I’ve never been big on Valentine’s Day.
I consider it one of the “manufactured” holidays, designed to make money for a variety of commercial interests, including florists, greeting card designers, makers of cheap candy and stuffed animals. And it comes up too soon after the Christmas/ Hanukkah/Kwanzaa trio, when we’re all still regretting what we ate, what we spent and what we said to Uncle Joe at the family dinner. Not even a two-month breather, and here come the satin heart boxes, the loopy cards and everything sweet wrapped in some shade of red.
Here’s the deal: I can’t think of anything I need, and not much I want. Oh, I have a short list of items I’d like, mainly things to replace other things that are outdated, like a couple of pairs of shoes, a new cell phone and a new bike. But I can live with what I have, and feel pretty lucky to have it. It’s not that the last few months have taught me what’s important; I’ve always known that the things that count aren’t things at all.
I’d like to be spared bad gifts on Valentine’s Day. Every woman knows what I mean by bad gifts. Appliances are bad gifts, even if it’s a personal hygiene appliance that you need. Clothes are usually bad gifts, even if it’s the classic lingerie, because they tend to be items that turn out to be too small, too itchy and highly likely to disappear into bodily orifices where they don’t belong. And even if a woman is handy, tools are bad gifts. I don’t care if the lady can change a flat tire, replace a gutter and unclog the toilet all at the same time, she will call you a name that ends in “bag” if you buy her anything that can go in a toolbag. Oh, and forget those gifts “for the two of you.” Fellas, this is not about you.
What does a woman want for Valentine’s Day? Words, either verbal or in a card, that tell her she’s special. Flowers are nice, especially if sent to her office (the better to piss off her coworkers). Candy is dandy if she can have it (and no getting on her case at a later time about her weight). Jewelry is good if she has a special item in mind.
But what my friends says matters most is the hope of spending time together. Not a nice dinner out, not a fancy date, not the gifts. Just hang-out time, just as husband and wife or the whole family. Most of them say they are too tired and too busy to make any big deal out Valentine’s Day, and simple works for them. Skipping the fancy in favor of the family, even when it’s a family of two, seems to be the theme. I appreciate the idea, and plan on going with it.
But The Husband still better have chocolate waiting when I get home on Tuesday. Oh, and no dirty socks on the floor. I mean, I don’t ask for much.