- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Hearts and flowers, hubbies and wives: It’s married folks who have the most fun on Valentine’s Day, according to a survey from Rasmussen Reports that revealed 55 percent of married Americans look forward to the romantic fuss.

And those singles? A tepid 36 percent said they revel in Cupid’s big day; 22 percent quake with Valentine’s “dread.” Still, it’s an equal-opportunity kind of holiday.

“Most men (54 percent) think the day is for women, while most women (53 percent) think the day is for men,” the poll of 1,000 found. It was conducted Feb. 4 and 5, with a margin of error of three percentage points.

And while the White House may not issue an official Valentine’s Day proclamation today, the nation’s first couple won’t overlook the occasion.

“We’ll probably have a really romantic dinner,” first lady Laura Bush said during an appearance Monday on the “Rachael Ray” TV show, though the first lady said President Bush was not entirely attuned to the rituals of Valentine’s Day cards and lagniappes.

“But, fortunately there’s a White House florist, so they always send up flowers and he signs the card,” Mrs. Bush said.

Hearts and flowers are not the focus at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., where Matthew Staver, dean of the university’s law school, has suggested that Christian students on campus wear something white rather than red to symbolize their allegiances with purity and committed love.

And speaking of commitment, things are jumping for county clerks across the nation. Many perform more weddings on Valentine’s Day than any other day of the year. The Los Angeles County Registrar extended its hours for all the lovebirds this year.

“If the lovebug bit you, let the county clerk hitch you,” said Nashville, Tenn., County Clerk John Arriola, who will provide cake and punch to giddy couples.

The crimson underpinnings of Valentine’s Day is also an opportunity for blood drives — today is also National Donor Day — or financial improvement, meant for those “in the red,” according to the credit counseling company Take Charge America.

Then there’s the heartfelt high jinks down at the other end of the spectrum.

“Valentine’s Day is the busiest day of the year for private investigators,” said Jimmie Mesis of PI magazine, an industry publication.

“Those who are cheating on spouses or significant others are pretty active, trying to show their affections in some special way. Cards in the mail won’t do it,” said Mr. Mesis, adding that the inclination to be unfaithful is shared equally between men and women.

“Normally, I don’t advocate the use of private investigators to catch cheating mates,” said Ruth Houston, author of the book “Is He Cheating on You?: 829 Telltale Signs.”

Except today. The naughty among us, she said, tend to leave a paper trail of gift and hotel receipts.

“Valentine’s Day is an exception … because you can get maximum results for minimum expense,” she said.

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