OK, so Saturday’s Valentine’s Day…

st-valentineEvery February 14th I am inundated with gifts from a host of secret and overt admirers and I really need it to stop because the gifts I’ve been getting are just not finding their way to my heart.

(Excuse me while I grab the fire extinguisher to quell the inferno that is my pants)

But seriously, Valentine’s Day, whatever its freakishly pseudo-religious and/or Hallmarkish origins are, has got to be the most bizarre “holiday” in the calendar year.

Yes, of course love is wonderful, wherever it may strike. Love is what makes us human. Love makes the world go around. Love makes it all worthwhile.

So, yes, love  should be celebrated by everyone all the time. 

But an international day of forced love and romance? Most peculiar. Because if the romance and expressions of love aren’t there the other 364 days of the year, is this day going to make a huge difference because you exchanged heart-shaped boxes of chocolates from the local drug store? And, if the romance and love IS there, then every day is an expression of love and romance.

Awwwwww…. 

red_hearts1

Anyway, the other thing that’s weird about Valentine’s Day is that it’s mainly a fun thing for women. The onus and pressure is mostly on men to produce some hugely romantic gift and/or gesture. Many women do reciprocate with some expression of their own, but mostly it’s the guys who are in the Valentine’s hot seat. Blow this one and no sex for you for the rest of the year.

(How does Valentine’s work with same sex couples? I’m thinking most of them are too smart to get sucked into this hetero-Christian overabundance of red craziness, but I could be wrong. I often am.)

Yes, what do I know? I’m just a cynical old spinster.

I’ll tell you what I know, nobody – straight, gay, lesbian, male, female, trans, bi, single, married, cohabitating, newly involved, old, young or whatever,  wants some last minute token of  “The Day” bought at the supermarket or 7-11.  Have you seen the line-ups at your grocery store’s floral department at around 4:30 on February 14th?  I want to scream at them: “Are you guys insane? Oh sure, your woman might act pleased at those overpriced carnations, but you’ll be paying for it for the next 12 months. You may not know exactly why your underpants suddenly cause you unbearable itching and discomfort, but I guarantee you it can be traced back to your Valentine’s faux big-time pas.”

I think the secret to the perfect Valentine’s Day gift or gesture is to pay attention to your partner throughout the year. If you’ve been listening and paying attention you will know exactly what will make his or her day and/or if this is even a day he/she cares about. Really, don’t wait for February 14th to show that you’ve been listening and paying attention.

However, if you haven’t been listening and paying attention here are some things not to get: (unless you know beyond a shadow of a doubt this is what she really, really, really wants).

  • Heart-shaped boxes of chocolates or any other crappy, sugary treat
  • Carnations
  • Red roses
  • Flowers or plants
  • A puppy
  • Sexy lingerie
  • Anything smelly including candles, soap, perfume and room deodorizers
  • Mixed tape/CD
  • Anything for the kitchen
  • Gift certificates (I could do a whole blog post on this one)
  • Clothes
  • Sex (unless you’ve hired Antonio Banderas for the evening)
  • The requisite overpriced Valentine’s restaurant dinner
  • A big, red card
  • An e-card
  • A boudoir portrait of yourself
  • Anything big, public and embarrassing
  • Any outlandish gesture you’ve seen in a movie or on TV
  • NOTHING (even if he/she says he/she doesn’t want anything)

As for what you should do for Valentine’s? I can’t help you. That’s the whole point. You know your beloved best – or you should. And then you’ll always know what will please her/him.

But as a general rule of thumb, you can’t really go wrong with a trip[1]. A trip says you’ve thought about this, you’ve done some planning, you know what sort of trip would really turn his/her crank and most importantly, you really want to spend time together.

Happy Romance. And yes, I really,really  want you to share your romantic and/or least romantic gift and/or gesture stories.


[1] A weekend or week or more away, just the two of you, whether it’s just out of town or at the other end of the world is a “can’t miss” gift for any time of the year.nsk246778

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36 responses to “OK, so Saturday’s Valentine’s Day…

  1. I actually remember mix tapes from my youth, and would still like to get one. As for smelly things – handmade soap from Etsy would actually float my boat as well. The boudoir painting… didn’t they do that in “According to Jim”, and then he showed her pin-up to all his friends?

    Luckily, Valentine’s day is not the same huge thing in Germany as it is in the States. No-one would ever consider giving something to friends or colleagues or possibly even family, unless you were a very small child forced to craft in school. Then again, mother’s day is in May, and that is a bigger deal.

