Saturday, February 7, 2009


Like most people, I get caught up in my own world. As adults, our “To Do” lists are long and time is in short supply. Recently, my only thoughts about Valentines had been, “Oh, great! I’m going to eat way too many of those heart-shaped candies - again.” (I’m a major sugar addict.)

What yanked me out of my little world was the realization that there were people around me with strong emotions attached to Valentines: love, resentment, and rejection. It was a jolt at first because I have no strong emotions attached to the day. I decided eons ago to give up dating until my daughter graduates college, (Mommy duty comes first.) so Valentines became the week I plan for a classroom party, smile at Roses are Red poems my second-grade students create about me in their journals, and try to avoid too many sweets.

I discovered there was an advantage to having no emotional attachment. It has allowed me to look at this topic with an open mind. I began to wonder how both men and women really feel about the day.

I’ll start with a friend from college. She is an attractive woman, who hasn’t yet found a man smart enough for her. (We both love men with high IQs.) She wears black every Valentines. She boycotts the day because she believes it makes single women feel inferior to those in relationships. Is she right?

Another friend said, “No. Every Valentines I think about the promise of a love yet to come.” Perhaps all single women should share this romantic viewpoint – and eat lots of candy in February.

Another writer, who has been married for many years, said she secretly hopes her husband will go out of his way to make the day special. Romantic scenes on TV influenced this hope, but in the end, no matter what her husband does, she is happy he came through. She isn’t the only woman I encountered who felt this way.

The writers I walk with several times a week became a great source of information. One said she always received flowers and candy. I asked if having a standard gift took the pressure off the day and she believes it did. We also agreed that receiving a single rose once a month would mean more than a dozen in February.

I have noticed the happiest women right now are the ones who know their men are taking them away for the weekend. Perhaps a yearly getaway is the secret to making the day special.

Another friend is dreading this holiday because she is in a struggling relationship. She is sure the man in her life won’t do anything to celebrate their love. That made my heart hurt. It reminded me of the men I knew who chose not get anything for their girlfriends, hoping to start an argument and set the stage for a breakup. Did these men make life more difficult for others who might honestly forget due to stressful jobs?

Pondering this thought, I suddenly realized I was glad I wasn’t a guy on Valentines. After conducting my “research,” I came to the conclusion women have it easier. We may stress for a while over what to do to show our men we love them, but in the end, if we bake a special dessert or dress up in a sexy negligee, they appear happy. It can’t be that easy for men.

I have four wonderful brothers who are a wealth of information. I turned to one to get his viewpoint on the subject.

"About Valentines Day. From a man's perspective. I think we men see it as a we remember how to be romantic? And, I'm willing to bet that it's like college all over again...we know the test is coming and we think about it, but we don't actually study for the test until the last second and hope we can pass the test before the material we studied is replaced with more important information. I think we always feel like we're on the spot for Valentines. I also think we feel like we have to compete with years past, as well. For instance, if we somehow manage to pull off the most romantic Valentines Day ever, then what happens next year? Are we supposed to top last year's idea this year? If we don't, is it OK, because we really knocked it out of the park last year or do we have to try to at least be on par with last year, at which point, some men would try to only just barely outdo last year, so as to not set the bar too high this year. So, I guess I would say that I hate it.


So, if Valentines creates so much anxiety, hard feelings, and false expectations, should we boycott the day? No. I still like those heart-shaped candies. LOL Seriously, men and women really need to start talking to each other. First, women need to stop thinking, “But if he loves me, he’ll know what I want.” Enough already - they love you, but they really are from Mars. And men, when the woman in your life asks what you want to do for Valentines, stop saying, “I don’t know.” She is giving you a gift by allowing you to make decisions before the day, thus taking the pressure off. Having this discussion might surprise you. It might also save you a lot of money. I’m willing to bet the woman in your life really just wants to spend time, alone, with you.


Natalie Hatch said...

Tina I believe that Valentines Day is just another Hallmark card day. Hubby and I don't celebrate it. We pick random days throughout the year to show each other we care. A bit like a happy unbirthday surprise type thing.

Donna Hatch said...

I have mixed feelings about it. I'm happily married and I know my husband loves me, but truly, if he does NOTHING for Valentine's day, my feelings get hurt. I mean, come on, couldn't he have come up with a simple way of expressing it? A single rose works. My favorite candy bar works. It doesn't have to be expensive, (in fact, with our current finanical situation, I hope he doesn't spend much) but the thought truly does count and if he does nothing, it tells me he didn't think of me. Maybe that's stupid, but that's my take.

Carol Webb said...

If it wasn't for the chocolate, I just might be tempted to boycott the day... :)

Tina LaVon said...

Natalie,I like the radom days. That is nice.

Donna, you are definately right about the thought counting. My ex didn't get me anything when I was pregnant and I cried. I tried to pretend it didn't matter, but I'm not that good of an actress. He ended up making up for it when we dated after the divorce. He actually took the day off work (miracle), drove hours to get here, then we spent the day together. That became our routine and it was nice.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with both Carol and Natalie. Hubby and I don't do anything that day though I will make a special dinner for the family. The kids are a different story. I use the day as another way to spoil them with gifts and chocolate. (that I end up helping to eat)

Donna Del Grosso said...

I Love Valentine's Day. I'm happily married as well and both of us do a small something to make the day special. Its fun...Why not celebrate???