Locks of Love
Salerno, Italy
www.eileenslovak.com

Some Valentine’s Day Advice for Men

This one’s for the guys…and here’s why…

In a few short days, it will be Valentine’s Day. It’s that special day when women’s hearts swoon in anticipation of the thoughtful, romantic, elaborate plans thoughtfully made by their beloved.

Now let’s be honest…despite the fact that the ‘big day’ is less than a week away, most of you men have no idea what to get for your wives or girlfriends.

What? Some of you are offended? I realize there may be that random male freak of nature out there who has a beautiful night of passion planned. You sir, have my sincere apologies. Feel free to move on to other blogs. To the other 99.9%…as it’s generally understood, admit you’re clueless and read on.

These are confusing times. We women send mixed signals. I truly sympathize with the complicated, modern male predicament.

Case in point…of course she wants chocolate! If she could, she would trade you in for your weight in chocolate. However, don’t you dare give her chocolate! Unless your wife/girlfriend has a freakishly high metabolism, this is the kiss of death! If you give her chocolate, you’re not getting any! And I don’t mean chocolate. Of course that won’t be shared either.

Before you judge us, there’s a reason why women love chocolate. It actually creates the same chemical reaction in the body as love. It’s not half bad as a substitute.

You may even escape unscathed, let’s just say, if you were to order chocolate from one of the best chocolatiers in the world…like Maison Du Chocolat in Paris  http://www.lamaisonduchocolat.com.  A tiny, gorgeously wrapped box of minuscule, delectable, French chocolate heaven might impress your heart’s desire. Maybe you’ll be forgiven for the excess calories. Alas, it is getting late, even for express shipments from Paris.

Besides, do you really want to give her the substitute for love? Or do you want to give her love?

Why is Valentine’s Day so freaking important to women? What you have to understand is that this really has less to do with you, than you would think.

It’s a contest among women, the ‘who had the most romantic Valentine’s Day?’ contest. I blame Hollywood, but truly, it begins at work with the office flowers, the love bears, the fruit bouquets and goes downhill from there. Most of us women, don’t even want to participate in the Valentine’s Day office wars, but we have no real choice. If we slink to the back of the pack, they call us out.

“Hey, Sally. What did Jake get you for Valentine’s Day?”

Poor ‘big boned’ Sally, has two options here, to lie…or to tell the truth. Wouldn’t it be great, if just this once dear, sweet Sally had something amazing to tell? Something to make the anorexic Jennifer’s, and the bubbly Brittney’s and the saccharine Susie’s sing in unison, “AWWWWW!!!! That’s so sweet!”

Listen guy, you don’t have to be a super stud to pull this off.

OK, here’s the plan…you take that same box of Parisian or Belgian chocolates and lay them on a pillow…not just any pillow, but a pillow in a smarmy hotel…not just any hotel…but one with a Spa. If you’re broke, use points or make your own bedroom look like a spa. You pre-book Spa treatments for both of you, side by side. Her masseuse is a hot dude named Enrique and (I’m sparing you from a huge V-day fight right here) yours is a zaftig, German woman named Helga.

If you have children, YOU find and vet a suitable babysitter, plan a sleepover for the kids or even better, find a relative or trusted friend to watch the kiddos, because she won’t be able to relax if she’s worried about them.

OK. Honestly, I’m really only equipped to offer advice to the married men. We wives of multiple years, have dangerously low expectations.

Maybe your woman has a favorite singer, a favorite sports team, a favorite museum or a favorite Broadway show, whatever it is! Make it happen! Remember when you were dating? Remember how hard you tried? You know this woman better than anyone else and if you don’t, well, shame on you! Show her that knowledge. What blows her skirt up?

Maybe she really does love to play pool or air hockey and isn’t just faking it. You stage a tournament at ‘your place’. You let her win, but not obviously, so she can bellow, “I am the air hockey queen!” After which, you arrange to have her favorite song play. Better yet, you arrange to have your ‘couple’s song’ play. Even better, you find a decent singer to announce a dedication to her and have him sing the song. Best, you secretly take singing lessons and sing the song yourself. OK, that’s a bit Hollywood.  Then, you sweep her out to the dance floor and whisper something romantic in her ear. WIN, WIN!