    And no-one would consider using valentine’s day to send off anonymous messages to people they might like. If you like someone, you are stuck… either tell him, hope for a miracle, or let it be.

    I am single, so I am off the hook…. lucky me!

  2. I want/expect:

    – red roses
    – a movie night with his cell phone off
    – intercourse

    in that order. For my part, I will probably buy some form of chocolate treat and actively participate in the movie night and thereafter.

  3. We don’t usually do much of anything for Valentines Day except maybe exchange cards and make some especially nice dinner at home. This year we’re not even doing the cards and I’m fine with that.

    Our engagement anniversary is a bit later in February. We usually celebrate it instead, since it’s more meaningful for the two of us and it’s easier to book a dinner out in a nice restaurant.

  4. i like something that i think is simple and that is a back rub. nothing erotic. just a freakin back rub. however, hubby is terrible at back rubs. weird. yeah but oh well. i have a massage booked today. a ‘fill in’ of sorts.

    i also hate the fact that the ‘pressure’ to buy something or do something special always seems to be left to the man.

    that’s just my take.

    http://momofboxer.blogspot.com/2009/02/im-leaving.html

  5. Well, I’ve actually already been told what would be good to get.

    Flowers, but don’t wait until Valentines Day when all that’s left is the leftovers — so I guess that’s one of today’s tasks.

    Dark chocolate.

    So far as trips, we’ve already got two long trips planned later in the year. We’ll probably be camping in Yellowstone National Park on our 37th anniversary — or on our way there.

    She’s already told me not to get her anything and I probably could get away with it, but going with a “probably” probably isn’t wise.

  6. A few years ago, for the first (and the last) time, I was in one of those relationships I’d heard about with a guy who didn’t want to be in a relationship. We’d been in this non-relationship for a year. Valentine’s week was kind of embarrassing for a pair who were only going through the motions, so I gave him a pass on Valentine’s Day hoopla and we decided to just cook dinner in.

    Even with a pass, he was late because he was running around the grocery store searching for the last card in the building. He gave me the card which was designed for a guy (he hadn’t noticed) and a tiny potted dead tulip which he thought was a rose.

    We were a sad pair. I wish, oh how I wish, I had gone with my initial urge and laughed out loud at the dead tulip instead of pretending it was fine. We would have had a lot more fun.

  7. Nice list. (Different than mine:) I’m going to have to disagree with suggestion not to give a mixed cd, sex and chocolates because those are kinda nice to receive. Chocolates are clichéd but most women like ’em anyways. Maybe instead of ‘heart shaped’ ones, they could give them their “favorite” kind instead.:)

  8. The gays are not immune…

    Being a Pisces and a hopeless romantic my partners have always been the recipients of a wonderful day.

    This year we’re doing just the basics … although I’m taking the day off tomorrow to clean house ( it’s normally Sat, but I want that to be chore free) and I’ll be making some little individual 5 layer heart shaped chocolate cakes for Sat evening and heart shaped apple turnovers for Breakfast on Sat.

    So on Saturday we’ll get up to a wonderful breakfast, I’ve got him a new game for our Wii -we’re BOTH addicted Wii’ers – sounds kinky no?! – WINTER GAMES so we’ll be skiing, skating, luging, curling etc all from the comfort of out sofa… might even put a fire in the Foyer, then I made reservations for dinner at a resto we’ve been wanting to try for awhile… but first drinks at a groovey mellow lounge near by… And there’ll be a nice box of chocolates and champage of course (he IS from France afterall)

    …and of course I’ve got about 10 posts pre-entered for the day on my blog (not nearly as extensive as Christmas – lol) but I can’t help it, I enjoy the day.

    Personally though, all I want is a cute card – the funnier the better – maybe a small token gift (of course I wouldn’t say no to an iTouch or a new Laptop or Camera lol) and just a nice day of just the two of us and no one else.

  9. As to the origins of Valentines day, it like many other manufactured special days has been brought to you strictly from commercial.
    There is no religious connotation.
    There is no love involved.
    There is only spending and an almost certain feeling of failure.
    However since in these troubled times it is every citizens duty to spend to help the economy, I suppose it can be considered part of the stimulus package.

    I can never figure out why it is I’m single.

  10. we don’t do valentine’s day. and i’m pissed because all the babysitters are booked this weekend because they are working for those who do celebrate v-day. i just want to go to a movie dammit!

  11. BAH, Humbug.

    As far as I’m concerned (and what I’ve recently ranted about) Valentines Day is a sexist holiday. A conspiracy designed to make men look bad.

