Valentine's Day can be confusing.
We're getting mixed messages through the media.
Just last week a study determined that women don't really just wanna' have fun. They wanna' have clothes. At least more so than intimacy.
Reported in a Reuters story, the survey by a drinks' company found that, on average, women would give up "making whoopee" for 15 months in exchange for a closet full of new clothes.
So, I guess I could punt the romance on Feb. 14 and buy my wife of seven years clothes, lots of them.
But there also was a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience last week that found that a man's sweat makes a woman's heart flutter. That's right, the scent of sweat, particularly androstadienone (a derivative of testosterone), affected women's moods, arousal and brain activation for up to an hour.
So, maybe I should let myself go for Valentine's Day. But when I neglect hygiene, it seems to activate something else altogether in my wife, a verbal message from her that I stink.
Lacking the funds to outfit a closet and the confidence to lure my wife with sweat, I guess there's the old standby, conversation hearts. It's the number No. 1 Valentine candy, you know.
According to the company (Necco) that makes them, conversation hearts have been around since the 1860s. The original hearts had paper notes tucked inside, with messages such as "Please send a lock of your hair by return mail." I wonder if they considered sending sweat.
One thing is for sure, Sweethearts taste good. And they include 0 percent of the recommended vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium and iron. And there's 39 grams of sugars. Whenever sugar is plural on a package, you know you're in for a treat. In fact, sugar is listed first among ingredients, followed by corn syrup.
But wait, there's corn starch, gelatin, gum arabic and xanthan gum, which is a polysaccharide composed of sugars (glucose, mannose and glucuronic acid). According to one Web site, xanthan gum is a slimy gel produced by the bacterium xanthomonas campestris which causes black rot on vegetables. OK, too much information. And anyway, aren't conversation hearts really about the messages of love? You know, the little ditties scrawled on the candy, like "First kiss." Over the years, more than 100 sayings have appeared on the candies. However, the messages need some adjusting to work for married couples. So, I've taken the liberty to augment the Sweetheart messages with my own presidential-like signing statements in the parentheses:
- Got Love? (That reminds me, would you pick up some milk on your way home?)
- Love is sweet. (In fact, two parts corn syrup, one part xanthan gum.)
- House party. (People are going to be here any minute. Did you get the toilets cleaned?)
- Smile. (I don't smell that bad.)
- You rule. (With an iron fist.)
- Made 4 you. (Instead of mad at you.)
- Dress up. (Interpretation: "Are you going to wear that?")
- Dream on. (Because that's the closest you're gonna' get.)
- Teach me ... (how you can not know where we keep the crock pot.)
- My hero would never ... (choose your own ending.)
- Don't tell me you forgot to ... (choose your own ending.)
- Sweethearts. (I've got to stop eating these things.)
My wife and I can muscle these things down like circus strongmen. Maybe the messages should be an invitation: "Let's get big and tired together, while our teeth rot." I guess that wouldn't fit on a candy.
A message on the Necco package says, "Love is timeless and so are Sweethearts."
And it's nearly true. Necco says the candy hearts stay fresh in the bag for five years. Love often expires before that.
But not the love between my wife and me. We've already lasted longer than a sack of Sweethearts.