Valentine’s Day is here once again, waving its finger in everyone’s face. Commercial on top of commercial make one thing clear – here is what Love requires and here is where you can buy it.
From married for 50 years to completely uninhibited and single, Valentine’s Day has no shame when it comes to making one thing clear: Follow my rules and regulations for love, or prepare to be judged by Cupid himself. Valentine’s Day wants you to know that “Every kiss begins with K(ay),” but for most of the people I know it began with a third glass of wine and a few well-timed lies.
It became clear years ago that Valentine’s Day wants to tout itself as the holiday for love, but it caters solely to women. The marketing of this “made for consumerism” holiday is not only ridiculous it is as gender biased as a Taylor Swift concert at Gloria Allred’s birthday party.
As a single man, one without a current love interest but one that is always looking for a woman to disappoint, I was open to suggestions for Valentine’s Day. I took a straw poll this past week with several women and asking the question: “What is your ideal Valentine’s Day gift?” Surprisingly, the answers I received restored my faith in the fairer gender. Most expressed that extravagant and lavish gifts were not what they required, but that simple and thoughtful gestures were the most appreciated.
“Breakfast in bed is always a winner...”
Or the simple, “Surprise me at my job...with anything!”
Let’s dissect these suggestions from the angle of a bitter single man.
I agree that breakfast in bed is always a winner. Just one problem from my current relationship status – it requires a woman in bed! The woman in bed would actually be the only Valentine’s gift that 75 percent of men would require (with the other 25 percent lying because their wife/girlfriend is reading this with them).
And does anybody really eat breakfast in bed? This seems more a cliché scene from some movie starring Jennifer Aniston and Paul Rudd. The few times in my life I’ve been lucky enough to have a woman in bed to serve breakfast to she was much more concerned with not getting food on the bedspread. Women don’t actually want to eat breakfast in bed. They just appreciate the gesture, and though few will admit it, they’d gladly rise and shine if the option of breakfast or brunch at an actual restaurant is available. Larimore’s banked on this fact during the 1980s.
And let’s be honest, her friends and co-workers don’t get to see breakfast in bed. Rest assured, men, as much as your woman loves to show you off they equally love being shown off.
The show-off aspect is never more ever present than the desire to have something delivered to her work. Love is something that is shared between two people, but it is the getting there that is polar opposites for men and women. Women spend most of their lives discussing their desire to find love, their future wedding, the family they want, etc. I’ve grown up in a family full of women and have spent a lifetime listening to them speak ad nauseam about love.
Single women head out for a night on the town hoping to find love. Let’s be clear, no man has ever called up his buddy and said, “Hey Bob, wanna head down to the local hotspot? Hopefully we can find love.” It’s not that men don’t want love just as much as women, but we just don’t feel the need to advertise it.
The Valentine’s Day gift delivered to a woman’s place of business is much less a gift for her as it is a “Hey other ladies I work with look at my love being represented in the form of chocolate and flowers.” Rest assured, if your woman is the only one at the office that doesn’t receive a gift publicly offered you will be in the doghouse, or so I’m told by my friends that have slipped up on Valentine’s Day.
My married buddies, or one’s in long-term relationships, are clear about one thing: The more a woman say she doesn’t want anything for Valentine’s Day, the more she actually wants something lavish and expensive. So be careful this weekend, gentlemen. Don’t get lulled to sleep in that trap. We are only a month and a half into the year and you needn’t dig yourself a hole when purchasing yourself six months of happiness is just a credit card swipe away.
I personally think the Valentine’s powers that be are missing out on a few target demographics:
• The Bitter Single Man: I’d be thrilled to offer up a few marketing ideas that could become the future of Valentine’s Day. I’m considering buying boxes of chocolate that say “good luck” on them. I plan to deliver them to all my ex-girlfriends but not for them – for their new significant others. This new tradition involves the “new guy” inviting me into their home, where he hands me the obligatory “I feel your pain” six-pack of beer. We crack open a few and commiserate over the things that she used to do to drive me nuts and the things she currently does to drive him nuts. Her idiosyncrasies and character traits are put into a database, which can be passed on to all future husbands or boyfriends. Before I leave, I serve them both breakfast in bed ... this way her complaints about possibly getting the bedspread dirty are directed at me.
• The Lonely Single Woman: This is the group that really feels the sting of Valentine’s Day, and please save me the “I’m happy being single; it’s my choice” speech. Liar! These women dread the phone call on Feb. 15 from their friends with a man. Hearing about someone else getting a ring is tantamount to a punch in their gut. So how can we make Valentine’s Day a little sweeter for these ladies? How about designated restaurants, each full of single men, and a “station-to-station” style hour-long dinner? You arrive and sit in the lounge, where, surprisingly, a good-looking, well-mannered, age-appropriate man offers to sit and listen to your day. After 15 minutes, an usher moves you to a dinner table – where a different and younger looking man awaits. He politely listens as you share dinner together, all while reminding you that indeed you are much prettier than your best friend Tina. You know the one. She’s happily married and constantly tells you to “keep on looking. One day you’ll find happiness ... like me.” At this point you are sequestered in the dessert room. You are allowed to pig out on as much ice cream and cake as you wish without anybody watching. Nor do ever have to say, “No dessert for me, I’m watching my figure.” The night ends with you laughing and talking with an even younger and more attentive man, laying on a blanket under the stars on the front lawn of friend Tina’s house. You sneak into her spare bedroom early in the morning, where an even younger and more handsome man makes you breakfast in bed. And as they dawn shines on your Feb. 15 and you listen to Tina’s kids yell and scream, you hand her husband the bedspread that you spilled some of your Eggs Benedict on, free to spend the rest of the day with a smile on your face.
Happy Valentine’s Day to all the women that are still willing to be in my life.
“It’s not Where ya do, It’s What ya do”