You have a ‘light’ dinner DELIVERED and have champagne or her favorite wine, beer or soft drink on ice.

If you’re doing this at home, candles really are romantic. Do it! Just don’t burn the house down.

And…if you didn’t send them to the office, skip the bouquet of flowers, because one red rose or her favorite flower (bonus points!) given at the appropriate time is still really hot.

Most importantly, give her a totally, unique gift. This is where, if you can’t afford diamonds (because diamonds truly are forever!), you can still make a big score. A friend of mine told me her husband had a bracelet handmade for her out of recycled typewriter keys. It spelled out the acronym of their favorite romantic saying, ILUTD, “I love you to death”. Even I was like, “What??? Who does that?”

I know. It’s some tough competition. But, I have faith in you. Man-up and do this thing right.

The bottom line is…surprise her, rock her world! Do all of the planning and the thinking, just for just one night. Because she’s F***ing tired of taking care of everybody and every detail. I promise, you’ll get what we all know you really want and she’ll love you for it!

The Pick-Up Line

By Eileen Slovak

Word Count:  895

Sprinting through the neighborhood, Caryn completed her daily four-miles in record time before sending a quick text to her sister, Kim:  Will B ready 2-power shop in 15. 

      Back in her apartment, she showered coffee in hand, then, dressed hastily as her cell phone chirped signaling Kim was waiting.  Moments later, Caryn climbed into the minivan.  Kim handed her sister a homemade scone.

“Thanks, I didn’t have time to eat.”

“That’s why you’re so thin and I’m well, me,” Kim moaned.

Caryn shot her sister a look, “You’ve had two children and you’re too hard on yourself.  So, what’s the emergency today?”

“Jeff forgot to tell me about his boss’s dinner party tomorrow night.  It’s been months since we’ve been out for anything other than fast food and aside from jeans and t-shirts, everything in my closet is two sizes too small.”

“Hmmm,” Caryn said nibbling on her breakfast.  “Okay, how about Anne Taylor or Nordstroms?”

“I was thinking more like Marshall’s or TJ’s.”

“Fine, but no clearance racks.”

“Not even a little one?” Kim asked sheepishly.

“Caryn, clearance means no one wanted it enough to pay full price.”

“Maybe it means no one saw its’ great potential.”

Caryn shook her head no, adding:

“So…you need me to babysit, then?”

“I hate to ask again, but if you don’t have plans…”

“Do I ever?”

“Speaking of plans…how about dinner at our house tonight?”

“Why?”

“Jeff and I would like you to come over, that’s all.”

Caryn raised an eyebrow, “Kim, you know how I feel about being fixed up.”

“Jeff’s friend Carl might stop by for drinks and we think he’s perfect for you.”

“Kim!”

“Just give him a chance.”

Caryn sighed, asking:  “So, what’s his story?”

“He’s single, new in the area, employed and in his mid-thirties.”

“I’ll think about it over shopping.”

In the fitting room’s three-way mirror, Caryn modeled a cute pair of jeans and a sweater, secretly hoping, despite herself, that Carl might be the one.  Kim peered out of her stall, complaining.

“If department store owners had any sense, they’d install low lighting and fun house mirrors to make women look twenty pounds thinner.  Help, I think I’m stuck!”

“What did you do?” Caryn asked helping free her sister from a dress that would not budge over her hips or her shoulders.

“Maybe try wiggling out of it,” Caryn suggested.

“Let’s go look at shoes, at least my feet always stay the same size,” Kim laughed.  “Is that what you’re wearing tonight?”

“I guess.  You win, I’ll meet him.”

After dinner, Caryn helped Kim put the children to bed.  When the doorbell rang, Caryn felt a twinge of nervous anticipation.  On her way downstairs, she observed the man standing with Jeff:  handsome, tall, fit…so far, so good.  Then he began talking.

