Note: “Girlfriend” can be replaced with “boyfriend,” and “boyfriend” can be replaced with “girlfriend” if same-sex couple, etc.

Valentine’s Day was created by women to get free chocolate and mess with boyfriends’ minds. Valentine’s Day is often an extremely awkward day for men and a drain on their pocketbooks. Something is always expected from the guy, and the guy has neither a clue nor the natural instinct to understand the idiosyncratic intricacies of the female heart. He is a guy, and guys are dumb like that.

If you ask her what she wants for Valentine’s Day, she’ll feel like you’re copping out of figuring out the perfect gift, which she will never mention because she wants to know whether you love her and can read her heart. If you really love her, you will know the perfect gift immediately (and have the money to pay for it).

Aside: There is always the ticking time bomb of whether the cornered guy should propose. Is she expecting a 3.00 carat diamond ring with a princess cut and loving engraving? Or a bag of Valentine’s-packaged chocolates? Do you two even like each other? Is this one of those I’m-with-you-because-I’m-afraid-to-be-alone relationships? Can you give her 12 roses and a heart-shaped box of candy every year? Is that too typical? Does she like consistency? She seemed to like it last year. Is she expecting that this year, or will she just be pissed?

Also: If you go to a restaurant, she thinks marriage. If you act nervous, she thinks marriage. If you make a little speech about how much you love her, she thinks “marriage.” If you invite her for a homemade candlelight dinner, she thinks “marriage.” If you talk to her parents, she thinks “marriage.” If you plan a trip, she thinks “marriage.”

Does she really expect a ring? Really? Oh shit.

Here are some ideas for Valentine’s Day seduction tips so that one day she may say, “Yes.”

1. Get her a watch with an alarm so that she may remember to take her birth control, which you will also supply or give her money to get.

2. If you cook her dinner, at least you’re saying, “I’m trying.” Watching a man struggle in the kitchen is endearing to a lot of women. Dusting and vacuuming are also personally satisfying.

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3. Serenade her with a trombone, horn, or clarinet solo from Star Wars. Nothing spells sexy like band music. Timpani are good, too.

4. Buy lingerie. Buying lingerie is dangerous because you might get mightily slapped, or she might just like the underwear. Lingerie is a little bit sexist because lingerie is more of a gift to you than a gift to her. It’s like saying, “Can you wear this for me because it makes me hard? Hey, it’s a gift to you because you get to wear it.”

5. Buy a Teddy bear because they’re cute. (Do women love Teddy bears, or is that something just perpetrated by Hallmark and grocery stores? What am I supposed to do with a teddy bear? How the hell do I know if girls like Teddy bears.)

6. Instead of a Teddy bear, give her a giant stuffed panda. I saw them at Costco. She can’t really get rid of it until the relationship ends. Tell her, “This giant panda represents my giant love for you, and if you get rid of it or hide it I will know you hate me.”

7. Write her a letter about how much you love her…in blood…and occasionally capitalize words so you sound angry…and let teardrops fall on your parchment.

8. Hand-feed her little heart-shaped message candies until she says she feels like this is weird.

9. Fool her! Women love tricks. Tricks are funny. Go on one knee at a restaurant. Show her a box. When she opens it, it will say, “Maybe next year.” Watch her roll in laughter.

10. Buying a lot of candy puts stress on your wallet, so if you buy her a small amount of candy, you must explain why. Here—rather than say, “I couldn’t afford much candy,” say, “I would’ve given you more but I didn’t want you to get fatter.”

11. Fill her car to the ceiling with rose petals. When she sees her car, she will shriek at the romantic gesture. Rose petals are always a win, even when it comes to cleaning them. You have to remember—women like to clean, especially huge lumps of tiny dead foliage.

12. Get a tattoo of your girlfriend’s face, and she should get a tattoo of you in a very visible place like a shoulder or forehead. You will never regret this, and neither will she.

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13. Rent a limo. Drive around the neighborhood. Return to her house/apartment. You don’t really need to go anywhere because limos are awesome.

14. Make her a handmade card. It’s totally endearing. I used to do this when I was 8, and all my relatives loved them. You should use red construction paper and doilies and markers and a shitload of stickers.

15. Go see 50 Shades of Grey. I heard it’s really romantic and tasteful. Put your arm around her in the theater and wonder whether she’s captivated by this movie or extremely uncomfortable.

16. Upscale blender—I didn’t think this was a good idea, but it said so online.

17. Call your girlfriend. Say in a husky, threatening voice, “You are my one true love, and I shall return…soon.” Tell her it was you an hour later. She will be elated to find that the voice was from you and not a serial killer.

18. Statement earrings—I don’t know what these are, but women find them attractive. Women love gaudy earrings that people will compliment.

19. If you’re going to give her one rose, maintain that it was a “very expensive rose” and maybe give some chocolates from “a European country that sells really expensive chocolates.”

20. There are several occasions in the book Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut where people sat down and matched feet as a sign of love and sharing and communication. Worth a try.

21. Jewelry is a little bit hit and miss. That’s why the more expensive the jewelry the safer you are. Sparkliness is imperative. She wants something that when other people see it, they are like, “Wow. You have a nice boyfriend.” And she will say, “Yah, yah, I do.” Sweetness.

22. Nothing says, “I love you, and you kind of smell bad” like perfume.

23. Booze is good. Then you can both get drunk and do things you’ll regret.

24. But in the end, hey, it’s really up to you. Use your imagination. It could be totally weird (like a socket wrench). She may be really, really surprised or/and maybe a little bit angry. (Not your fault. Socket wrenches are really useful.)

With these possible ideas, your girlfriend will admire your creativity and devotion while retaining classiness. I think that’s a good thing.

Plus, maybe you’ll get laid. Everyone loves those Star Wars tunes.

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