For mens’ eyes only: The secret to Valentine’s Day

(I know a lot of the below sounds kind of … retro-style. But I don’t care. I speak truth to … gonads.)

If you have a wife or girlfriend, buy her something for Valentine’s Day. (And without being too lavish or stalky about it, you should definitely do the same for someone you’d like to be your Valentine.) You must.

I know Valentine’s Day seems stupid. I know how obnoxious it is to be told by the whole culture that, as some sort of weak, candy-ass proof that you love her, you have to buy your wife or girlfriend flowers and chocolates—the exact same stuff that every other guy is buying his wife or girlfriend, on the exact same day, for the exact same reason, which in any sane world would be universally appreciated as the very opposite of romantic since the whole thing about romantic love is how special and personal and private it’s supposed to be two people and only those two people!

Sigh. I get it. I get the problem with Valentine’s Day. All men do. Men experience Valentine’s Day like they’ve been ordered by the government to wear a tutu, ballet slippers, and bows in their hair. It just feels extremely unnatural. And intrusive. And mostly insultingly obligatory.

The male aversion to Valentine’s Day probably has something to do with testosterone. Maybe. Who knows? Who cares? It is what it is. (Which is the ultimate manly motto, come to think of it. I’m totally putting on my tombstone It Is What It Is.)

If you’re a guy who is repelled by doing Valentine’s Day the way you’re supposed to do it—which is to say the way you know your girlfriend or wife wants you to do it—please consider this advice as totally excellent and correct:

Do. It. Anyway.

Buy your wife or girlfriend roses, a big card with huge scrolling letters all over it, some chocolates in a heart-shaped box, and maybe a cute little stuffed bear. Get whatever of that stuff you can afford—and if you can’t afford anything, make her something, or do something special for her: a massage, fix her toaster, cook her a special dinner, etc. And then, on Valentine’s Day, present whatever you’ve done or gotten her in the most romantic way possible.

And what is the secret to willingly and happily doing those things, you ask? It’s that your wife or girlfriend knows exactly how you feel about Valentine’s Day.

She knows! She knows you hate Valentine’s Day. And she knows why.

Women know men. They know that men enjoy walking down the street carrying roses and a big red heart-shaped box like men enjoy a glass of champagne with their cheeseburger. That’s not what men are. That’s not what men do.

Women know that.

It’s not the roses, the card, the balloon bouquet, or the box of chocolates. None of that really matters to the object of your affection. What matters is that you gave her the roses or card or balloon bouquet. What matters is that you sucked it up. You put aside your own concerns about who you are, and about what you need, and did something that you would have only done because of how much you love her.

You sacrificed! You delivered! You stepped up! You did the manly thing, and made sure that her roses came with a lovely decorative spray of baby’s breath.

You publicly and boldly declared your love for her. Even though doing so was acutely difficult for you. Even though the entire process made you feel awkward, embarrassed, and as uncomfortable as a werewolf at a tea party.

But you didn’t let any of those feelings stop you, did you? No.

You did it anyway. You kept your eye on the prize.

And that, my friend, makes you her hero.

It also makes you really, really cute.


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  • That just made my morning! Giggles and all! 😀

  • Susan Edwards Love via Facebook

    Well, I’m a woman and I feel the same way. Don’t get Valentine’s Day at all. So no flowers or candy necessary here. We’re good.

  • Susan, I agree! I find Valentine’s Day completely obnoxious. But because I’m single, if I express my opinion everyone assumes I’m just bitter 😛

  • Apparently I am marrying a big romantic. I got my engagement ring on Thursday, a pretty nightie on Friday, a shopping excursion on Saturday(cute new shoes!) , a card yesterday and a box of chocolates this morning. He has something planned for tomorrow as well plus a dinner out at a restaurant where the tab will likely send me into shock.

    I am happy blob of gooey mush.

    I suspect my guy is a bit of an exception to the rule, maybe not, as this is a completely new experience for me.

  • Alright, who TOLD?!

  • According to a news blurb I heard yesterday… the average American is going spend something like $127 on Valentine’s Day. Really?

