Fatherly Advice For Valentine’s Day


It was a lesson that he could either learn from me or from some show on TV. Considering the shows that are on TV, I decided to be the one teaching this lesson. I was going to show my son how to treat a lady. Would you trust The Walking Dead to teach that lesson to your kid? Don’t answer that question.

I had a decision to make almost as soon as I pulled into the parking lot of our local outlet mall. To my left was a jewelry store that I was somewhat familiar with. It wasn’t Diamond Dave’s Discount Jewelry and Sporting Goods but it was close. To my right was Kay Jewelers. I’m real familiar with Kay Jewelers because of their commercials that come on during football games where some fellow who is just below a serial killer on the creepy scale proposes to his girlfriend. She always says yes and then the background singers inform us that, “Every kiss begins with Kay.”

Diamond Dave’s Discount Jewelry and Sporting goods makes no such promises.

So we went to Kay.

That’s the first lesson in romance. Always choose the right store. If it’s jewelry that you’re buying, you always want to stay away from stores with words like discount or sporting goods in their name.

When my son and I walked into the store, someone greeted us and told us that they would help us soon. We walked around and tried to look like we belonged. One thing stuck out. There were no price tags. That was affirmation that I had made the right choice of stores. The really classy ones never broadcast their prices.

As we gave ourselves a tour of the store we were interrupted by a kid. A small kid. He was playing music on what appeared to be his mother’s phone. I’m assuming it was his mother’s phone because the case was pink. But that doesn’t always mean what you think it means in today’s forward thinking and tolerant culture.

The kid held the phone up to my face and asked me if I liked the song that was playing.

It was Rascal Flats.

“No. I don’t like Rascal Flats.”

The boy looked shocked.

That was the second lesson of romance that I had to teach my son. There is nothing good about Rascal Flats. Stay away from them at all costs. It was good to see that my son was already a step ahead of the competition.

Finally, an associate arrived to help us. She had just finished her smoke break. Yet another sign that I had made the right decision. There’s just something about a piece of jewelry with the light scent of nicotine.

“What are we looking for today?”


That’s when things got tricky.

“Are you interested in the perpendicular quadrant pearl or more of a fine, oil-based pearl.”

That led into my next lesson for my son. Never let the sales lady know that you have no idea what she’s talking about. If you do, you’ll leave the store having purchased one earring that weighs somewhere around half an ounce and costs $4,783.42.

Just play it cool, son.

And that’s what I did.

“Oh, we’re just looking to buy something plain and simple.”

“Great. First, how much money are you looking to spend.”

The next lesson of romance. Money is no option. Spare no expense for the special lady in your life.

“A hundred dollars.”

The sales lady gave me the same look freshman at Auburn get when they ask where the library is. She fumbled around the display case.

“Well, this necklace is $800.”

Scratch that last lesson. Here’s the new lesson. Spare no expense for the special lady in your life assuming that the expense does not exceed $100.

“But I do have something that you may be interested in.”

She reached in a drawer behind the counter and pulled out a necklace. It looked exactly like the $800 necklace.

“This one is only $140 and it’s 30% off.”

My son said, “Ooh, I really like that one.”

He was learning quick.

But I had to ask our sales lady.

“What’s the difference between the $100 necklace and the $800 one? They look exactly the same.”

She quickly looked around the room, careful that no one would hear what she was about to say.

She whispered.

“The only difference is the price.”

She laughed.

Now I was the one learning the lesson. When shopping at a jewelry store, always ask them to show you the cheap, excuse me, reduced jewelry in the drawer.

She went on to explain how the expensive pearls came from the deep part of some really cold European ocean where the clams eat only organic seaweed and nuggets of gold. The cheaper pearls are found somewhere at the bottom of a lake just outside of Lanett, Alabama.

“But the cheaper one is still a real pearl?,” I asked.



That’s the next lesson. If you find a good deal, try to close that deal as quickly as possible before the sales lady’s manager shows up and shuts everything down.

While I was paying for our new pearls the kid with the phone came back over to us. This time there was no Rascal Flats. Instead, he was listening to some rap song where a man was talking about booties and other body parts. The kid couldn’t have been any older than four. After a few lines of the song, I heard a voice from the kid’s mother/sister/nanny/parole officer.

“John Day-vud, that song ain’t right for you!”

Make that two steps. My son was two steps ahead of the competition. Things were looking really good for my boy.

On the way home, my son drew a Valentine’s Day card while we discussed the best way to give this necklace to our special lady. We decided that it would be cool to hide it in his notebook so that she would find it when she checked his school work.

A few minutes after we got home, my wife found her early Valentine’s Day gift. Even though the pearls came from the bottom of some lake and have the slight scent of Virginia Slims, my wife smiled, hugged my sons and kissed me. Thanks Kay. We were all really happy. Just like we were before my son and I bought that piece of jewelry.

And that leads to my son’s final lesson of romance.

It’s not about how much you spend. It’s not even about how romantic you are. What matters is that you make the effort. And if you find a special lady she’ll appreciate those efforts.

But if the girl you’re interested in looks at the $100 pearls you buy her and says, “I wanted tickets to see Rascal Flats,” you’ll know that she’s not the right one. Just keep looking until you find one a little more like your mother.