Lex in Love
Locals share Valentine stories

It seems that the female Alaskan snowy owl will not acknowledge the existence of the male Alaskan snowy owl until such time as he presents her with a dead mouse. Not just any ole dead mouse-it can't be one he just had lying around that maybe some other, very picky, girl owl rejected. It must be an extremely fresh dead mouse, and it must be of the appropriate size as to demonstrate clearly the degree of esteem in which he holds her, the object of his affection. Until the perfect mouse is presented-the say, three-to-four carat mouse-she will not acknowledge to her suitor that the mouse came from him.

-The Sweet Potato Queen's Book of Love

Valentine is a tricky holiday-one where conflicts frequently (but not always) break down along gender lines. To give an example, one well-meaning gent sent an email around this week (forwarded to Ace by a local chapter of Sweet Potato Queens) that suggests that men would like their own "Special Day"that the hearts and flowers of February 14 don't cut it.

To that end, this men's movement is suggesting that March 20 be declared "steak and a BJ" day. "No cards, no flowers, no special nights on the town."

"This holiday has been created so you ladies can have a day to show your man just how much you love him."

No word as to whether or not this has been put before the legislature, but rumors suggest it has been forwarded to the governor in hopes he might issue an "executive order."

Of course, just as some romantics might suggest that "every day is Valentine's Day" at their house-it seems just as plausible that every day is"March 20th" in the political arena.

Maybe we could all pause to give the stereotypes a rest.

Not all girls are about hearts and flowers. (And not all guys are about "steak and a bj..." Some are vegetarians.) Valentine's Day was not actually hatched as a diabolical Machiavellian plot by women, in collusion with diamond brokers everywhere.

A special occasion here and there (whether it's Mother's Day, or Valentine's, or birthdays and Christmas) shouldn't necessarily be seen as a heaven-sent opportunity for us to renounce capitalism and the evil it fosters.

A thoughtful expression of devotion is welcome most any time, by most any gender-as long as it's reciprocal and no restraining orders are in place.

As Crystal Wilkinson eloquently puts it, "Love your loved ones everyday."

If you do that, 365 days a year, the odds are good that your life is already filled with relationships that won't be made or broken based on the quality of dinner or trinkets you come up with on any holiday, from Kwanzaa to Mother's Day and all the rest in between.

Of course, not many of us ordinary mortals fit into that camp of constant expressions of daily thoughtfulness and sensitivity-and in those cases, it behooves us to go the extra mile when an opportunity presents itself.

In past years, I've knocked myself out to get the best concert tickets in town; a rare bootleg by some obscure but beloved band who performed one time only in a remote Scottish glen; dinners that were at least two weeks in the makingand so on.

It's time to retire.

My Valentine date next week is 4-years-old. While her parents enjoy a romantic night on the town, she and I will be making cookies. Then we'll watch our George and Martha tapes from HBO (which are now very CLEARLY labeled so they do NOT get mixed up with the Oz tapes; learned that the hard way and now she's the only kid at Montessori who knows the word "prag.")

I expect we'll have a great timeand that she won't be allowed within a million miles of Bitter Aunt Rhonda's house on March 20th.


Lexington's reigning Power Couple: Alan and Kathy Stein

Alan and Kathy Stein
photo by Forrest Payne
State legislator Kathy Stein tells us how an unexpected gesture (not that kinda gesture; get your minds outta the gutter) helped to take local "Legend" Alan Stein out of the bachelor rotation.

"I surprised the pants off Alan, (well, maybe not literally) on the first St. Valentine's Day we were dating by sending a dozen gorgeous red roses to him at his office. Prior to meeting me a couple of months earlier, he had been quite an active bachelor in the community, but had never had a woman send him roses.

"But where it really gets fun for the Steins is St. Patrick's Day. Stay tuned and we'll share that rather odd tradition of how a Jewish family honors another Saint in March."

Alan, the soul of brevity, wisely adds "I love my wife very much."

The Lexington Legends kick off their season April 3, and the SAL All-Star game is June 24th.

Power Couple 2001: Brian and Cathleen Collins

Brian and Cathleen Collins
Cathleen turned over the gift of expression to Brian, who says, "Each Valentine's Day morning, Cathleen and I take a peak at our driveway. I am hoping to see a new Lamborghini Murcielago wrapped in ribbon with a big red bow on top. Cathleen has the same wish-substituting a Jag for the LamboMAYBE THE EASTER BUNNY WILL OBLIGE...."

With the unabashed soul of a true romantic, Brian adds, "Every day is Valentine's Day for us, so on February 14th, our celebrating is fairly low key. Red roses, a small gift, romantic dinner, and a card suffice. Just tokens to reinforce our undying love for each other."

What's in a date?: Tarp Ledford

Tarp Ledford is in the romance business (hooking people up as Cosmomix Event Coordinator), but he's not sentimental about February 14, and is candid about the pressure it seems to put on the unattached. "Valentine's Day is not nearly as important to those who are in love all year long. I think people get too caught up in the holiday. I hear more people (who do not have Valentine's Dates) complaining of depression on Valentine's than any other day of the year!"

Any day but Valentine's: author Crystal Wilkinson

Crystal Wilkinson
Wilkinson reminisces, "I used to love it when my children were little and would give me little hand-made valentine gifts-that doesn't happen anymore since they are growing up."

