The Displaced Nation

A home for international creatives

Dear Mary-Sue: Finessing Valentine’s Day abroad

Mary-Sue Wallace, The Displaced Nation’s agony aunt, is back. Her thoughtful advice eases and soothes any cross-cultural quandary or travel-related confusion you may have. Submit your questions and comments here, or else by emailing her at

Aloha to all my readers — or as I affectionately think of you, my Mary-Suers! This month finds me in sunny Hawaii — the island of Kauai, to be precise. As president of the Thorn Birds Appreciation Society, I’ve had to come out for the society’s annual trip to see where the series was shot. Yes, yes, I know it was set in the lovely land Down Under, but all those scenes of Richard Chamberlain smoldering away under the Queensland sun were in fact shot here in Kauai.

To think I get to walk along pathways and beaches that Richard once walked along — it’s enough to make a gal go weak at the knees.

So, seeing as I’m at the most romantic place IN THE ENTIRE WORLD!!! — the spot where Rachel Ward snagged herself that dishy Mr C — and with Valentine’s Day fast approaching, little ol’ Mary-Sue is going to tackle your romantic quandaries.

Strap yourself in, things are about to get all Mary-Sue Wallace!


Dear Mary-Sue,

I have a hot Brazilian girlfriend and am thinking of serenading her on Valentine’s Day. Any suggestions for a song?

Rick in Rio

Dear Rick in Rio,

I’m a trained therapist from no less an august institution as Tulsa Community College. I’m here to provide relationship advice. Maybe you could try that question on Delilah with better luck — or maybe not, I hear she can be one vicious b****.


Dear Mary-Sue:

My American girlfriend gave me a Valentine’s card with a Cupid on it. I thought it was a comic book character but she said no. So who is Cupid, and what does he have to do with Valentine’s Day? Also, the Cupids in my comics have wings, but this one doesn’t have wings — why is that?

Kim in Seoul

Dear Kim in Seoul,

Who stole my heart?
You did, you did.
Bow to the target,
Blame Cupid, Cupid.

So sang Martin Fry in “Poison Arrow,” a song that btw Rick in Rio is not allowed to sing to his hot Brazilian girlfriend.

You see, Cupid is a naked baby that can fly. He has a bow and arrow that he shoots people with — in the case of this song, Martin Fry (I believe he’s the younger brother of Mr Stephen Fry). Cupid’s arrows don’t pierce the sternum and damage inner organs like, for example’s sake, Robin Hood’s arrow. No, when Cupid’s arrow pierces your heart, it doesn’t cause myocardial infarction but instead you fall in love with the first person you see — in Martin’s case with unfortunate consequences.

As to why the picture of Cupid in the card your girlfriend gave you doesn’t have wings, well that’s simple. That isn’t a picture of Cupid at all, but of a nondescript naked baby. She sounds like the sort who’d buy one of those Flower Baby Calenders — I’d get rid of her if I were you.


Dear Mary-Sue:

How do I wish someone a Happy Valentine’s Day in French? I’m not sure if they celebrate it over here, but I’m hoping the Frenchwomen will find it charmant, coming from an American.

Peter in Paris

Dear Peter in Paris,

A quick look at my desktop calender reveals that it’s 2012, not 1945 — which means there’s nothing an American man can do to charm the young ladies of Paris. They just don’t appreciate your wholesome all-American charm. Shame, as I’m pretty certain you have a lovely smile. I can sense it from the letter you wrote that you have a lovely mid-Western smile.


Dear Mary-Sue:

I’m a newcomer to the United States and someone just wished me a Happy Anti Valentines Day. What’s that supposed to mean?

Lars in Los Angeles

Dear Lars,

It’s a sign from the good Lord for you to (pardon my language) get the heck out of Los Angeles and move to Tulsa.



Anyhoo, that’s all from me readers. I’m so keen to hear about your cultural issues and all your juicy problems. Do drop me a line with any problems you have, or if you want to share your fave meatloaf recipe with me (yum! yum!). As they say in Italy, “ciao!”

Mary-Sue is a retired travel agent who lives in Tulsa with her husband Jake. If you have any questions that you would like Mary-Sue to answer, you can contact her at, or by adding to the comments below.

STAY TUNED for Monday’s post, a displaced Q about the best places to hook up with a honey abroad, by new Displaced Nation team member Tony James Slater (he’ll be writing from recent experience!).

If you enjoyed this post, we invite you to register for The Displaced Dispatch, a round up of weekly posts from The Displaced Nation, with seasonal recipes, book giveaways and other extras. Register for The Displaced Dispatch by clicking here!

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