The Valentine’s Day Gift That Saves Lives

by Gleb_Tsipursky2 min read1st Feb 201677 comments


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This is mainly of interest to Effective Altruism-aligned Less Wrongers. Thanks to Agnes Vishnevkin, Jake Krycia, Will Kiely, Jo Duyvestyn, Alfredo Parra, Jay Quigley, Hunter Glenn, and Rhema Hokama for looking at draft versions of this post. At least one aspiring rationalist who read a draft version of this post, after talking to his girlfriend, decided to adopt this new Valentine's Day tradition, which is some proof of its impact. The more it's shared, the more this new tradition might get taken up, and if you want to share it, I suggest you share the version of this post published on The Life You Can Save blog. It's also cross-posted on the Intentional Insights blog and on the EA Forum.



The Valentine’s Day Gift That Saves Lives


Last year, my wife gave me the most romantic Valentine’s Day gift ever.

We had previously been very traditional with our Valentine’s Day gifts, such as fancy candy for her or a bottle of nice liquor for me. Yet shortly before Valentine’s Day, she approached me about rethinking that tradition.

Did candy or liquor truly express our love for each other? Is it more important that a gift helps the other person be happy and healthy, or that it follows traditional patterns?

Instead of candy and liquor, my wife suggested giving each other gifts that actually help us improve our mental and physical well-being, and the world as a whole, by donating to charities in the name of the other person.

She described an article she read about a study that found that people who give to charity feel happier than those that don’t give. The experimenters gave people money and asked them to spend it either on themselves or on others. Those who spent it on others experienced greater happiness.

Not only that, such giving also made people healthier. Another study showed that participants who gave to others experienced a significant decrease in blood pressure, which did not happen to those who spent money on themselves

So my thoughtful wife suggested we try an experiment: for Valentine’s Day, we'd give to charity in the name of the other person. This way, we could make each other happier and healthier, while helping save lives at the same time. Moreover, we could even improve our relationship!

I accepted my wife’s suggestion gladly. We decided to donate $50 per person, and keep our gifts secret from each other, only presenting them at the restaurant when we went out for Valentine’s Day.

While I couldn’t predict my wife’s choice, I had an idea about how she would make it. We’ve researched charities before, and wanted to find ones where our limited dollars could go as far as possible toward saving lives. We found excellent charity evaluators that find the most effective charities and make our choices easy. Our two favorites are GiveWell, which has extensive research reports on the best charities, and The Life You Can Save, which provides an Impact Calculator that shows you the actual impact of your donation. These data-driven evaluators are part of the broader effective altruism movement that seeks to make sure our giving does the most good per dollar. I was confident my wife would select a charity recommended by a high-quality evaluator.

On Valentine’s Day, we went to our favorite date night place, a little Italian restaurant not far from our house. After a delicious cheesecake dessert, it was time for our gift exchange. She presented her gift first, a donation to the Against Malaria Foundation. With her $50 gift in my name, she bought 20 large bed-size nets that would protect families in the developing world against deadly malaria-carrying mosquitoes. In turn, I donated $50 to GiveDirectly, in her name. This charity transfers money directly to recipients in some of the poorest villages in Africa, who have the dignity of using the money as they wish. It is like giving money directly to the homeless, except dollars go a lot further in East Africa than in the US.

We were so excited by our mutual gifts! They were so much better than any chocolate or liquor could be. We both helped each other save lives, and felt so great about doing so in the context of a gift for the other person. We decided to transform this experiment into a new tradition for our family.

It was the most romantic Valentine’s Day present I ever got, and made me realize how much better Valentine’s Day can be for myself, my wife, and people all around the world. All it takes is a conversation about showing true love for your partner by improving her or his health and happiness. Is there any reason to not have that conversation?


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I would prefer LW not to be spammed by HuffPo-quality advertisement pieces for charity donations, even if it's for a charity many people here like.

