Valentine's Day Survival Guide For Men

Blame it on Cupid's jabby arrow. Or maybe it was all that kiwi schnapps you pounded down the night you met. Whatever the reason, you're now a couple. You're married or engaged or dating or just hanging out together until someone cuter comes along. No matter what the status of your relationship, prepare for a wicked sucker punch of reality. Valentine's Day is fast bearing down.     

With the relentless hype and overblown expectations it's a miracle any relationship survives Valentine's Day. It's especially hard on men because we never got a handle on the whole romance and/or spontaneity scam in the first place.

We like getting those little chalky-tasting hearts that say things like "Be Mine" and "Too Cool," the original text messaging. And we're quite comfortable with an evening that ends in sweaty sex. It's the whole tedious build-up that baffles us. So for the guys, here is a quick guide to help you navigate the emotional minefield of the longest day of the year.

How to Prepare for the Date

* Marinate yourself in cologne. In case you get separated in a crowd she'll be able to track you by your scent. This will make her feel safe. Choose appropriate attire. This is a special night so no T-shirts. (Unless they convey a romantic slogan or are the faux tuxedo kind, which are always appropriate.)

* Clean and vacuum your car. To demonstrate a fresh commitment to the relationship, peel off your beloved "Honk if You're Horny" bumper sticker. 

* Go the extra mile to make this night memorable. For example, if your sweetheart loves to dance, surprise her by showing up at her door with a limp. Explain that your foot was mangled in machinery. Otherwise, you might have to go dancing.

Show Her You Care with Underwear

* Present her gift as soon as you arrive. What, you weren't going to bring her a gift on Valentine's Day? Bwa-ha-ha! Good thinking. Let me know how that works out for you, chief. For those of us who hope to have sex again in this lifetime, present the gift when you arrive.

* Remember, flowers are not a gift. They're a garnish. Gift parsley, if you will. A Valentine's Day gift should be thoughtful, personal and see-through.

* Give her lingerie. Even if she asks for jewelry, she secretly craves lingerie. And steer clear of elegant or understated because she can buy that for herself. Spring something clingy and crotchless on her, bold but with an underlying note of skankiness. Nothing makes a woman feel sexier than when her significant other urges her to don an outfit that would make Christina Aguilera weep with shame.

Where to Fill your Pie-Hole

Your first thought will be to select a classy or romantic restaurant. Wrong! Those joints will be crawling with couples, many of them more attractive than you two. This is the night your sweetheart desperately wants to stand out. So look for the kind of place most people would never consider on Valentine's Day, such as a hospital cafeteria or truck stop. You'll know you chose the right restaurant if:

* The waitress picks her tip off the table with her butt;
* There is a clown on the premises;
* Police tape and chalk outlines of bodies are prominent parts of the decor;
* The daily specials are tattooed on the waitress's bicep;
* Your date eats free if she signs up for the topless Jell-O wrestling contest. Especially if she has to Jell-O wrestle a clown. (Note to guys: I know! Topless women Jell-O wrestling clowns is such a great concept for a restaurant I can't believe nobody thought of it already.)

How to Make with the Blah Blah

During moments you aren't shoveling in the grub you'll be expected to talk. Guide the discussion through safe channels. Steer clear of controversy.  Here are a few icebreakers to avoid:

* "I was on television last week. Did you watch "Cops"? You may not recognize me because now I'm wearing a shirt."
* "If this relationship works out, I'll save a fortune on hookers."
* "I think it's great that you're so nonchalant about your weight."
* "We better skip the movie tonight. I think the Viagra is starting to kick in."

Any other topic is pretty much fair game. Especially ex-lovers. Once your sweetheart hears the graphic details about all your past exploits, she will swoon with delight knowing such an experienced man chose her.

How to Stay Awake During a Chick Flick

have no idea. Seriously. Maybe you can turn it into a drinking game. Every time one of the characters is diagnosed with an incurable disease, do a shot. You might pass out but at least you won't doze off.

How to Get Her in the Mood for Love

* Smear whipped cream all over your body and playfully suggest she lick it off. Do not try this if your lover is lactose intolerant. If you're out of whipped cream, substitute deviled ham. 

* Spice things up by blindfolding your lover. This will heighten her pleasure and allow you to watch SportsCenter with the sound muted.

* Offer to paint her toenails. If they're already painted, offer to clean her cat's litter box.

* Sensual role-playing can help create a whole new sexual dynamic. But keep the characters general. Suggesting she pretend to be a hospital nurse is one thing; suggesting she pretend to be her jaw-droppingly beautiful roommate is quite another.

Because Love is a Whatchamacallit, a Many Splendored Thing

Every woman dreams of an unforgettable Valentine's Day. Follow this helpful guide and I guarantee you will help her achieve that dream. You'll have a date she will never, ever forget. Even with therapy and medication.

Her friends won't forget either once she phones them with the details. And neither will strangers on the Internet as email descriptions of your mad dating skills are furiously forwarded around the globe. You'll be famous. And it will make it way easier for the rest of us palookas to look romantic by comparison. So thanks. Way to take one for the team.

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Imagine you've forgotten once again the difference between a gorilla and a chimpanzee, so you do a quick Google image search of “gorilla." But instead of finding images of adorable animals, photos of a Black couple pop up.

Is this just a glitch in the algorithm? Or, is Google an ad company, not an information company, that's replicating the discrimination of the world it operates in? How can this discrimination be addressed and who is accountable for it?

“These platforms are encoded with racism," says UCLA professor and best-selling author of Algorithms of Oppression, Dr. Safiya Noble. “The logic is racist and sexist because it would allow for these kinds of false, misleading, kinds of results to come to the fore…There are unfortunately thousands of examples now of harm that comes from algorithmic discrimination."

On At Liberty this week, Dr. Noble joined us to discuss what she calls “algorithmic oppression," and what needs to be done to end this kind of bias and dismantle systemic racism in software, predictive analytics, search platforms, surveillance systems, and other technologies.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up