Can't Buy Me Love Deconstructing the Washington Post's Valentine "Love Notes"

"This is almost like writing on a watertower," wrote one advertiser in last year's "Love Notes" insert to the Washington Post. Indeed, the alternately steamy, angry, and banal ads published each Feb. 14 take Post readers on an intimate tour through the boudoirs and padded cells of Washington's lovelorn.

To save you the trouble of scything through the Love Notes jungle—and spare you the nauseating sight of the smarmy roses, hearts, teddy bears, and cupids that decorate the ads—Washington City Paper has culled a sample from last year's edition. We won't repeat any of the 19 marriage proposals. And, out of respect for your sanity, we'll skip the always-clever variations on "Roses are red, violets are blue"; some 64 would-be Petrarchs published their own version of the poem last year.

THE OOEY: "Little Honey: You're so funny. You make my life so sunny. You're my number oney, so give me all your money. Love, Big Honey."

THE GOOEY: "Snoogie Bear: I Looovveee Yooouu; I Looovveee Yooouu; I Loovveee Yoouu. Moogie Bear."

THE MIXED SIGNAL: "I love you forever. Goodbye."

THE DESPERATE: "You're so mean to me! Are you sure you don't want me?"

THE INSIDE JOKE: "The yellow brick wouldn't be the same without you."

THE SWEET: "I thought I was alone until God sent me a flower. Thank you for being in my garden. I love you."

THE PATRONIZING: "Fear not my love, for to love is to live. And in you, there is life."

THE BUSINESSLIKE: "Thank you for the outstanding job in raising our three children and the love you've given us all. I hope we've returned as much to you."

THE GIDDY: "Hi, lover. Our 10 week communion has transformed my life. I adore you, and you have become the love of my life. Falling in love with you keeps lifting me to new heights of happiness. Some day, together, we will live from the heart."

THE RELIGIOUS: "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. I love you."

THE LONG SHOT: "I loved you in 1957-58 & I wanted to marry you but felt inadequate so I turned away & pretended I did not care. I denied my heart but it still misses you."

THE ABANDONED: "It's been a year and a day since you left me. My life is empty and shallow now. You took with you the joy from my steps and the light from my eyes. I am so much less without you. I stand by my promises from the last time we parted."

THE EERIE: "Your mother & I have been in love from the start. He has her hand, but I have her heart. We're meant to be together, of that I'm sure. Our love for each other will forever endure. I'll make mistakes but never break her heart, so tell her I'm here when she's ready to start. Shared strength is the greatest of all, so trust in our love and I won't let you fall."

THE FREUDIAN: "Thanks for making all my dreams come true. You are my submarine that travels through my unending ocean of love."

THE GOOD SPORT: "Though I would like to have you intimately, I appreciate being your particular dear friend. God truly sent me a Valentine the day I met you. Have a blessed Valentines Day."

THE SUCKER: "Whatever road you travel, no matter what you do; if you ever change your mind, I'll still be here for you."

THE UNREQUITED: "I love you, will you reciprocate?"

THE LAST-SECOND SAVE: "Please don't let go! I care for you more than I have obviously shown you. I'm very, very sorry. I love you, beautiful!"

THE WITTY SPOUSE: "To 25 years. No one leaves this marriage alive."

THE LOVING PARENT: "You would've made any Dad proud to be their son but God chose me to be the lucky One. I love you very much. Buds for life."

THE OEDIPAL: "Mommy: I'll build you a house, I'll build you a car; Daddy's a louse, you're my Valentine star!"

THE CAD: "Don't forget: I got the shack, and you got the sugar. Bring it, and I'll love you forever!"

THE DOOMED, Part I: "Happy Valentines Day to the one who gives more than she should and cares more than we deserve."

THE DOOMED, Part II: "I'm tired of being so darn right & being told that I'm so darn wrong, particularly when the years prove me to be so right, but the years still pass. I still love you & you keep telling me 'huh.' Thank you for both your love & all of your vocal never ending rejection."

THE HORNY POET: "Love is sweet, love is fine; your sexy bod is so divine. Your delicious lips, your dreamy hair; your cosmo hips, your luscious pair. The way you like to jump my bones; the way you like to walk with cones. Your emerald eyes, like fine cut jewels; they tease the guys but they're just fools. You walk the walk, you rock my roll; all these things & so much more, tells the world what I live for."

THE FRUSTRATED: "I wish U were more like trouble. I can get in trouble."

THE CRUDE: "My dearest darling: My love increases everyday. To munch on melons so divine, keeps me aquesting Valentine."

THE PASSIVE-AGGRESSIVE, Part I: "Are you up for a game of chess? Or how about an argument. Cause I know you won't lose at that. Ha Ha, I got the last word now. Love, me."

THE PASSIVE-AGGRESSIVE, Part II: "You make me crazy when you open the windows on cold winter nights; when you go to work and leave on the lights; when you have to go to Giant to buy food everyday; when what we don't eat you trash the next day; when your clothes and shoes clutter the downstairs; when you finish shaving and the sink is full of hairs. Yes, my darling, you drive me up a wall, but don't ever forget I will always love you! Annoying habits and all! P.S. I hate it when you pause the VCR, too!"

THE PASSIVE-AGGRESSIVE, Part III: "Love always, even though you don't deserve it. CP

Art accompanying story in the printed newspaper is not available in this archive: Ward Sutton.

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