Harsh, but this does have two HuffPo-like traits: first, he uses his opening line to make a point that's grossly misleading, and repackages his generic pitch for EA as something relevant to an upcoming holiday. "Hey, you know what's the most romantic thing to do? Turns out that it's the same thing we recommend doing all the time. What a coincidence!"

Second, his factoids about the psychology of generosity are as misleading as HuffPo-tier science reporting. Generally speaking, the psych/neuropsych studies I've read don't really support the conclusions that EAs seem to want them to, including those studies that they cite as evidence. Specifically speaking, in this case, the studies don't seem to indicate that charitable giving is special, broadly or vis-a-vis the activity that this post is contrasting them with. I.e., neither of the articles provide evidence that giving to charity has a particular advantage in making people feel good over other forms of generous behavior, including the conventional Valentine's Day one of giving something nice and romantic to someone you love. Indeed, most of the research I've seen on the subject indicates that a wide range of actions taken ... (read more)

0bogus5yBut the question here is not whether giving to charity beats acting romantic to one's partner (Gleb and his wife are obviously being romantic to each other; indeed, they're also choosing to enjoy an experience which will likely make them happier in the long term - dining in a nice cozy restaurant), but whether it's better than buying expensive stuff for themselves. And the evidence seems to be that getting a costly material gift raises the giver's status in your mind, but doesn't really make you happier. So why not replace this part with charitable giving?
5Lumifer5yThis is all so bass-ackward. Your premise seems to be that the Valentine Day is all about spending money, so if you're spending money anyway why not spend it on charity. However "buying expensive stuff" is not a terminal goal, but merely instrumental -- replacing it with something that does not achieve the same terminal goal is counterproductive. Valentine Day is about expressing very personal attention to and care for another person. It is NOT about yourself and demonstrating your admirable qualities like willingness to give money to charity. If you think it's just an opportunity to status-signal, you're doing it wrong. Sure, there are lots of people who take the easy way and substitute "took time and effort to find/make/pick" with "expensive". But these are precisely the kind of people who will look at a suggestion to replace the flowers/diamonds/etc. with condoms for Africans with incredulity. These are not your target audience. Besides, if a S-RCN (Self-Respecting Conventional Neurotypical) girl gets "I gave some condoms to Africans as a present to you" for Valentine Day, her immediate first instinct would be to kick the giver in the yarbles. If she's quick-thinking, though, she'll realize he doesn't have any yarbles, so she'll just give up and leave. The two solutions to this situation are (a) pick something other than conventional neurotypical; (b) don't be a bloody idiot.
2WithAThousandFaces5yI don't think that's the question. You aren't constrained to the options of an "expensive" gift (carrying the connotation of low emotional resonance) or a charitable donation. You can also spend that $50 on another nice experience with your loved one, or you can buy a cool accessory that goes with their sense of style, or you can buy a beautifully bound journal and fill it with thoughts you have about them over the course of months, etc. You can do a lot of things. I'd guess that around 100% of people I know and >99.5% of genpop would find one or all of those options more romantic than a charitable donation, and that it would make them happier. I have no churlish objection to this particular couple finding a donation to be the most meaningful possible gift. But the overwhelming majority of people won't, so presenting this as the option that'll make them happiest is likely to fall flat. I haven't seen this evidence--can you link me? Nothing in the post, or linked in anything linked in the post, seems to show that. Does this evidence apply to romantic partners, and does it include "personalized" gifts? (I.e., those the giver put a lot of thought into, and which were selected specifically for a partner they know very well.) I would be quite surprised if that were true. I would be completely unsurprised if it was true of arbitrary material gifts, but I think the takeaway there is "don't buy your wife a washing machine for your first anniversary" rather than "don't buy your wife a gift." The effect of gift-giving on the giver isn't to be neglected, either. Doing something nice for a loved one makes most people feel particularly good about themselves. There's also some indication that such actions make most people feel more connected with and devoted to the recipient. (Essentially an extended form of the Ben Franklin effect,)
