As we age, we want to share our wisdom with those who follow us. Over the years, not all of you seem to have understood or appreciated my wisdom, but I am not discouraged. Today I provide timely advice on having a successful celebration of Eros —  aka Valentine’s Day.

As to my expertise on the subject, this Saturday will be the 48th time I stride to the plate to celebrate this retail-created holiday with the same woman. Now I must admit I have never hit any home runs or triples and only a few doubles, but I have quite a few singles. Who cares if they were bloops or bunts? I have also made many outs. 

Lest you think I don’t understand younger women, I watched 15 minutes of “Girls” on HBO. It was kind of disturbing.

There are four ingredients to a Valentine’s Day success — card, dinner, movie and gift.

Get the most expensive, treacly card you can find and write a schmaltzy sentiment from another card as your own. Don’t save the card from last year and give it again. Don’t give a hand-made card unless you are a professional artist or 6 years old.

Go to dinner at a fancy restaurant. Go on Feb. 14. Don’t try to piggyback on a nice dinner in late January as Valentine’s Day. Stay away from home pizza delivery, even if the pie is heart-shaped and the meat lover’s special. Consider fondue if such a restaurant concept still exists.

As for a movie, you can’t really go wrong with the ensemble movie of Hollywood Has-Beens that are made just for Valentine’s Day revelers. You can spot these movies by whether Jennifer Garner or Hugh Grant are in them. I suppose Fifty Shades of Grey is a possibility if your sweetie likes pain and dominance. Or you do. I thought Braveheart was a great love story, but his beloved gets her throat cut, and there is that disembowelment at the end.

Finally there is the gift. Get this right and you can blow off the card, dinner and movie. Forget “it’s the thought that counts.” The thought counts if it’s expensive. Go with one big gift. It’s a pain to shop, so explore Internet options. You must give the gift on the 14th. Don’t ever say it’s in the mail so here’s a picture of it. Don’t give the same gift four years in a row even if your valentine liked it the first year.

It takes time to be good at Valentine’s Day. It hasn’t been easy, but I have worked hard to lower Marsha’s expectations for Valentine’s Day over these many years. 

Remember, it took many years of erosion to form the Grand Canyon. 

Love is in the air!

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John Hubbuch

John is an Indiana native who moved to Oak Park in 1976. He served on the District 97 school board, coached youth sports and, more recently, retired from the law. That left him time to become a Wednesday...