Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Boy, do I ever love Valentine's Day

It's not just that Valentine's Day is a Hallmark holiday, created by flower shops and Laura Secord (the store, not the woman). Truly, just about every holiday is a fabricated holiday, even Christmas. The idea of buying copious amounts of presents for everyone you know probably didn't come from Jesus. It more likely came from Macy's. So I don't really have a problem with Valentine's Day being another one of those made-for-the-economy holidays.

And it's not that the purported purpose of the day is different from the way it is actually celebrated. I know, some couples do things for each other, and it's all give and take, and so forth. But in 90 percent of cases, it's no longer a day where couples celebrate their love, or the fact they're still together, or that they have found someone to tide them over until someone better comes along. Now it's a day where men do stuff for women. That's it. You're a guy, it's Valentine's Day, it's your job to do stuff. Is there a day for us? Nope. Talk to a woman, she can tell you exactly what was given to her the past twelve Valentines, where she went, what she did. A man can barely tell you the date.

The big problem I have is that it's a day to force you to do something romantic with your significant other. Is forced romance really romantic? Or just irritating? There is a reason Valentine's Day is the number one day of the year when people break up. When the expectations are that you must do something sweet and tender with your partner, and you just can't muster up the fortitude to sit through it, breaking up is easiest. I suppose it's a good thing, ending relationships that weren't meant to be.

I always maintained there was a terrific stretch of the year where getting together and breaking up were no-brainers. You break up before Christmas, so there's none of that awkward gift-giving and receiving scenario with someone you're not sure about. That gives you Christmas off, and you have a week. New Years comes soon, and you're guaranteed to hook up again with someone on New Years Eve. You date that person for a month, and break up just before Valentine's Day, avoiding that whole minefield. And then, you go out on the 14th, and bang! Yet another day where you're guaranteed to find someone else.

There are five days in the year where you're guaranteed to get some when you go out. Hallowe'en is easy, because you just pick out the girls in the dirtiest costumes (look for the red devil). St. Patty's Day, everyone is celebrating their Irish heritage, be it fake or real, and a great mood means a great night. Canada Day follows the same pattern, but the addition of patriotic fever makes it that much easier. Best day of the year. And then New Years Eve and Valentine's Day. New Years Eve because there the built-in tool of finding someone to kiss at midnight, and Valentine's because all single girls wish, if only for one night, that they weren't single.

So my anti-Valentine's Day (when you're a couple) sentiments have been tempered with pro-Valentine's Day (when I'm single) sentiments. But this year I was stunned. I actually received a gift from my girlfriend! And it was well though out, and something I wanted! She got me Grand Hotel and The Thin Man. I know, un-romanitc, eh? Exactly. Not romantic, not scented candles or embroidered pillows, just something I actually wanted but was too lazy to go and get for myself. This is what a day like this should be about, if that day has to exist at all.

She also got me the worst Valentines card ever, with a stupidly cute cat on the front that said "Truly, Sweetly, You complete me". Which would have made me furious if she did not also acknowledge the fact that it was the worst card in the world. She appealed to my sense of irony AND my sense of laziness, all in one day. And it was the day BEFORE Valentines. Another point for her. Good stuff.

So to repay her, I will spend actual Valentine's Day working, doing a live commercial at Powersports (Hunt Club and Prince of Wales) for the Ottawa Hospital Lottery's early bird draw. Then I will return home to give her a gift. I just hope she likes her shop-vac.


  1. My wife and I gave up on Valentine's Day years ago. Sometimes we get each other card, other times we don't, and that's about it. This year, though, I got a star dedicated to her. Corny and geeky at the same time. She thought it was pretty cool. :)

  2. Wife and I only exchange cards between ourselves. We don't get a card from the dogs/cats/kids to each other.

    Tonight we'll watch the game with a bowl of popcorn. I'll fart and she'll slap me.

    We know we love each other, we don't have to give each other a diamonds just to prove it.

    Here's an interesting story, surprised Ottawa ByLaw police haven't tried to implement it.

  3. As you said Valentine's Day is a holiday for the women, so here is the fabricated holiday answer for the men:

  4. Not bad guys. This all seems like the best way to go about Valentines Day. Too bad it has a nice ring to it. "Valentine". If only we could name "steak and bj day" something classy, we'd be alright. "Chamomile Day" or something.

  5. From the Diary of BenHalper:

    Met up with Skunk at the Robin Hood. Some problem he’s got. Not! He’s been dating Karen (babe, 8/10) for over 9 months now and it’s her birthday next Saturday.
    “Nine months is a funny time in a relationship, “ he told me whilst sipping his normal Cider and Blackcurrant. “You see, it’s between nine months and a year when women start gassing about ‘where is our relationship going’, and ‘oooh isn’t that a nice diamond ring.’ It’s the time when us men have to decide if she is worth dodging the continual questions about ‘commitment’ or getting her to sling her hook and find another bit of fluff.”
    I hate it when he calls Karen a bit of fluff. She is so baberiscious. I could certainly show her a good time without any of his sexist nonsense.
    Anyhow he went on, “Well, it’s her birthday, and I want to get her something nice that says I’m still interested but without saying too much, you know?”
    I just nodded; Skunk has always enjoyed talking. He never really needs a listener just an audience.
    “Well with 9 months being so awkward it’s damn hard to find the just right present.”
    “What did you get your previous girlfriends at 9 months?” I asked.
    “That’s just it, normally their birthdays come up at after just a few months, or I dump them before the 9 months comes round, you know?
    If you’ve been dating for only a few months then chocolates and flowers is more than enough. If you’ve been dating for over a year, then it’s obviously a serious relationship and you start buying her nice and expensive presents like a necklace, you know?”
    “So, what’s the problem?”
    “At nine months if you buy he chocolates or flowers then you look cheap, you know? Buy her an expensive bit of jewellery and if you break up, then you’ve wasted all that money, you know? What do you think I should get her?”
    “Why are you worried about money, you’re loaded?”
    “Yeah, well, once you start buying expensive presents, it will never end, you know? So, what do I get her?”
    “How the hell should I know? How about two boxes of chocolates and two bunches of flowers?”
    “Don’t be silly, then she will think I have no idea what she wants.”
    “Well you don’t!” I sipped at my beer.
    “That’s not the point and you know it. It’s got to be something nice, but not really nice. Or really naff.”
    “Ok then, how about underwear?” I suggested.
    “Too 80’s. Plus I have to go out and buy it. Too embarrassing. You know?”
    “Theatre? That new Andrew Lloyd-Webber play is in London now.”
    “Yeah she loves musicals, but it’s too damn expensive, and I’ll have to dress up.”
    “Romantic day trip to the seaside?”
    “Oh please! People only go to the seaside to rent one of them B and B places out to shag in. Too tacky.”
    We sat there thinking and drinking. After we finished our pints, I went to get two more. Returning I asked. “What ideas had you come up with?”
    “Well, earrings. But that seemed too cliché. I also thought about tickets to the football. But she hates football.” I could relate to that, I hate football too.
    We talked about this for a couple of hours and finally came up with Chocolates, Flowers and a trip to the Races.

  6. Yesterday had a brain fart:

    "So I got my wife a card for Halloween."
    "Uh, don't you mean Valentines?"
    "Well if you see what she looks like you'd agree it was Halloween."