    Guess I’m not average… because I (and my hubs) don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. Earlier in our marriage we did (because everyone else did!) but now we realize forced love on a certain day isn’t what makes a marriage work.

    Come on women… think about it, you have more worth than that. Does your value really come from your man buying the right stuff on the right day?

  • what, right the piece or wear the costume?

  • works for gay couples (and lesbian couples too, I imagine) John, just saying.

  • María Fca Artaza Loyola via Facebook

    Works for any couple…Valentine’s day is obnoxious—but—-as the writer says:Gotta keep your eye on the prize. 🙂

  • I used to do the whole Valentine’s Day thing – chocolate, flowers, teddy bear – the whole nine yards. Now I tell my partners I love them and wait for the day after when every thing is on sale and stock up on chocolate. 😛

  • Just speaking from personal experience of being the one guy who thought gays were exempt.

  • Susan in NY


  • I know, Bob. I just assumed that would be assumed.

  • “,Come on women… think about it, you have more worth than that. Does your value really come from your man buying the right stuff on the right day?”

    Of course not. Some guys are good about showing they care all through the year, but some men do need reminders that their women do enjoy that sappy stuff as a reminder of the love shared. That set day on the calendar, PLUS all that red and pink “stuff the woman might like” right in sight of the beer aisle does help them along a bit.

  • Anne Young via Facebook

    That’s it! I had to share!

  • Ishe Boge via Facebook

    Good one John! Sharing also. Who said men aren’t intuitive …

  • Inacat

    There is a flip side to this – my husband is the romantic, where I am more interested in Brigid than Valentine, and had been more inclined to hand out cards for STD screenings than paper roses as a teen. It was hard, since I don’t wear gold, like roses, or drink champagne. When I tried to warn him before he bankrupted himself trying to please the unwilling- he did the single most romantic thing possible-he asked ‘why?’ and really listened. From that first conversation about beliefs, and our places as men and women in a culture that appreciates neither, a relationship really took root, and we learned from one another, are still learning from one another.

  • How completely romantic and sweet! Congratulations!

  • Love it! Now how to get my husband to understand it? Preferably without hitting him over the head with a bit stick – it’s not the amount of money that’s spent that counts (‘Valentines’ stuff is ludicrously overpriced) – it’s the public display of emotion that really turns us into a pile of gooey mush. 🙂

  • Thanks ya’ll. I am still pinching myself. Didn’t know guys like this one existed.

  • Suz

    “It also makes you really, really cute.”

    “Cute,” and the accompanying warm fuzzies, are good in small doses. Women like Cute, but we aren’t viscerally attracted to it. I recommend adding a little cave-man testosterone to the mix. Receiving gifts makes a woman feel like a queen; on Love Day, she needs a gift from a king, not a grovelling beggar.

    “Wife As Treasured Possession.” Not worshiped, but treasured, protected, and assured of her safety. It one of the things the Bible got right. Anthropologists would agree if they could say it out loud, but it’s not PC enough to keep them employed.

    ps: John, keep eating while on codeine – it should reduce the nausea.

  • Lyn

    Well, I like chocolate. But since I’m the one who handles the checkbook and I HATE spending money on unnecessaries, the idea of the hubby plopping down big bucks on roses that will be dead in a week? Totally not my thing. Buy me a pepper plant or something instead.

    Then again, I’m infamously masculine in my thinking.

  • Connie Roberts-Huth via Facebook

    *LMAO* That was a fun read, John! I guess I’m uber lucky. We don’t typically celebrate Valentine’s Day, simply bc we randomly do these things all year long! Good luck to everyone tomorrow! 😉

  • Chelse

    Loved this article, but I have to add – this goes for LGBT couples as well. I still wear the necklace my girlfriend gave me for our first Valentine’s Day, along with a book of poetry that holds a special place on my bookshelf. Just because the world doesn’t see your relationship as “normal” or “traditional” doesn’t mean these traditions aren’t worth keeping!

