The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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Robin L. Quillon

February 13, 2011

The right gift for saying I love you

— Gentlemen, I will give you one guess as to what day tomorrow is, and the first one doesn’t count.

To help you, here are hints: Flower, card and chocolate sales will be cooking on all four burners. Jewelry is popular on this day, along with candlelight dinners.

Do I have to spell it out for you?

It’s VALENTINE’S DAY, dummy!

That’s right, and you had better deliver for that special gal, or trust me when I tell you that you will pay dearly.

Have you ever heard of being pecked to death by a duck? You will suffer the same fate if you forget her on this special day.

Believe me, she is expecting something special. Even if she says, “No, honey, don’t worry about it.” That really translates to: “If you forget me on this day, I will be crushed.”

Please don’t wait until the last minute, forcing you to hustle down to the nearest drug store to buy whatever is left on the shelves.

Take my word: The drugstore’s 25-percent-off label is hard to peel off a box of chocolates. And black Magic Marker over the percent-off label only makes it worse.

 Anyway, most of the cards are picked through and you can never find the right size of envelope. And writing a quick, last-minute “I love you” message never works, and is so difficult to do while driving.

So, just how important is this day, my fellow knuckle-draggers?

I hope you don’t share the same sentiment as the guy who said: “I just love to do special things for my wife on Valentine’s Day; like open the door for her when she puts all the laundry in the washing machine, or plug and unplug the vacuum as she moves from room to room cleaning.

“Guys, it’s these little thoughtful things you can do to have a marriage such as mine.”

Or do you look at this day as Jay Leno described it when he said: “Valentine’s Day. Or, as men like to call it, extortion day.”

This should be a day when you shower your loved one with special, unexpected and creative attention.

It’s courting time, brethren!

Here are a few do’s and don’ts:

1. If your gal works, send the flowers to her workplace early in the day. She likes it when everyone looks at her flowers. It’s a chick thing. The card should tell her there is more to come tonight. If she is a stay-at-home mom, send her flowers anyway, and remind her the flowers are just a down payment, with more to come tonight.

2. Give her a card, but put some thought into what you are writing. Don’t rely solely on Hallmark’s words.

It will mean more to her if it is in your own words. Keep it simple.

3. Wrap the gift. Please don’t hand her a plastic Wal-Mart bag with the gift inside and price tag hanging on. Duh!

You will hit a home run if the gift is something she is interested in – for a hobby, a favorite book. It’s not the gift; it is the fact that you are showing your gal that you know her interests.

Tell her today that you have a surprise for her tomorrow.

4. Buy clothes only if you know the absolute correct size. The only way I’d feel safe buying clothes is if I had a life-sized body model that I could drag down to the store. To do otherwise is asking for trouble.

5. Unless she asks specifically for a household item, don’t go there, unless you have a notarized letter from the clerk of courts, and the FBI has confirmed her fingerprints are in fact on the photo of the household item she ripped from a department store ad in the paper. And it would be wise to have on hand the very paper from which she tore out the photo of said household item.

6. Earrings are generally a safe bet and better than a scented candle, stationery, or, heaven forbid, a gift card. Nothing says I could care less than a gift card.

So don’t forget, tomorrow is the big day to let your gal know how much you love her.

Hopefully, what you do tomorrow simply will be a reflection of how you treat her every day of the year.

Robin L. Quillon is the publisher of The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at

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