Thursday, January 14, 2010

A Valentine's Day Primer for Men

A friend of mine with a new-ish girlfriend has been a good sport about me asking personal questions that are none of my business about his relationship. Recently (like, today) I asked him if he had any big plans for Valentine's Day. His emailed answer was pretty much proof that he hadn't even realized it was coming up and my mention of it was the first sign that he might need to do something.

Wow, he is so lucky he has me for a friend!

Anyway, it sparked a discussion (okay a lecture) of what is an appropriate response to a day like Valentine's Day, a commercialized Hallmark-holiday designed to remind single people of their sad and depressed state and force couples into cliched expressions of affection for each other while waiting forever to get into restaurants like some kind of National Date Night, because waiting an hour to rush through an over-priced and over-portioned meal on a school night is our way of saying, "you're swell." For the record, I'm a romantic.

Well, the answer depends on a few things:

1. How much she cares about getting something for Valentine’s Day (hint: she will say she doesn’t care but she does, especially when her friends start talking about whatever romantic thing has happened to them).

2. What kind of precedent you want to set in the gift-giving department.

3. How much you like her ‘cause she’s cute and you aren’t the only fish in the sea, bub, just sayin’.

If you got her a can opener for Christmas she is probably not expecting much. If she liked that, then you’re off the hook. She’d probably be delighted with a spatula.

BUT! What women really want for Valentine’s Day is for their man to completely pamper them with gifts and luxuries EVEN THOUGH they don’t need a special day to do those things. When men say, “I think its more romantic to send a card and flowers on a random day instead of on Valentine’s Day when flowers are marked up and everyone else is doing it,” that translates to women as, “I have no problem with my girlfriend feeling like an ugly duckling because on the ONE DAY each year dedicated to love, as commercialized as it is, I took the high road. And I am cheap.” Because let’s be real. Those guys don’t send flowers and cards on random days. The high road is a lonely place to be on Valentine’s Day.

If you’re not a flowers-on-a-random-day kind of guy, you better really do it up big on Valentine’s Day because she will not want to be left out of the “oh he loves me,” gushiness of the day. And if you are a flowers-on-a-random-day kind of guy, you better feel reeeeeeallllly confident that she also sees you that way, and you might want to make one of those “random days” be pretty soon so its fresh in her memory how you don’t need a special day to tell her she’s the most wonderful and beautiful thing that ever graced the face of the planet.

And then also do it on Valentine’s Day.

I mean, come on! Sure we're all evolved past falling for that crap but it's Valentine's Day! Suck it up and get all lovey-dovey. It won't kill you.

I think most women will agree with me that paying marked-up prices for roses that will be dead in a week just to say something that we say every day is a waste of money, and that they would rather have that money go towards something they really want, like new bath towels (hint). But call me a softie...I kinda think the fact that he went and payed marked-up prices on roses that will be dead in a week is romantic, because it isn't practical at all, and love makes us do impractical things.

Valentine's Day is coming up. Yeah its a fake holiday but celebrate it anyway by doing something impractical for someone who will say, "you shouldn't have."

Friday, January 8, 2010

I'm Okay If You Know I Wear Underwear

I was just at Wal-Mart standing patiently in the checkout line reading about the crazy marriage of Charlie Sheen and Brooke Mueller. I had chosen this particular check-out kid because he looked young, sprightly, and energetic and I figured I would be out of there in no time. I hadn't counted on the man two people in front of me shaking every carton of cigarettes against his ear before finally deciding to buy skoal. So I was getting a little ancy.

So the lady in front of me started piling her stuff on the checkout thingy, and she has miscellaneous Wal-Martish items, like tape and cat litter and dish towels. And then she stacks up some underwear, and rushes to cover it up with a magazine. She tries to be all casual like, "la di I am at Wal-Mart...buying a bunch of crap...BUT NOT UNDERWEAR! Oh no, not me! No underwear here!"

And it made me wonder, why are people so embarrassed to buy underwear? Like it is some dark, shameful secret that we wear it. I mean, frankly speaking, I would be more judgmental if you never bought underwear. I would be piling my underwear up and making sure people knew that I regularly bought new underwear. I am not ashamed at all.

It made me wonder what I try to hide in my shopping cart. I always feel a little sheepish when I show up with a bunch of wine, like I wonder if they think I am going to drink it all. But underwear...I'll just be completely honest with you - I buy underwear, and I am not ashamed.

And I am totally cool with you knowing that.