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Barking Carnival Valentine's Day Guide

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You're an intelligent young man. Hip. Discerning. Dapper.

You can tie a Windsor. You have an opinion on sashimi. And the Flex Defense. Your cologne may or may not have an unpronounceable symbol on the bottle. You read the best sports blog on the interweb, but only for the articles.

You, my friend, haven't bought into this corporate-fueled holiday rife with converted paganistic Lupercalian rituals and papal revisionism. In short, you know where your towel is.

Yet one must abide by a modicum of tradition this time of year, musn't one?

There are two competing schools of thought on this, let's call them the Realists and the Romantics for our discussion purposes, but unfortunately both agree in principle on this particular subject. On the Realist side we have the Darwinian quest to Score Regularly. Survival of the species etc. Not getting your significant other anything on Valentine's Day has a measurable effect on your ability to Score At All, regardless of how much game you may think you possess.

On the Romantic side we have our John Grays and Gary Chapmans of the world, informing us that relationships are simple if we merely understand the inner working of our loved one's heart, and more importantly her particular language of affection. And since she's female this will be gifts, quality time, and acts of service. Don't try to understand it, just trust me. It is. Even the most enlightened pony-tail wearing Kashi-eating member of your Anarcho-Syndicalist commune can be brought low by neglecting this simple fact. This particular holiday hits all three and centers you directly in the crosshairs my friend.

So, as the resident Chick Magnet, I've been asked to put together some helpful hints for the upcoming festivities for those of you too erudite to spring for a bland greeting card and a $200 dinner of bad wine and stringy skirt steak. You can also completely skip the annual stumble around Mt. Bonnell in the dark, unless of course woodland sodomy is a personal pastime and you feel comfortable in such environs. For everyone else:

The Top Five Valentine's Day Gifts That Show You Really Care.

5. A nice stuffed animal. Nothing says I love you like a petri dish full of syphilis. Believe me. For a nominal fee I'll also be happy to pen an endearing quote to go along with the pox or pestilence of your choosing.

    "I'd love you even if you had the Black Plague and swole up like a dead cow. Yersinia. That's a pretty name."

    "Remember the first time I gave you gonorrhea? I want it to be like that all over again, only with fake gonorrhea this time, because that shit hurt."

    "I wanted to take you for a weekend on the Cape, but I couldn't afford it. Here's some Lyme disease.

The possibilities are endless.

4. Some Quality Time.
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Win. Win.

Probably the best idea SNL ever had. Not only do you show your emotional side by letting her inside the last bastion of male solitude left in the world, you also open the door for playful romance. You flush. No you flush. No, you. Okay, let's go at the same time. Okay. {pause} You didn't flush! Neither did you! Ahhhh. I love you.

Women love that kind of intimacy.

3. A Box of Chocolates.

There are a host of local chocolatiers in the Austin area I can recommend, my personal favorite is a Belgian gent from Bastrop who makes a jalapeno lime truffle that is quite outstanding. But this isn't just any old day, and you're a Barking Carnival man, you wear your hat at a jaunty angle and stride along with purpose, your life is free-wheeling and full of adventure and your woman better be able to keep up. Women look up to a man who flaunts the rules.

And Western Gastronomic Convention

For over fifty years, we have been the number one source of feeder insects.

The time has come to introduce our tasty bugs for human consumption.

Our crickets are oven roasted to perfection and then covered with the finest chocolate available to create one truly unforgettable exotic snack.

Each individually wrapped, chocolate covered cricket comes with our exclusive "I ATE A BUG CLUB" button. Adventurous connoisseurs can proudly wear their brightly colored pin for all to see.

You won't gain as many points if you eat all the crickets yourself and just give her the button, but you'll still be awesome, and she'll know you're a real man. The kind who could have survived in the caveman days. When we ate crickets.

2. A Spa Day

Women love to attend a spa or take classes and learn self improvement techniques. Why I have no idea, but they do. With this one you get a clean house out of the deal. I have to be honest, I just skimmed this one, and apparently it involves either you dressing up like a maid or her dressing up and getting spanked for some reason. Not really sure, my work filters blocked most of it, but it doesn't really matter. The point is women love to improve themselves, and giving her a couples gift certificate to the Sissy Maid Academy will let her know all the potential you see in her. And win her heart.

1. A Weekend Getaway
Sure you could book a trip to the wine country or down to the coast for a few days of relaxation, but all her friend's husbands are doing that. She'll see right through it. You need a few days of fun that only the most romantic state in the Union, Minnesota, can provide. I think you know what I'm talking about. Ice fishing on Lake Winnibigoshish. Read this scouting report and tell me she won't flip out when she finds out what's in store.

Big Winnie has still been kicking out a few perch for those who are braving the elements to get after them. Forage Minnow Spoons and gold Swedish Pimples have worked the best and the perch seem to be favoring the 26-30 foot depths, which should improve as Spring approaches. I think when the weather gets a little more stable things will improve. Remember that the season comes to an end on February 24th for walleyes, pike, and bass, until the openers in the Spring.

A can of sterno, a bottle of Old Grandad, and endless hours watching a small hole in a massive slab of frozen ice. Spring for the wooden shanty to complete the package and romance is On The Way.

Happy Valentines Day everyone, and happy wooing!