As for her thoughts on February 14 these days, she adds, "I love it because it's my mother's birthday and I hate it because we are brainwashed by the gift card companies and the elves in the candy factories to believe that our loved ones don't love us unless there is a gift, a dinner, a card, something!!! It's just like Mother's day, Easter, and all the other days we've commercialized to your loved ones everyday...bring me roses anytime..just not on Valentine's Day."

Crystal Wilkinson's latest book is Water Street. For her schedule of readings and book-signings, visit

Valentine's Day Survival Guide For Men
By Roger Naylor

Blame it on Cupid's jabby arrow. Or maybe it was all that kiwi schnapps you pounded down the night you met. Whatever the reason, you're now a couple. You're married, or engaged, or dating, or just hanging out together until someone more attractive comes along. No matter what the status of your relationship, prepare for a wicked sucker punch of reality. Valentine's Day is fast bearing down.

With the relentless hype and overblown expectations, it's a miracle any relationship survives Valentine's Day. It's especially hard on men because we never got a handle on the whole romance and/or spontaneity scam in the first place.

We like getting those little chalky-tasting hearts that say things like "Be Mine" and "Too Cool," the original text messaging. And we're quite comfortable with an evening that ends in sweaty sex. It's the whole tedious build-up that baffles us. So for the guys, here is a quick guide to help you navigate the emotional minefield of the longest day of the year.

How to Prepare for the Date

Marinate yourself in cologne. In case you get separated in a crowd she'll be able to track you by your scent. This will make her feel safe. Choose appropriate attire. This is a special night, so no T-shirts. Unless they convey a romantic slogan or are the faux tuxedo kind, which are always appropriate.

Clean and vacuum your car. To demonstrate a fresh commitment to the relationship, peel off your beloved pornographic bumper stickers.

Go the extra mile to make this night memorable. For example, if your sweetheart loves to dance, surprise her by showing up at her door with a limp. Explain that your foot was mangled in machinery. Otherwise, you might have to go dancing.

Show Her You Care with Underwear

Present her gift as soon as you arrive. What, you weren't going to bring her a gift on Valentine's Day? Yeah. Good thinking. Let me know how that works out for you, chief. For those of us who hope to have sex again in this lifetime, present the gift when you arrive.

Remember, flowers are not a gift. They're a garnish. Gift parsley, if you will. A Valentine's Day gift should be thoughtful, personal, and see-through.

Give her lingerie. Even if she asks for jewelry, she secretly craves lingerie. And steer clear of elegant or understated because she can buy that for herself. Spring something clingy and slutty on her, bold but with an underlying note of skankiness. Nothing makes a woman feel sexier than when her significant other urges her to don an outfit that would make Christina Aguilera weep with shame.

Where to Eat...

Your first thought will be to select a classy or romantic restaurant. Wrong! Those joints will be crawling with couples, many of them more attractive than you two. This is the night your sweetheart desperately wants to stand out. So look for the kind of place most people would never consider on Valentine's Day, such as hospital cafeterias or truck stops. You'll know you chose the right restaurant if:

A clown is on the premises. Police tape and chalk outlines of bodies are prominent parts of the décor. The daily specials are tattooed on the waitress's bicep. Your date eats free if she signs up for the topless Jell-O wrestling contest. Especially if she has to Jell-O wrestle a clown. (Note to guys: I know, I know! Topless women Jell-O wrestling clowns is such a great concept for a restaurant I can't believe nobody thought of it already.)

How to Make with the Blah Blah Blah

During moments you aren't shoveling in the grub, you'll be expected to talk. Guide the discussion through safe channels. Steer clear of controversy. Here are a few icebreakers to avoid:

"I was on television last week. You may not recognize me because I'm not wearing a wifebeater."

"If this relationship works out, I'll save a fortune on hookers."

"I think it's great that you're so nonchalant about your weight."

"We better skip the movie tonight. I think the Viagra is starting to kick in."

Any other topic is pretty much fair game. Especially ex-lovers.

Once your sweetheart hears the graphic details about all your past exploits, she will swoon with delight knowing such an experienced man chose her.

How to Stay Awake During a Chick Flick

I have no idea.


Maybe you can turn it into a drinking game. Every time one of the characters is diagnosed with an incurable disease, do a shot. You might pass out but at least you won't doze off.

How to Get Her in the Mood for Love

Smear whipped cream all over your body and playfully suggest she lick it off. Do not try this if your lover is lactose intolerant. If you're out of whipped cream, substitute deviled ham. Spice things up by blindfolding your lover. This will heighten her pleasure and allow you to watch SportsCenter with the sound muted. Offer to paint her toenails. If they're already painted, offer to clean her cat's litter box. Sensual role-playing can help create a whole new sexual dynamic. But keep the characters general. Suggesting she dress up as a cheerleader is one thing, suggesting she pretend to be her jaw-droppingly beautiful roommate is quite another.

Because Love is a Whatchamacallit, a Many Splendored Thing

Every woman dreams of an unforgettable Valentine's Day. Follow this helpful guide and I guarantee you will help her achieve that dream. You'll have a date she will never, ever forget. Even with therapy and medication.

Her friends won't forget either once she phones them with the details.

And neither will strangers on the Internet as email descriptions of your mad dating skills are furiously forwarded around the globe. You'll be famous. The guy who couldn't be tamed by common sense. Rebel without a clue.

And it will make it way easier for the rest of us to look romantic by comparison.

So thanks. Way to take one for the team.