A Teddy Bear. A box of chocolate. Definitely a dozen roses. These are just a few of the expectations that men have had to endure for as long as I can remember. If you are wondering to what I am referring, than you are either a rare woman, or an everyday man. That’s right people, check your calendar, it’s nearly Valentine’s Day.
Ever since my first babysitter gave me a kiss on the cheek goodnight, I have loved
women; and with that love, came a lifetime of Februarys with my checkbook
hating my guts. You see, there’s something inside of me that loves to make a woman smile, particularly a woman I am interested in. And if I may be so bold,
I am quite good at it. So imagine that innate ability, in the hands of a ten, eleven, or even a twelve year-old boy. I remember year after year of buying flowers, and candy. Then came the stuffed animals, and homemade cards. After only a few years of that, my mother had had enough, and wouldn’t take me shopping anymore. This is what I like to call…The Age of Aunt Marie.
My mother’s older sister Marie (who is like a second mother to me), began to take
me shopping for women when I was around thirteen. She was not only amazed at my drive to find unique and meaningful things, but also by how much information I was willing to absorb. As a matter of record, my aunt never had any sons of her own, so I think it was her great pleasure to bestow matters of the heart to me. We had great times shopping for necklaces, bracelets, and other Valentine essentials year to year. Even after I received my driver’s license and knew how to shop properly for the holiday, I picked up my aunt for another few years to share in the holiday, and stick to our tradition of shopping together for all things pink and heart shaped. But alas, every good thing comes to an end.
It was my freshman year of college that Valentine’s Day lost its meaning to
me. It was my first Valentine’s Day in a long time that I was single, and also, I was meeting new people that I would not normally have associated with; older people, different religious backgrounds, and married people. Most of these people were men, and most of them all had the same view of Valentine’s Day-it sucked, and it sucked hard.
I had never really thought about the high expectations that women had for the
holiday until I really talked to other men, and heard about their epic failures
while trying to please the women in their life. Sure, some of them just flat out forgot the holiday (I’ll forgo the often debated, “It’s a made-up, commercialized holiday.”), but most of the guys tried. Really tried. And when I would hear about how the women in their lives game them crap for not meeting up to their expectations, something inside of me changed. The holiday I grew up loving and enjoying, went from just that into a chore, a duty, a responsibility that I no longer had the ambition to nurture.
Many years have passed since then, and sadly I haven’t changed. I think about how women make such a big deal out of Valentine’s Day, yet rarely make an effort to do something special for the man in their life. You don’t often see women planning on making it an extraordinary day for her man, but rather, you may see her spend fifteen minutes at a Target or Macy’s to pick up a sweater. It is only an exceptional day for her, don’t you know? You’re a man, and you shouldn’t care. Well guess what, now we don’t. And the ones that suffer are you.
I won’t lie. I’ve had a few sporadic, inspired Valentine’s since then, but they are few and far between. And they felt forced. Sure, the woman never knew, but I did; and that makes it far less unique. But don’t think I’ve given up on showing someone you care, because I haven’t.
Listen, whether or not you believe in Valentine’s Day, or care to celebrate it at all,
you shouldn’t need a holiday to commemorate a loved one. My last few serious girlfriends would attest that I make the most out of the entire year with my lady. I bring or send flowers whenever I think of how special she makes me feel. I send a card just because. I slip a cute note in her purse because I love her smile. I make a romantic dinner because she’s had a long week, and she deserves to be pampered. So, the bottom line for me is this-If you need a holiday to tell you when to show that important person in your life that you love and care for them, then you should re-evaluate your relationship. Every day is another opportunity to show affection. Just don’t wait until that one-time-a-year-holiday, and not only will her expectations not be quite so high (and you won’t think about the extreme commercialization of the day-I had to say it at least one more time), but your relationship will be that much more rich, because you are telling her how beautiful and special she is every day. Now go out and get that chocolate before she