-1bogus5ySure, but how many people do that? Let's face it, most people are lazy. So they celebrate V-Day by buying wasteful $#!+ for each other. Charitable gifts could be less romantic than well-chosen experiences, and still beat $#!+ by a huge margin.
0WithAThousandFaces5yIf the argument being put forward is that it's not good to give terrible romantic gifts (i.e., those that make neither the giver nor the receiver happy), and that, as such, any nonnegative alternative activities--including charitable gifts-- might be better, I find that very difficult to disagree with. Personally, I think that the correct response to that situation is to get better at giving gifts, though.
-2Gleb_Tsipursky5yCan you provide evidence for this statement?
0gjm5yWithAThousandFaces didn't make that statement. The statement he made was not and those are very different statements. In particular, if WATF can't provide evidence that 99.5% of people would (etc.) then you could reasonably claim he was being dishonest or incompetent in making the statement you attributed to him[1], but not in making the statement he actually made. [1] Though in most contexts actually making such accusations is overkill.
0Gleb_Tsipursky5yOk, I see what you mean. He did say "the overwhelming majority of people won't" find "a donation to be the most meaningful possible gift" so my take was that WATF understood "99.5% of genpop" as "overwhelming majority." I'd be comfortable if WATF can provide evidence that an "overwhelming majority" of people won't find "a donation to be the most meaningful possible gift."
2Lumifer5ySo, remember this discussion next time LW guys complain about having trouble getting girls... X-D
1buybuydandavis5yWow. A Grinchier grinch than me. I'm a big UnFan of HuffPo. Not really into the EA business. But I didn't find this propaganda. I found this somebody sharing something in his life that he found moving in his relationship. You could read this and generalize it to simply doing something to live your shared values with your partner. That's how I took it. I thought it was sweet, if not exactly my cup of tea. So there, Mr. Grinchy old Grinch.
1Lumifer5yIf this were his first post along these lines, maybe possibly. Unfortunately, this post is but one amongst many and they all stink the same.
-4Gleb_Tsipursky5yThanks for sharing your preferences. Just to be clear, this is not an advertisement, but a call to action to change thoughts and behaviors around a cached pattern.
5Lumifer5yI beg to disagree. This is a badly written advertisement. Adding some buzzword-compliant word salad does not change anything.
0Gleb_Tsipursky5yYou are welcome to disagree, of course - we clearly have a difference of opinion. I'd be curious to see you write up your own version of a call to action to change thoughts and behaviors around a cached pattern to see what you mean by a "well-written" one. Post a link here when you do so, and I will be happy to edit the post to add an update indicating that you wrote a different piece. Thanks!
-1Lumifer5yHere [] is a well-written call to action to change thoughts and behaviors around a cached pattern :-P
0Gleb_Tsipursky5yLol, I'd like to see you post that on LW Discussion - would be a nice social experiment. I triple-dog-dare you :-P
0Lumifer5yPost what?
1Gleb_Tsipursky5yThe link you just posted as a well-written call to action to change thoughts and behaviors around a cached pattern
0Lumifer5yI posted it -- that's it. The image is a well-written call to action, it doesn't require any extra verbiage around it.
-2buybuydandavis5yLame response that didn't really take up the challenge. You Grinchy old Grinch.

Maybe my preferences have been programmed to be hopelessly irrational by decades of conditioning via Hallmark and the rest of this damned capitalist society, but this strikes me as terribly unromantic.

I think two people can agree that (A) giving to charity is good, and (B) that lavish gift giving at invented holidays is excessive, but to combine the two on Valentine's Day and pretend it is romantic according to some strange definition of the word is a stretch, methinks.

How do you define "romance", by the way?