“Well, hello there.  Carl Waters, pleasure to meet you Caryn.  Wow, I see fire behind those gorgeous green eyes of yours.”

“Oh…well, it’s nice to meet you too,” Caryn said shaking hands.

“Let’s have a drink,” Jeff suggested, leading the group into the living room.

While Kim poured wine, Carl’s eyes wandered all over Caryn.

“Fine vintage, Kim.  I don’t know if Jeff told you, but I’m a bit of a wine connoisseur. Let me tell you a quick story about a little tour I took around Napa…”

An hour later, Carl was still expounding with expertise on every subject from baseball to hunting to mountain biking, while periodically throwing comments Caryn’s way:

“Caryn, I hear you’re a runner?  Well, let me tell you, you’ve been running through my mind all night.”

At nine o’clock, Caryn discretely sent a text.  Ten minutes later, she reached for her coat.

“Kim, Jeff, thank you for a wonderful dinner.  Carl, it was nice to meet you.  Enjoy the rest of your evening.”

“What?”  Kim asked incredulously.

“Kim, I’ll call you later.”

“Where are you off to so early?  I was planning to take you home,” Carl, droned.

“Oh, no Carl, I wouldn’t dream of it, besides, I have a cab waiting.  Goodnight all!”  She called over her shoulder, making her escape.  Breathing in the relief of the fresh outdoor air, she read the name on the door of the cab and laughed aloud:  The Pick Up Line, Cab Company.

“Where’re you headed?” the driver asked.

“Far, far away,” she said hopping in the backseat.

“Excuse me?”

“Sorry, never mind.  The Willows Apartments please, on…”

“It’s okay, I know it well.  I live on the second floor.”

Caryn looked at the driver in the rear mirror and said:

“I’m embarrassed to admit, I work so much I hardly know any of my neighbors.”

“Same here, I teach at Washington High during the day and drive the cab a few nights a week, you know, paying off those student loans.  I’m Jay Stevens.”

“Caryn Ross.  I run past Washington High every morning.”

“So, you’re the runner.  I see you every day on my way to work.  I run too, but usually after school.”

They chatted away until the cab pulled up in front of the building.  Caryn was quiet and then said:  “Jay, if you’re free next Saturday, maybe we could run together.”

Jay turned to face her, jotted his telephone number down on the receipt and said:

“That would be great.  I’m glad I picked you up.”

“So am I,” Caryn smiled.

-The End

“Why does everything have to end, darling?”

Why indeed?

I’ll explain.  A major discovery recently occurred in my writing life and it may help you.  Here goes.

What some call writers block, I refer to as the psychological barriers or roadblocks we build in our own minds, seemingly insurmountable at times.  What do you do when you meet a roadblock?

Roadblock

Teano, Italy

 

Let’s explore some options: 

  • Circulate:  turn tail and run the other way
  • Circumnavigate:  go around it
  • Circumvent:  go over it
  • Circumcise it (sorry boys):  cut it off
  • (be) Circuitous:  find another way
  • Contravene:  breach it!

For the longest time, I had two novels, minus endings.  It was not that I had no idea how to end them, I knew.  It was something else, something always preventing me from putting those final chapters into print: work, a move, the needs of family members — all good and practical reasons, but none, the real one.

It took some soul-searching to find I always had the answer.  It was the reason sequels were born, not just for the reader, but also for the writer.

Writing a novel is a major commitment for a writer.  We adore our characters, we cry when terrible things happen to them, we cheer when they are victorious; we feel ashamed when they commit heinous acts and we miss them terribly when they leave.

I had no real intention of writing sequels to either of these unrelated novels.  However, by leaving the possibility open in my mind, the roadblock crumbled, I was able to pass and my endings made their way across the bridge from my mind to the computer screen.

Bridge in Ireland

Bridge in Ireland

And so my dears, every good story has to end, at least for now.

Thanks for reading, and keep writing!