Valentines Day means flowers, candy, a card and dinner

When I was a youth, on Valentines Day you gave your girlfriend red roses, a heart-shaped box of candy, a card and dinner at a nice restaurant.

After 34-plus years of marriage, I still want to make Valentines Day special for my wonderful wife and that usually means flowers, candy, a romantic card and dinner at a nice restaurant.

Let’s face it. Flowers are a ripoff. Red roses cost maybe $50 or $60 for a dozen before Valentines Day while they are $19.95 for most of the rest of the year. Demand dictates price.

Valentines candy is overpriced but it is delicious.

Last year, I went to the Russell Stover store on 71st Street at Highway 169 and bought fresh strawberries dipped in chocolate for my wife. It was hard to know how many to buy because they say you have only 24 hours to eat them (and you aren’t supposed to refrigerate them, either). That store is closed and I may search for another chocolate strawberry outlet or I may try some other candy.

Buying candy for your wife is tricky. If you buy too much, you get that look – the one that says these will make me gain weight. If you buy too little, you get that “why did I marry such a cheapskate” look. If you don’t buy any chocolates, you sleep on the couch.

By the way, Valentines candy must be chocolate. You can’t buy other types of candy and expect to be taken seriously.

And I can prove that it is overpriced because when you go to a grocery or drugstore on February 15, all the candy is half price.

Here’s a tip for the ladies – if a guy gives you candy on Valentines Day, offer him at least one piece. Isn’t that just common decency?

You don’t want to buy the flowers, candy or card on February 14. You have to buy them at least a day early.

Walk by the Valentine card display at 5 p.m. on February 14 and all you will see is some empty spaces or cards that are so rude that you wouldn’t give them to an enemy.

And if you try to buy red roses at 5 p.m. on Valentines Day, you will either pay a huge premium or you will get crummy-looking flowers that have been picked over with broken stems, etc.

Cards are a giant ripoff. It seems the prices go up every year. But it is worth it because the sentiment on the card means a great deal to most women.

Here’s a tip. Don’t buy a really funny Valentines card for your wife or sweetheart. They don’t see the humor in romantic comedy the way us guys do. Funny cards are anti-romantic.

Finding a restaurant on Valentines Day is rough. Even though February 14 is on a Tuesday this year, the restaurants will be packed.

One year, we went to a steakhouse that we both like. We went at 5 p.m. to avoid the crowds. Our waitress couldn’t wait for us to finish so she could reuse our table as the lobby began to fill will couples. I hate it when a server brings the bill before you are finished eating. You might as well go to a fast-food restaurant (where you don’t have to leave a tip).

Another time, we went to a steakhouse that I had not been to in about 20 years. Again, we went before 6 p.m. to avoid the crowds. Surprisingly, it wasn’t crowded but we soon found out why. My salad was drenched in dressing. The service was lousy and it was the worst steak I have had in years.

That restaurant is now out of business.

On Valentines Day, don’t take the kids to the restaurant and don’t double date. Go to a sit-down restaurant that is nice and quiet. Don’t eat someplace that is messy (like barbecue or a seafood place with a roll of paper towels on the table). Check the menu online to see how expensive things are. If there are no prices on the menu, try someplace else.

Back when we were raising three kids and didn’t have much money, we used to celebrate Valentines Day on February 15 or 16. Like I said, the candy was half price and the restaurants weren’t crowded. (You still have to buy the card in advance). You don’t want to be too practical on the most romantic holiday of the year but don’t break the bank.

Most men have a hard time being romantic. Women yearn for sensitivity and relationship. Valentines Day is tailor-made for brutish males to show a little kindness.

And don’t forget the candy, card, flowers and dinner.