Ever since reading "Freakonomics," I've looked at the world the way a behavioral economist might. So this is a fascinating time of year. The Beatles said money can't buy you love, but that's not true, it can: You just have to spend more than $126.03 (see chart below).
If you watch sports on TV, the Valentine's Day ads are aimed at men, and they all have the same message: If you give her the gift being advertised, you will get sex. It's not a subtle romantic message, it's very overt. "Give her this, and you get sex."
But as you'll see, the economics of Valentine's Day is complicated...
So, let's break it down:
- An expensive diamond from Jared's ("He went to Jared's"): Sex virtually guaranteed, but you'll still be paying on that diamond on your charge card NEXT Valentine's Day. Expensive! And she may have dumped you by then. Let's explore alternatives.
- A diamond from Kay Jewelers: Sex unlikely. Just a kiss. ("Every kiss begins with K"). You should have gone to Jared's. Rookie mistake, and an epic, expensive fail.
- Flowers: Don't do it! No sex for you, unless you outdo every other guy in the office. If you send her a dozen roses and another guy she knows sends his partner two dozen, you come up short, and no sex for you.
- Chocolates: No sex, maybe never again. "Don't you know I'm watching my weight? Don't you KNOW ME AT ALL!!"
- Dinner and drinks at an expensive restaurant: Likelihood of sex is strongly correlated to the volume of wine or cocktails she drinks. Odds: Good if she's a drinker and if you don't drink too much!
- A rose in a plastic cylinder from the Stop & Go gas station, plus some scratch-off lottery tickets. Oddly, this is highly likely to lead to sex, because you are a jerk and your woman tolerates you; she's set the bar very low, and so have you. Nicely played!
- A hooker and carry-out pizza. Cost varies to fit your budget; pick your price and quality level. 100% of costs are directly invested in sex (except the pizza), so there is no waist. Sex guaranteed.
I can't tell you which choice is right for you. But in case you think I am exaggerating, maybe you've seen the ad for flowers where a woman says, "The roses were gorgeous; he made all the other husbands look pretty bad." (Direct quote). That's what you want to do; make every other guy in her world look bad. Sex on Valentine's Day is a zero-sum game; for every winner, there is a loser.
So the strategy is to either pay enough to trump the other guys, or concede and save your money and not throw it away on a lost cause. Write her a poem or a song instead. Women hate that, but they really can't fault you for it, and it's free. If she's not well-read, just crib one off the Internet and put your name on it. And enjoy the evening watching sports on TV.
Steve Cebalt, Highview LLC www.highviewhelp.com Be sure to subscribe using the icon in the upper-right margin, or via e-mail or RSS! Or follow me on Twitter to receive links to all new posts. Follow @SteveCebalt What do YOU think? Click the "Comment" button below and tell us! View Steve Cebalt's profile