Valentine's Day Gifts (January 24, 2002)
In my bachelor years Valentine's Day was an annual watershed. Relationships
flourished or foundered on the gifts I gave.
After a variety of break-ups resulting from untraditional offerings
– one memorable item was a set of two silver-plated eggcups
and spoons (too early and too suggestive) – I resorted to the
tried and trusted: roses. You can't go wrong with roses.
Well, nobody ever told me there was a secret Language of Roses.
It's the mother tongue of every woman born.
So that Valentine's Day I bought my inamorata a dozen roses. Yellow
roses. They were gorgeous. I like yellow. Sunshine, I thought, to
brighten a dreary February day.
Wrong. I might as well have handed her a bunch of poison ivy. Yellow
roses, according to the floral lexicon, mean "Try to care"
– a message to someone who was already choosing the names of
You probably didn't know this, but there is also the secret Language
of Beverage Alcohol. A language as ancient as the Dead Sea Scrolls.
So, to help you avoid sending the wrong message with a gift of wine,
beer or spirits, I offer this introductory lesson or a refresher
course for those who haven't used the language in a long time.
If you give the following bottles on Valentine's Day this is what
you are telling the recipient:
Baby Duck: "I really shouldn't be going out with you,
you're far too young for me."
Two-four of Molson Canadian: "I expect you to watch
Hockey Night in Canada and if there's a T-shirt inside it's mine."
Vodka: "You need breath mints."
Gin: "You remind me of my mother."
Port: "You light the fire and I'll crack the walnuts."
Sherry: "I don't mind going out with a librarian but
can I unpin your hair?"
Madeira: "I've already had some, now it's your turn."
Champagne: "The glass is modelled on Marie Antoinette's
left breast. How do you measure up?"
Red Burgundy: "I may not remember your name, but I
never forget Chambertin."
Sauvignon Blanc: "Sure you'll get grass stains but
it's healthier outdoors."