Those Brownings were pretty darned romantic. In fact, major English literature nerds actually classify them among the “Romantic” poets along with Shelley and Keats and that crowd of writers that, as a student, you probably thought of as sappy. They should not be confused with “Ruby and the Romantics,” who were really cool, and, we’re pretty sure, never had any English poets among their backup vocalists. Unless that was WIlliam Wordsworth singing the “Doo-wahhhhh.” We don’t want to pick a fight with the Norton Anthology of English Literature, but listen to “Our Day Will Come” and then recite “Tintern Abbey” and see which one melts your butter.
Speaking of Valentine’s day, garbage men must hate the week after it. All those enormous Vermont Teddy Bears to haul away. What about it, ladies, do you jettison the gigantic flea bag immediately or hold onto it for a decent interval? I’m talking about the stuffed animal. I mean the inanimate object. Okay, I mean the teddy bear. C’mon, we know how much you value closet space.
Valentine’s day is a difficult time of year for a guy because it’s tough to figure out what women want these days. It seems like everyone is on Nutrisystems or Jenny Craig, so the traditional box of chocolates may actually be a bad idea. Flowers are an old standby, but what’s the shelf life on those? A couple of days and they’re in the trash. So maybe we should pull out our old lit books for an imaginative – and cheap – way out. That’s right, we’re back to poetry! The key is to personalize it and make it realistic. For example, you could copy one of Shakespeare’s extremely romantic “sonnets” like the one that starts with,
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day,
Thou art more lovely and more temperate,
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date
While it’s pretty cool in a la-de-dah kind of way, it probably doesn’t sound like you because you don’t think of a summer’s day as anything all that great. What are there, about ninety of them every year? Isn’t it more complimentary to be compared to something really rare and impressive and noteworthy? So you could go with,
Shall I compare thee to a triple play?
You know, with no one out and men on base,
The Pirates turned one on the Cards last May,
You should have seen the look on Jung-Ho’s face
That was the first 4-5-4 triple play in baseball history, so any woman would relish the comparison. Or you could use something like this Robert Burns classic.
O my Luve’s like a red, red rose,
That’s newly sprung in June:
O my Luve’s like the melodie,
That’s sweetly play’d in tune.
We’re not sure about that spelling either, but did you ever try arguing with a Scotsman? Anyway, you’re probably not all that excited by roses, so instead, you can go with,
O my Luve’s like a crackback block,
That K-O’s Vontaze Burfict,
O my Luve’s like a goalline stand,
That keeps our record perfect
But when we start to feel that none of the more hifalutin’ type of sentiment expresses the real Idler, we turn to the only reliable source of romantic inspiration, classic rock. Think of the Steve Miller band’s 1982 smash hit, “Abracadabra,” which which kicks off with this sensitive expression – Abra abracadabra, I wanta reach out and grab ya!
Or how about Paul McCartney’s tender expression of devotion in “My Love” – Wo wo wo wo, Wo wo wo wo, My love does it good!
Man, that’s sheer poetry!
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