Why Guys Hate Valentine’s Day

Category: Weekly Columns

No one could ever accuse me of being too PC (politically correct).  I’m always willing to also address the inherent differences between the sexes, in honest and frank ways. Not only do I hate Valentines Day, I hate using the word, “gender” in place of “sex” when referring to men and women.  Sometimes I use “gender” just to avoid the letters I’m bound to receive from the PC police, but since I’m taking on Valentine’s Day, I might as well go for it all at once.

The reality is that men and women are different.  Most married couples learn this pretty quickly.  Then, if they have children, that learning process speeds up ever so much faster.  If they are blessed with having boys and girls, they graduate to a full understanding of how much the sexes are inherently different unless, of course, they’ve attended a women’s studies graduate program.  Then, they actually might believe that if you give a little girl a toy truck she’ll enjoy it as much as a little boy would a toy doll.

But, those parents I referred to earlier know exactly what happens when you do that.  The little boy will tear off the toy dolls head, while the little girls will name the toy truck some cute name and take very good care of it.

Now, while I’m making these gross generalities and potentially irritating some readers, I’ll acknowledge that there are obviously exceptions to everything I’ve just written.  But generalities, just like clichés, become generalities because they are generally true, just as clichés become clichés because of their ubiquity.  I just love that word.

The reason why guys hate Valentine’s Day, “generally,” is very much because of the inherent differences between men and women, which is why women love Valentine’s Day so much.  There is no day that more dramatizes our differences than Valentine’s Day.  The pressure men feel is so intense that most men would rather go to war than face the wrath of choosing the wrong gift, making the wrong plans, or in any way messing up on what we know is this extra special day to our women.

The fact that we don’t get it is irrelevant.  We are smart enough to know “they” do.  The bombardment from Madison Avenue most certainly doesn’t help.  We just survived the Christmas and New Year’s holidays when the jewelers start torturing us with their commercials.  And those guys in those commercials seem to know exactly what to do!

Hallmark begins with their treacle commercials that nauseate many men.  Then, our women begin with the hints.  The problem is that our women’s hints are so subtle that they go over our heads.  Women, pay attention, please.  If you don’t hit us over the head, we won’t get the hint.  Trust me on this, I beg you!

The fun continues for us in the card shop.  Do we get a funny one; do we get a serious one?  Do we get one of those musical cards, but what is her favorite song of the moment?  Flowers?  I don’t remember which color rose is her favorite!  Does she even like roses? Flowers just make no sense to me.  They die in a few days.  What kind of sense does that make?  Besides, the vacuum is on its last legs.  Wouldn’t that make more sense?

Okay, I’m not that lame.  I wish that would work, as it is practical.  But, it won’t.  I think she gave me a hint about something, the other day, but I’m not so sure.  It probably was jewelry as it usually is, but I can’t tell the difference between a good piece of jewelry and cubic zirconium.  Heck, for the price of a good diamond, we could get a new flat screen TV and spend hours watching Monday Night Football or even those silly romantic comedies my wife loves so much.  What’s wrong with that?

Everything, and I know it.  And, it’s those differences that make the sexes work, those differences that make it all so interesting, so much fun, and so frustrating at times.  Jewelry.  What is it good for…absolutely nothing.  Where is Edwin Starr* when I need him?

I really do hate Valentine’s Day, and most guys hate Valentine’s Day.  But, when I get it right, I’m  happy, because then my wife’s happy, then she makes my life pretty happy and, to quote her, “Happy wife, happy life.”

So, this coming Valentine’s Day, maybe I’ll be off the hook as we’re going to be on vacation AND I invited her parents to come with us!  Shouldn’t that be good enough?

Okay, which jewelry store should I go to first?  Actually, I’ve learned better than even going to a jewelry story as I learned this past Christmas, which happens to coincide with our wedding anniversary.  We went to the mall.  I brought my laptop.  My wife went shopping.  She came back and told me what I’d bought her for our anniversary and Christmas.  I was smart enough not to ask the price.  She was happy.  Happy wife, Happy life….

*Edwin Starr performed the song “War” with the lyrics, “War, huh, what is it good for…absolutely nothing…” in 1969.


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  • http://twitter.com/EmilyQuestions Emily Crume

    good one, ‘happy wife, happy life’ – I’m not big on these Hallmark Holidays. If it works, then every day is V-day!

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      You are a wise woman, Emily!

  • http://www.thejackb.com/ The JackB

    I refuse to observe it, flat out don’t care if it pisses off the world because I won’t do it. I’d give up sex with any woman who did not or does not accept this. The day is a hideous example of all that is wrong with society.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      So, JackB – how do you really feel? Love you, man!

  • Andie

    We don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day, at my request. I feel it is just another commercialized holiday. I’d rather appreciate the special things my husband does for me all year, than forcing him to do something just because everyone does. I agree with every day is V-day!

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Ahh, Andie…you are woman I respect! When my wife reads this column, it will cost me even more! Lol.

  • http://twitter.com/suzanneec Suzanne C

    Here is the yearly conversation at my house:
    Hubs, “Do you want to go out for dinner on Valentine’s Day?”
    Me, “Let’s order a pizza”

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Wow! Your husband is ONE LUCKY GUY!

  • Shawna Reeves

    Hubby proposed on V day. He’s usually a happy camper as we use it as an excuse for the 2 of us to get away. I’d just like it to not be the week before my bday.. I would like a pair of ear rings and a birthday present this year Haha My guy is pretty good about being the exception but he did get to sit in front of his big HD flat screen & not miss any of the football season (yay that’s over :)..so I’ll take my Valentines & remember it’s the 3D tv he wants next 🙂

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Shawna, I proposed to my wife on Valentine’s Day too! It was a great surprise and I’m afraid I’ll never top that VD between us. Her birthday is in March so I’m a bit stuck with them so close as well! Thanks for sharing your story!

