I’ve gone off the charts with Valentine’s columns and Because I Said So comic strips this year. I guess I like the true contrast between men and women on their views of this holiday. Special friend Kim Tracy Prince wrote Girl’s Talk: A Woman’s Opinion on Valentine’s Day and I responded with Guy’s Talk: A Man’s Opinion on Valentine’s Day. My column for 12Most from last year is still getting tons of hits, reaching #1 for them this past week – 12 Most Classic Romantic Songs for Valentine’s Day. Finally, we’ll be sharing OUR favorite Love Songs at #DadChat this coming Thursday, February 14th.
But, in the spirit of our Men vs. Women blog series, I felt I should consolidate all of this material in one column representing the best and worst of this holiday from our respective gender points-of-view.
Basically, I assert that most men really fear, dislike, and dread Valentine’s Day. And, those words are the kinder ones we feel about it. Women, on the other hand, view this holiday as the litmus test for their man. My wife actually said to me the other day, in response to an argument about a money issue, “Oh, you don’t think I’m worth it?!” Classic woman’s words. Certainly not unique to my wife, I know.
I felt on hearing those words sort of like I feel when she asks if she looks fat in a certain item of clothing: I’m stuck in a lose-lose situation. I was irritated, to say the least, but then again money is one of our fundamental issues. There is nothing special about this to us, since most couples have money as one of their most common issues of conflict. The fact that I’m always right about money is irrelevant if she’s upset. I pay – literally and figuratively, regardless.
Kim’s column on what women feel about Valentine’s Day included these highlights:
~~ Our [boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/partner/wife] is a person who does not have a romantic bone in his/her body.
~~ It’s a socially acceptable reason in American culture to eat chocolate.
~~ We don’t have a [boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/partner/wife]. In the days leading up to and including Valentine’s Day, it suddenly seems like everyone we know is in a relationship, and every relationship looks wonderful and romantic.
~~ It’s the one day every year that we are encouraged to stop what we’re doing and express our love to the people in our lives whom we love.
My highlights on how men feel include:
~~ We men don’t like being set up to fail. Valentine’s Day – to us – is the quintessential lose-lose scenario and we know it.
~~ It only comes once a year.
~~ The pressure is simply too much. We want our women to tell us exactly what to do, what to buy, where to go, but they want us to KNOW!
~~ And to be very clear: It only comes ONCE a year!
So, I have a personal story about this Valentine’s Day and I bet it’s very representative of many couples. I felt initially like I handled it well by asking my wife what she’d like for Valentine’s Day. I reiterated to her that we’ve been on a minor spending spree lately and I’d hoped her gift requests would be moderately modest. She came back with a request for a designer handbag that she’d like for both Valentine’s Day and her birthday.
I held by breath and asked the price. To my shock, it wasn’t ridiculously expensive, though I’ll never get the whole thing women have for designer anythings, and I quickly and with relief said, “Go get it!” I was relieved. Off the hook at only about double what I’d like to have spent.
A couple of days later, I saw the handbag as we headed out. I asked if that was the one and she said, “Yes and No.” She said she chose a different one. I said, “Oh” and made the horrific mistake of asking what it cost to which she replied that it was slightly less than double the one she’d asked for. She went on to lecture me on what a great value it was since it was bigger and the prices are going up on these handbags and that she really needed the bigger one.
Ahhhh, makes perfect sense to me. So, I spent quadruple my budget for Valentine’s Day. Then I did the really perfect dumb guy thing and expressed some surprise and disappointment that she didn’t even ask me. She replied that I was diminishing her joy.
Yes, for us men, Valentine’s Day is lose-LOSE.
Note: Of course, this is all expressed from my point-of-view and I’m sure I’m missing salient facts and points that further demonstrate my male total lack of understanding about the importance of a handbag and how women – my wife – think. Well, duh…
Please read and/or comment on any of the other columns in the Men vs. Women series.
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