Valentine's Day Turn-Offs and -Ons
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Romantic Gestures1 of 11
By Annabelle Gurwitch and Jeff Kahn, real-life married couple and authors of You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up: A Love Story
For those who claim that Valentine’s Day is just a fabricated holiday, devoid of meaning, if you really think about it, every holiday is made up, so just deal with it. Here’s our list of holiday turn-offs (Jeff) and turn-ons (Annabelle) to help you have to some heartfelt fun.
Clichés2 of 11
He says: First, the turn-offs: Stay away from and avoid all cliché Valentine’s Day clothing, jewelry and undergarments. Hey, I’m a big fan of lingerie in almost all of its modes, but seeing Annabelle scampering about in a cherry red heart-shaped thong would illicit from me more laughter and genial mockery than arousal.
Parents3 of 11
Sorry, mom, I love you, I adore you, but I do not want to be your Valentine, so please don’t feel obligated to buy me a card, OK. It’s nothing personal; it’s just that one never really wants to ever confuse maternal love for that other one, even on Valentine’s Day. And that includes you too, mother-in-law.
Bad Movies4 of 11
There are so many pull-on-your-heartstrings, funny, tear-inducing romantic comedies out there: Roman Holiday, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Annie Hall, You Got Mail, When Harry Met Sally, Shakespeare in Love, to name just a few. Just keep me far from pandering, vomitous and cynical trash like Valentine’s Day, which, by the way, didn’t have the decency of even coming up with an interesting title.
Spending Money5 of 11
A frugal heart can be a happy one. I used to take Annabelle to expensive Valentine’s Day dinners, but times and economies have changed, and so have we. Instead of feeling guilty, remorseful and turned off because we irresponsibly spent so much money on dinner, we’ll be eating in on cheap takeout, drinking a cold beer and watching any movie that's not Valentine’s Day.
Sexual Pressure6 of 11
Pressure to have sex is always a turn-off. Not for me, of course; I take whatever I can get. But my significant other doesn’t like it when I infer, hint or beg for it in any way. Thus I have to take heed and hope that the lack of holiday turn-offs such as heart-shaped thongs, cards from our mothers, expensive dinners and Valentine’s Day will work their magic into Annabelle’s pants so I don’t have to try so hard.
Homemade Gifts7 of 11
She says: Here are my turn-ons: It might be romantic to see "I [heart] Your Name Here," written in the sky just once, but that’s a lot to ask in these economically challenged times. (I priced it out: It’s over $2,000.) So I’m going to suggest to my husband that it might be nice to see "I Love You" in chalk on the sidewalk outside our house. (I priced that out too: It’s about $5 for a good selection of colors.)
Love Letters8 of 11
No one ever slept with an e-mail under their pillow. If you can’t think of a great turn of phrase, copy words of love from the masters (like Mr. Big did in Sex in the City). By hand. Yes, pens still exist! Slip a note to your beloved in the mail. Texting “I Luv U” into the ether may get you a response of “I’m running 5 minutes late.” So put it on paper.
Dressing Up9 of 11
No man should wear shorts, even in the summer on a date. (Unless you’re Rafael Nadal.) This goes for gals too. Every year some designer come up with shorts that can be worn in the evening, but only if you’re an 18-year-old model, and then you shouldn’t do that because you’ll look 13, which is just creepy, wrong and illegal. So get dressed up.
Home-Cooked Meal10 of 11
Having a guy cook for you is the best thing ever. My husband likes to make hummus and steamed broccoli for dinner. If you want to know what meal not to have on Valentines Day, it’s hummus and steamed broccoli. Unless your idea of sexy involves scatological humor. Maybe that’s why oysters and caviar are considered sexy fare: They’re easy to eat and not at all gassy.
Being Right11 of 11
There’s a saying: Would you rather be happy or right? Right, of course. Being right is what makes me happy. Chocolates, music, dinner, flowers — all those things pale in the face of that elusive dream day where my beloved just agrees with everything I say. One can only dream.
SHOP NOW: You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up, $17