Friday, February 11, 2011

Valentine's has experts?

It's that time of's Valentine's weekend. By now all those self-proclaimed relationship guru's have come crawling out of hiding. Maybe they smell the chocolate in air. Maybe it's the pheromones. Maybe it's the allure of the potential profit to be made? Maybe it's the opportunity to strut one's stuff.  Maybe relationship experts do truly care and offer their best advice with best of intentions. What's one to do?

I will honestly admit I've never "gotten into" the whole Valentine's thing. I have always done my best to go along for the ride and live up to my wife's expectations. I can't say that I've succeeded at doing so, but I will at least try (pat on back).  After all, isn't that what you do with your sweetheart?  

Every holiday has a bad rap for one reason or another. But Valentine's is the one that severs the sex's right down the center. You could almost define ironic from this scenario. The very holiday that brags of being shrouded in love and romance claiming to bring lovers together apparently seems to draw more lines of division than paint pictures of love. Let's face it, no other holiday has rules on how to and how not to love the one you love. No other holiday has rules, advice and guidelines when it comes to gift buying. Wasn't it just two months ago we superficially were making attempts of teaching our kids, "It's better to give than to receive" along with "It's the thought that counts?" Along with becoming about "taking" this is the only holiday that becomes about being gender bias. For 364 days of the year men and women are equal. Well, in theory, but not on Valentine's. The Valentine's season has way too cheesy clichés (again, I hate clichés), expensive candy, high price flowers, and too high expectations.

But then, Valentine's Day has always been cloaked with mystery beginning with its origins. The only known fact about Valentine's is that there was a Christian priest named Valentine that was martyred in AD 269. One legend goes that on the evening before he was to be executed, he wrote the first "valentine." He had fallen in love with the jailer's daughter. He addressed his note to the young girl whom he variously identified as his beloved, "From your Valentine."

I thought I had heard and read some of the goofiest stuff when it came to Valentine's but then I came across two articles promoting the downright boycott of Valentine's. One is "10 Reasons Married Ladies Should Skip Valentine's Day". Seriously? Hey, I'm all for skipping the unnecessary pressures of gift buying, fruitless attempts at mind reading, the cheesy clichés (have I mentioned I hate clichés?), the pink stuffed bunnies, and the naked babies. But thinking my wife should skip Valentine's?

If there was woman who could describe complacency it's this author, Megan. Her reason, and I quote, "But if you're married, why bother with all the hassle? You've already promised to spend the rest of your life with your partner..."   Reading her article you can see where her priorities are though.  Italicized quotes are her reasons. My thoughts follow.

"Pressure" Yea who needs pressure, but the only pressure I have is the pressure I put on myself. If I fall into society's cliché trap then yes I will have pressure. But geez! So what are you saying?

"Candy, flowers, pink, etc" Yes you are right. No one needs this crap. But did you need it at Christmas? Do you need it on Mother's Day? I'm assuming you don't need it on your birthday either. Make up your mind. See this is why we guys stay confused.

"Expense" I will agree to an extent Valentine's gift are jacked up. Just don't buy those gifts! It's that simple. But taking the place of the monthly mortgage? That's a bit extreme. Then again I'm not shallow and insecure that I think I have to buy someone's interest either. Nor do I box myself in with an "all or nothing" thinking.

"Proof of Love” You floored me on this one. I had to read it twice. I'm still so astounded by what you said I'll quote it for my readers who don't read your article,

            "Valentine's is the day we are supposed to prove our love to the person we're smitten with. Well, if        you are married, don't you think that the act of getting married and sharing your everyday life with your husband is proof enough?"

Seriously? So I'm off the hook? I mean I guess I can see what you're saying. Kinda like Mother's day too. Why should mothers get a day to themselves too huh? Hey, the kids and husband have all year to show their appreciation right? Why take one day out of all of the 365 of them and add that pressure to it? I think she should've thought her thoughts through a little more.

"Jane Seymour" Ok, I absolutely 100% agree with you on this one. As little as I watch tv even I am sick of seeing her dorky Open Hearts jewelry commercials. 

I think she single handedly killed cupid.

Male Rights Activist Calls for Valentine's Day Boycott ...WTH? Would you believe this is his 5th year to declare his boycott? His reasoning's and claims, Valentine's promotes inequality of the sexes, female entitlement, and it's a romantic implant that's fake. Where has this buy been living? Obviously in his cave or he would realize that a pink and frilly foofoo holiday is the least of worries when it comes to male/female inequality.

And this guys is supposed to be a self-proclaimed "relationship expert." Rather than taking Valentine's as a common ground for both men and women, he seems to prefer to push men a few steps backwards; backwards in intelligence. He whines more so of his perceptions of men than anything else.

He claims Valentine's is a sexist holiday centered on greed, materialism, and double standards. I have news for you. It's not the holiday. If you make it about materialism, then it's about materialism. If you make it about double standards, then it's about double standards. You get the point.

He whines that women don't buy men gifts. Wait? Did I read that right? Yes I did. Ok, I'm a guy. For as long back as I can think, I don't recall ever hearing one of my guy friends whine about not getting a gift or not getting this or that for Valentine's. Probably because, they don't care! Isn't this the same as selling a refrigerator to an Eskimo?

And what activist refers to his or her group as, "wimps, afraid of rejection, moronic, fake, a eunuch, and needs to grow a pair?" I think could find a better rep to be my cheerleader and mascot. This guy complains that Valentine's day is "oxymoronic and moronic." I beg to differ; you are "oxymoronic and moronic."

This simply will not do!
I don't think I'll be taking any relationship expert advice. Grant it that these two articles are exceptions to the rule. I don't think any of this really comes as a surprise to anyone with half a brain. Sure, Valentine's Day is commercial. But what holiday isn't? We have to look at all the "glitter and gold and wrapping and candy" as suggestions. Most sane people can look beyond the gimmicks and clichés and get to the heart of the matter, as it were. And if they can't, well they have personal issues to work out. If they feel they need their self-worth reaffirmed by holiday gifts and attention then there are obviously deeper issues at hand. February 14th is a day to take a moment to tell your loved ones how you feel.

The most important aspect of a Valentine's Day gift is how much thought you put into it. For many women, the amount of thought you invest in the gift helps measure your true feelings for them (even if you don't consider gifts very meaningful yourself). Last minute purchases are often problematic for this reason, even if the gift itself is great. As a general rule, a small gift that had to be shipped from Timbuktu is better than an elaborate gift from the store across the street. Personally, I prefer those little inexpensive items that caught my beloved eyes. It says, "Hey, I saw this and it made me think of you because I know you would like it." No "Valentine" gift.  

In no way is it necessary to buy anything. I'm pretty sure 9 women out of 10 will say a homemade card is way better than flowers delivered with that corporate half-note that has her name spelled wrong. The most important words in the card are the ones you write, not the ones Hallmark writes. One of the best ways to convey thoughtfulness is to personalize as many aspects of your feelings as you can.

Valentine's is my wife's favorite holiday. See says she likes the colors and decorations. I'm blessed that she's never been materialistic or bought into the holiday clichés. But if it's her favorite then that's enough for me to make the holiday about her.

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