Monthly Archives: February 2015

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The Valentine Guide 2015

Lucy and I would never steer you wrong

No early Christian Martyr’s feast day has quite taken off like that of the hapless – er, make that headless – St. Valentine. The third-century Roman priest was supposedly executed on the orders of Claudius Gothicus (Claudius II, aka Claudius the Cruel, not to be confused with the one Derek Jacobi played). This bummer of a Claudius – convinced that Roman men weren’t joining the Imperial Army he was keeping busily engaged fighting foreign wars because they were too into their wives and girlfriends – banned all engagements and marriages in Rome. Valentine, a Christian priest, continued to perform clandestine ceremonies for young lovers, and was put to death for his treason. Legend has it that before dying, he left a note for his jailer’s daughter, with whom he had become friendly, signed, “From your Valentine.” The rest is considerably less bloody history.

So, how best to honour his sacrifice tomorrow? Well, other than buying lots of stuff – consumers in the U.S. alone are on track to spend a record $18.9 BILLION this year – or complaining loudly about the day’s observance or existence (please just STOP, you’re boring me) – you could:

It feels so good, you won't even notice my friend Ken taking your picture!

Grab your sweetie (or any willing participant) and make out! Kissing releases powerful hormones and brain chemicals – apparently even just puckering your lips for a smooch can remind you of blissful babyhood, and bonds you to the face you’re sucking. According to the clever YouTube channel It’s Okay to Be Smart, there are more links to the lips in your brain’s somatosensory cortex than there are to your genitals! Dopamine, epinephrine, norepinephrine and waves of endorphins boost your mood, and the longer you kiss, the less cortisol (stress hormone) you’ll produce. Check out this entertaining five-minute video on exactly why kissing is so awesome and get inspired!

Unless he's Dr. Arthur Aron, that is!

Forge a deeper connection with someone by asking the right questions. A very popular New York Times column, Modern Love, recently published this account of how a pair of acquaintances moved their relationship out of the “friend zone” one night by following the advice of Dr. Arthur Aron. I’ve already written about the SUNY psychologist’s work claiming that any pair of people wishing to fall in love with each other could do so by asking this particular set of questions before, and am happy to have my firm belief that there’s no such thing as “the one” (in a predestination sense) confirmed yet again.

I don't think being in the first half of the alphabet could help this guy

Give your online dating profile a makeover! According to a recent study, patrons of dating sites who choose a username that begins with a letter in the first half of the alphabet achieve more success than those closer to Z. While I am familiar with the concept of alphabetical discrimination, I am not aware of a single dating site that presents its search or match results in alphabetical order, so I’m inclined to disregard these “findings” entirely. I have my own thoughts about usernames, wearing red (do it!), and the three must-have profile pictures. If you’d like my help building a better profile, do get in touch.

Umm, does it have to be about an experience with YOU?

Turn bad come-ons into adorable Valentines! Still steamed over all the cheesy unsolicited messages your profile gets you? While my honest advice is to ignore them, if you need more closure than that, check out the excellent new tumblr Okay, Cupid. They’ll turn that embarrassing opening line into a sweetly primitive, hilarious valentine you can send to yourself, your friends, or even the doofus who thought that was a good approach in the first place!

Grab your single friends and have a swingin' party!

Focus on friends and family, or meet new people! This week the New York Times is reporting on the growing trend I like to think I pioneered back in my own single days in New York City two decades ago: the Valentine’s Day party! According to a recent article, New Yorkers “are taking back the day and reimagining it as a time to spend with friends and loved ones — plural — rather than one special person. They are hosting cocktail parties, informal gatherings… and even running happy-hour mixers masked as charitable events. While the prospect of romantic love is still likely to hover in the ether, many of these singles parties emphasize getting out, having fun and not fretting too much about one’s solo status.”

However you choose to celebrate (or not), remember, you’re all having a better February 14th than the good old saint for whom the day is named. Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

Mad respect for the good old patron saint of illicit love