Love Valentine's Day, Men Are From Mars
by Mad Dog
and women see Valentine’s Day very differently. Right, like they
don’t see just about everything differently. Only the stakes are much
higher on Valentine’s Day.
Valentine’s Day, and just as New Year’s Eve makes us think about our
past accomplishments and future goals, and Easter makes us wonder what
the hell rabbits are doing sneaking around during the middle of the
night hiding multi-colored hard boiled chicken eggs, February 14th
conjures up thoughts of romance, dreamy candlelight gazes, and “Is it
5:30 already? I sure hope the drug store still has a 25-lb. heart-shaped
box of chocolates without a dent in it!”
Yes, men and women see Valentine’s
Day very differently. Right, like they don’t see just about everything
differently. Only the stakes are much higher on Valentine’s Day.
It’s like the final exam for a relationship except there’s no book
you can study, no CliffsNotes to memorize, not even a Classics
Illustrated to read in five minutes. There are movies which would give a
guy a good idea of what the day is all about but there’s just no way
he’s going to sit through it since The Rock isn’t in it. Thus,
we’re on our own.
A woman’s idea of the perfect
Valentine’s Day is to wake up to breakfast in bed with a dozen red
roses in a vase on the nightstand. When she goes out to the car
there’s a bouquet of red balloons tied to the antenna that all say
“I Love You.” At work there’s another floral arrangement — the
largest in the tri-state area — sitting on her desk. Dinner is at the
most romantic restaurant in town where a strolling violinist plays her
favorite song tableside, the night ending with a glass of champagne in
front of a roaring fire.
3-1/2 cards for every man, woman, and child in this country. That’s an
awful lot of trees being chopped down just so men don’t have to sleep
on the couch for a week.
A man’s idea of the perfect Valentine’s Day is to wake up and
find out it’s been cancelled.
Men, having an inexhaustible ability
to rationalize, love to say, “I don’t need to set aside a special
day to show you how I feel. It’s the same every day.” This is true,
since as a species we’re incapable of showing our feelings 365 days a
year. You have to admit, if nothing else we’re consistent. Woman, on
the other hand, enjoy the trappings of Valentine’s Day — the flowers
that die in two days, the candy that makes them feel fat and ugly for
weeks, and the big stuffed heart filled with sneeze-inducing ragweed
pollen. Small gestures, but ones that make them very happy.
How did all this get started, anyway?
It turns out that Valentine’s Day is named after Saint Valentine who,
according to which story you want to believe, was one of two different
third century Christian martyrs, each supposedly executed on February
14th. Now there’s a reason to celebrate.
Over the years Valentine’s Day has
metamorphosed from a wake to the second largest card-sending day of the
year, the first of course being Election Day, when every person who’s
been dead since the 14th century somehow mails in an absentee ballot.
Well, in Chicago anyway. Experts estimate that over a billion
Valentine’s Day cards will be exchanged this year, which is 3-1/2
cards for every man, woman, and child in this country. That’s an awful
lot of trees being chopped down just so men don’t have to sleep on the
couch for a week.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t begin
to count the number of times I’ve won the heart of a woman by leaning
over a romantic dinner table, taking her hands in mine, gazing deep into
her eyes, and saying, “My darling... do good.”
While flowers are highly prized by women as a gesture of love,
men are more prone to buy Sweethearts. These, in case you haven’t been
in the seasonal aisle of a drug or grocery store since the day after
Christmas, are the tiny tasteless candy hearts that have such romantic
sayings stamped on them as “Be Mine”, “Kiss Me”, and “Get My
Drift.” At least they do when they’re readable. And yes, I said
“Get My Drift.”
Each year the New England
Confectionery Company (better known as Necco) puts new slogans on their
candy hearts. That’s because there’s nothing like giving a loved one
a great big bag of chalky hearts with outdated messages to say, “Hey,
they were cheaper than usual because they’re last year’s.” In the
past the company has added such heart-melting sentiments as “IM Me,”
“What’s Up,” and "Diva." This year’s 8 billion hearts
— which comes to 26 for every person in the country — will feature
weather and nature-related sayings such as "In A Fog,"
"Nature Lover," and "Do Good." I don’t know about
you, but I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve won the
heart of a woman by leaning over a romantic dinner table, taking her
hands in mine, gazing deep into her eyes, and saying, “My
So you see, contrary to what die-hard
romantics like Jane Seymour and Camille Paglia say, love really has
changed over the years. What hasn’t changed is the fact that if you
don’t get your butt out and buy your wife, girlfriend, or any woman
you ever hope to speak to again in your life a present, you might as
well disconnect your phone, change your email address, and join a
monastery. And don’t bother IM’ing them from there to tell them to
do good. It will be too late.
©1999, 2008 Mad Dog
Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
These columns appear in better newspapers across the country. Read them instead of the Sweethearts.