RICHARD ORD: So it turns out that romance IS dead

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Romantics say the way to a man’s heart it through his stomach, which is why romantics make very poor surgeons.

You won’t find that route in too many heart surgery textbooks.

You may, however, find it in the Serial Killer’s Guide to Evisceration, a must-read for most married couples.

The way to a woman’s heart is more complicated, mainly because it keeps changing.

Women like to keep men on their toes. And not just by holding a knife under their chin.

On Valentine’s Day, flowers and chocolates would do the trick in the early years of courtship, but after more than a dozen years of marriage (probably, I forget the exact figure, maybe it’s 56) the goalposts move.

Joint bank accounts mean forking out on flowers is just spending her money on things she doesn’t need. My wife didn’t mind when it was my money being spent on her.

Buying chocolates these days is a waste of time and money. Our two sons, aged 15 and 12, can hear a chocolate box open at 300 yards. And they have reached the age of exceptional chocolate-stealing sophistication.

My wife opened a box of chocolates (a Christmas gift) only last week.

We were down to the last three chocolates on the top layer on Monday evening.

I fancied a hazelnut whirl (this is not a euphemism), and lifted the top layer to reveal … an empty second layer! The kids had eaten the lot.

They knew exactly what they were doing. As we slowly picked our way through the top layer, they had devoured the second layer without our knowing – probably within the first hour of the box being opened. I tip my hat to their ingenuity.

Back to Valentine’s Day. Romantic weekends away are too expensive and, anyway, they would interfere with ferrying the two boys to their respective football matches (after all, they have to burn off those extra choccy calories don’t they?). Cooking a romantic meal is risk (a fire risk in my case), surprise cinema tickets are out as we have different tastes in movies (unless there’s a sci-fi serial killer rom-com chick-flick you can recommend) and ditto a night at a pop concert. An evening with Morrissey is not everyone’s idea of a romantic night out. Not even to Mrs Morrissey.

To save on cash and avoid Valentine’s Day heartache, we agreed to call it quits on buying each other gifts on February 14th. Call it a truce if you like. Love is, after all, a battlefield, with less guns but just as many bayonet wounds (or is that just us?)

Instead of a romantic meal or bouquet of flowers, I painted the bathroom walls (again, this is not a euphemism).

I don’t know if it’s a long-time married thing, but I honestly don’t think I’ve ever made my wife happier than I did by painting that room.

Forget the smell of a dozen red roses, turns out the smell of a freshly-painted bathroom is way to woman’s heart.