So its Valentine’s Day today and if you are an adult, in a relationship, and you live in America, you know what that means. It means you must celebrate your love conspicuously by purchasing goods and services to shower upon your beloved. Of course this means the traditional stuff, like chocolates, and flowers. That is merely the beginning. There is a whole myriad of rituals that must be performed, and merchandise that must be purchased to appease one of the great Consumer Gods, St. Valentine.
My co-worker asked me what he should be doing for Valentine’s Day for his new girlfriend. I asked him how long he had been seeing her. He said 3 months, which didn’t surprise me. He has a history of being in 3-6 month relationships. He seems to really like the initial part of the relationship, the build up and the newness of it all, which I can understand. Since this was their first Valentine’s Day together, I advised him that he would need to go all out. He couldn’t afford to screw it up if things were going well and he was happy in the relationship. I told him he needed to purchase something sweet, sentimental and befitting of the Holiday, such as flowers, chocolates, lingerie or jewelry, as well as an overpriced greeting card. I explained he would also need to schedule an event, something romantic and out of the ordinary that allows him to show her off, and show the world that on Valentine’s Day, this is who he is choosing to spend the day with. I told him that he would need to create something personal specifically for her. It would have to be something that let her know his feelings for her. Perhaps a note, story, poem, dream or erotic fantasy that he concocted specifically for her. I suggested a mix USB drive, (Formally a mix CD, formerly a mix tape) of songs that made him think of her. Since it was on a USB drive, he could also include notes as to WHY the song made him think of her. Finally, I told him, he needed to ensure that if they were sexually active, he would have to bring his “A-game” to the bedroom and treat her to a night of erotic delights, whatever that might entail. He thanked me and after reviewing everything he had planned, the only thing he needed was the personal creation. Other than that, he was all set.
It’s these moments that make me glad I am married. Oh sure, I can’t afford to ignore Valentine’s Day, and yes, I too need to make sure I am covering everything I told my coworker to address. However after being married for 10 years, the expectations are greatly diminished. This is not a bad thing. We are close enough, and our relationship is strong enough for me to mention Valentine’s Day in passing and to share a chuckle with my wife that we don’t have to go all out for this Holiday. But I am not a fool. This Holiday must be acknowledged, woe be it to any man who doesn’t pay fealty to this Holiday. While not as critical as a Birthday, Anniversary or perhaps Christmas, you cannot afford to ignore or overlook this one. I bought her a sentimental and overpriced greeting card. I made her red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese icing and fed her one. (Just one, I don’t need her gaining weight, heh). I wrote her something special in the card, and wrote a short sexual fantasy that I sent her through e-mail. We will be acting out that fantasy later today or tomorrow. The only thing I didn’t cover was the public display of my love for her. One of the nice things about being married or in a stable, long-term relationship is that you don’t have to worry about how your relationship may appear to others. Since we share resources it is both our money being wasted if we insist upon going out on or around Valentine’s Day. I am fortunate that she agrees that going out this time of year is a hassle and a waste of money so I get a pass on this requirement.
So don’t be stupid and tell yourself you don’t need to make a big deal about this Holiday. Be sure to acknowledge your beloved, your romantic partner, your hook up for the evening with some lovely, disposable and ultimately empty material items. Do your duty as a responsible and obedient consumer and lubricate our great economic Ponzi scheme with the blood, sweat, and tears of your hard-earned money.
Ahhhh, that is some delicious cynicism.