Texas Living

How to Do Valentine’s Day Like Bonnie and Clyde (Or Maybe Not)

By Eve Hill-Agnus 1.25.19

Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, both from west Dallas, are unquestionably the law-evading Romeo and Juliet of Texas. At the height of the Great Depression, their two-year spree of robbery and murder (1932–34) presented a string of frisson-inducing capers that ended in ambush and a rain of bullets.

This Valentine’s Day, learn a lesson or two (or not) from America’s most wanted lovebirds.

Blind Date

The romanticized twosome of Texas history met at a mutual friend’s house. Bonnie was so enamored of Clyde after the brief encounter that when her paramour was arrested two weeks later, she smuggled a pistol into prison to assist with his jail break. Let your friends set you up with a party date — just insist they sift out convicted criminals from their guest list. 

Love Nest

Bonnie and Clyde lived out of stolen cars, ever on the go. Take the more tranquil route: Pack up a roomier vehicle you actually own and sneak out of town together.

Moving Target

To evade the law, the duo kidnapped cops who chased them, dropping them off later. Leave the law out of it and create a scavenger hunt around your neck of the woods (dinosaur fossils, lightning whelk shells, and other Texas ephemera would work).

Involve the Gang

The lawless lovers famously belonged to the malfeasant Barrow Gang, consisting of Clyde’s older brother Buck; Buck’s wife, Blanche; and for various lengths of time Ray Hamilton, W.D. Jones, and Henry Methvin. Get a group involved. It can help take the pressure off your date — as long as they’re not an actual gang. Plan lawful activities with friends. Like a picnic. Bowling. Or mini-golf.

Family Time

The outlaw duo was touchingly loyal to their families and frequently visited them in west Dallas, despite the risks. Visit each other’s folks. It may seem like a big step, but you can bet the stakes won’t be as high as they were for Parker and Barrow. Meeting the family is a great way to show you care. Just avoid bringing crime to the house. Instead, bring flowers.

Double Date

Bonnie and the Barrows (Blanche, Buck, and Clyde) were ousted by police from a Missouri hideout where they had taken a two-week hiatus from banditry to gossip, cook, and play cards. Make it a night in. Cook something for four. Play board games. It’s a low-key way to spend the evening, when you’re not highly wanted and on the lam.

Road Trip

The couple robbed across five states — Texas, New Mexico, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Missouri — stealing cars and committing (at times accidental) murders as they targeted banks, grocery stores, and gas stations. Clyde’s expertise with back roads kept them nimble in getaways. Use the backroads for something less nefarious. Go stargazing. You may even catch a glimpse of the Milky Way out in West Texas.

Photo Op

Famous photos show the partners mugging for the camera — he looking sleek in jacket, hat, and tie, she in a skirt and kitten heels. Check out one of Texas’ historic dance halls. Dress to the nines and go two-stepping in style.  

Immortal Poetry

Bonnie penned poems about her love. (Some she inscribed in a National Bank notebook while serving a sentence in jail.) The final stanza of “The Trail’s End” reads: “Some day they’ll go down together / they’ll bury them side by side. / To few it’ll be grief, / to the law a relief / but it’s death for Bonnie and Clyde.” Immortalize your love with a handmade gift. Try something more lighthearted that doesn’t evoke your mutual demise. Like pralines.

Wow Factor

During one of their escapades, Clyde missed a detour and careened off an embankment. The car erupted in flames and Bonnie, badly burned by battery acid, often had to be carried for the remainder of her short life. Impress your beloved with less lethal exploits. Ditch the car and go on horseback. It’ll be a Texas adventure to remember.  

Bring in Culture

Bonnie’s movie magazines and — once — Clyde’s saxophone were found in the outlaws’ abandoned cars. Enjoy your love of the arts in public. Catch a drive-in movie. Or stroll around a museum or art show. Relish the shared experience of beauty and catharsis.

Finally, live a life of adventure with your sweetheart. Hopefully your own Texas romance will be slightly less dramatic than Bonnie and Clyde’s, but every bit as exciting — because love always is.

For more Texas adventures, check out the state’s oldest rodeos or some of the country’s best national parks.

© 2019 Texas Farm Bureau Insurance