CJR Daily’s Aching Prose Awards

Our roundup of the "best" and "worst" Valentine's Day print journalism out there.

Be prepared for animal sex, “Sexercise”, tales of Viagra and copy that aims for your heart.

We’re talking, of course, about Valentine’s Day-related journalism — this commercial day of impossible expectations that brings with it countless opportunities to write about love.

“Is Valentine’s Day annoying?” asks the Orange County Register. Our answer — after slogging through the 500 most relevant links on Google News — is a resounding yes.

But someone’s got to read all that aching prose, and it might as well be us. Herewith, our roundup of the “best” and “worst” Valentine’s Day print journalism out there (written yesterday so it could greet your loving eyes early today):

Best Use of Law Enforcement in a Lede: This award goes to Reuters, which reports that “A third of Thai teenage girls think Valentine’s Day is an excellent time to lose their virginity, and police in Bangkok are out to stop them.”

Best Use of ‘Keen’ in a Headline: the same Reuters story, for “Thai Teens Keen for Valentine’s Day Sex.”

Worst Sexual Allusion: the New York Times, for “They were already stockpiling roses in the New York flower district last week, some of the blossoms having recently worn little mesh caps, or condónes (condoms) as the South American growers call them, to keep them from erupting too soon.”

Best News About Sexual Aid: Reuters, for “Viagra sold over counter in UK on Valentine’s Day.”

Worst News About Sexual Aid: the Associated Press, for “Over-the-counter Viagra: Perfect Valentine, or a deadly one?”

Oddest Lede: the Santa Cruz Sentinel, for “While surfing the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre Locals Only Invitational Surf Shoot-Out on Sunday, Jason ‘Ratboy’ Collins found love again — a love for modern surfboards and, more deeply, their leashes.”

Best ‘Anti-V Day’ Lede: “For Lori Schwartz, a happy mom with a decade of wedded bliss under her belt, the greeting card featuring a bloodied, ripped out heart was perfect,” reports the AP. (Localizing the story, the Miami Herald adds, “Nothing says Valentine’s Day like pulverizing a photo of your ex on a punching bag.”)

Worst Story: the Cincinnati Enquirer, for “Will rare species feel frisky?”

“Here’s how you know it’s Valentine’s Day: Love is in the air. So is good old-fashioned, steamy animal lust,” says the Enquirer. “At the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, a boy and two girl polar bears will meet Wednesday and hopefully fly into fits of lust and make babies. It would be the zoo’s first polar bear births in 18 years.”

While “Rizzo is on the pill, but Berit is, uh, available,” those “fits of lust” are actually a long way off, as the story later explains: “If the couple breed, they’ll do so between spring and early summer.”

Best Story: Angie Wagner of the Associated Press, for the touching narrative of Jeff Ingram and Penny Hansen, a Washington state couple who were engaged last summer but then separated for 46 days when Jeff was afflicted with a rare type of amnesia. After Jeff returned home with no memory, Penny showed him “how to put detergent in the washing machine, how to make a scrambled egg, how the shower works” — and helped him “find out who he was.”

“Their lives are not untroubled: Jeff mourns the loss of who he was and is afraid, as is Penny, that he will disappear again,” Wagner writes. “But for now, they are newlyweds. And every Dec. 31, they will celebrate their anniversary and the chance they were given to fall in love all over again.”

Even we have a heart.

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Edward B. Colby was a writer at CJR Daily.