0buybuydandavis5yNot so much of a stretch. Part of romance is often a sense of shared values and purpose. A Valentine's day where you really acted out to help each other achieve those values could end up being very bonding and very romantic. A shared commitment to live your values, particularly in the context of Valentine's Day, also implies a shared commitment to live your values in terms of your love for one another. In practice, it may or may not work. No doubt success would depend on a lot of things. The exchange of gift certificates is a bit too intellectually mediated for my tastes. Like giving them an orgasm pill instead of having sex - "Happy Valentine's Day!". But I wouldn't pooh pooh it out of hand - and I'm generally a cranky old pooh pooher.
3Brillyant5ySo is a good business partnership. Agreed. It is, dare I say, unromantic according to some huge chuck of the population. Thoughtful because it required some time and consideration? Sure. Creative in a shaking up the status quo sort of way? Yep. Rational in a utilitarian sense? Yes, sir. Romantic? Only if you want to redefine traditional/classic romance to mean something else. You could substitute any holiday and any relationship in Gleb's article. It's not like giving to charities on behalf of another in lieu of exchanging gifts is a novel idea (my family has been doing it for years). He just wrote it and pretended it was a good display of "romance" because Valentine's Day is coming up. This wasn't my intention. I actually think Gleb gets too much resistance on LW for his efforts. This just seemed off to me, and kept seeming off the more I thought about it. So I commented.
0buybuydandavis5yI think "helping and encouraging each other to achieve their values" is especially apt for Valentine's Day, and your partner.
0Gleb_Tsipursky5yIt's certainly not for everyone :-) Works for me though. Regarding romance, I think of it as a feeling that I want to help the other person have a great life, be happy, and flourish, and a confidence that they want the same for me, with sex thrown in.
-2bogus5yMaybe you're just less committed to charity than Gleb Tsipursky and his wife. This tradition seems to suit them though, so why should we object? And even then, efficient charity could definitely become an element of folks' V-day gifts. Buy the usual sort of romantic warm-fuzzies (chocolate, greeting cards) and use impressive charity to endow them with sought-after exclusivity and high-status, rather than sheer marketing-induced waste.
3Brillyant5yI'm sorry, but this is just the sort of reach that is silly and unproductive in my view. I conceded giving to charities is much more useful than traditional gifts in a utilitarian sense (duh), but this has nothing to do with romance. (Unless you define romance way outside the norm. If so, fine. But don't expect anyone else to pay the slightest attention.) I mean, let's just go all the way here: Instead of weddings, we could have a big fundraiser; Instead of making out, we should research charities together online. These choices are of superior utility, therefore they are romantic! There is a point where pushing rationality (and that's what Gleb is doing, from my understanding) in extreme ways is irrational, because people think it's super weird. The current system of everyone giving everyone else gifts for every friggin holiday on the calendar is, I agree, irrational. (My family give charitable donations as part of our Christmas gifts). But, at some point, it can be taken too far and people tune you out.
0Gleb_Tsipursky5yJudging by the fact that this post [] got 500 FB likes the first day it was posted on The Life You Can Save Blog, people are not tuning it out. Note, the baseline for posts on TLYCS blog is about 100-200 likes over their lifetime, not the first day.
4jefftk5yReading through the Intentional Insights fb page [1] it looks to me like you're using paid likes? The "people" who liked those posts all look like fake accounts. While I can't see the specific accounts that 'liked' your TLYCS post, is that what you did there too? If so getting 500 fb likes doesn't tell us that it was unusually good. [1] []
-2Gleb_Tsipursky5yWe at Intentional Insights don't do paid likes, it wouldn't be very beneficial for building a community to do so. Neither does TLYCS.
