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February 01, 2012

Why I Hate Valentine's Day

Reason #1: Articles like this:

What does your guy think of Valentine's Day?

a) A great opportunity to express his love in an exciting, romantic way?

b) A pressure filled nightmare where he's forced to produce...or else?

Yes, the dreaded V-Day can be a minefield for men, says Marcus Osborne, of StraightMaleFriend.com. Sure, some guys absolutely love it or see it as an opportunity to score brownie points with their lady friends--even though couldn't care less about the holiday. But many guys live in fear--knowing it's going to be a night in the doghouse with Scooby Snacks for dinner if they don't come through.

"Valentine's Day is the holiday where only the guys can really lose," Marcus insists. "Because even though he could not give a rip about being on the receiving end of a V-Day gift, he knows full well he'd better bring it for his lady love. Every guy knows that even if she tells him, 'Oh you don't have to worry about getting me anything for Valentine's,' he'd damn well better worry about getting her something for Valentine's."

Speaking of that "something," Marcus adds, a smart guy knows there are bonus points if his gift is better than the ones her girlfriends' guys got them.

It's hard to think of anything less likely to make a man feel loving towards his partner than setting up what amounts to an arbitrary relationship test and then letting him know he's being graded on his performance.

The idea that people should take time periodically to do the kinds of things they did when they were courting isn't a bad one. We all get busy, we all get complacent, and we all tend to magnify our own contributions to a relationship and gloss over the many things our loved ones do for our sake.

But I'm not sure that spending money on a woman is the best way to show her you care. I can remember the first year The Spousal Unit and I were married. For Valentine's Day, I cooked him a special meal and wheeled our son into town (a 3 mile walk) to buy my husband a card. I picked fresh flowers and put them on the table. And he came home, after working and attending class, late. With nothing.

And I was very hurt, not because I really cared whether he'd gotten me a card or not but because of what I assumed it meant about how much he valued me.

The thing is, had I just looked inside my wedding ring, I would have seen evidence of his love and thoughtfulness: he had our initials and the date of our wedding engraved inside. I didn't think of anything that special for him. Had I looked around our small apartment, I would have been reminded that he cared enough and was responsible enough to go to work and provide for his wife and son at an age when most young men don't even want to commit to a second date.

The thing I dislike most about Valentine's Day is that it encourages us to focus on the wrong things. Contrasted with flamboyantly romantic gestures, the immense worth of what we already have fades into the background.

And yet it is what happens on the other 364 days of the year that has the power to make us happy or miserable. The odd thing is that over the years I've found that the more I remember to thank my husband for the thousand small things he does every single day, the more likely he is to remember the romantic gestures that make me feel like a young girl on her first date.

Funny how that works.

Posted by Cassandra at February 1, 2012 08:22 AM

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Comments

This is a continuation of the "Dangerous Ideas" post, right? :p

Posted by: Pogue at February 1, 2012 09:21 AM

Heh :)

Sometimes I don't express myself terribly well. I was just thinking about things that don't produce the intended results and then I saw the VDay article and my head just exploded.

I think my real point (to the extent I had one) was not that people shouldn't buy cards or take their spouse out to dinner for VDay, but that people tend to view most gestures in the larger context of day to day life.

So, if you're inconsiderate the other 364 days, a nifty Valentine's Day gift probably won't make up for that. Conversely, if you're normally considerate, coming up empty on Valentine's Day probably won't be viewed as some sort of galactic symbol of everything that's wrong with your relationship.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 1, 2012 09:32 AM

the more I remember to thank my husband for the thousand small things he does every single day, the more likely he is to remember the romantic gestures that make me feel like a young girl on her first date.

Work for me in a dating relationship... ;) Had recent conversation with the BF that ended in me having to accept that he wanted to spend money on me because "I want to show my love for you." (The point had been made that there were other ways to do that, but he wanted a way that happened to cost some money when I knew money was tight for him).

I struggle with the big romantic gestures (just like I struggle to tell people what I want for Christmas), but I guess I'm doing something right because he keeps wanting to do them. ;)

Posted by: FbL at February 1, 2012 10:16 AM

Cassandra - is it possible for you to be cloned? First you acknowledge the harmful effects of "nagging" and now have Valentine's Day in the proper perspective.

In trying to find your website at work Google brings up that you were in the Marines.

Which reminds me - I had a friend whose wife was a Marine DI - liked to razz him about how she would get him to do things but I digress...

Just wondering on your requests to your husband to they always end with a DO YOU HEAR ME?!

Posted by: Bill Brandt at February 1, 2012 10:41 AM

I don't hate Valentines nor do I really care about it. Nor does the Lovely Bride (unless she's been lying to me all these years). I hadn't even given it all that much consideration, but now that you mention it, all I seem to notice is single friends being down about it, and some married friends being resentful of it. Not much of a "holiday" then, is it?

