February 14 2017
IWF used to do an annual Free Cupid! campaign, a way to propose something a bit more romantic than attending readings of Eve Ensler's resplendently vulgar Vagina Monologues, then in vogue, which replaced Valentine's Day with V-Day. You still see depressing notices like this in 2017:
In an effort to shine light on current social issues, the West Virginia University School of Theatre & Dance and Title IX Office have teamed up for Valentine’s Day presentations of “The Vagina Monologues.
But I detect that the excitement over V-Day has faded, and that is a good sign. Better a box of chocolates and a Shakespeare love sonnet for a young lady than a bitter screed on "gender," no?
Ah, but there's the rub: If you're a young man--make that young gentleman--and you want to give chocolates and flowers to a young lady, you may not be sure of what to select. Fortunately, several data nerds we know have come to the rescue.
In a study entitled "The Science of Buying a Better Box of Chocolates," they proffer these tips:
Single women don’t really care about brand; they’re looking for a chocolate “experience.”
They’d like you to spend a bit to get a nice box of chocolates — preferably one from France (+16 points) or Switzerland (+14 points). And above all else, women want something delicious. Chocolate fillings and additions have the biggest impact of all. If you don’t know exactly what she likes already, you can’t go wrong choosing caramel, toffee, or hazelnut — those three tested off the charts (+26 points for the first two, +27 points for hazelnut).
Proving that men and women are different, a point that, believe it or not, has to be restated from time to time nowadays, men, left to their own devices, often overlook these chocolates and buy something less appealing to those of the opposite sex:
Unfortunately, when we tested single men on what a girlfriend would want in a box of chocolates, the guys screwed it up. While women focus on the chocolate’s flavor and origin, guys focus on things like brand (+12 points for Godiva), ingredients that are organic or natural or “fair trade” (+12 points), having a high cocoa percentage (+18 points if it’s in the 70s), and keeping the price down.
But don't blame the poor things:
But it’s not the fault of single men that they get things so wrong. True, lots of animals perform what are called “courtship displays.” Birds are the masters. Male bowerbirds build intricate structures decorated with eye-catching objects to impress lady birds. In other species, the male feeds tasty little morsels to his love, demonstrating his ability to support a fine-feathered family.
And of course in the human world men do something similar — flowers, for display and chocolate, the classic culinary compliment to flowers. Sadly, unlike birds, humans don’t have hard and fast rules on what’s expected. They can’t simply rely on instinct. This makes Valentine’s Day especially problematic for men.
Accordingly, the study notes that there is an app to help human males.