  • LSS

    this comes from a specific cultural place. which admittedly is the same cultural place shared by most of the country.

    but still… some of us women were raised so un-romantic that we had to be taught romantic-ness (if that’s a word) by our husbands / boyfriends. or maybe i’m the only one like that?

  • LSS

    that’s so cool!!

  • LSS

    personally, i always wonder what things DON’T same-sex couples have to worry about that hetero couples do have to worry about.

    … just because sometimes we don’t get that described to us because of the gender binary thing?

    for example, it was neat to hear from a gay friend that same-sex couples don’t have that “well you just think that because you’re a guy!” or “because you’re a woman” thing that straights get bogged down in sometimes. which is sometimes unuseful, since often a person does whatever just because they are themself, not because of gender.

  • Nicole

    Why are you writing??!! *wags finger at John* Rest that hand, boy!

  • Inacat

    I’m not unromantic, but I got raised to question what was romantic about mass-produced jewelry, or a box of chocolates that someone else picked out…so I have loved the process of DH and I exploring what romance means to one another, and that process helps it be a year-round kinda thing : )

  • Last year on Valentine’s Day we were in the middle of the haze of new love. Blissful, exciting and romantic. We had dinner plans, he showed up with flowers and candy, which was so sweet and old-fashioned and unexpected. I had gotten him a book on Polynesian pillow talk which had been on his favorites list on Amazon. 😀 He was touched as it seems his ex felt that Valentine’s Day was more a day for the man to give gifts and the woman to accept the gifts, not give something to the man.

    This year we are and old married couple instead of brand new lovers. We are still blissful and madly in love. I know I will probably get candy I shouldn’t eat and flowers I will adore, and hopefully he will like what I got him this year. Our Valentine’s evening will consist of takeout food and my kids saying “Ewwwww, that’s gross!” every time we kiss.

  • Doesn’t have to be chocolates, flowers, or teddy bears. You could check her wishlist on Steam and get her something from that. Maybe she doesn’t have Skyrim yet. Or you could watch a nice romantic comedy with her, like The Empire Strikes Back.

  • Brent Boyd via Facebook

    Forget Valentine’s Day, I’m just waiting for the day after when the chocolates go on sale. 🙂

  • Brena

    So true. There is something about joining in a long line of tradition that adds a layer of meaning to special days. Being non-traditional is hardly the same as not valuing tradition.

  • I think it would really show you cared if you dressed as cupid to deliver the goods 🙂

  • Brena

    Way to throw the curve-balls Lyn! That is romance to us, paying attention to us.

  • Amy

    Nope, I’m also unromantic. It’s taken 15 years of marriage, but this year I’m doing all the fun stuff to shower my husband with love. He gets to sit back, relax, and be the one to receive the romantic surprises I have planned.

  • Funny and true

  • Christie L.

    How about a love letter? No need to spend anything… 🙂

  • Susan in NY

    Last year, my bf gave me a wok and a lovely card. I loved it.

  • I’m with Brent

  • Personally I know we don’t have the money for that kind of thing and I am happy with him just telling me Happy Valentines and kissing me sweetly but then I am one of a kind and very low maintenance.

  • cat rennolds

    We are taking the baby with us to browse Home Depot. If there are roses involved, I guarantee you they won’t be dead in a week. The last roses he bought me are 30 feet high and eating the house.

  • Good try, I still refuse!

  • Personally I HATE VALENTINES DAY. I hate all the cliches and the force of spending on a bunch of red and pink stuff I don’t want. Roses which are my least favorite flower, Cheap waxy chocolate, Restraunts that are filled to the brim. No do like what my husband did. In the middle of summer he called the radio station that he knew was on in the break room where I worked and dedicated a musical six pack to me and when he picked me up he had a potted orchid with him. Why did he do this just because.

  • There is not right or wrong way to be kind and loving.

  • John, you’re so cute when you’re in a drug haze! Thanks for the lift.

  • Just say NO!!! Been married over 20 and DO not celebrate Valentine’s day. Over rated.