About the only real impact is has on me, is that it provides a convenient way for me to remember the date I proposed to my wife. I'm pretty sure I've told the story before, but I had intended to propose to her on Valentine's Day, so two days prior, I (in what I thought was a very clever move) swiped a ring I never saw her wear off her dresser, and went out to buy her an engagement ring. When I returned, she asked where I had been. Now, as I said, I'm a pathetic liar, so all I ended up doing with my "I was just driving around" was to look COMPLETELY suspicious. And she latched on to that immediately. So after a few more back and forth lame excuses, I finally had to fess up with where I had been. So after finally showing her the ring, she asked (with that wicked wit of hers) if I was going to at least take a knee. I did. Feb 12th, 1996.

Posted by: MikeD at February 1, 2012 11:17 AM

Mr. Brandt,
Cass has never been one of Uncle Sam's Misguided Children, but she was surely destined to marry one...no matter what her Navy father had to say about those no good Jarheads.
*s icker*
heh

Dammit! When is that delivery of n's going to get here?!
0>;~}

Posted by: DL Sly at February 1, 2012 11:20 AM

I just learned to like Scooby Snacks. She learned to like me for what I am, in addtion to loving me.

Obviously, since I'm on #3, your mileage may vary...

Posted by: John of Argghhh! at February 1, 2012 11:48 AM

"I just learned to like Scooby Snacks."

Yeah, uh huh, sure. That's you, Mr. I Don't Have A Romantic Bone In My Body.
Gotcha.
0>;~}

Posted by: DL Sly at February 1, 2012 12:10 PM

Bill:

My husband was in the Marines for 30 years. He is now retired from active duty (but not from working!).

If there's one thing I have learned over the years, it's that my husband will do almost anything for me... but he doesn't respond well to pressure at all. But then, neither do I so that's not surprising!

We are both strong-willed and stubborn as all get-out.

John: I'm not against VDay gifts at all - just against placing too much emphasis on them.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 1, 2012 12:12 PM

Mike:

What a great story!

...now that you mention it, all I seem to notice is single friends being down about it, and some married friends being resentful of it.

I think that's part of what bugs me. People have different ways of showing they care. I remember being little and hating VDay at school. A lot of girls would go around telling everyone how many valentines they got, and from whom, and yada yada yada. It just struck me as kind of weird - we had to write out cards for people we never talked to in class and then there was this weird business of counting and bragging and comparing.

It just seemed calculated to make people unhappy, and for no real reason, either.

Posted by: Cassandra at February 1, 2012 12:17 PM

I've often thought that men are far more romantic than women, given half a chance.

That story never gets old, DL Sly :)

Posted by: The Romantic Bone Strikes Again.... at February 1, 2012 12:20 PM

It just seemed calculated to make people unhappy, and for no real reason, either.

Oh it's got a reason, alright. The greeting card companies and chocolate manufacturers (not to mention florists and jewelry stores) love it.

Posted by: MikeD at February 1, 2012 12:54 PM

I LOVE St. Valentine's Day! Every year it reminds me that there's only a couple of shopping days left before my wife's wedding anniversary.

Posted by: spd rdr - hopelessly boneless romantic at February 1, 2012 01:00 PM

I'm not sure if they're 'more' romantic, per se, as much as they have the luxury of a very receptive audience when they do try.
0>;~}

Posted by: DL Sly at February 1, 2012 01:47 PM

spd, I have to admit that that was the reason why I chose a day shortly after St. Patty's Day for our wedding day. He's a Marine....they drink. Seemed like a no-brainer to me at the time.
heh
0>;~}

Posted by: DL Sly at February 1, 2012 01:51 PM

I'm not sure if they're 'more' romantic, per se, as much as they have the luxury of a very receptive audience when they do try.

And that's something worth discussing. I don't presume to speak for all men, but I know I never really "properly appreciate" what are considered romantic gifts. I've had girlfriends (in the past) buy me flowers.

...

Yeah, it's not that I'm ungrateful, but I honestly felt nothing about getting some plants. Chocolates are more appreciated, but that's because I can eat those. A card is one of those things that, I realize you're thinking of me, but really you can save the few bucks and just tell me "I think you're great!" It'll actually probably mean more.

I don't know if this qualifies as oversharing, but my favorite Valentine's gift my wife ever got me was a bottle green velvet gown (for HER to wear, people... sheesh!).

Posted by: MikeD at February 1, 2012 02:08 PM

Last year I got my wife a 2x4, hey, a new cluebat always comes in handy.

Yes, I really did do that. It was nicely sanded, stained, and with a custom grip carved in it. As my wife said, "Allen, you're just not right, but I know you're my nut."

I'm not sure what I'm doing this year, but I've still got two weeks.

Posted by: Allen at February 1, 2012 02:31 PM

I have not had very good luck with romantic gifts for Señor Bone. Presents just don't seem to do it, or maybe I just suck at gift giving.