    Like you said…it’s mainly the MEN that have to buy all the gifts.

    While it’s mostly WOMEN who sit back, receive the gift, and decide if it’s worthy or not.

    And if it’s NOT acceptable, well, then watch out! The guy’s in the doghouse until further notice!

    Oboy….dosen’t THAT sound like fuN!?

    Whatever happened to equal rights? (Mabye we dudes should hold suck attacks and withhold sex, because WE didnt’ get the “perfect gift” for our ladies). 😉

    This year, I happen to be single on Feb. 14th. And to be honest, it’s a relief!

  12. We ignore the whole shebang. Have for years. In fact, our friend is coming from Boston to visit us Saturday night. So drinks and dinner out and about, and no nonsense.

  13. Gila – Well, you can treat yourself to something nice. And whatever it is, you’ll know it will be just perfect, right?

    LDG – You’re so surprisingly conservative! I thought you’d have something really edgy and off-the-wall planned.

    Mary Lynn – Bah! Cards just end up in the landfill anyway. Celebrating the engagement sounds like a much better plan all around. And so much more sensible, yet romantic at the same time.

    Raino – You’re right. And if hubby really loved you, knowing how important a good back rub is to you, he would learn to give you the perfect back rub. How difficult could it be? Obviously you need to leave him and find a new firm-handed man who is slavishly devoted to your every need. (Call me if he has a twin)

    Mike – Smart man. Who told you to get her flowers and chocolate? Did she tell you that herself? Would you not already know if she loves cut flowers and dark chocolate? Why did you need to be told? I’m curious.

    LoLa – Ha ha…oh man, I’m sorry, but that was not only a sad Valentine’s story, but a very sad relationship story overall. I hope you’ve raised the bar considerably since then. And thanks for visiting!!

    Hannah – Feel free to disagree. Like I said, if you know your partner would love anything on this list, go for it. (I suppose sex could be a gift depending on what sort of sex is being given. Like giving you a meal. You eat regularly anyway, so if it’s going to be a special “gift” it should have some interesting twists to it, yes? )

    Kitty – Wow, what a Valentine’s extravaganza you have planned. Does Dider go to town for you on Valentine’s too? Is there any holiday that you don’t plunge into whole-heartedly?

    Bandobras – What about Saint Valentine? There’s a whole bunch of religious rigmarole about the pseudo-Christian origins of Valentine’s. I believe the day was created to put men firmly in their place at least once a year as the hopeless, bumbling fools they are.

    Meanie – Well, you COULD have had a perfectly lovely babysitter on call for these sorts of evenings, but nooooooooooooo. You’ll have to rent a movie or go the next day. Or the day before. Why does it have to be Saturday anyway?

    Friar – Ha – that’s exactly what I just said to Bandobras. And ha ha hahahahahahahahahaa – good one about the men withholding sex. I’m on the floor, weak with laughter….really, stop…..my sides hurt…..oh boy……hhhhahaaahahahahahahaha……

    Ellie – You’re so sensible. But then your whole life looks so damned romantic to me seeing it via your blog. You guys always seem to have so much fun and do so many great things together and seem so happy and content. You have no need of a forced intimacy day. Good on ya!

  14. Valentine’s Day.

    PFFFFFT.

    To quote Bossy, : GAHHHHHHH.

    (SORRY! I’ve been away from my blogs for a few days and am catching up! I’ll be back to work my may through the fab XUP posts I’m behind on…)

  15. I’m so over VDay. And not in a sour-grapes-because-I’m-single-and-not-in-a-relationship kind of way. It just seems silly and shallow.

    One time, long ago, Mr Ex. was late coming home on VDay. He’d capped off a long day of work by visiting the tavern with his friends. I had got him a tiny gold hoop ear ring for his recently pierced ear and a CD I knew he wanted. He had not had the forethought to shop for me beforehand. He shopped on his way home. At the teeny tiny store attached to the Mr. Gas gas station. My presents: a Mars bar, a pine tree car air freshener, a plastic boomerang (?), and a magazine highlighting the achievements of Sudbury businesswomen. Seriously.

    I will spend Saturday night with my girls. We will make home-made pizza for dinner and drink our milk (aka the house white) out of wine glasses, and then watch Mama Mia! on DVD. I think it will be a splendid VDay celebration.

    Oh, and for those men who feel like they are being unfairly expected to make the grand gesture for their ladies, maybe you’ll find it easier to celebrate VDay on Feb 14 if you also get to celebrate Steak and B***job Day on March 14. I’m not making it up, you know. Google it and see…

  16. Lesley – Who’s Bossy? I can’t keep up with all the characters revolving around your life. Welcome back.

    Alison – Shut UP- You’re totally making that gifts from the gas station thing up. Could someone really be that boorishly cliched? (March 14th? Which Neanderthal came up with this?)

