While I'm safely removed from the dating pool, Stephanie Street is not (is this perhaps a pseudonym?). She phoned in a Valentine's Day question to the PRI radio program Fair Game, and won the dubious honor of chatting with me and the host on air (tonight, online at www.morefairgame.org by 9:00pm) and thus having her pseudonym forever attached to this equation, heretofore known as The Manometer. Her dilemma was the choice between two proposed Valentine's Day dates—one eight years older, mature and stable and another two years younger, brash and exciting (does this sound like the plot of a Danielle Steel novel to anyone else?). The older gent was thinking basketball game while the younger had gone with the standby wine-and-dine.

Which to choose? Luckily the revolutionary Man-O-Meter makes Stephanie's decision easy (and maybe yours, too). Just plug in the numbers to rank each dude and go with the one that scores highest. And guys—it doesn't take a PhD in String Theory to switch the genders, just be careful with the age variables.

Which date should I accept this Valentine’s Day?


•    D= How much would you enjoy the activity he proposed? (1-10 with 10 being “private jet to Milan”)
•    H= How hot is the guy? (1-10 with 10 being “magma”)
•    F= How fun is he? (1-10 with 10 being “Pee Wee’s Big Adventure”)
•    S= How stable is he? (1-10 with 10 being “the pyramids at Giza” and 1 being “the Leaning Tower of Pisa”)
•    C= How compatible are you with him (education, life goals, etc.)—1-10 with 10 being “Bogey and Bacall”
•    I= What are your intentions? (1-10 with 1 being “keep the Valentine’s blues away” and 10 being “for better or for worse”)
•    AY= Your age
•    AG= Guy’s age
•    T= How traditional are you? (1-10 with 10 being “Little House on the Prairie” and 1 being “The Osbournes”)

VD stands for Valentine’s Date (of course) and is this guy’s score. Do the equation again and then go out with the guy who scores most.

What this equation says:
•    Hot and funny are always good, but if your intentions are especially lascivious, these two variables (in conjunction with how fun is the proposed activity) pretty much drive the equation
•    Compatible and stable are good, but only if your intentions go beyond Valentine’s Day
•    Age similarity is good. As you both get older, this matters less. If you are quite traditional, it’s good if the guy is a bit older.