Let's start with this week's Collector's Item: great for the man in your life, assuming the year is 1926 and your man really likes Benjamin Franklin.
Let us begin with a Valentine-relevant quotation from a "Beau Magazine" watch advertisement:
Choosing your woman (to employ the phrase of our national arch-beau, Benjamin Franklin) is only the beginning of your adventure: to hold her (if hold her you must) you must have become skilled in that most delicate of all the social arts -- the art of selecting the proper gift for the proper occasion.
Now the "Beau" is an inveterate believer in this pleasant form of bribery. Gift giving is the oil of the social machinery, the only form of flattery which women have not yet learned to suspect, and therefore to be pursued with a certain amount of assured success.
Well, I've certainly learned to suspect it now. So maybe you shouldn't buy this book for your lover ... maybe, instead, you should buy it and hide it from them such that they never learn its secrets.
You will also be concealing many other delights: for instance, a reprinted letter (purportedly from 1745) from Benjamin Franklin to a friend on "Choosing Your Woman". Franklin urges his friend to select an older woman for a mistress for eight reasons, one of which starts with "Because when they cease to be handsome, they study to be good." Do we really? These and other pieces of advice come to $75.00 -- discuss 1926 romantic mores with your lover (or alternatively, hide these insights from your lover) to your heart's content.
Perhaps you and your partner pen a lot of love letters? In that case, you can use this week's Favorite to write a historically accurate one, World War 2-style:
V-mail (short for "Victory mail") was a form used entirely by soldiers on the front during World War 2. They would write in special ink ...
(here we have two facets of the ink box ...)
... on special forms ...
... and their letters would be applied from paper form, to microfilm. The original forms would then be destroyed and big bags of microfilm sent overseas, to be reconstituted into letters for mopey loved ones. As noted by the National Postal Museum: "The 37 mail bags required to carry 150,000 one-page letters could be replaced by a single mail sack. The weight of that same amount of mail was reduced dramatically from 2,575 pounds to a mere 45."
I am sure that a military history buff would find a love letter written V-mail style to be the most romantic thing ever. Indulge them: a box of forms and a box of special V-mail ink -- Quink! -- is only $25.00 and provides dozens of letters!
(And before we move on to the next items, a quick message from Doug: "Before there was e-mail, there was v-mail!" Hilarious.)
Last but not least, gentle readers: an Affordable and Interesting way to relate to your loved one.
You may have heard of the Kama Sutra, an ancient Indian text on physical love. Well, I am here to tell you that there are many, many editions of the Kama Sutra out there, and we've got a bunch of them here at O'Gara and Wilson. The one presented above takes what I think of as the "academic and cultural approach" -- tasteful cover featuring a pretty Indian painting, restrained script, all promoting the scholarly value of this tome, and all for $15.00!
Then there's this approach!
This I consider the "scandal" approach. Published in 1963, it emphasizes the mind-blowing debauchery therein. The photo of Greek statuary totally fails to respect the original Kama Sutra's cultural context. Yours for $7.50.
And here's the third and last in my "Kama Sutra marketing through the ages" series:
Not cultural, not academic, but not scandalous either: this one's all about long walks on the beach, soft-lit candles and romantic dinners. $12.50.
That should pacify your partner, gentle readers! Don't say I never do you any favors ... and oh yeah, happy belated Valentine's Day!