10 Tips for Men to Survive Valentines Day
Valentines Day: The holiday that men fear and women adore.
Recently, I was speaking with my brother about Valentines Day. He recounted that several years ago he suggested to his wife of 40 years that they ignore Valentines Day, telling her that the day was for the young and they were old.
I will leave to your imagination how these comments went down with his wife. Doug was explaining her reaction, but I was laughing too hard to hear most of what he said.
Why is it that we guys, or at least many of us, dislike Valentines Day? And why do so many women find the Feast of Love so special?
Certainly the traditional Valentines Day gifts lean female: heart-covered cards, bouquets of flowers, boxes of candy, even those candy hearts with messages like Be Mine or Crazy 4U. For some guys, Valentines Day is like a chick flick, only theyre starring in the movie, all too often playing the part of the bumbling boyfriend or husband who is clueless about romance. Women think of Valentines Day as Sleepless in Seattle; men view it as more akin to parachuting behind German lines in The Dirty Dozen.
During my years of marriage, I was on occasion one of the many guys shambling shame-faced through the grocery store line on February 14, flowers in one hand, card in the other. Wed pay the checkout clerk, head into the parking lot, sit in our cars writing something affectionate on the card, and go home to wives or girlfriends who knew as soon as we walked through the door that wed stopped at the grocery store.
Men, it doesnt have to be this way, take it from an old guy. Here are some tips to help you enjoy, or at least endure, Valentines Day without feeling like a jamoke:
1. Keep Mum
I dont mean the species of flower. Unless your significant other also dislikes Valentines Day, keep your negative feelings to yourself. Never, for example, say the whole thing was created by Hallmark in collaboration with growers of roses and makers of chocolate.
2. Appreciate History
Valentines Day has its roots in Ancient Rome. By your participation, you are honoring history and maintaining tradition. Omnia vincit amor: love conquers all, as those ancients used to say. Make it your Valentines Day motto.
3. Shop Before Valentines Day
Card, flowers, and gifts. When you arrive home February 13, tell the lady in your life you picked up the flowers a day early, and ask for a vase. Be sure to let her see the other packages and bags under your arm. Remember: Early, early, early. Shell not only be flattered, but amazed by your forethought.
4. Love by Delivery
If your loved one works outside of the home, call a florist and have the flowers (preferably roses) delivered to her place of employment. You will score points both for the flowers and for calling public attention to your love for her.
5. Plan the Evening
Make sure her calendar is clear. Hire a babysitter. Make a reservation at a restaurant. Valentines Day is a busy day for restaurants, so if you dislike crowds and want privacy, pick a weekend night near Valentines Day.
6. Remember: The Key to a Womans Heart Is an Unexpected Gift at an Unexpected Time
This is a line from the movie Finding Forrester. Now, Valentines Day makes it difficult to deliver on the unexpected time part of the formula, but its not impossible. Think outside the box on a gift. Skip the chocolates and buy her some jewelry or a beautiful scarf. Take her to the ballet or present her with a gift certificate for a beauty spa. Just make sure to give her something that will leave more of a memory than candy wrappers or dead roses.
7. Avoid Practical Gifts
You may want a gym membership or a tool kit from her, all well and good. But if you give the lady an exercise bike or a Cuisinart mixer, no matter how pricey, the day will end badly. A gallows or a firing squad might be preferable to the fate in store for you.
8. Make It Personal
Of course, buy the Valentines card and add a personal message, but then write her a separate note, preferably by hand. Heres where you tell her what she means to you, how much you appreciate all she does, how much you love her. Your prose doesnt have to be flowery, or even well-written, but it must come from the heart. Sincerity trumps bogus pomposity every time.
Instead of enduring or disparaging Valentines Day, why not have some fun? You must mark the occasion anyway, so why not whoop it up? Make the evening an extravaganza for the woman you love and for yourself. Heres a great excuse to dine at that Thai restaurant youve wanted to try, or to visit that brewery you both enjoy. Invite some friends to your house or apartment, and throw a party.
10. Crown That Lady Queen for the Day
Thats about it.
February 14th is the Feast of Love. Make it so.
Jeff Minick has four children and a growing platoon of grandchildren. For 20 years, he taught history, literature, and Latin to seminars of homeschooling students in Asheville, N.C., Today, he lives and writes in Front Royal, Va. SeeJeffMinick.comto follow his blog. This article was originally published on IntellectualTakeout.org