My Annual ‘Valentine’s Ruins Perfectly Good Relationships’ Post

art by Ron Smith (RIP Ron) for Stages

art by Ron Smith (RIP Ron) for Stages

(Originally written in 2011 repost by Old Posts Highlighter, but just in time:-)

I’m married and very happy. I guess saying that makes it kind of suspect, but just trust me on this, life is beautiful. After working in colleges and high schools for the past few years, I have been able to witness the insanity of Valentine’s Day. In five days fifty percent of the couples we encounter will break up simply because some little white kid with wings and a bow and arrow, and his mom, decided to go around hiding in bushes and shooting people with poisoned darts of love. Actually the history of Valentine’s Day is very complex and multifaceted, but that’s not what this is about. If you want to read up on the history of this day go here.

Over the next few days, guys will spend a ridiculous amount of time trying to decide what to buy. They will hit up Jared’s, watch commercials that talk about, every kiss begins with Kay, and they will go to Walgreens and buy old ass chocolates with ready made bows. These dudes will go as far as to use credit cards, which they are late in paying, to take their lovers to eat at the most romantic place on earth, The Olive Garden. Because, as we all know, nothing spells romance like free breadsticks and a waiter named Romeo effing up your fettuccine.

In short dudes will play hard, but get soft, so they can get hard later, only to get soft again (wink wink). Well not really, if they forget to get something they may get hard, but it will be to a video of Pinky or Michelle Tucker, while they sit around talking with their boys about, “I don’t know why she trippin.” The reality is that guys should do something nice for their lovers. My problem is that no one should allow a day to dictate when and how they should celebrate the beauty of a relationship.

I see it like this, those little hard candies with the quotes on them are gross as hell, well the Sweet Tart ones are pretty good, but on average many of the gifts given are not worth the effort. I wake up everyday and admire my wife. I may not say it, but I try to give small hints that express my affection. In Robert Hayden’s poem “Those Winter Sundays” Hayden speaks of the unspoken love a father shows his family and how as a child he overlooked the love that his father was trying to show. I think women, miss out on cues that men give on a daily basis. Then they wait for one day out of the year to be shown respect and affection instead of expecting Valentine’s treatment to be given year round.

In short, a woman will allow a perfectly good relationship to be ruined by a day that was begun by pagans to celebrate spring and fertility. Now this is pretty absurd considering most of the time a woman will not adhere to the guidelines of the original holiday which is to be fertilized. That’s kind of tacky.

I’ve seen high school guys get treated like dirt, after not giving anything. I’ve seen college girls texting in the middle of class, hitting the screen like the person on the other end knows they are mad from the taps on the screen. I’ve seen old dudes act a nut at the store over the last bouquet of roses. All during this time, I have always made it a point not to get into the hype of the day. While I think my wife gets somewhat irritated by this, she realizes that I’m a pretty good guy overall and I think that is the point. I asked a young lady recently if women could live without drama. She stated, “No, there always has to be something going on.” I realized at that point that in many situations where men are called dogs or men are considered no good, women are often overlooking the small signs that men consider important.

When a man cleans up the kitchen, takes out the garbage, earns enough money so that you can go shopping without checking the account, when he decides to get on top, when he shaves because he knows it tickles right there, wait a minute I’m getting off topic. When a man sits and listens to you when you are talking about random ideas, when a man goes shopping so you don’t have to leave the house in the cold, when he goes to clean up the car and it’s freezing, but he doesn’t want you riding dirty, when he goes and does all of the things that are really small, he is being a good Valentine. Anything else on top of that is icing, but this year if you don’t get anything think about what’s happened over the course of the year and if you can come with 3-5 moments where you really thought, “This guy is pretty damn great,” then this Valentine’s Day, how about you get him something or even better why not just let him slide. Maybe he’ll take you out on the 15th, payday.

If you want to read something that gives you hope about relationships, pick up Stages and I promise it will make you feel better.