Dear readers, today is the eve of the Lunar New Year. Before I launch into my usual ramblings, I want to take some time to wish you and your family a New Year filled with joy, happiness, good fortune, health and success. It is the year of the Rabbit (Cat, if you’re Vietnamese). This year, it is not just a Rabbit, but a Metal Rabbit. That means everyone is softer and cuter and more productive, but also possess an iron will. The Titanium Bunny will not only just keep going, it will smash through walls on its way to victory! If there is something you want to do, now is the time to do it. Have the cojones to grab the bull by the horn. Or the horns to grab the bull by the cojones. Either way, grab the bull by something this year.

Now Valentine’s Day is coming up. Every year, around this time, we guys get jittery. It’s not that we don’t like Valentine’s Day. It’s just that we hate it. Most of us would rather throw live piranhas down our pants than deal with this day. That’s because most of us are inept gift buyers, and our women are always expecting something amazing, as if a cordless power drill is not good enough for them.

Around this time every year, I start stressing out. “I’d like you to get me something,” says my wife, Jameelah, “and make it special and thoughtful.” She learned to be direct after one Valentine’s Day, when she said, “Don’t worry about getting me a gift, sweets,” and I got her nothing.

Unfortunately, she is not direct enough. That’s the problem. Women always want you to be “thoughtful.” This is our first Valentine’s Day as a married couple, and I was hoping that by now, she would just spell everything out. If you ask us guys what we want, we’d tell you. “This year,” I said, “I want Dragon Quest VI on the DS. And I want you to make peanut butter cookies.” I went ahead and pre-ordered Dragon Quest VI using her credit card. That’s how thoughtful I am.

I wish she would just say something like, “Get me the peridot ring circled on page 48 of this catalog, and make reservation for us at the Tamarind Tree. When we get home, open a bottle of wine and wait for further instructions.” See? Would that be too hard? But no, it is never that easy. That’s because for women, Valentine’s Day is not about romance. It is not about love. If it were about love, we would not stress each other out on this day. Why would you stress out someone you love by making them run around to get the perfect gift?

No, Valentine’s Day is a test to see how well men listen and observe, a test that may have resulted from evolution, where men who are most observant are most likely to survive and pass on their genes. However, it is a test that men fail miserably each year, and women always get upset. This only decreases the chance that we, both men and women, pass on our genes in fun ways.

So this year, lets knock it off with all the gift-buying and mind-reading games. Let us communicate and not waste time. Women, please tell your men exactly what it is you want. Trust me, we’ll be so happy that we might even do something extra. Like buy you a power saw.

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