It’s the middle of February, the time of year when your average American male reaches his annual low point. The Super Bowl is over and Valentine’s Day is looming near. To quote an old line from the TV show Hee Haw (and I almost never quote the TV show Hee Haw) it’s a time of “gloom, despair and agony on me; deep dark depression and excessive misery.”
I have never been a fan of Valentine’s Day. Even as a kid I thought it was stupid that I had to give cards to girls in my class asking them to “Be Mine” or “Be my Valentine” at a time when my main concern about girls was to avoid their cooties. It was a day filled with cute little red and pink hearts, Cupids and those nasty little chalk tasting heart shaped candies with words like “Love” written on them.
For an elementary school boy it was beyond gross ... it was excessive misery!
As a young teenager, it wasn’t much better because even if you did have a crush on a girl and you gave her a Vvalentine’s card or gift you risked rejection or, worse, ridicule if your friends found out. It’s a teenaged boy’s worse nightmare to risk showing affection or even interest in a girl and Valentine’s Day is a trap baiting you into exposing emotion to the cruelest demographic on the planet … other teenagers.
It’s not until later when young men come to realize that Valentine’s Day is a lose/lose situation for them. It’s billed as an opportunity to show your interest in a potential girlfriend or affection for your sweetheart but, in fact, it’s an invitation to losing your girlfriend or losing the chance to have a girlfriend.
If you have a girlfriend, wife or significant other, you take a risk of hurting her feelings if you don’t make a big enough Valentine gesture but at the same time if you go too big she’ll either run away thinking you’re a stalker or become suspicious of what you did wrong that you’re compensating for. If you try to evade the whole business by not giving a Valentine at all you’re destined for some gloom, despair and agony for sure! It’s a classic lose/lose scenario and there’s no escaping.
What’s worse there’s no written guideline to tell you what an appropriate Valentine gift is for any particular stage of a relationship. Each woman gets to decide whether your gift is creepy stalker material, proof of your romantic inadequacy or just plain unworthy. Talk about trying to hit a moving target!!
Believe it or not there’s an even worse scenario that you’ll never see coming; the dreaded accidental confession of eternal love. This is the stuff of nightmares and the storyline of far too many episodes of Dateline. It’s when you give a valentine’s card or gift to a woman you have a casual interest in and she goes full Fatal Attraction stalker on you. Yikes!
For the record I’ve made disappointed, scared or underwhelmed every female have ever given a Valentines Day gift to and I’ve felt the annual gloom despair and agony. I’m tired of giving women this kind of power over our lives! So I’m creating the man’s guide to Vvalentine’s gifts and, if we all stick together, they’ll just be glad we remembered.
For girls you have a casual interest in a nod and a wave from across the room is adequate and safe.
For women you already know but would like to take things to the next level, a card and flowers are perfect.
For a hot woman you think you might have a chance with, an European sports car is a suitable valentine’s gift.
If you have a girlfriend but don’t want to encourage her, dinner and flowers is just enough to get by.
If you’re engaged, a cheap dinner and a small gift are good because you’ve already sprung for a ring and you need to establish lowered expectations now.
For guys married less than 20 years, cook dinner for her and give her a glass of wine … after she does the dishes.
If you’ve been married for more than 20 years, lead with the wine because she’s probably already mad at you then order her favorite pizza and pretend to care about her favorite TV show.
So Happy Valentine’s Day ladies and good luck fellas! Remember that it’s a lose lose situation but try to avoid the excessive misery!
Rick Seley is an award-winning humor columnist. He may be reached at email@example.com.