I have planned a weekend getaway once or twice and those were a big hit. He also seems to like massages. Hmmm... there seems to be a common theme here to the things that work :p

Posted by: The Romantic Bone Strikes Again.... at February 1, 2012 02:51 PM

"...romantic gifts for Señor Bone."

Must. Not. Give. In. To. Temptation.
Must. Not....
0>;~}

Posted by: Snarkammando at February 1, 2012 05:03 PM

C'mon, after I did it for the dog, I kinda hadda do it for the wife.

Nothing romantic in it at all.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Posted by: John of Argghhh! at February 1, 2012 05:14 PM

What does your guy think of Valentine's Day?
b) A pressure filled nightmare where he's forced to produce...or else?

What an advantage it is to be an a*hole like me. I feel no such pressures.

A friend at work asked me what I wanted for my birthday. I said I had my wife--after that, what else is there to want? Aside from a way to express that without coming off sappy.

The thing I dislike most about Valentine's Day is that it encourages us to focus on the wrong things. ...
And yet it is what happens on the other 364 days of the year that has the power to make us happy or miserable.

This is the real point. "Special" days--holidays, V-day, anniversaries, etc--are wholly artificial, and so meaningless, constructs. There is a need to single out a time to make our SO feel special, apart from how we treat each other on a day to day basis. But that timing is ours to choose; we don't need to wait on a calendar.

In fact, it's better not to. The spontaneity grants a power to the occasion that a day on a calendar cannot.

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at February 1, 2012 07:11 PM

I couldn't agree more! Heard a great comment on the radio yesterday morning about Valentines Day. A woman called in and said that she doesn't like the day and the emphasis it places on people. Specifically that she sees too many women who basically run around that day with their hand out asking for the'BIG' gift so they can point to their guy and say "SEE! He REALLY does love me!" And yet, the women don't reciprocate. The caller basically stated that Valentines Day has become an unequal celebration.

I couldn't agree more. Here's why. The big gesture on one specific day is meaningless unless the entire year is filled with those small gestures that mean so much to both. To me Valentines Day tell us - guys specifically - that we HAVE to say and show I love you to your spouse or significant other. Case in point: way back in the early '90's my soon to be (now ex) husband gave me a necklace and earring set on the 14th because "That's what we're supposed to do, so here you go" Would've ruined any day let alone that day for me. Actions or lack of action like that are just one of the many reason's he is an ex.

On the other hand, my fiance (he just asked me last week!!!), shows in a myriad of ways how much he loves me and does so on a continual basis. And I enjoy very much doing the same. Best presents from him?? New pots and pans because he knows how much I love to cook. Wanting to hold our wedding in the city where my grandmother lives so she can be part of the celebration (she's 93), the 530 am calls as he is on his way into PT just to start our day off right, the many times he makes me laugh, the times such as the other day when he talks me out of my tree when a well-intentioned relative sends me about 8 links to sites suggesting the appropriate wedding dress attire for the 'mature second wedding bride' (I'm 43 people!!!!), and Christmas or birthday's when he shows up with a present 3 weeks in advance just to drive me crazy with curiosity LOL . . .ok so the list is getting long! ;-)

To me I don't need a Valentines Day to know that I am loved, respected, and honored by a good man. He shows me in ways to many to count All. The. Time. And I reciprocate because I want to and enjoy doing so . . .not because I have to.

BLUF - I don't think there should be a day where we HAVE TO be told to say and/or show someone you love them. Takes all the love and respect out of it IMO.

Posted by: Nina at February 2, 2012 08:32 AM

Congratulations, Nina. He sounds like a wonderful (and lucky) man.

Posted by: The Romantic Bone at February 2, 2012 09:14 AM

Thank you! He's very special indeed! And its quite a story that we have. Involves growing up together, going out on 1 date in '87 (that for the life of me I cannot remember!! ), not crossing paths for another 22 years, reconnecting via a chance email, and 4 years later here we are! And he loves giving me a hard time about not remembering our first date! *especially since I didn't date At. All. in high school! LOL And I must say, I am the lucky one for having him by my side. ;-)

Posted by: Nina at February 2, 2012 11:29 AM

I know I've written about this before, but my initial impression of my now husband of 32+ years was indifference bordering on mild dislike.

Which is weird, because looks-wise, he fits my template for attractive men to a tee. It wasn't until I had a serious conversation with him for the first time that I fell for him. The initial attraction was undoubtedly his intelligence and wit.

The physical attraction that followed was the most powerful I'd ever experienced. And all these years later, I still feel that way. Go figure :)

Posted by: Cassandra at February 2, 2012 11:40 AM

My husband usually cooks me my favorite beet-and-lamb borscht for Valentine's Day: a lovely, bright-red meal. I couldn't ask for anything nicer, especially since I know what a PITA it is to prepare.

Posted by: Texan99 at February 3, 2012 12:06 PM

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