All Roads Lead to Sex, by Dr. Max Trask

The Gentleman’s Guide to Valentine’s Day

By Dr. Max Trask

It’s the day that celebrates courtly love.  The romantic love that exists between one man and one woman.  A love that begins the day their eyes meet, and lasts until they both draw their final breath.  It’s the most powerful force in the universe.

That’s how a mental patient of mine once described Valentine’s Day.  Shortly afterward he began to claim that the ghost of Edward R. Murrow was living in his garage. 

But he was right in the sense that love in its younger days is a wonderful thing that gives our lives meaning.  Passion fades, of course.  Whereas you and your paramour once fell into each other’s arms after a sip of champagne, it will one day take seven vodka stingers.  And the wife who looked so fetching on her wedding day may, in ten years time, merely look as if she should be. 

This article, then, is aimed at young lovers.  More specifically, at men who are looking for a young lover.  Your future is flab, impotence, anger, bitterness and death, in that order.  Trust me on this, I’m a psychiatrist.  But there’s no reason you can’t close a blind eye to what’s coming, and enjoy the here and now. 

With a little help from me, your Valentine’s Day can be one to remember.

The Preparation

You’ve met that special someone.  You’re flawless in each other’s eyes.  You don’t care about her Percodan addiction, and she doesn’t care that your next job promotion might rocket you to assistant night custodian at Chicken on a Stick.  Your first Valentine’s Day as a couple has arrived, and you want to do something special.

There are all kinds of exotic possibilities.  A ride through the park on a horse-drawn carriage.  A twilight balloon ride.  These are all very cute.  Don’t do them.  There’s really only one tried and true Valentine’s Day engagement, and that’s going out to dinner.  Do that.

After you’ve invited your lady, and she’s accepted, you should make reservations at a nice restaurant.  And I do mean nice.  In no way is it acceptable to take your date to any establishment where you place your order by shouting into a plastic clown’s mouth.  I don’t care how many damn coupons you have.

Since you’re going to spend money like a swell, it’s only right that you dress the part.  A designer suit in black or dark blue will fit the bill, but if you really want to impress your date, wear a monkey suit.  And gentlemen, I can’t stress this enough – “monkey suit” is slang for a tuxedo.

Your lady will expect you to bring flowers.  A dozen red roses is traditional.  But unless Chicken on a Stick has inexplicably started to comply with minimum wage laws, that’s not realistic.  Let’s face it, you’re not Warren Buffet.  You’re probably not even Carl Buffet, that Chrislip guy who won $5000 in the lottery and now acts like his crap doesn’t smell as bad as ours. 

Luckily, the idea has arisen among the female populous that there’s one thing far more romantic than a dozen red roses – and that’s a single red rose.  It’s not known how this idea came about, but men everywhere are grateful.  Except for those men who happen to be florists, and they won’t be giving flowers to women anyway, if you catch my drift.

Eating Out

When you get to the restaurant, the first person who approaches you will be the maitre’d (pronounced “maitre’d”).  He’s there to serve you.  Don’t call him “sir.”  If you must call him anything, call him “captain.”  Everyone likes to feel they’re in the Coast Guard sometime.  The maitre’d’s job is to show you to your table; yours is to go there and sit down.

Next, you’ll be approached by the wine steward, or sommelier (pronounced “sommelier”).  It’s okay to call him “sir,” since he’s a freeborn Frenchman and you live in your parents’ basement.  Because you don’t know anything about wine, ordering it can be tricky.  A good rule of thumb is to order white wine with white meat, and red wine with red meat.  You can remember this by keeping in mind the poem: “red, red; white, white.”  It’s a mnemonic device. 

You know which color wine to order, but which wine specifically?  It’s a little-known fact that the very state we live in – Michigan – produces some of the best wines in the world.  French or Italian wines, by contrast, are apt to be of lesser quality, horribly overpriced, and bottled by snooty continentals who think America is turning into a slack-jawed, right wing theocracy.  The key word in all of this is “little-known.”  Since nobody really knows that Michigan produces fine wine, that’s precisely who will be impressed when you order it.  Go with the expensive, inferior-tasting stuff.

After the wine, you’ll be visited by the waiter.  His name is Kevin.  Don’t call him “sir” either.  Just order whatever you want.  My suggestion, though, is that you order a food that you don’t particularly like.  Nothing is more off-putting than a dinner companion who wolfs down his food like a death row inmate going after his last bowl of chili.  If it’s something you don’t like, you’re more apt to just pick at it politely, as if you’re doing it a favor rather than vice versa.

Your date may want something to eat, too.  Once it was considered gentlemanly for the man to order for his lady.  These days, that’s dangerous.  Maybe there are certain foods your date is allergic to.  Or maybe she’s one of those PETA tools who’ll curl up in the fetal position at the sight of a lambchop.  So let her order for herself.

One important point:  be polite to the waiter.  Sure, it’s tempting to bully him; sometimes the fellow seems to be asking for it, doesn’t he?  But some women are offended by boorish behavior.  And if she thinks you’re crude, it may hurt your chances of getting some keister later on.

After an evening of food, wine and conversation, the waiter will bring the check.  This always has the potential for embarrassment.  It’s every man’s nightmare:   You discover you don’t have nearly enough cash to cover the cost of dinner, and that rampant pornography jones of yours has long since eaten up the $60 credit limit on your Visa Junior card.  What can you do?  You certainly can’t ask your date to pony up and pay her share.  That wouldn’t be chivalrous.

Luckily, there’s a way out.  Simply excuse yourself to the men’s room, climb out the window and run like hell.  Your date may not be all that impressed, but it’s the kind of thing you’ll both look back on and laugh at in the future.  Especially way in the future, when you’ve been married for twenty years and even stale old stories seem preferable to intimacy.

All Roads Lead to Sex

After dinner, chances are you’ll wind up back at your place.  If you’ve played all your romantic cards right, your date will probably want to go to bed with you.  If you’ve spent more than $100, she has to.  At this point you’re on your own. 

Who knows where this night may lead?  Whatever happens, it will give me the deepest satisfaction to see your relationship turn out exactly the same as mine has with Mrs. Trask. 

I’m here to give advice.  They don’t pay me to be nice.

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