Do you ever get the feeling that the perfect line is playing about in your brain, trying to make it to your tongue or to your pen, but it just refuses to come out?
I’ve been thinking about Valentine’s Day for the last week or so, because I wanted to post something about it here, and I’ve felt the perfect line about Valentine’s Day rolling around in my head, like the ball in a spray paint can, but I just haven’t been able to getÂ at it.
The best I’ve been able to come up with is:
Valentine’s Day is for lovers and romance.
Valentine’s Night is for apologies and trips to the emergency room.
I guess it’s not a bad line. I mean, I’ve certainly come up with much worse in my time. But a line like that needs a rim shot or a spinning bowtie to help sell it. Barring that, it just kind of sits there.
Well, this is the new look Skepchick, so perhaps my feeble attempt at humor is just par for the new course. Or perhaps I’m freaked out by the change, and am just not comfortable with the new format yet. It’sÂ queering my funny.
Everything is so new. Everything is so different. Everything is so white!
The first time I clicked on the new-look blog, I thought the place had been sterilized. When I looked away from my monitor, all I saw was a rectangular black negative image floating in front of my face. Not only was I unable to see colors, amazingly I was unable to say “colors” for three days. It was the first time I’d ever been snow blind in my office. I thought I was Mike TeeVee for a few minutes there. Jesus, what is this, the Skepchick White Album?
I’m kidding of course. I don’t dislike the format. In fact, I heart the new look. I really heart it.Â (BesidesÂ Rebecca would throttle me, if she thought I was serious.)
But as I mentioned, I started thinking about Valentine’s Day and the supposed attendant romance, and I began to wonder if it ever lives up to the hype, or if indeed it’s simply chock full of apologies and trips to the emergency room.
If other holidays are any indication, it could very well be the latter.
Not to knock holidays or anything, but I think in my entire life, I’ve been to all of two good parties on New Years Eve. And Christmas and Thanksgiving, where certainly great opportunities to catch up with family and friends, without gallons of whiskey to take the edge off, are more torturous than most folks want to admit.
But what of Valentine’s Day?
Amid my contemplation, I had the opportunity toÂ chat at length withÂ several co-workers about their experiences. Now, some in the group were gay men and some were lesbians, but most were hetero females, soÂ for ease, I’ll just refer to the group as the women.
These women ranged in age from about 23 to 57. Some were married, some were single, and some were in relationships. I think I had a good cross-section, but yes, the test group was small. It’s a good thing I have access to all you faithful readers of Skepchick to confirm, deny, or at least discuss my findings.
And based on what my co-workers told me, I came to the conclusion that Valentine’s Day may be for lovers, but even if we don’t screw it up, for some, it is without a doubt the single least romantic day of the year.
Case in point:
One co-worker told me her husband wanted to surprise her with some chocolate roses to celebrate their love. And I thought that was delightfully sweet, if not romantic. Chocolate is awesome, and as we all know, food always tastes better when it comes in the form of something we probably wouldn’t otherwise eat, like flowers or an enormous penis. And this particular co-worker loves chocolate and roses. So any gift that merges the two would have been perfect for her.
Unfortunately, she recently began a new diet, so her husband had to ask her if chocolate roses were something she could even eat, thereby ruining any surprise the gift might bring.
Now if you think about it, surprise may not be the best element to deploy; especially on a holiday like Valentine’s Day. Everyone alive knows it’s Valentine’s Day.Â OurÂ loversÂ know (or at least expect) they are going to get something. And this particular couple has been married for 12 years. Each knows the other’s moves so well, surprise is hard to come by. But the attempted surprise in this case was ruined, and the value of the gift was reduced to nothing, because chocolate roses were not within the guidelines ofÂ her diet.
Not willing to hang his hopes for romance on theÂ maxim “it’s the thought that counts”, the husband offered to clean the bathrooms as a gift to his lovely bride instead.
Now you all will recognize great value in an offer like this. RelievingÂ a personÂ of their nasty chores is a good gift to give anyone. But is it romantic?
“I took my girlfriend for a helicopter ride over the city for Valentine’s Day, and then a quiet dinner at a secluded lake house. What did you do?”
“I picked hair out of the drains and scrubbed the toilets.”
Yeah, it just doesn’t have the same romantic cachet, does it?
It’s clear that anything forced, or anything expected is going to lack punch when it comes to being romantic. And having a day of the year set aside for that specific purpose may be forcing it.
Sure, men like having Valentine’s Day on the calendar, because let’s face it, most of us would not otherwise entertain any notions of romance if ad agencies, florists, and candy companies didn’t remind us that it’s good to do something nice for our ladies every once in a while. Were it not stamped into our psyches by virtue of it’s place in mid-February, our idea of romance would consist of a grunting roll in the hay after we filled our bellies with mead and roasted meats. That’s just the way we’re wired.
But aren’t women being sold short having a contrived celebration like this? Isn’t an obligation to be romantic much less satisfying than a desire to be romantic?
I don’t know.
Maybe you skepchicks understand us well enough to know that Valentine’s Day just might be the best you are ever going to get from us. Maybe you are resigned to be happy with whatever meager bit of romance we can offer, even if it is forced. If that’s the case, guys we have to love our ladies even more because of that. I mean, if that’s not raising the game to another level, I don’t know what is.
Still, we can surprise them every once in a while, can’t we? It’s not too difficult to show a little creativity, is it?
Do something for your girl on a random day without being prodded by anyone else. Do something sweet for her from the heart.
At the very least, we may be able to avoid the apologies and trips to the emergency room on Valentine’s Night.