“Oh wow, cool, thanks a lot for the, uh, bouquet of roses and giant teddy bear. This is, um, really sweet of you. No, I’m only yawning because I’m just so overwhelmed by my love for you at this very moment. Here, I got you a forced smile and a pat on the back. I hope they’re the right size.”

Do you know who that quote’s from? That’s your crush balking at your piss-poor excuse for a romantic gift this Valentine’s day. Any Joe Nobody with access to his parents’ Discover card and a pocketful of dreams can roll to the nearest “Cliché Warehouse” and buy some oh-so-meaningful gifts from the oh-so-meaningful gift isle. But if you really want to blow the pants off of the apple of your eye this year, there’s only one way to go: a mixtape. 

“But Alex,” you cry, “Isn’t that kind of played-out too? Aren’t mix tapes an incredibly clichéd gift themselves?”

Sorry, what was that? I couldn’t hear you underneath this veritable Everest of fawning women. If you throw these flawless tracks — along with these brilliant decorative ideas — onto the nearest blank tape, I personally guarantee you the everlasting affection of whomever you choose to gift it to. It’s never failed me, except for that one time it ruined my entire life. Ignore that last part. What? Here we go!

Step 1: The very first thing you’re going to do is find a blank cassette tape, a plastic case to house it and an insert to write your swoon-inducing track-list on. While these items are getting increasingly difficult to come by, you can usually pick all of them up at your local Walgreens, CVS, etc.

(Track 1: “You Complete Me” – Keyshia Cole)

Step 2: Now that you have all of your necessary accoutrements, it’s time to start coming up with your track-list.  Consider the person you’re making the mix for. What kind of music are they into? What artist or genre? These are important things to consider. Except not really, because I’m just going to give you all the songs you should put on it, so just ignore this entire step, much like the way Lisa ignored my fifteen consecutive calls on that fateful October night. Wait, I’m not supposed to think about that anymore.  Dr. Jacobi made that very clear in our sessions.

(Track 2: “Here Comes Your Man” – The Pixies)

Step 3: Hey, we got a little off-track there for a second and dipped our feet into a very, very dark recess, but we’re back! Next you should definitely…ugh, sorry, I just keep feeling this blinding white heat resonating through my body. The last time I felt like this was…well, it was when Lisa…sorry, ok, we’re back. Now I don’t know, put some glitter on it or something. Or Lisa Frank stickers.  A cute purple baby monkey? I don’t care.

(Track 3: “Nights in White Satin” – The Moody Blues)

Step 4: Maybe your mix should have an overlying theme to it, like, “Sorry about the fact that I scream uncontrollably at you every time you talk to me, I just like you so much, ok,” or, “I want to create an elaborate pulley-based device that will allow me to smell your clothes when we’re across the room from each other in Statistics you untainted, demure doe-child.” Unless you’re giving the mix to Lisa, in which it should probably be something to the effect of, “Songs for backstabbing liars who fester inside the hearts of men, oh god I hate you so much –  please come back I need you.”

(TRACK 4: “Friday I’m in Love” – The Cure)

Step 5: Take everything you’ve made so far and just throw it in a deep dark hole because love is dead and god is dead and we have killed them both because we’re a selfish, sprawling cancer of a species. What’s the point? No, seriously, what’s the point of any of this? A %mixtape?% Honestly? If you really want to prove your love to someone, just stroll right up to them and scissor-kick them in the throat. That’s all you’re going to be doing to each other in your sham of a relationship anyway, you disgusting animal. You sicken me.

(TRACK 5: “I’m in Love With a Girl” – Big Star)

 Step 6: Truly these are the last of days! Rise, O’Cloven overlord, rise and cleanse this earth of all the lovers and all of their horrid ilk! Baptize this world in fire and wash of all clean of Lisa!
(TRACK 6: “Cursed in Eternity” – Mayhem)

Step 7: [Editor’s note: This step consists entirely of Satanic-looking etchings and the lyrics to Sade’s “The Sweetest Taboo,” followed by the word ‘Lisa’ six-hundred times. I think we’re going to have to call it here. Please burn after reading and may God have mercy on us all. Happy Valentine’s Day.]

(TRACK 7: “The Sweetest Taboo” – Sade)