  • Karen DeSemple

    Personally, thank you!!! You’re spot on; we know you hate it. The fact that you recognize the day means the world to us. It’s the same reason we watch football/basketball/Nascar with you. We hate it but we do it because we love you. Valentine’s is not so much about making me “look” good as it is about taking my sweetheart into consideration. He’d be ecstatic if I bought him new pedals for his mtn bike; I’d be ecstatic if he bought me new gardening gloves. It’s not about the flowers and the candy and the _________. It’s simply about showing someone else that you notice the small things that make them happy.

  • HJ

    How come directed at men? What shall a gay gal do for another gay gal?

    Not that it really matters I suppose, Valentine’s stuff makes me want to gag.

  • If this is the most difficult thing a straight man has to do all year, my last ounce of sympathy for you all just vanished. However, the basic advice of “you don’t feel comfortable, but it’s important to do something uncomfortable for your loved one” can be lifted out and used by us all. I think in the straight world Valentine’s Day and Super Bowl Sunday cancel each other out, as sacrificial holidays .

  • Ruthie

    Special addendum:

    Some of you gentlemen are lucky enough to have a girl who hates Valentine’s Day. First, congrats! All your other dude friends are totes jealous. Second, if this is your first V-Day together, buy her something modest anyway just to make sure she wasn’t “just saying it.” (Yeah, sometimes women only say that when they don’t really mean it, no it’s not fair, yards yadda.) If she complains or is actually irritated, you can take her word for it next time. Lastly, even if she hate hate hate HATES V-Day, get her something small to indicate you thought of her. (A single bar of her favorite candy. A slurpee. A $.99 iTunes gift card. Something.)

    Good luck !

  • Sharla

    Right now my husband is laid up with an on-the-job injury. He can’t drive so I don’t expect him to have visited the florist and gotten a nice bouquet and a doodad (last year it was a cute penguin to sit on my desk). We’ll be going to a doctor’s appointment tomorrow afternoon and surgery Wednesday morning, but we might get to have a nice dinner in between. I’m okay with that. I know how he feels about me every day of the year.

  • Will be married for 15 years this year. We do not celebrate Valentines Day. If you accept each other, take care of each other everyday, in ways both small and large, Valentines Day is redundant. Will flowers on that day make me smile? Sure. But so will taking my car to the gas station for a fill up on a random day–just ’cause. I’ll take the just ’cause stuff any day.

  • Heather Lantry via Facebook

    We (15 yrs) always say we aren’t doing anything, and always do something (small, usually homemade) anyway. It’s only stupid and commercial if you let it be. Otherwise, it’s a day set aside just for saying ‘I love you,’ and there’s nothing wrong with that. Very nice article, Mr. Codeine. Feel better soon!

  • cat rennolds

    ‘Cause John’s a man. So to translate for ya, a gay girl does whatever the other gay girl would like her to do:) Within reason;)

  • Diana

    Keep the roses, the balloons (both of which I’ll have to throw out later when they die), the chocolate and the poofy card. What do women really want? For someone to do the dishes. Do the dishes without complaint or grousing or being told to. Just do them.

    And if the sons do them, bonus points.

  • cat rennolds

    Yes, but I want them done ALL the time. as a matter of course. (I’ll do the laundry). THEN on Valentine’s if you give us a present, it’s a special occasion and not a guilt offering.

  • Gary Dunn

    I only started out with one thought but after reading the comments, here’s my second comment first “What a bunch of cranky people”

    My “boyfriend” of 16 years ( Yes, he’s gay) and I look forward to any reason to show our love with a gift. It’s never extravagant an rarely new. For a while we gave each other a Hawaiian shirt every Aloha Friday, yes every Friday. We now live in a 2 bedroom with a 12′ x 12′ walk in closet with 2 rows of rods per wall. Anyway, for tomorrow I have several Hawaiian shirts, a couple of older records (yes, he has a record player) and several books. We will have a great dinner of leftovers from the roast chicken and veggies He’s making tonight and then go to a Wine/Chocolate Tasting followed by a cd release concert by some friends of ours. I hope everyone has a great Valentine’s Day ! Oh did I mention we were introduced at a Mountain Rainbow Valentines Dance, ‘nough said.