4jefftk5yI agree that it's not beneficial for community building, but here's what makes me think you have paid "followers": Looking back over the past 12 posts on Intentional Insights, I see the following accounts consistently liking your posts: * Candice Bacolod Olivar [] * Jojo Olivar [] * Oghenevowhero Beatrice Sargin [] * Maw Arenas [] * Sargin Paul [] These all look fake to me, but let's look at the last one because it's the weirdest. The most recent 19 posts are all re-shares of Intentional Insights posts or posts elsewhere by Gleb. Looking at the fb pages they "like" I see: * AlterNet (News/Media Website) * Nigerian Movies (Local Business) * Poise Hair Collection (Health/Beauty) * Bold F.aces (Public Figure) * Get Auto Loan (Automobiles and Parts) * Closeup (Product/Service) * Dr. Gleb Tsipursky (Writer) * Hero Lager (Food/Beverages) * EBook Korner Kafé (Book) * Intentional Insights (Non-Profit Organization) Additionally, looking through the people who like typical Intentional Insights posts, they're from a wide range of third world countries, with (as far as I can see) no one from richer countries. This also points to paid likes, since poor-country likes are cheaper than rich-country ones, and being popular only in third world countries doesn't seem likely from your writing. Is there some other explanation for this pattern? "Paid likes" is the only thing that seems plausible to me.
3Lumifer5yThey are not fake in the sense of fake people -- Gleb runs meatpuppets, err... paid virtual assistants. These are real people, it's just that they are employed by InIn and their job is social media promotion which means they are paid to retweet, like, upvote. See e.g. this comment [] and the follow-up [].
1ChristianKl5yWhy don't you think there are reasons that Intentional Insights might be more popular in poor-countries? Do you think you have a good idea what kind of content an Bangladeshi atheist wants to read?
-1Lumifer5yI would guess they want to read about operational security and how to run away from a mob intent on hacking them to pieces.
1ChristianKl5yThe likely do have practical concerns but they also want tribal belonging. InIn might be able to provide an answer on the level of tribal belonging that they like.
-1Gleb_Tsipursky5yThanks for explaining your claims, and the evidence that led to it. Let's take Sargin indeed as an example. He's [] someone who has read Intentional Insights content for a while, and has been getting into rationality and effective altruism as a result. He offered to volunteer for the organization, and has proved a good volunteer. We then brought him on as a part-time contractor. We have several people like him, who volunteer 2/3rds of their time, and work for 1/3 of their time. InIn social media and our website are targeted to all people around the world. Our website gets about 12K hits per month, with the following countries being the top 5 in the last month: US, India, Phillipines, Malaysia, Indonesia. Our FB page is "liked" mostly by people in developing countries as well. Why is this? Partially because of how our advertising works. We follow the " drowning child []" model of advertising - we don't place higher value on people in rich countries than in poorer countries when we promote content, as we believe our content can help people around the world. So when we boost a post on FB, we boost it in the most cost-effective means possible, which means it gets delivered mostly to the countries where the clicks are cheapest, namely India, Phillipines, Malaysia, Indonesia, etc. They then have the option of clicking "like" on the post and "liking" the FB page, if they wish. While we boost posts on FB, we don't boost posts on Twitter or Pinterest, as we don't have the skills within the organization to do so. So you can see the difference in our followers on Twitter [], of whom we have around 11K or so - most are not from developing countries, and the same is true of our 4.5K followers on Pinterest []. This is highly different from buying likes, namely specifically paying peo
1Lumifer5yLet's. He is an, ahem, professional virtual assistant []. Here is his Google+ page []. Notice that it consists entirely of InIn reposts. That is what you do. Your likes come from people you pay money to.
0Gleb_Tsipursky5yYou seem to believe your statement about Sargin contradicts mine. Please explain how iit does so. Your statement makes it sound like a claim that most of our likes comes from those we paid money to. I hope you see from the description above that is clearly not the case :-)
