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For the week of February 14 through 20, 2001

Yin & Yang of Valentineís Day


By DANA DUGAN
Express Staff Writer

There are two reasons for revealing the following. The first is the concept of yin and yang in relation to Valentineís day. Yin and yang, of course, are principles that oppose one another in their actions. Sort of like a good screwball comedy.

So. In love there is the attraction, and repulsion, the on and off, the passionate and the inert, the hot and the cold.

Express photos by Willy Cook

The second reason is that we, (being caring folks of an empathetic nature), want to give some attention to those who are not being focused upon the whole of Valentineís Day. Singles, or at least single wannabes.

For your perusal then, we present the yin and yang of the day of love, Valentineís Day.

Take your aphrodisiacs!

Yin

Kava Kava, a popular beverage with Pacific Islanders in traditional fertility and passion ceremonies for the past 3,000 years, is said to induce a sense of well-being, and more importantly, a desire for love. It can be found in tablet, powder or liquid drops form.

Lemon balm added to a bath while sipping lemon balm tea, or for men, a rosemary infused bath, is said to be stimulating.

Milk, licorice and honey play a central role in many recipes, while wine infused with violets is considered an aphrodisiac. Believe it or not, Catherine De Medici was considered scandalous by the French court for eating large quantities of artichokes.

The eating of both chocolate-covered strawberries and grapes while sipping champagne is a tried and true turn-on. One man I know thinks peeling an orange particularly sexy, for the anticipation and slow methodical unwrapping aspect, to say nothing of the juice inside.

For something less obvious, add a spare amount of fresh lavender to various sauces, such as hollandaise. The way to a manís heart and all of that? A fresh parsley and cilantro pesto pasta is invigorating and zesty. Take 2 cloves garlic, 2 tablespoons virgin olive oil, mix all in food processor, add pignoli nuts and toss over angel hair pasta. The new Bagel Place in Ketchum will be making heart- shaped bagels on Feb. 13. Pick up a couple for breakfast in bed on Valentineís Day, donít forget the cream cheese, lox and sexy little capers.

Yang

If you want to avoid the entanglements of Valentineís Day, ingest garlic, onion, poppy seeds or spinach. Make sure the latter two remain in your teeth. Chew tobacco, devour buffalo wings and donít wipe your mouth. Something about liver is fairly unsexy, as are tongue, brain and other organs.

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Other Valentineís Day activities might include a romantic hike. Yin: Go out Chocolate Gulch. Yang? Try the dump in Ohio, (gulch, that is.)

Les Fleurs? Red roses are for a lover, yellow for a friend and white is for purity. However, if you give white and red roses it means unity.

Yang flowers? Its hard to imagine a worse bouquet, to receive or send, as the lantern stinkhorn, which has the odor of fresh dog feces, unless you can find the large, flesh-colored Stapelia gigantea which smells like a rotting carcass, both of which also attract green bottle flies.

Oust that stinky image and picture instead your sweetie in the lingerie you picked out.

The yin is obvious. Short slinky negligees are as beguiling to wear as they are to give.

Then thereís the yang approach. Oversized flannel nightgowns, or large, matronly, white cotton underwear either worn or given will do the trick fairly well.

Put some music on the stereo while making your Valentine that pesto (wearing the negligee of course). We suggest the inimitable Frank Sinatra-- Songs for Swinginí Lovers. For the opposite state of mind try Frankís equally good but big bummer album In the Wee Small Hours.

Later, cuddle up in front of a movie. If youíre in a relationship viewing choices might be: Chocolat, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, and (the soon to be released) Original Sin, or rent Donít Look Now, Last Tango in Paris, The Double Life of Veronique or The Lover.

Yang flicks currently playing are Hannibal, The Gift, even Traffic, which has the put-down line of the century made by Michael Douglas to his wife, "I drink [when I get home] so I wonít be bored to death."

Or if youíre alone or angry and feeling betrayed give a look at these rentals: Stepford Wives, Diary of a Mad Housewife, War of the Roses, The Shining and An Unmarried Woman or one of my favorites, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.

Love spells are an intriguing possibility. The simplest one is to write exactly what you want on a piece of paper. Put it somewhere you will see it every day. It will happen.

Or, try this old Gypsy spell. To attract love to you--take a pink candle, red ribbon, an apple, a red rose and a white rose. They are all governed by Venus and symbolize life, blood and passion.

Light the candle, and cut the apple in half. Put the roses in two vases of water on each side of the apple halves. Look into the candle and contemplate someone you love or the desire for someone. Say aloud "May the love that I wish for now come true."

Using the ribbon, tie the apple halves together, place both the roses in one vase, and blow out the candle. Bury the apple outside, perhaps in your garden. When the roses fade, bury them together as well.

Alternately, write the name of a person you want to rid yourself of on a large stone, wrap it in straw, as straw represents emptiness, and throw the stone into the river.

Life is simple---do no harm, accept love where you find it and return it in kind. Valentineís Day (hokey and contrived as it may be) inspires us to throw some color into the path of that simplicity.

If youíre of the alternate state of mind, thereís a song whose lyrics you should sing with authority all day: Loudon Wainwright IIIís Iíd Rather be Lonely.

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