  • http://twitter.com/TodaysWomanCo Rose

    We women don’t need the $100.00 bouquets of roses, the over priced Hallmark card or dinner at a fancy restaurant. All we need is for you to put down the toilet seat, do the laundry, take out the garbage, and a luxurious bubble bath.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Gee, Rose, that’s sure a lot to ask! Lol…

      • http://twitter.com/TodaysWomanCo Rose

        My hubby does it. Well sometimes he leaves the seat up, but 3 out of 4 isn’t bad.

  • http://ItsDifferent4girls.com Linda Sherman

    Not just men! Anti-V Day article by Kim Calvert @SingularCity who is hosting a Take Back Valentine’s Day for unattached singles at Pink Taco in Century City February 13. http://singularcity.com/letters-from-kim/758-cupid-comes-and-cupid-goes-its-just-the-way-it-is

    And I am reminded of Jessica Biel’s role in the star-studded flop: Valentine’s Day – who held an annual I Hate Valentine’s Day party complete with a pinata.

    Enjoyed your article Bruce! I can totally picture you at the mall with your Macbook Pro.

    • Kim Calvert

      To clarify, I’m not anti-Valentine’s, I’m anti trying to make single people feel like crap on Valentine’s Day. As an editor and a single lifestyle maven, I get a TON of press releases from “experts” trying to sell their latest mournful “survive Valentine’s Day” guides and tips that perpetuate the old idea that you can’t be single and be happy — and worst of all, convincing too many single people that those negative ideas are true. They are not! Valentine’s Day can be make you decide to make it. Take back your power people!

      • http://ItsDifferent4girls.com Linda Sherman

        Thank you for the clarification Kim @SingularCity. I have this image of Jessica Biel whacking a piñata stuck in my head. Your description of your stance on Valentine’s Day as it pertains to single men and women is very eloquent!

      • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

        Kim, I didn’t take it that way. Single people are often “made” to feel out of place. For that matter, married people feel it at holiday time, like I do, when I have no family to share the holidays with since my parents passed. For that matter, our family was always small. We all have our struggles, single or married. It’s how we react that makes the difference! Most of us wouldn’t trade lives with anyone else – especially if we knew them well!

  • bt

    I think Valentine’s Day has been hijacked by couples. It used to be a day to revel in being single. You were the ultimate free agent and got a pass to flirt with all the girls. The nervous excitement, the anticipation, the thrill of delivering your “will you be my valentine” schtick smootly. And at the end of the day, WOO HOO! you had a folder on the back of your desk stuffed with valentines. You felt like “the Man”!
    Yep, I think guys want to be little boys again, instead of trying to live up to some unknowable standard of romance for your significant other

    • http://ItsDifferent4girls.com Linda Sherman

      Wow BT. Very cool memories and interesting perspective. And the unknowable standard of romance – I’m sorry – you can’t read my mind?

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Like it or not, BT, we guys have to “play the game” to a degree to please our women. I do things for my wife because she likes them, period, and I get the same in return. That is called being in a relationship. I don’t mean this in any way argumentatively towards your comment, btw. Just stating a fact as a married guy!

      • Kim

        And then there are those women who are not going to make their men “play the game” — not THAT one anyway!

        • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

          I never met one…lol.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Beth-Collier/100000801295143 Beth Collier

    I’ve never been a big fan of Valentine’s Day. It just seems too forced. No flowers, cards, etc. Just little things every once in awhile to remind me you care.

  • http://www.ironedoutdiva.com Karen L Kay

    Awe Bruce! It’s mostly a commercial day – but the message (show those you love that you love them in a different way)…. is for any day!

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Truer words haven’t been written!

  • http://moondustwriter.com Leslie Moon

    I don’t know about my gender aka sex but for me it’s the thought that counts. If you took the time to make me a home made card and picked a flower out of the yard, it would tell me what I need to hear “I’m thinking about you.”
    I don’t think the more you spend the more you care ( don’t let your wife read that)

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Thanks Leslie! My wife doesn’t read much of anything I write so I’m safe…but I love her to death anyway! She wants a sapphire now that we’re here in Asia where they’re “cheap” – lol.

  • http://twitter.com/DavidBurch David Burch

    I don’t hate Valentine’s Day.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      David, of course I was generalizing – for fun and to make a point! I’m glad you like it. I got engaged on VD so I actually have a slight fondness for it – lol.

  • http://www.alwaysjacked.com Alan Kercinik

    Brutha … you hit on it. I just wrote a post with some crazily similar observations. I don’t think there’s a guy out there who wouldn’t want to the woman — or man — in his life to know how he feels.

    But the pressure for grand gestures can be totally overwhelming and most guys just don’t want to ‘screw up’. I say stick with small gestures, doled out regularly. Keeps the pressure off at Valentine’s Day to compose epic poems or compose songs in her honor.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      I actually think “our” women would rather have regular gestures than just the big ones! Well said Alan!

  • Patrick Bateman

    very well written column by a great writer. I think you should start going back into the film industry.

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      Thanks so much Patrick, but NOT A CHANCE I’m going back! I love what I do now and I don’t have to put up with any of the BS that showbiz readily provides!

  • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

    Thx for all the comments everyone!

  • http://chopperpapa.com Kyle Bradford

    It’s so undeniably painful and such a useless holiday (if you can even call it that). I just can’t deal with it on any level. 

    • http://www.brucesallan.com Bruce Sallan

      So, what do you REALLY think about #ValentinesDay Kyle? Yipes, it’s comin’ up again…UGH!