2Lumifer5yYou are mistaken. I believe my statement about Sargin Rukevwe (you're employing his relatives as well, I think) expands on your statement. As to contradiction, well, I have strong doubts about him getting into effective altruism... I don't know about most of your likes and I suspect that varies. But your statement makes it sound like your likes do not come from people you pay to like the posts. In fact some of them do. Isn't it interesting how the list of people jkaufman compiled from just looking at who likes your Facebook posts looks very much like the list of people you pay money to?
0ChristianKl5yA post like "Trump Feels Your Anger and Anxiety: How Neuroscience Helps Explain Trump's Triumphs" has 242 likes on the InIn facebook page. If five of those are people that Gleb pays money to that's doesn't really matter. That also wouldn't be the main concern that jkaufman talks about. Those 242 likes come from what I sampled from places like Bangladesh and Indonesia. jkaufman charges that those are mostly paid likes. If Gleb only pays money to those five people and not to the 237 other people who liked the post then, a huge part of jkaufman charge isn't correct.
-1Gleb_Tsipursky5yI think we're on slightly different semantic grounds here. "Paid likes" is a specific practice [], one that we've never engaged in, because it's highly counterproductive to creating an engaged FB community. Now, are there people we pay who also like our FB posts? Sure. They are the ones who most consistently like them. This is one reason we hired them to work for us. It's a pretty typical thing to do for a nonprofit to hire on volunteers who are passionate about the cause. I accept that you're skeptical. Here's an example [] of one of our virtual assistants describing his getting into EA.
3Lumifer5yYes, but that is not what you are doing. You are not hiring especially passionate volunteers. You're hiring cheap third-world virtual assistants who repost, like, and generally promote your posts for money, not because they are especially fond of InIn. Don't see anything about EA in there. Charity work, yes, EA, no.
2Lumifer5yDon't be daft.
-1Pimgd5yIt doesn't look like a silly question; steelmanned to some degree it would be "do you have any evidence of this, because if that was true, I'd want to end that practice in my organization". I prefer systems where burden of proof is on the accuser, and whilst you don't need payslips that have as job title "content upvoter", some explanation would be nice. It's perfectly possible to speak the truth whilst being intellectually dishonest, you two could be arguing past each other - "You're engaging in shady business practices!" "There's no fraud here."
2Lumifer5yNope, because InIn is basically Gleb and his wife, that's it, and he, of course, knows perfectly well how "that practice" works. In any case, we've already circled around this mulberry bush. See e.g. starting from here [] and reading the replies, or follow the links upthread. It is certainly possible to be dishonest while speaking the literal truth. However that's not called "arguing past each other", that's called deceit.
2Pimgd5yThat is one well-plucked mulberry bush.
1jefftk5ySorry, yes, you're interpreting my use of "paid likes" as being a very specific thing, and I mean it differently. Specifically, I'm talking about accounts that (a) click like and (b) are operated by someone who received money from InIn and (c) wouldn't have done (a) without (b).
-1Gleb_Tsipursky5yAh, I see there was a miscommunication. In that case, sure, there are people who are paid for social media management, and as part of doing so, click like on our posts. Yes, I suppose they would not be doing so as consistently as they are if they were not paid, although someone who was let go due to financial constraints still keeps liking our posts consistently due to his enthusiasm for the content.
0jefftk5yYou're saying that first they start liking all of your posts, then you reach out to them, and in many cases decide to hire them? The hiring doesn't come before the mass-liking?
-1Gleb_Tsipursky5yNot necessarily. Sometimes they expressed enthusiasm in ways other than liking our posts, such as sending me private emails and expressing a desire to volunteer, etc. We only take on as contractors people who are passionate about the cause, have benefited personally from the content, and volunteer at least 2/3 of their time or more.
4Lumifer5y*snort* Let's translate: "We pay our contractors at most 1/3 of the stated rate".
0Gleb_Tsipursky5yYou are being silly. What makes you believe any contractor would work for 1/3 the standard rate?
1Anders_H5yIt would seem that the existence of such contractors follows logically from the fact that you are able to hire people despite the fact that you require contractors to volunteer 2/3 of their time.