  • Gary Dunn

    P.S. Can I say that picture is SO GAY !

  • No.

    Okay, yes.

  • I am going to get my wife exactly — and I mean EZZACTLY — what she ordered me to get her, which is nothing. I might get away with finding a nice power tool and wrapping it for her, but I very much doubt that I’d get away with the offense of giving her flowers, a frilly card, or any other such fluff

  • Diana A.


  • Diana A.

    Yeah John! Rest that hand, boy! (But it was a good blog post!)

  • Sara

    LOL Diana, my sweet hubby does the dishes – and all the cooking, laundry and vacuuming – anyway. If he doesn’t come through with chocolate, he’s still the bestest husband God could have ever found for me. But chocolate would be the crowning touch 😉

  • haha I’m a lady with a fiance, and he always gets me what I want- which is NOTHING. I hate it for ALL of the reasons you list! So instead of being shallow gift mongers that others in my gender tend to be, I prefer to treat it as any other day- i’m going to work, going to the chiropractor, and coming home to enjoy the same amount of love, showed the same sweet ways- as I enjoy every day from my guy. i’d prefer he didn’t show me a forced, commercialized display of “love” . Buying me the same crap that everyone else is getting is ridiculous. save the money for something that matters.

  • I’m making French toast for breakfast, because it’s Amy’s favorite.

    I’m roasting a turkey for supper because … you know, turkey is pretty much self-justifying, I think.

    Other than that, most of what we’re doing is so that the kids have a sense of Valentine’s Day.

  • My girlfriend of three years thought of the perfect Valentine’s Day gift that will make ~both~ of us happy. We’re both nerds who love playing Magic: The Gathering (card game, for those not in the know), and tomorrow our local game shop is hosting a type of tournament that uses cards from my favorite block (series, release, however you say it). She came to me with this idea like she does with most things- open, honest, transparent. Which is how I like it, because I don’t want either of us being stuck participating in some stupid ritual neither of us enjoy or invest in.

    So while I appreciate your sentiments, John, and agree with a lot of what you’ve said about sacrifice and making time for your partner, not everyone wants the same kind of treatment on holidays like this. Plus speaking in gendered terms for ~any~ occasion is bound to be counter-intuitive and backfire on several people by following through with assumptions and stereotypes. Thank you for all that you do, but I think that the best advice for something like this is to tailor it to your personal relationship. Because if she came at me with something pink and fuzzy that I couldn’t immediately eat, I’d look at her like she was crazy, because she knows me better than that. Thankfully, she does, so we’ll be queerly, romantically nerding it up tomorrow.

  • So much yes. And I love the hell out of it. Kudos to you guys for making it your own!

  • Hannah

    I’m not sure wanting gifts is shallow. Not everyone wants a diamond. It’s about being shown that you’re loved, not getting free stuff. I’d rather someone write me a poem or a song than buy me a bunch of jewellery. I’m with you on disliking consumerism, but I don’t think you can say women are just shallow- that’s a bit sexist. There are a lot of deep women- not just you.

    It comes down to knowing someone. Basically,if you let them know you love them throughout the year, they’ll probably be less in need of a big celebration. But if you’re one of those “still waters run deep”, less affectionate kind of people, they might appreciate it if you soften up just for a day, to let them in on your love for them.

  • Here in Korea, Valentine’s Day is backwards: Women buy goodies for the men they want to impress. March 14th is the day on which ”turnabout is fair play.” Men get a month to think it over, I guess. That said, my student who just returned from a year in America brought me a candy bar. 🙂

  • Diana A.

    I think there’s a lot of truth to this, especially your last paragraph.

  • a prejoinder (written before your blog, get it?) from my friend Sandhya Jha and Emily Schuster in a blog from several years ago:
    “Some people argue that Valentine’s Day gets some people off their butts and forces them to spoil their significant other. Well, guess what. If you need a commercially created holiday to do that, your relatioship needs more help than a pricey meal and some flowers can offer.”

  • Nice legs …

  • (Um. Nobody thinks that’s picture is of ME, right?


