Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day - Men Can't Win

I think Valentine's Day peaked for me in 4th Grade. 

1. My mom gave me a small heart-shaped box of chocolates at breakfast. She did this every Valentine's Day, but for some reason I was always completely surprised by it. I was a little slow, I think.

2. We got to do fun arts and crafts at school, including making a mailbox for our valentines.  Mine had a mouse on it, that I made with a heart:

3. Every kid had to give every other kid in class a valentine, so you got like 28-32 little cute cards, some of them with candy or stickers or something.

4. We had some sort of class party involving mailing our Valentines, followed by giggling and discussing who gave what to whom while drinking red punch and eating heart shaped cookies.

5. There were no boyfriends.

Once boyfriends got into the picture, Valentine's Day tanked.  If you didn't have a boyfriend, the day started with high hopes of getting an unexpected Valentine from some unknown and previously undiscovered cute boy.  I don't recall this actually happening in my life, but there was a widely circulated urban legend or two on the topic I believed in until I was, um, 30.  The unknown Valentine never came, and the day ended in self-pity.

A bad boyfriend wasn't any better than no boyfriend- in some ways, it was worse.  No one else was going to seek you out to be their Valentine, and the one you had was being a horrible disappointment.

Even if you had a good, most awesome, best-est in the world type of boyfriend, he only gave you one Valentine, not 32, and you probably didn't get to do any arts and crafts.  Really, there was no way to top 4th grade. 

Valentine's Day is, I think, a set-up to make everyone feel bad about themselves, and buy lots of chocolate on clearance the day after.  Women, let's be honest, there is no gift that is going to make up for all the decades of bad Valentine's Days that have come before.  We have PTVDD (Post Traumatic Valentine's Day Disorder).

Women on Valentine's Day: surf Pintrest etc. for cute heart shaped breakfast and dessert items, pour over cards for hours looking for the "perfect" one, buy present for Honey and new outfit for ourselves, plan hair, makeup, undergarments, dinner reservations, paint toes in holiday theme. Raise expectation levels through the roof.

Men on Valentine's Day: buy present, ask Honey where they want to go eat, practice "duck and cover" techniques.

Case in Point: I had a friend in my college years (college round one) who was living with her boyfriend.  He was Officially Awesome: sweet, nice, didn't smell.  She spent one Valentine's Day incensed at him all day because she knew he was going to forget.  She was so pissed, she refused to get him a present or card.  He came home with a 20 pound Russell Stover heart and she was slightly embarrassed, but also still mad because he couldn't prove he planned it in advance and didn't just stop on the way home from work out and bought the biggest thing he could find out of desperation.

Men can't win. 

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