Monday, February 07, 2011

What Men Think Of Valentine's Day

It’s no secret that men and women see things differently, which is why we never agree on bed sheets, cable programs and cars. When a man sees used clothes on the bed, he knows he left it there because he might use it later, but when a woman sees it, all she sees is a reason to yell at the man.

Valentine’s day is the day of love. Many years ago someone decided that we would take a day to celebrate the effects of Cupid’s arrow, of that mystic chemistry that bonds two people and years on, even with overpriced dinners and flowers, we’ve kept that tradition.

The thing is, Valentine’s day is to women what the Champion’s League finals is to men. It’s a day that we look forward to each year with bated anticipation, only that we want to spend it in the company of beer and a 42 inch TV, as opposed to flowers, chocolates and a big hole in the pocket.

The truth about men

Do men really enjoy Valentine’s Day? No. The ugly truth that you are about to read is that most men look forward to this day as much as they would a vasectomy. Most men don’t get the fuss about a day that generally does not have any significant bearing to their relationship, and adding on expectations that women burden them with because social mores dictates that women should be pampered on that day, just serves to collapse any anticipation men will have about Valentine’s day.

I once dated this girl who liked me because she thought I was humourous. She would laugh at everything I said, until I told her that I would not be celebrating Valentine’s because I thought it was dumb. She didn’t think I was funny after that. She also stopped calling.

I’ve spoken to a myriad of men on their opinion of V-day and the overwhelming consensus is that the only way that it would be bearable, was if it was a public holiday. One of them said. “it’s a waste of a day”, another stated that it was “the worst day to be a man” and the one that took the cake was, and I am paraphrasing because of the need to censure expletives, “the dumbest day invented.”

And these were not men spurned by love, nor were they extremists who would burn flowers to show their disdain for the occasion. They are men, who have in their past celebrated this day simply because it was expected of them. The only guy, who was actually enthusiastic about V-day, was single and had never had a date on that day. Coincidence? I think not.

How we perceive Valentine’s Day over time

Valentine ’s Day is the very epitome of capitalism aimed to exploit men eager to prove their love or determination to impress a girl, leading them to succumb to that sudden over-inflation of flowers and food at their favorite restaurant. And our participation in this commercial celebration of love, varies directly to our duration in the relationship.

I’ve seen how time has exacerbated the enthusiasm of my male friends. In the first year, they embrace V-Day with everything expected of a gentleman, from presents to romantic dinners that had so much thought and planning into it, it would have made a wedding look like a tea for two. Then as the years go by, they strangely get hit by a bout of amnesia every time V-day rolls near, hoping, just hoping that if they forget about it, their girlfriends would too. By the end of it, you’ll be lucky if you get a handshake for V-day.

Every year we hope that girls would tell us those magic words, ‘let’s not celebrate Valentine’s Day’, but that will remain a utopian dream like world peace, orgasms and low fat beer. And even if a girl does say that she doesn’t want anything on Valentine’s day, her estrogens will kick in to remind her that she is innately female as soon as people around her starts getting flowers.

Why do men still celebrate?

Valentine ’s Day has become a day of validation. It’s about people in love reassuring one another through material gifts and elaborate surprises. It’s for people who are alone to feel bad about themselves and tell their pets, ‘who needs love when I have you’, and for florists to remember why they are in this business.

Men celebrate V-day because it is expected of them to. Failing which, a cold war will ensue that will make World War 2 look like a game of paintball. Men know that even when a girl tells him that she is fine with not doing anything, he has to do something - because there is always something when a girl says ‘nothing’.

And so the days leading up to the occasion is a period that man is plagued by panic that stems from an absolute cluelessness about what to do. Do we just get presents? Is dinner good enough? What if it’s not romantic? What colour roses does she like? Does she even like roses? Can we do what we did last year? What did we do last year? Is it appropriate to just write a card?

I’ve been on one too many shopping trips with my friends who scramble for presents at the eleventh hour, because that is an ascribed trait of being a man – we don’t plan until we realize we are going to get yelled at. And all these trips were littered with so many ‘I wonder if she likes this’, that it felt more like a precognition session.

So if you were to leave this day to our absolute dictation, society will never be faced with this torrid inflation crisis and it would be a day like any other, because even if it is a cliché to say that every day is Valentine’s Day, we don’t need to specially celebrate one’, the truth is that perhaps men aren’t just practical, but we’re lazy too.

You see, we empathize on what V-day is for women, how it is a catharsis to the vanilla routines of being in a relationship and how it is a timely interjection to being just a regular girl. Girls want a day to be special, but so do men. So just imagine how special V-day will be for us, if we could just do nothing for once.

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