  • Lyn

    Well, in many ways, the hubby and I are gender-flipped. All those jokes about what men like about sex vs. what women like? I’m the guy, he’s the gal. So when I see articles about what women want/need in a relationship? I read them to see what I might need to do for him. So I’m the one who needs to do the gushy card and flowers and chocolates thing, only he’s watching his weight, so no chocolates, and isn’t much for flowers. So, you know, hot sauce and candles instead, but same idea.

  • pdq

    Meh. The ‘secret’ to doing it right is simply paying attention. Buying crap does nothing more than feed the advertising corporate monster.

  • vj

    The non-conformist in me HATES doing things just because everyone else is [supposedly] doing the same things…. My husband and I make more of a fuss over our wedding anniversary; I appreciate all the things he does for me during the year so much more than the trappings of a commercialized event.

    BUT, I suppose the main point is that, IF you KNOW that your significant other would feel loved and appreciated by a ‘traditional’ Valentine’s Day experience (or whatever), then you should make an effort to do whatever that is, EVEN if it’s not what you would necessarily want for yourself – the demonstration of love is in the willingness to put the other’s desires ahead of your own. So, great relationship advice, again! Thanks, John.

  • LSS

    i think doing what the person really likes is the really romantic thing. if they haven’t a romantic bone in their body, maybe a lawnmower is romantic for them?!

    i personally really dig LOUD Hawaiian shirts and i bet you guys look splendid in them. my husband even likes them, but the ones with muted colors.

  • LSS

    wait what?? i thought it was.

  • LSS

    i got my dh skyrim, it was the best videogame i ever got him (it lasts a really long time). sometimes i wish i were a gamer, too, then i could play a kaajiit or however you spell the catpeople.

  • LSS

    YES… like what stuff do you like just because you actually like it. totally.

  • LSS

    that’s cool, what is fun for you both is the best!

  • LSS

    that’s so cool, the fact that it works out so well

  • LSS

    “It’s about being shown that you’re loved, not getting free stuff.” yeah cos once i dated this guy who would bring me presents that were the free advertising samples that he got from companies. somehow it never seemed romantic, not so much because he got them for free but because he didn’t care enough to actually find things i would actually like…

    my husband is out of work, so he doesn’t actually have separate money, but he will make the effort to find something i would like, even if we use the money from my salary to buy it (like a CD) or to do it (like eating out). but the stuff he just does generally is even more romantic than gifts, because he takes care of me a lot.

  • LSS

    nobody has mentioned this yet so i will. i think another nonstandard but very useful valentine behaviour is to take care of your partner’s mental health. i was having a really really strange weekend after we met with our shrink on friday, and my husband was taking care of me the whole time. every time i would get ornery because of anxiety, he would just remember what was happening and give me a hug instead of getting mad, too. he cooked a nice experimental recipe and he even dragged me to starbucks on sunday to make sure i finished all my grading (which is really hard when i can’t concentrate). i felt so much less anxiety because he was just trying to be with me and help me. i don’t care if we go out tonight, but he wants to. which is cool and i think it will be really nice because we figured out which place isn’t busy LOL

  • LSS

    that’s really funny but some straight guys don’t like football and some straight women don’t demand roses. i am so glad to be in a gender-non-conforming relationship. if all straights had to be like that, i think i might be forced to switch sides.

  • Sharla

    Update: He sent me flowers anyway, even though he wasn’t able to get out to the shop to choose them himself. Occasionally he still surprises me, even after 18 years together…

  • Blah blah blah….wha wha wha! I think its awesome to have another national day of love. Me and my hubby love celebrating Valentines Day with the family. Its fun, and its just a day of affirmation.

  • Lena Kendall via Facebook

    In four years, my fiancee & I have never done anything. He buys me flowers when he finds my favorites (hate red roses), finally had to tell him to buy a PLANT, lol. This Valentines day, we are finally going to go out(if we can find a place), or have a candle lit dinner at home.. Hope ya feel better John

  • Barb Walters Harris via Facebook

    I want nothing for Valentine’s. Day that I don’t normally get…

  • Marjanna

    Yes. You nailed it. I’m printing this out for my husband.

