Sunday, February 17, 2008 By Aaron Brown
We’ve passed Valentine’s Day, which means by now your mate has settled back into his or her comfortable ambivalence toward you and your relationship. Sorry about that. I’m sure the next artificial love-inspired holiday is just around the corner. If that’s not enough, might I suggest using guilt as a weapon and/or hiding in the garage to punish emotionally? Hey, whatever gets you through the long, cold night.
I kid of course. I’m sure many genuine expressions of love passed this week as people celebrated St. Valentine’s desire that couples find love and get married. This wish cost the Roman Empire-era saint his head, a fact that I doubt Hallmark had in mind when they elevated Valentine’s Day into the pantheon of reasons to purchase greeting cards. But at least we can all be glad that expressing our undying love for another will not lead to a brutal beheading.
My wife and I are more interested in observing Valentine’s Day trends than we are in actually participating in it. With three little ones at home, we find it best to set aside our own romantic dates rather than try to secure a babysitter on a Thursday for a meal that will cost us twice as much in a restaurant clouded with excess perfume. But it sure is interesting to see how the holiday affects the mass media. From the front page of Yahoo to the back hour of “Good Morning America,” Valentine’s Day seems to be the perfect time to tell Americans everything they’re doing wrong in the world of romance.
One of the most common media habits is the offering of dating tips. Blind dating. Speed dating. Internet dating. Dating after 40. Dating after 80. Dating your boss. Dating college football mascots (watch the horns; don’t read too much into the “angry eyes”). You name it, someone has advice. But what does that mean for singles on my native Iron Range? Thus I offer these tips for how to date an Iron Ranger.
1) (for men and women) To avoid an awkward moment, wear an item of clothing displaying the logo of your favorite brand of snowmobile. That way you both know whether it’s OK to talk about snowmobiles.
2) (for men and women) Two drink limit; save something for the second date.
3) (for men) Never schedule a first date during rifle season; to be safe, avoid bow season too. If you pick the wrong date, and it works out, the anniversary will always be a problem.
4) (for women) It’s OK to say you want a family. It’s not OK to say you need a baby.
5) (for men) McDonald’s is not fine dining. Neither is Burger King. No, not Subway either. You will have to pay for a salad and meal on this one.
6) (for women) Dress casually, but not provocatively. Be sure your shirt doesn’t expose too much cleavage.
7) (for men) Dress casually, but not provocatively. Be sure your shirt is tucked in behind you so you don’t show too much cleavage.
8) (for men and women) If the date goes well, by all means exchange cell phone numbers. But don’t exchange good fishing locations until you know the size of the other person’s family.
9) (for women) When you tell him about something important to you and he seems distant, perhaps not paying attention, know that he’s probably just thinking about how profound your opinion is and contemplating the sudden reality of your new lives together.
10) (for men) I just bought you one do-over. Keep your head in the game.
Aaron J. Brown is a columnist for the Hibbing Daily Tribune.