heat and stir red-love-heart-valentines
Journal,  Relationship

Valentine’s Day Doesn’t Have to Suck

Whether you’re single, married or coupled-up for several years, Valentine’s Day can just outright suck.

The pressure that filters down from all the diamond ads, the store displays, the need to get dinner reservations 3-4 months in advance…it’s pretty much like Christmas with family. And don’t get me wrong, I can love me some Christmas, and of course love my family, but that doesn’t mean I still buy into it the way I did before I knew how many credit card companies and retailers and politicians were ramming all this giving down my throat for their own ends.

And here’s the fucking thing, there’s actually nothing wrong with that. When companies make money, more people are hired, leading to better paying jobs, and on and on. But a side effect of this leveraged consumerism is that the less money you happen to make, the more long-term damage these holidays can have on your fiscal health. The truth is, the more money poor or middle-class people earn, the more they spend and put back into the economy, the more the wealthy make, and thus the more they save and invest.

So, no matter what Washington tries to sell you, we exist in a trickle-up economy, so go ahead and celebrate the hell out of Valentine’s Day. But do so in a mindful way, taking into account your real budget, not what leftover debt you have at your disposal on this or that card after spending your ass off this past Christmas.

I know some of you are saying, “Frank, you’re a fucking downer!” Valentine’s Day is about love and commitment. And I get it, I am the son of one of the most charming, loving, romantic, and financially irresponsible Irishmen to ever walk the earth; I am in fact his namesake and scary reincarnation in much of the above… but I’m trying to reign it in a little bit, because love and presents or dinners are not the same thing, and going broke at Christmas or Valentine’s Day can and will stress the shit out of your loving relationship in the long term.

All I’m asking is that you have a Frank conversation about scaling back the pricey gift giving and instead concentrate on the sappier, more sentimental, more memorable gifts this Valentine’s Day. Instead of getting reservations at a fancy high-dollar restaurant, why not go back to that first dive restaurant you both shared and really loved, the one that makes great burgers and doesn’t take reservations. Do something nostalgic instead of something that breaks the bank.

Instead of pricey jewelry, consider writing your loved one some poetry. You don’t have to be a professional poet to write poetry these days –have you read some of the shit they’re publishing and calling poetry? In fact, I’m going to teach you how to write a fucking poem for your loved one right now. Remember, poetry doesn’t have to (and probably shouldn’t) rhyme. There are no fucking rules however… none. The only rule I have is clawing this shit from deep inside your soft, gooey heart and spilling it on paper. Here goes. I’ll write a poem for Irene, right now. I will not edit this thing or make any changes, inspiring you to take some risks and follow in my footsteps… but of course feel free to edit yours if you like.

Poetry can be about anything, but for our Valentine’s Day Poem, let’s say our poem is about a specific time, when we realized we felt a certain way about our certain someone. There may be several of these moments, so pick just one, the one you feel most in your gut. Try and put yourself back in that moment. Were you on the street, in her apartment, at his place, at a restaurant, on your first or third date maybe? Be specific. What did you hear in the background, was there a scent in the air… maybe it was Christmas and there was a fir tree, maybe it was fall and there was the smell of wet leaves, perhaps it was spring and your allergies were goin’ nuts. Maybe it was in one of your kitchen’s and there was the lingering smell of a delicious meal.

The next thing we want to flesh out is that something that caught our eye, what was it about our special someone that initially caught our eye, was it an act of generosity, dimpled cheeks, a smile, a laugh, their caress of your skin, or your caress of theirs. What were they wearing? What dug its way into your mind, their scent, their touch, their laugh, their wit, their mushy heart. There are endless possibilities.

This is my final note before I tear off a short piece of poetry… think about what you saw, what you heard, what you smelled, what you touched, what you tasted, what you felt and what you thought – the difference between these last two may be subjective but for me there are things I feel on a more emotional level and thoughts that rattle through my brain unbidden. The more you mine and differentiate all of your senses and feelings, the stronger your poetry, or so I say, but what the fuck do I know? Now watch. I’m probably not going to follow any of this bullshit above, but I probably should.

Okay, that’s it. I’m gonna write this thing, with no fucking idea of what’s about to come out.



I fell in love when you fell in love

Only I fell in love with you, and you fell in love with Delilah

I was very nervous and chatty,

You seemed calm, but taken aback

Again, not by me, but the pit bull

Delilah whined at your feet until she leapt upon your lap

She kissed you long and aggressively

Her darting tongue driving into your mouth

Then plunging down your cleavage

Devouring your perfumed breast

I had you virtually of course

Your lovely breasts in my mouth

My proud inheritance in yours

But that was on the phone

Played out for weeks before we would actually meet

And this was real

In reality, I worried I would let you down

And I probably would have

On our very first date

If we’d actually slept together

But instead you made out with my dog

And my heart began to bleed

Becoming tender, mushy and soft

For the woman who loved my dog

And hopefully, thankfully,

One day, me.

There you have it folks, my poem for Irene. I don’t think I followed even a tenth of my own advice, but what the fuck, I let ‘er rip, and you should too. I’m sure I could improve it if given time, but that’s not what this exercise is about. In fact, if you’re a writer, you know how damn important it is to leave your editor in your hip pocket and get shit down on paper. Your poem doesn’t have to be perfect, it has to be genuine. Be bold, my Valentines, you can pull this shit off.

So, to sum it all up, to make Valentine’s Day not suck, take control of Valentine’s Day before it takes control of you… forget the long lines and the packed restaurants, go to the dive that means something to you instead, that little hole in the wall restaurant, or that scuzzy bar with the hot dogs and burgers. Forgo the expensive gifts and write your love some poetry… it will have greater lasting power. And if you want to give your loved one something totally fucking awesome, and totally fucking free, might I suggest Heat & Stir’s Fast and Filthy Guide to Sexual Roleplaying, which we are giving away for absolutely nada for two whole days starting on Valentine’s Day. There’s all kinds of crazy, kinky sex and killer instruction on how to hack your sex life to the next level through sexual roleplaying. It’s our Valentine to you. But beware – it’s intense. The sex is fucking hot and filthy… don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Happy Valentine’s Day


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