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The Valentine's Day Alternative   by Duke Lacrosse

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The Case Against

Okay look, I know it's the love month and all, but I have to confess: I hate Valentine's Day, and it's not because I'm worried about being alone. In fact, there's no other day of the year on which I'm more happy to be single. Okay, maybe Mardi Gras, but still…

It's not because I'm cheap, even though I do hate having to hand over my hard-earned cash to opportunists hawking murdered plants and marked-up restaurant food that the head chef wasn't even around to cook because he had to take his girlfriend out that night. No, mainly I just resent being railroaded into doing something "romantic".

Valentine's hype isn't real romance, right? I like to think that real romance is about spontaneity, not about price gouging and whose boyfriend is more whipped.

Now, before I lose all my female audience and the happily coupled, let me explain that this isn't just another bitter man rant. Okay, maybe it is, but I'd like to think of it as a constructive man rant. Bear with me, and I promise there'll be something for everyone, girls and the monogamous alike.

The Case For

Despite the fact that Valentine's Day is a fake holiday invented by the greedy, it's still a holiday, and holidays are great excuses to drink too much and wake up with a strange woman, or a confused young man. I know a little bit about this. I've helped plan celebrations for Easter, Passover, Yom Kippur, Columbus Day, President's Day, Martin Luther King Day, Tom Jones' Birthday, Boxing Day, Bastille Day, Cinco De Mayo, Cinco De Marcho, Dieciseis De Noviembre…. Anyway, the point is, not only is Valentine's Day just as good an excuse for a party as any other holiday.

A Valentine's Day Party, But Why?

Read my letters: parties equal hook-ups.

Think about it. A party on Valentine's Day is even more conducive to people hooking up than parties over the holidays. If you invite every unattached girl you know for a Valentine's Day party (call it an "Anti-Valentine's Day" party if you're worried about the coolness factor), they'll probably show up. That's because no unattached girl wants to spend Valentine's Day alone. They especially don't want to spend Valentine's Day alone AND have to hear their girlfriends and co-workers brag about all the cheesy romantic crap their boyfriends did for them. A party keeps them from having to be alone, AND if done right, it gives them something fun or wild or off the hook to brag about. Besides, getting crazy with other fun-loving hedonists while the conformists are out blowing money on boring crap is something to brag about, don't you think?

Which brings me to my next point: single or attached, male or female, a Valentine's party appeals to the non-conformist in all of us. If you're like me -- and even if you love candlelit dinners, chocolates, cards (though who the fuck likes cards?), and quiet evenings -- the feeling of being expected to engage in such activities sucks the fun right out. So don't play ball. Do something different. Give the whole Valentine's industry the finger and have some fun (and hopefully some sex) in the process.

Okay, so I've laid out my case. I've explained why to throw a Valentine's Day party. Now the how:

Bare Necessities for a Good Party:

1. A Provocative Theme
Girls love to dress up. Hell, I'll admit it, so do I. A good theme alone can be reason enough to get that girl you've got your eye on out of her house and into yours. And there's nothing that loosens inhibitions and gets people in the mood to have an epic time like a good theme ‒ and extra points for one that encourages exhibitionism.

Girls will jump on any excuse to dress slutty. Don't ask me why, it's science. Still, you've got to make sure it's going to be fun for everyone; for instance, don't show up in your Big Johnson t-shirt and sweatpants with 10 cent beads around your neck expecting girls to show you their tits because it's a "Mardi Gras" theme. Be intelligent, be creative, be provocative.

Particularly successful themes that I've had the good fortune to be involved with include Lingerie Party, where all the guests wore only undergarments; a Two-Piece party where guests were only allowed two articles of clothing, including undergarments; and a middle-school-nostalgia sort of shindig called simply "The Make Out Party." Cryptic themes that don't spell out exactly what you should wear can be fun too, but the bottom line is, if it sounds fun, it probably will be.

2. A Venue
Okay, sort of a no-brainer, I know. If you have a cool house or apartment, that always works. Rooftops are very cool, but are hard to come by and can be cold, which can put a damper on your provocative theme.

If you can't befriend someone with a cool place and try to get him or her to host, try renting out a small pub, bar, restaurant, etc. Get a few friends to pitch in. But remember, decorate, decorate, decorate. Personally, I don't really care what the party venue looks like, but something in the female brain makes them have more fun the cutesy-er and more tied in with the theme decorations are. Again, it's science. If all else fails, hell, just get everyone to show up at the same place.

3. Alcohol. Snacks. Music.
Do I really need to explain this one further?

4. Guests
This leads us to our next section…

What If No One Shows Up?

Of course it won't be a party without guests, so especially if you don't have a lot of friends, you'll have to do some networking. Start with the people you know and work outwards.

The beauty of cyberspace is such that you don't actually have to know someone very well to invite them to a party. It takes much less social skill to invite someone via computer than it does face to face; you don't have to worry whether he or she knows who you are, there's no risk of rejection, and the invitee has no reason to feel uncomfortable or intruded upon. So feel free to invite via email, it's the 21st century, after all. If you have a large list, try using the "BCC" field in your email client; it stands for "blind carbon copy," meaning that when your guests get their invites, they won't see the email addresses of everyone else you sent the invite to; it can make the invite seem more personal.

If you have any PhotoShop skills, make yourself a fancy looking flyer graphic and email it around with your invitation like your party's going to be a pretty big deal, even if you're still not sure that it will be. It's effective if done right and much cheaper than stationary.

And chances are, if you're reading this, you're an Adult FriendFinder member. Adult FriendFinder is a great place to find fun, open minded people. Check out the groups section. You can browse it geographically or by interest group. Check out what's going on in your area, and start a group for your Valentine's Party. Get-together groups are some of the most popular on the site, and if you start early enough, you might even be able to get a "planning committee" together. And naturally, if you have a friend network, on the site, that's a great place to start too. Swingers usually have lots of friends.

Well folks, there you have it. I think I've laid out my case fairly well. The bottom-line is that there's no reason you have to do what everyone else is doing on Valentine's Day. Show a little creativity, a little rebellion, and you shall be justly rewarded.