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D.L. Stewart: Valentine’s Day is a heartfelt mystery for men

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Valentine’s Day is rapidly approaching, and there’s probably nothing we can do to prevent it. So once again the pressure is on for men trying to find the perfect gift for their wives and/or lovers.

The National Retail Federation estimates that Americans will spend $1.7 billion on candy, $2.1 billion on flowers and $4.8 billion on jewelry on Valentine’s Day gifts this year. And almost all of the money spent by men will be money down the rathole. Because, according to a recent study, 86 percent of us will buy the wrong gift.

One national survey, declared that what most American women want is jewelry, but what most men give them is flowers, although that’s not conclusive when broken down by states. In Ohio, for instance, men prefer to give jewelry, while women would rather have lingerie. The only explanation I can think of is that Ohio men tend to be clueless, which is why so many of them continue to root for the Cleveland Browns.

To be fair, women don’t always know what men want, either. One year my wife gave me a gym membership.

“It’s for the health of your heart, ” she explained. “Hearts. Valentines. Get it?”

I got it, although it wasn’t exactly what my heart and I would have picked. But maybe she couldn’t find lingerie in our size.

As an 86-percenter, I’m more successful some years picking gifts than I am in others. My wife still remembers the year I bought her a box of heart-shaped donuts. But then, my ex-wife probably still remembers the year I bought her a vacuum cleaner.

I keep trying though.

When I read a story in The New York Times predicting that sex toys such as handcuffs, whips and blindfolds will be big sellers this Valentine’s Day due to the popularity of “Fifty Shades of Grey,” I considered those. But then I realized if I brought home handcuffs, whips and blindfolds for her, my wife probably would call the cops.

And just the other day I spent the better part of 10 minutes online searching “What Women Really Want for Valentine’s Day.” What I discovered was what women really want includes, but is not limited to, equal pay for equal work and “To not be married to an idiot-jerk who would just once, for the love of God, clean the house, do dishes and/or laundry like a functionally competent adult.” I’m not capable of providing either of those things.

So, along with the rest of the 86 percent of idiot-jerks in America, trying to guess what women want will continue to be an enduring mystery for me on Valentine’s Day.

Just like the other 364 days.