Although on the debate of who’s hotter, Jennifer Aniston or Angelina Jolie, I have to give the slight edge to Angelina. Good luck.
Dear Love Doctor,
I hope you can help me. I’m in love with two men and I can’t decide what to do. I’m a 35-year old divorcee. One of them is 10 years older than me and wealthy. He treats me with respect and kindness and always buys me presents to show me how much he cares. He’s a widower and owns a 500-acre vineyard in Napa. He is fairly nice looking but to be honest, he does not set my heart pounding. The other man is a 24 year old Italian waiter with the sexiest accent, rippling muscles, and dark flowing hair. He has no money, is unemployed and I worry that he drinks too much. But he is so hot looking and the most amazing lover in bed. What should I do, Love Doctor?
– Confused in Cupertino
Dear Confused, I see no reason you can’t have both. My advice is to hold onto Mr. Rich. He sounds like a great catch. Tell him that your Italian Stallion is your younger brother just back from a semester abroad program (hence the accent). You should be able to keep your affair with Antonio going until he discovers that cute 25-year old barista from Portugal. But don’t worry. That’s not for another four months. In the meantime, ask Mr. Rich for a pearl necklace for Valentine’s Day. You can never go wrong with pearls.
Dear Love Doctor,
I’m an 85-year-old widow living alone with my cat. I have not had a man in my life in more than 23 years. Lately there has been this nice gentleman I met at my church who has been visiting me twice a week, taking me out for lunch and playing Pinochle. Now he would like to take it to the next level. Should I let him kiss me on the cheek? He is only 77. I don’t want to rush into things. What should I do, Love Doctor?
– Senior in Saratoga
PS: Give my love to the grandkids. Ask them to write me now and then, okay?
Dear Senior. I’m getting totally creeped out here. Do NOT let this guy kiss you EVER. Cut it off before you get in over your head. Act your age, for God’s sake.
PS: The kids send their love and said to tell you they hope you’ll visit soon.
How long before you will be off the goddamn computer and make dinner like you promised me for Valentine’s Day? I’m waiting. The spaghetti is not going to cook itself, you know? And while you’re at it, could you get off your lazy ass, clean up the kitchen and take out the trash for once in your life?
– Your wife M******
I feel like we’ve met. You sound like someone I know so well. You appear to have unresolved issues around food, not to mention deep-seated obsessive-compulsive tendencies around chores. I might suggest seeking professional counseling to work through your anger management issues. By the way, your husband sounds like a great guy. You must be one lucky lady.
Send me your own love question to: LoveDoctor@SheRippedOutMyHeartandShovedItDownTheDisposal.com. When it comes to matters of love, when you are uncertain about what to do, look inward and follow your heart … unless you are my high school daughter, in which case forget all that crap about the heart. Just do what I tell you, and no, you can’t date that boy with the skull ‘n snake tattoo and the motorcycle.
I need to wrap this up. I’m about to prepare a special Valentine’s Dinner for one very special lady. Nothing says “Je vous aime, mon chéri” like a home-cooked spaghetti meal from Costco…. and chocolates….and a Hallmark card with chirping birds and flowers. Ah, l’amour.…..
That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.
PS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by sharing it on Facebook, posting a comment or giving it a Like. And remember, Valentine’s Day is not just a fabricated commercial holiday made up by Hallmark to sell millions of greeting cards. Just kidding. That’s exactly what this day is all about.
© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2013