Fenno: Heart This


FENNO DRANK. VALENTINE’S Day was coming again, that grim holiday when his mother would ask why he hadn’t met any nice girls at Harvard (the answer: “There aren’t any, Ma.”) and countless legions of men would debase themselves in thinly-veiled attempts to buy sex with flowers, chocolate, and fancy dinners.

A firm believer in transparency (it’s not just for women’s clothing!), Fenno had written a helpful guide to his straight male friends to let them know just what they should expect for their money. It was a hell of a lot more fun to write than his third year paper. Without further ado, the fruits of his labor:

Dinner Plans

L’Espalier: Fuck you. If you take your date to L’Espalier, not only are you guaranteed nookie, she’ll have her two model friends waiting in the bedroom. Rock on, you magnificent bastard.

Radius: It will remind her of a firm dinner and she will immediately start blathering about something boring and stupid. When you wake up the next morning, you’ll find a copy of her resume on the nightstand.

Kingfish: An ancient adage passed down through the generations advises you that lobster = head.

Upstairs at the Pudding: Your date will take one look at the decor and conclude that your parents are right about your sexuality. After storming out of the restaurant, you decide to give it a try, only to learn that all the good Harvard men are taken. You will eventually spend the money intended for dinner to buy a hooker and go on to a miserable career in a corporate law firm.

Three Aces: Your date will immediately leave you for George after realizing that he’s twice the man you can ever be.

Boca Grande: Unless you have a particularly weird fetish or are German (same difference), you do not want to try this.


Flowers: If you don’t buy flowers, you are too stupid to live and should go play in traffic. Anything other than red roses will inevitably result in a night of chastity for you; she might try to pretend she’s happy with other flowers, but she’s not.

Jewelry: Be very, very, very careful about gifts of jewelry. In a woman’s mind, all shiny things look like rings. Jewelry ensures an eventful post-dinner romp, but it raises her expectations in a big way and may result in friction later (assuming you care about later-but jewelry is expensive and not cost-effective for mere short-term play).

A Mix CD: It’s sweet, it’s cute, it’s a good way to show her that you care enough to steal a dozen songs off the internet and take a few minutes to burn them. Here’s what you put on it (this is a results-oriented mix to be played later that evening, so pardon the John Mayer): Your Body is a Wonderland, Let’s Get It On, I Just Wanna Fuck You, Closer, Theme from Chariots of Fire, Theme from Chariots of Fire again, Theme from Chariots of Fire again, Theme from Chariots of Fire again, Theme from Chariots of Fire again, Theme from Chariots of Fire again (if you don’t have Fenno’s staying power, you may want to drop the last couple tracks).

Chocolate: This is almost as tricky as jewelry. Women get weird about food; offering her chocolate on top of dinner can pose any number of potential problems. My advice: buy a couple Hershey bars, eat them yourself once you lock her in and a little paunch can’t hurt you, and stick to flowers and a mix CD.

Lingerie: If you can get away with this, go for it. It’s like a gift to yourself that makes her happy too. Never forget, though, that crotchless panties are tres gauche and will let her know you think she’s a harlot.

Stuffed Animals: These are worse than jewelry. Women who get all excited about stuffed animals want to get pregnant; notice how they practice their baby talk. Be afraid. Do not encourage these tendencies.

An X-Box: This is a risky move, but if it works (and it probably won’t), disregard all of the above and marry her.

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