I have decided this year to ignore Valentine's Day.
At least, the real Valentine's Day, replete with candy, cards, flowers and candlelit dinners.
I am going to fire up my imagination, and my libido, by exploring love on the internet. At Match.com, I am told there are no fewer than ten million subscribers looking for their soulmate. Okay, let's assume half of them are male and half are female. That still leaves a cool five million men who are lonely.
Okay, let's assume half of those five million are married, under thirty, or over eighty-five. Let's assume another million are gay. That still leaves a playing field of about one and a half million guys.
Wow! Let's begin.
First, I eliminate anyone who is fat. Usually, this is acknowledged by the statement "a few extra pounds". In other words, "fat".
Second, I eliminate anyone who who has not gone beyond high school. I'm sorry, but "the school of life" is too often a euphemism for "high school dropout". My parents didn't send me to Vassar for that.
Third, I eliminate anyone who is still grieving over someone he lost. I am not a psychotherapist, nor will I ever attempt to fill the shoes of another woman (even if the shoes are Manolo Blahniks).
Fourth, I eliminate anyone who says he's "a good kisser". Yes, there are actually some men who brag about this. Does he slobber? Does he bite? I want none of it.
Fifth, I eliminate anyone who admits he has more than four children by more than three wives. To my mind, he is the domestic equivalent of a serial killer.
Sixth, I eliminate anyone who likes "long walks on the beach at sunset". This has become such a cliché that it shouldn't even be necessary to mention it. But I do -- because long walks are better taken early in the morning when one is wide awake. And sunsets are better viewed from a comfortable balcony with a glass of Sauvignon.
I am also very wary of men who live in Florida and enjoy "long evenings cuddling by an open fire". Or men who own a 20-foot skiff on Lake Michigan and want to sail around the world. Or men from Manhattan who don't know the MoMA from the Met.
Having thus drawn my parameters, I realize that there may be only a few dozen men remaining out of that original million and a half. For heaven's sake, write me!
Ours will be a virtual romance, with no candy, no flowers, no fancy dinners. Just an exchange of passionate e-mails, a photo or two, and a promise to connect again next February.