Here’s a helpful hint from the romance department for all you guys and (particularly) gals out there: If you’re with your beloved, sitting around with friends, and someone asks what was your favorite Valentine’s Day ever, your answer should be “my last one with (whomever you’re with at the moment.)”

Don’t get starry-eyed and, with a catch in your voice, start recalling the time that Steve the ty-coon took you to Monte Carlo on his private jet and taught you how to win at blackjack. Or the time Maggie took you out by the docks, scooped oysters from the surf and pried them open with her long red fingernails, and taught you to kiss with your eyes open.with your beloved, sitting around with friends, and someone asks what was your favorite Valentine’s Day ever, your answer should be “my last one with (whomever you’re with at the moment.)”

Don’t get starry-eyed and, with a catch in your voice, start recalling the time that Steve the ty-coon took you to Monte Carlo on his private jet and taught you how to win at blackjack. Or the time Maggie took you out by the docks, scooped oysters from the surf and pried them open with her long red fingernails, and taught you to kiss with your eyes open.FIFTEEN PERCENT of women send flowers to themselves on Valentine’s Day. That means 82 percent of women don’t own pets and lead normal, productive lives. Wait … that can’t be right.

Most of the roses sold around Valentine’s Day, approximately 110 MILLION, are imported.

School teachers receive more Valentine’s Day cards than any other segment of the population.

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SIXTY-FOUR PERCENT of American men do not plan ahead for a romantic Valentine’s Day with their sweethearts.

Valentine’s Day is big business. Consumers will spend an AVERAGE OF $77.43 on Valentine’s Day gifts this year. E-commerce retailers expect to rack up about $650 million in sales of food, candy, flowers, and other Valentine’s Day gifts. Of that amount about $350 million will be for gifts and flowers and another $45 million will be spent on food (including chocolate) and wine.

About 1 BILLION Valentine’s Day cards will be exchanged this month, second only to Christmas in card giving. Hallmark alone has more than 1,330 Valentine’s Day cards to choose from.

Chocolate manufacturers use 40 PERCENT of the world’s almonds and 20 percent of the world’s peanuts.

If you have really good recall of elementary school history classes, you know it was 1876 when Alexander Graham Bell applied for his patent on the telephone. He called it “Improvement in Telegraphy,” since the telegraph was the means of “instant” communication back then. What you may not have learned in class is that the patent application was made on Valentine’s Day. Even so, the day is well down the list of holiday calling vol-ume. (Mother’s Day generally takes the top spot.)

Only the U.S., Canada, Mexico, France, Australia and the U.K. celebrate Valentine’s Day.

Early last century, Sir Alexander Fleming, a young bacteriologist, accidentally left a plate of staphylococcus bacteria uncovered. Fleming noticed that a mold that had fallen on the culture had killed many of the bacteria. He identified the mold as penicillium notatum, similar to the kind found on bread. On Feb. 14, 1929, Fleming introduced his mold by-product called penicillin to cure bacterial infections.

Some people used to believe that if a woman saw a robin flying overhead on Valentine’s Day, it meant she would marry a sailor. If she saw a sparrow, she would marry a poor man and be very happy. If she saw a goldfinch, she would marry a millionaire.

During the late 1800s, postage rates around the world dropped, and obscene Valentine’s Day cards became popular. But it was the prudish Victorian Era, and some countries banned exchanging Valentine’s Day cards altogether.

Pardon me if I’ve said this before, but my best Valentine’s Day gift ever was the birth of my daughter 22 years ago. So happy Valentine’s Day and happy birthday, Katy Beth.

Finally, the record for using the phrase “Valentine’s Day” in a single column … well, you may be holding it in your hands right now.

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Downtown Rome is trying to blend bicycles in with its automotive traffic via shared lanes. It will take some getting used to, but it’s worth the attempt, especially if it gets bicycles off the sidewalks (where they’re not supposed to be anyway). I walk all over downtown, and I have had more close calls with bikes on sidewalks than cars in crosswalks.

Presidential inaugurations are generally not controversial, and as I type this Donald Trump’s inauguration is still hours away. But the guessing leading up was how many Radio City Rockettes will show up. Reportedly, a majority of the 100 dancers are so offended by Trump’s comments they will boycott the ceremony – at the risk of losing their jobs. “This is an issue of … sexism, something that’s much bigger than politics,” one dancer said. If there’s irony here, it’s that some extreme feminists consider the bare-legged, high-kicking Rockettes to be an emblem of sexism.

Atlanta is famous for its strip clubs. Neither City Hall nor the Chamber of Commerce will admit this, but the fact that beautiful women will take off all their clothes right in front of you and your buddies is a major lure in the convention biz. The Cheetah in Midtown has a reputation as the top strip club in Atlanta.

Now six former Cheetah strippers are alleging sexual assault that included inappropriate touching, assault and in one case, rape. There are separate but similar lawsuits against the strip club. It’s complicated, but if the allegations are true, I hope the women are well-rewarded.

J. Bryant Steele has won awards for business reporting, feature writing and opinion columns, and is based in Rome.

*The views expressed in this column are those of the writer, and do not represent the opinions of V3 Magazine.

J. Bryant Steele was first published when he was 14 and has made a living stringing words together for 40 years. But the main reason he writes is to avoid housework. He has won 50 or so writing awards. He is a graduate of the Grady School of Journalism (The University of Georgia) and of Education for Ministry (The University of the South). He also publishes poetry and fiction. He is the proud father of two magnificent adult children. He is also very opinionated.