Ripe for Romance? - 405 Magazine

Ripe for Romance?

A ruefully funny look at Valentine’s disasters, and a quiz for finding where you rank on the scale of potential dates.



It’s precisely at this time of year that having a reliable gauge, such as the Love-O-Meter machine, comes in super handy for predicting the direction Valentine’s Day may go.

In my own Valentine’s annals, I needn’t scroll further back than a few years to recall a rather unfortunate (and a wee bit clumsy) dinner that required a “table for three.” However nontraditional – that approach did mark one of the most memorable Valentine’s dinners I’ve ever had – it proved to be a remarkably reliable predictor of a cold meal with no dessert.

I used to be much more sure-footed around this particular holiday. Recent disappointments, however, have made me a little twitchy, so I surveyed several co-workers about Valentine’s Day. I thought it would be good to recalibrate any unrealistic expectations of the holiday so many of us love to hate (table for two, perhaps?) and sharpen my knack for quickly separating the Casanovas from the Cold Fish.

At the mere mention of Valentine’s Day, every colleague’s face pruned up faster than a gas station cellophane rose. An instant solidarity took over the group, who collectively spat and professed their intense disdain for what they perceive to be a “manufactured” holiday.

Psshhaaa, I said. Sure, every year can’t be a diamond (or, wait … can it?), but overall, as holidays go, this one is pretty simple. It was obvious that my co-workers had invested a fortune in waxy chocolates and teddy bears with hearts that read, “I love you beary much.” I refuse to throw out the entire holiday because of their miserable experiences with whatever may have taken that kind of bait.

In no time, the office conversation grew surly and sarcastic – much like a table for three – and spiraled into a shouting match about everything that’s wrong with American holidays, societal assumptions about the roles of men and women, the ridiculous cost of good pharmaceuticals and the best products for taking care of a recurring, burning rash.

Without even realizing it, the surveyed lovesick in the office had devised a ranking system of predictive Valentine’s success (or failure) with a few fundamental yardsticks. Take the test and add up your score to find out whether your Valentine’s name rhymes with Nyetflix.


For the past month, you’ve been planning an entire day of special surprises for your beloved 10 points

You successfully secured reservations (for TWO) at your lover’s favorite restaurant 5 points

You realized it was Valentine’s Day at any point on February 14 1 point

You realized it was Valentine’s Day on your way out of the office and you stole a rose from a co-worker’s bouquet deduct 20 points

You made your Valentine’s Day card by hand and included heartwarming mementoes and soul-stirring words of devotion 10 points

Your Valentine’s Day card was store-bought, but still a winner 3 points

Your Valentine’s Day card was store-bought, and delivered unsigned 0.5 points

Is a Valentine’s Day card really proof of my love, you ask? 0 points

Your Valentine’s Day card was store-bought, and your secretary signed it on your behalf deduct 25 points

Flowers are a waste of money, you say 0 points (and a heavy sigh)

You bought flowers wherever you bought gasoline or picked up your last prescription deduct 5 points

You bought flowers from a windowless van in a grocery store parking lot deduct 1 point (deduct 15 points if the van had dents that were made from the inside)

You had flowers delivered to your lover’s office days before Valentine’s Day, so she (or he) could enjoy them all week 10 points

Jewelry is a waste of money, you say 0 points (there’s still time to book a moving van, though)

You bought jewelry and a bottle of clear fingernail polish deduct 10 points

The jewelry you bought came in a gift-wrapped box 1 point

The jewelry store where you bought jewelry has on-site security or someone who has to buzz you in at the door 15 points

Stuffed animal of any kind deduct 10 points (save it for the State Fair, Romeo)

Live animal (puppy, kitten, something normal) deduct 20 points

Dead animal (think: less big game, more leopard print pumps) 10 points

50-55 points: Casanova (a distinction that comes with access to my ring and shoe sizes)

36-50 points: Hot Tamale!

25-35 points: Hubba, Hubba, what a lubba!

15-34 points: Luuuuuukewarm (heat things up with a Hot Tamale)

1-14 points: Lovelorn (fortunately, you’ve caught it in time)

0 or fewer points: Cold Fish (it’s likely we’ve dated at some point, so just swim along, now)