1Gleb_Tsipursky5yThe issue at hand is motivation, not existence. Lumifer fails to understand that people would not work at 1/3 of the standard rate if they were not passionate about the cause.
0Lumifer5yThat's why you hire third-world virtual assistants.
0Gleb_Tsipursky5yThey are hired at 1/3 the standard third-world rate, silly. They can make much more working for another organization - they choose to work for Intentional Insights because of their passion for it. But anyway, I'm tired of this. I think I have explained the situation clearly enough for any rational being to update. If you refuse to be rational about it, I'm not going to waste my time on this anymore.
1Lumifer5yThe standard third-world rate is "whatever I can get", love. LOL. Y'know, you inflict a lot of damage to yourself and your brand just because you stubbornly insist on your petty lies and keep on digging when the correct (dare I say rational? X-D) choice of action is to cut and run...
-1Gleb_Tsipursky5yI love that you keep showing your ignorance throughout this conversation. Gold star for this one, especially. See the minimum rate for Upwork if you're curious about this. Consider this comment an extra favor to help you learn. Not going to dignify the rest of your silly commentary with answers. Oh, and BTW, thanks for drawing more attention to Intentional Insights with your commentary. People love controversy, and this is one reason I enjoy engaging with your until you start being repetitive and unimaginative, like you're being right now. Ta-ta!
0Lumifer5yOh, you think Upwork is the only way to hire third-world virtual assistants. Well, grasshopper... :-) But thanks for that piece of information, it clarified why are you paying 1/3 of stated rates. We aim to please :-) Would you like me to continue? Would that count as volunteering for InIn and being passionate about it? :-D
0Gleb_Tsipursky5yYou can be very pleasing indeed when you aim for it ;-)
0Lumifer5yYou pay people to retweet, upvote, like, etc. InIn's posts.
-1Gleb_Tsipursky5yWe pay several people to do social media management of InIn's accounts :-) This is highly different from buying likes themselves. See my response to jkaufman here [] .
2Brillyant5yI'm not sure that's terribly compelling evidence of anything. A post like yours is an applause light for that crowd. Anyway, I think my main beef is the article trying to push this as "romantic". Typical mind fallacy is a thing, so maybe it's just different strokes, but I've never met a woman who would find this even marginally romantic, by any definition I'm aware of. As for the general idea of eschewing gift exchanges in favor of donations: Love it. It just seems your trying too hard to pretend it's specifically "romantic", and that feels weird to me.
0Gleb_Tsipursky5yI'll have to introduce you to my wife next time you're in Columbus, OH :-)
0jefftk5yAudience matters? The TLYCS blog is very different from LW.
0Gleb_Tsipursky5yNo doubt the audience is different. I was responding to the point about people tuning it out because it's pushing rationality in extreme ways and thus people thinking it's super-weird.

False dichotomy! Candy and liquor do help me be happy! stops reading

This seems to fall under . Isn't it a little unusual that EA just happens to be a good Valentine's Day substitute?

-1Gleb_Tsipursky5yI like the convergences article, saw it before. But why wouldn't EA be a good substitute? In one world, we're paying money to the consumer industry for candy and liquor. In the other world, we're paying money to help people have better lives. I certainly like the second world better, and so does my wife :-)

I'm wondering how one offers a way out-- suppose that one partner is much more enthusiastic about EA than the other. The couple tries the combination of reasonably priced fun and EA one year, and the less enthusiastic one doesn't feel it's satisfying. Can that partner say "let's not do it that way next year?" without feeling shamed for it?

0Gleb_Tsipursky5yNancy, sure, I think it's quite doable. Saying something like "that experience wasn't satisfying/romantic for me" is quite appropriate. This is why my wife and I, when we first did it, framed it in the form of an experiment, and having that framing is important, I think.

I was expecting this gift to be charity, yes, given that it was you who wrote the article, but I was hoping for it to be condoms.

0Gleb_Tsipursky5yHey, maybe the people who got cash directly used it to buy condoms - you never know :-)
0Lumifer5yIn the competition for the most romantic gift ever they lost to cash.