Man at His Best

Opinion: Amplify Your Valentine's Day Charm With Tunes

Serenading does pay off.

BY Jonathan Fong | Feb 13, 2017 | Music

Pat Cooper's Spaghetti Sauce and Other Delights (1966).


To hell with flowers, candy and whatever lame-brained scheme you have cooked up (including actually cooking) to impress the one that you love or are hoping to win over. This Valentine’s Day, use the eternal gift of music to ensure that you do not take an L in the department of romantic affairs.

The fact that you’re reading this illustrious magazine, getting deep into wordy columns like this one already identifies you as an intelligent person with considerably good taste. Let’s run with that and sprinkle on four easy steps to upgrade your amorous advantage.



1. Perform a song.

Not at all difficult. Grab a guitar, a ukulele, a banjo or whatever, turn on YouTube and figure out four chords: C, Am, F, G. Voila! Serenade your sweetheart with classics such as “All I Have to Do is Dream”, “Earth Angel”, “Stand By Me” and “Save Tonight”. If discretion is not your thing, I recommend Inner Circle’s 1992 ode to lovemaking: “Sweat (A La La Long)”. If you are seeing someone with edgier/snobbier tastes, “Happiness Is a Warm Gun” or Radiohead’s “True Love Waits” will definitely lock down those indie-cred points.


2. Make a mix tape.

Can’t sing to save your life? Not a problem. Make a compilation of music that best expresses your sentiments to the receiver. Forget virtual rubbish like digital streaming playlists; dig out your old Walkman, MiniDisc player or Discman and make an actual physical compilation complete with hand-drawn art and a song list to pique curiosity. Whatever your choice of songs, pick a range of genres and a varied selection of tempos to suggest that you are a person of diversity and sophistication.


3. Take your date to a gig.

This means extra opportunity for dinner and drinks to share your musical interests and tastes. Bonus points if it’s a word-of-mouth/by invite only/secret show (think Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist). Offer to buy her something from the merch table. It will serve as a keepsake of a wonderful time spent together.


4. The Say Anything John Cusack with a boombox over his head routine.

Only to be used when all else has failed. The choice of song in this instance is critical—you only get one shot; do not, in the words of Eminem, miss your chance to blow. The trench coat is optional; the stance and the posture are not. Do ensure, however, that you are standing a safe distance away from the possibility of parents/neighbours throwing knives and glass bottles at you, and that you have a getaway plan should the police be called to investigate a noise complaint/a public disturbance.


There you have it. You can thank me now or thank me later. Good luck, be confident, be yourself. If in doubt, just pause and go back to the moment when you first laid eyes on her, made that connection or hit the realisation button that triggered a thousand be still-my-hearts and recall the song that soundtracked that very moment. You’ll do just fine, mate.

From Esquire Singapore's February 2017 issue