  • Val P.

    I thought this article was GREAT. And so totally true. My husband absolutely hates Valentine’s day for all the reasons John listed- and I KNOW he hates doing all this, and he does it anyway for me. Which makes him just about the perfect husband.

    This year he posted one of my favorite Queen videos on my FB page, with a mushy little message. Love, for all the world to see. That’s an easy year’s worth of brownie points right there ! (oh, and he bought me roses….from the nearby cemetery, because they were having a big Valentine’s day sale! Practical too!) Like I said, he’s just about perfect 🙂

  • now i’m insanely curious what Sarita said that merited removal! hope you feel better, John.

  • No, I didn’t remove your comment. Comments here get transferred to the blog itself; that way, when I repost the link to a piece here , I can delete the previous link — which takes with it all comments left here. Make sense? I only rarely delete comments; someone has to be truly offensive for me to do that.

  • Ashley C

    So, you think that every one else doesn’t make a fuss over their anniversary? Same principal, just happens to be a different day for different couples.

  • Diana A.

    Well John, at least the hand injury and codeine haven’t caused you to lose your sense of humor!

  • Ashley C

    Yeah, I still want chocolate.

  • Diana A.

    In all honesty, I think there are more women who like football than men who demand roses–but I could be wrong.

  • Allie

    No one can be on their best behavior all the time. It’s why we have seasons and holidays in the first place. If your best behavior means doing the dishes and buying her a power tool, or a box of chocolates and a bottle of champagne by the fire, either is fine. What matters is this is a day for making a special effort. And yes, people do have to be told to make a special effort. That’s why it’s a SPECIAL effort. Maybe you make a pretty outstanding effort on ordinary days. This is for doing what would exhaust you if you had to keep it up all the time.

    I’m a big fan of relationships that go both ways, which is why today I am doing my hair the way he likes that I think makes me look like a refugee from the 80’s and sitting with him while he plays Kingdoms of Amalaur. In return so far I have gotten the perfect cheese sandwich and one hour of snuggling in front of a fire he laid and lit. We’re just getting started.

  • vj

    um, I never said anything about what other people do on their anniversaries? I happen to think that a couple’s anniversary is a more meaningful day to make a special romantic fuss than 14 February, which seems to *me* to be all about PRESSURE to behave exactly like everybody else on exactly the same day for no reason that makes sense to me. Of course, for some couples 14 Feb may in fact be a day of special significance beyond the fact that it is Valentine’s Day (perhaps the anniversary of when *they* met/got engaged/married, rather than a massively commercialized undertaking).

    I have zero problems with any person choosing to celebrate any day in any way which is meaningful to them for any reason, I just PERSONALLY get a bit edgy about any expectations to conform to some sort of universal ideal/fantasy of what a special romantic celebration (even my anniversary) should look like – different people have different tastes.

  • vj

    Amen! There is really such liberty for both partners when we can get to this level of maturity (in ourselves and in our relationship).

  • jeez, straight men are so lucky … if I showed up with candy/balloon/roses/similar, my Gaycard would be suspended. Men expect Meat … as in horrifically expensive dinner out, gorgeous home-cooking, and/or mutual hummers while channel surfing. And in every case, don’t forget the candles.

  • BarbaraR

    My then-boyfriend-now-husband was shocked – shocked, I tell you! – when, nine years ago, I gave him a valentine and present on Valentine’s Day. He had been laboring under the misconception that it was not really important, a sort of faux-holiday you see on the calendar like Sweetest Day or Ember Day and was completely unprepared. He suggested that evening that we go out to dinner… I assured him that was impossible at 7 PM on The Day Itself. This also surprised him.
    We have made some progress since then.

  • Jill

    I’d be more interested in your version.

  • Scott Amundsen

    We’re on a budget so instead of dinner out, we decided to do lunch at our favorite restaurant. Same quality of food but a smaller tab.

    (And I got him something too but I am keeping it a secret. 🙂 )