A few suggestions for the big day


Man, some folks are just flat-out cold.

According to an FBI release on Tuesday, some yahoos in the Wild Wild West world of the Internet have been sending people Valentine’s Day cards through their e-mail. The problem is that the recipient does not receive an endearing message of love or thought upon opening the card — instead, they open a digital Pandora’s Box that hijacks computers and can access your personal imformation, as well as leap to other computers the user might interact with in a normally benign manner.

Man, some folks are just flat-out cold.

But there’s a lesson here. A few, in fact. The first is to reinforce the notion that it is unwise to open any e-mails from senders you are not familiar with — or, at the very least, not to open attachments or click on links from unknown senders. The second lesson may not be as obvious upon first glance, but it should be noted — guys, don’t send digital Valentine’s Day cards to your mate in the first place.

Look, I love the Internet as much as the next guy. I use it for e-mail, surfing news sites, sports sites, sites about hermaphrodite farm animals, you name it. But some events call for a more personal touch, and Valentine’s Day would be right up there with anniversaries as an event you should not toss aside to the convenient ease of the Internet.

As a public service, and having at my disposal an arsenal of stupid mistakes committed over the years by myself, my father and an assortment of mentally-challenged friends that I’m somehow close to, I offer the men of the world a few helpful suggestions on sucking up to your special lady on special occassions.

DO take her to a nice restaurant. Yes, there’s something sweet about the home-cooked meal (as well as something financially prudent), but this is not the time to win her over with your specialty of macaroni and cheese, frozen tater tots and a rack of ribs. I know, I know — it’s a gesture from the heart, and you have in your back pocket that dessert of Pop Tarts to cap of the evening, but trust me ... take a crowbar to your wallet and take her out.

DO NOT suggest during the meal that since it is Valentine’s Day for you, as well, that the bill should be split, or it could very well be your skull that gets split. I plead guilty to this one in my past, and I’m still suffering post traumatic stress disorder from the aftermath — and I was only 16.

DO get her flowers. It’s tired. It’s cliché. I agree. But get her the flowers, man.

DO NOT forget to sign a card with the flowers. If she receives it at work, the reading of the card in front of all the other women is part of the thrill. She’ll most likely know they’re from you, but let her have her moment in the sun.

DO tell her that her outfit looks very nice on her. Any other combination of words here can get you in hot water — and the water level is rising.

DO NOT tell her that she looks really slim in that outfit she’s wearing. All the good intentions in the world won’t help you when she replies, “Are you telling me I usually look fat?” Don’t open that conversation, under any circumstances. I can’t stress that enough. It’s often said to avoid politics and religion when trying to have a cordial conversation. Throw in any talk of a woman’s weight. It won’t work out for you.

DO make an effort to make yourself look nice. If you show up in your jeans and an “Official Bikini Inspector” T-shirt, well, get out the blankets for the spare couch when you get home. And don’t bother putting them away in the morning. You might be there a while.

DO NOT overdress for the situation. No woman in the world wants to be upstaged by a guy who would normally be wearing an “Official Bikini Inspector” T-shirt.

DO pay attention to what she’s saying. Look, I’m the master of nodding my head to the current conversation and keeping an ear on Sports Center in the background, but do not attempt this maneuver on a big day. No person wants the last words they hear to be coming from Dick Vitale on ESPN.

DO NOT pick a seat at the restaurant that faces the bar so you can watch the game. See above.

DO ask her what she’d like to do after dinner. Maybe it’s a movie, or going home or even taking a walk on the boardwalk. Even if it’s something that’s excruciatingly painful to endure, do it. It’s one night, and, as I learned to mutter over and over again in boot camp, this too will pass. Let her end the evening how she’d like to see the evening end.

DO NOT nod your head when she tells you what she’d like to do and reply, “And how long will that take?” You blew the moment, dude. There’s no coming back from that.

DO stay attentive. Actively engage yourself in the conversation, notice if her beverage is getting low and ask if she’d like some more, and comment on the surroundings. If it appears you’re having a good time, she’ll have a good time. It doesn’t kill you to make her happy from time to time.

DO NOT comment on the waitress’ figure when you’re discussing the surroundings.

Trust me. That one hurts.There is no digression to escape that.