I feel sorry for men — almost. Or at least on Valentine’s Day. What a pantload of crap this fake Hallmark holiday dumps upon us!
I work with a lovely man my own age who was a pathetic wreck yesterday because he hadn’t jumped through all the prescribed frilly red heart-shaped social hoops. Worse, his wife had been telling all their mutual acquaintance for weeks that he never managed to jump through those hoops and that he would doubtless screw it up again.
So of course he did screw it up. The morning of the 14th, he frantically ordered an emergency $100 bouquet of stale flowers to be delivered to her, having passive-aggressively forgotten to do so ahead of time. He then spent an hour trying to book dinner reservations at a fancy restaurant – any fancy restaurant– all of which were full and which would expect to turn the table in 30 businesslike minutes, anyway.
I worked college summers at an upscale resort restaurant in the Adirondacks where city people flocked 1) to shop at fake factory outlets, 2) to impress other city people with the cost of their rented summer homes, and 3) to see what pine trees looked like — or, for the bold, even to smell or touch them. The tables were draped with heavy white linen and set with crystal, but featured tacky little plastic signs that said, “Please enjoy your meal! But remember, others may be waiting for your table.” City people, being city people, didn’t seem to find this appalling. They were used to rudeness and to waiting for tables. We locals were horrified.
So, too, with Valentine’s Day. Since when is love measured by the size of the ugly plush pink stuffed animal one gets? Landfills are full of ugly plush pink stuffed animals. Does my husband or lover (in my married case, this is of course is one person) really need to stand in line at the grocery store with other anxious beaten depressed men to buy overpriced balloons and dead flowers and heart-shaped boxes of chocolates and $6 cards with sequins and feathers just to prove that he esteems me? And, really — do I want thoughtless mass-produced tributes purchased at a featureless chain grocery store at the last moment? Do I really need to have a pissing contest with the other women I know, who vie with each other over who gets the Best Stuff and is therefore the Most Loved?
Pissing contests are really difficult for women, anyway. They never end well.
I’ve told my husband for 28 years that I don’t need empty expensive token gestures on some arbitrary meaningless public Day of Love. He still doesn’t quite dare believe me. But he cooks dinner for me every night – good dinners. That’s Valentines Day in action, 365 nights a year.