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“Valentine’s Day” by Stuart McLean

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“Stephanie and Paul were so involved with each other that the rest of the family might as well have disappeared.” This observation, from the short story “humorous. The comedy begins when she develops an attraction to a boy and starts to obsess over him: “She wrote poems to Doug [, her boyfriend,] and kept a light at the back of the book of all the things that make Doug cool.” Humor is clearly displayed in her clumsy fixations on boys. Furthermore, Stephanie and her friend, Paul, develop a laughable relationship, which leads to uncomfortable and funny situations, because of their inexperience; such as when Paul brings Stephanie teal colored flowers. Stephanie’s mother finds these situations “awkward…but sweet”; thus, showing that she also finds humor in her daughters relationship. Because of the clumsiness and obsessiveness, humor is apparent throughout the story.

The author reveals humor in the story with Daves’, Stephanie’s father, attitude towards his daughter’s boyfriend, Paul. Being a father, Dave feels uncomfortable with his daughter dating; thus, humor is created through awkward situations. Clearly showing humor, when Dave sees that Paul has bought Stephanie flowers, “he wince[s].” However, Dave is glad that Paul does not look like him because “he had read that if a girl didn’t feel love from her father she would look for someone just like her father to love her.” Apprehensive of his daughter dating, Dave acts humorously when his insecurities are resolved when he concludes that since Paul looks nothing like him, his daughter must love him. Through Dave’s uneasiness with Paul, humor is evident through his insecurities and awkwardness.

Humor is frequently displayed through Stephanie’s absurdness and her father’s fretfulness. Worrying about his daughter, Dave reacts humorously to Paul because he is fearful of a relationship between Paul and Stephanie. Ultimately, inexperience causes Stephanie’s and Paul’s relationship to be pathetically funny. Concisely, the humor in the Stephanie and Pauls’ relationship is pricelessly funny.

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