Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Valentine's Day - Advice for Men

Yes, Valentine's Day is the Love Holiday we all love to hate. Most people my age or younger profess to disdain Valentine's Day:

"It's a Hallmark holiday, about as deep as a sympathy card bought at the supermarket."
"It's a pseudo-holiday created to get consumers to buy stuff."
"How meaningful is a supposed token of affection that you are obliged to give?"

My friend Pam, always witty, called it "Singles Appreciation Day", (S.A.D.), in the realization that those who are single need attention also! (Pam, I think you're hilarious, by the way).

I think this mentality is a successor to the one which dictated that you had to do something original every year. From the pressure to impress with something, anything other than a heart-shaped box of chocolates and a dozen red roses, it was a short step to boycotting the day altogether.

Men breathed a collective sigh of relief when Disdain started to be adopted by women on a large scale, and they fed it with strategic charm ("Oh, honey, you know I love you 365 days a year. No overpriced dinner is going to prove that.")

So the following may come as a shock to some males: Secretly, deep down, your woman wants you to do something for VD. No matter how vociferously she scoffs on the surface. In fact, the more she scoffs, the more likely she is to be secretly harboring a hankering for a cheesy heart-shaped box of chocolates.

Some couples do have a genuine understanding to mutually ignore the holiday with which they are well content. But they are rarer than you think. Most of the time, when this appears to be the case, you have him relieved that she so readily and sincerely agreed with his earnest "We don't believe in that Valentine schmaltz do we, honey? All my other girlfriends have been too cool for it too…" and her secretly wishing to come home to find the bed covered in rose petals. She doesn't complain—that wouldn't be hip, modern and cool—but she feels a vague sense that she is missing out.

So, what's my advice? All you apathetic "too cool" guys out there—yes, you. Get in gear next year if you blew it this year. Show your appreciation. You don't have to feed the machine—a foot rub, or, better yet, a full-body massage, will go over much better than flowers. And a home-cooked meal, even if the only thing you can cook is a grilled-cheese sandwich, will go over much better than an overpriced restaurant excursion. (True to form, I used to make reservations months in advance for the hottest restaurants, only to find prices marked up, and "special menus" that are prepared en masse sitting in the backof the kitchen, getting stale. This year I lit all the candles in sight, played the right music, and created a special high quality Valentine's meal, that she really appreciated. Much better, if you can, to cook at home, and make it as special as you can. Never underestimate her appetite for seduction).

And don't be afraid to be a little cheesy. On this holiday only, cheesy can work well, in fact. I guarantee you she's never gotten a heart-shaped box of chocolates from anyone other than her dad. And not since she was 12. Pretend it's tongue-in-cheek, if that makes you feel better. VD celebrations can convey the message, "I'm only doing this because I have to."

It all depends on your attitude. Your only objective is to show her that you don't take her for granted. Even if you do, the other 364 days a year.


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10:32 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

From a woman, ROCK ON. You're right, this is the only place I can confess that although I say I don't care much about V-Day, I do. I care alot.

2:35 PM

Anonymous helpthisdude said...

alright, me and this girl fell madly in love with each other while I was home from post deployment leave, an insanly romantic and passionate week. We have written each other, or talked on the phone almost every day since, we both know we are falling for one another..however right now we're on different sides of the country. I'm trying to think of a suprise valentines day gift I could give her, something without my name on it, and she would never suspect given i'm on the other side of the country. Something that would make her feel as beatifull and as loved as she is and deserves from across the country, any thoughts?

8:22 PM

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