  17. I love mixed tapes. Now, my hubby and I have replaced the concept of the actual, physical tapes with sharing our itunes files (which is all legal peeps, don’t worry. You can share with up to five people), so whenever one of us likes and buys something, we offer it to the other. We’re both into U2, Coldplay, John Mayer, Jason Mraz…
    Of course, after that, my musical tastes are often a bit too eclectic/indie for him: Arcade Fire, Ingrid Michaelson, the Boston Symphony Orchestra… So, I offer but he’s not usually into that stuff..
    As for Valentines day, no stories. We’re not big on it. I agree that it’s more about the 364 other days. And each relationship will have different “special” days: your anniversary – ours was last week! – birthdays, some other relevant event… That’s where we put our thoughts into celebrating.

  18. ho my god, i can’t believe alison’s experiences. girlfriend, that is a blog entry in itself!
    sooo, can girls with broken collar bones babysit???

  19. Being terminally single and all, I don’t have much to add to this.
    BUT, guys, if your gift is the movie of her choice and it turns out to be a total chick flick, like He’s Really Not Into You, you’d better get some sumpin’ sumpin’ in return, know whum sayin’ yo?

  20. I honestly CAN put my smartassedness aside once in a while, and will right now for a minute.
    Coincidental to this thread, I was just chatting on facebook with a young friend of mine. He was the speedy little centre and goal-scoring machine on a Midget hockey team that I managed 17 or 18 years ago.
    He tells me that he’s getting married on Valentine’s Day. It’s his second time. His first wife died of cancer not long after they were married. They had no kids. Kevin’s now getting a couple stepsons, and he and his bride-to-be are expecting a little girl. I’m so glad that he has found love again.
    He says the Valentine’s Day wedding has nothing to do with romance. It’s because he has a bad memory, so this will help him remember his anniversary. And he figures a dozen roses once a year will cover both his anniversary and Valentine’s Day.
    Smart boy. I raised him well. 😉

  21. Take out the garbage without me asking and I’m yours for life. Maybe wash the dishes too. We plan to eat at home, have some champagne. I may buy myself some flowers. My husband always picks out the cheapest bouquet he can find. I think I want tulips and anemones.

  22. it’s all Hallmark.

    whether we are experiencing a rich or poor spell in our house, I HAVE to get chocolates. I can go crazy with cards and lingere and anything else but there has to be some type of chocolates. this year we are going out as a family to new fancy resturant (old and married with children adds a wrinkle to the romance thang)

    one of my sibs is gay in a long term relationship. He’s the “man” of the situation but very unemotional. His partner is definitely the mary (their term not mine) so he’s the one that makes a big deal of it and buys gifts. I think there’s usually lots of sex so they’re both happy.

    I find it weird when my mother in-law or sister-in-law send me a Valentines Day card. And no, nothing is going on.

  23. Back when my hubby and I were dating, we would celebrate our original anniversary on Valentine’s Day. We have done special trips in the past, or my hubby makes an elaborate meal (he loves to cook), and we would get each other cool, thoughtful gifts.

    Now that we are married, we still celebrate our original anniversary over Valentine’s Day. Since we have a little one, we haven’t been able to do the trips, but we get the sitter and go out for the evening sans babe.

    This weekend, we’re going out for sushi, and I can’t wait!

    Nothing says love like raw fish.

    LOL.
    😉

  24. Milan – Is God your matchmaker? He/She should advertise more if he/she’s done such a great job for you. I’ll pass the word around

    Noha – Happy Anniversary. Couples like you two obviously don’t need a “Valentine’s Day”. How long has it been? Did your families get you together or did you meet him on your own?

    Anonymous/Meanie – Sorry, she has a date. HELLO! It’s Valentine’s Day!!! (They’re going to a movie – hahahahaha)

    Bob #1 – And people wonder why you’re still single.

    Bob #2 – Oh for pete’s sake – how difficult is it to remember 2 calendar dates every year for your life partner? (Birthday and anniversary) Kevin is a very lucky fellow.

    Linda – I guess your husband isn’t French? Do the French even do Valentine’s or is every day Valentine’s over there? Are French men as romantic as their reputation makes them out to be? Judging from your photo the other day I would say yes. Please fill us in. It would make a great blog post for Valentines

    Hasney – One year you should go online and find the most decadant chocolates in the world and have them shipped over and give them to the Queen for Valentine’s. That would blow her away. Does she have a preference?

    CP – Congratulations!! You know you’re going to have to explain the meaning of “original anniversary”. Were you married twice? (PS: Mmmmm raw fish….)

    Jobthingy – Oh please!! When isn’t it Valentine’s with you two? Sheesh. Talk to me again in 10 years

  25. XUP, I’m actually one of those “Better to give than receive” types EXCEPT on my Birthday. Then I DEMAND adoration and expensive gifts.

    As for a ‘holiday’ I do not go gaga for, sure… June 24th Fête “National” du Québec. I don’t even get it off because all my clients are in Ontario. (but I do get paid double time and get a day off! so it ain’t all bad)

  26. You do have a thing for Antonio Banderas, don’t you? He pops up regularly here. You should check into being his publicist. Maybe the job comes with perks.

    Valentine’s Day – I don’t have much to say about it aside from it being so close to my birthday (what? i don’t get any birthday love from you today? i have to make do with 3-day old wishes? ahhh). I’ve suffered the booked restaurant phenomenon when someone tries to take me out a couple of days past my birthday. (people like to be early or late with me) Oh, and the dual gifts like those Christmas/birthday people. I’ve gotten more roses for the combo birthday/v-day…yeh, Valentine’s Day can suck it.

    Now, if there is gift giving/receiving to be done, I’m all over mixed-tapes/CDs. And, underwear. My ex-husband, when still trying to win me back, gave me 5 pairs of fancy panties one year, each with a $20 taped in the crotch. Ka-ching. Only thing missing was a CD taped to the ass of each pair. Then, he might have stood a chance.

  27. Ha Ha! I wondered who would ask about that…

    No, we weren’t married twice. The “original anniversary” is the one that refers to the anniversary we always celebrated when we were dating. It marked the beginning of our exclusive relationship. Celebrating it around Valentine’s Day was just convenient and appropriate. (as cliche as it may be.) 🙂

    Plus, we knew that celebrating it near Valentine’s Day would be a way to solidify it for us…it wouldn’t be overlooked when we got married.

    Plus, this way, my husband will never forget it. LOL

  28. I used to work in a hospital and every year the maintenance staff would buy me a box of chocolates. It would be sitting on my desk with a little card signed by all the men in that little department. It made my day and is still the best thing I remember about any of my Valentine’s Days.

  29. I was going to say something about you sounding harsh and bitter and then realized that although I love Valentine’s day I absolutely loathe, hate, despise Thanksgiving. I even did a post in 2007 titled “Why do I hate Thanksgiving.” So I figured it would be a whole pot/kettle thing to give you any grief for your “holiday sentiments.” On that note I will just say, “Happy Friday The Thriteenth!”

  30. Kitty – Well, he gets off the hook for Valentine’s and Christmas, but that leaves an awful lot to make up for by the time your birthday rolls around.

    OTC – Publicist for Antonio? What does he need a publicist for? I just think a blog just have a few common threads running through it –just because. You have an ex-husband as well as a current husband? Or did you get divorced recently without mentioning it? Underwear with $20 bills taped to the crotch? I’m speechless.

    CP – Way to lay the groundwork far in advance in order to avoid disappointment. You ARE a perfectionist.

    Debra – You must also have had the cleanest, most temperature-controlled office in the place, right? I’ve always found it to be a good policy to be friendly with the maintenance staff and cafeteria staff and mail room staff and tech staff. It makes life so much easier and also, it’s just nice.

    LGS – No pressure. If you love your spouse you’ll be good to them all year, listen to them, pay attention to their ups and downs, support them, make their life a bit sweeter in whatever way you can on a regular basis — then when these obligatory gift things come along not only does it not matter what you get, but you’ll be sure to always know exactly what to get

    Geewits – Happy Friday 13th to you, too. I don’t hate Valentine’s at all. It can be very sweet. I just don’t like any occasion where it’s mandatory to spend money for gifts.

  31. i completely agree with everything you’ve said here. i’m not a fan of the valentines’ day massacres. people have become slaves to industry that mandate how they show their affections. i dislike being mandated to do anything, and much less with my affections.

    i love how this sums it all up perfectly, “I think the secret to the perfect Valentine’s Day gift or gesture is to pay attention to your partner throughout the year. If you’ve been listening and paying attention you will know exactly what will make his or her day and/or if this is even a day he/she cares about. Really, don’t wait for February 14th to show that you’ve been listening and paying attention.”