I read a depressing statistic: 64% of men in the U.S. do not make plans for Valentine’s Day. To add insult to injury, 15% of women in the U.S. send themselves flowers on the “magical” day of love.
It started me thinking about why men are unwilling participants in Valentine’s Day. Did it mean the other 36% of men who plan a date are being dragged by their heels through the Valentine’s Day frou-frou just so they do not get into trouble?
Grudgingly, they go along so as not to have some passive-aggressive blubbering mess a few weeks down the road (a.k.a. no sex—because that’s what it boils down to for some guys). They reluctantly fill every restaurant to capacity, send a Valentine card under duress, and grudgingly give an arrangement of flowers or a heart shaped box of chocolates.
The question was too compelling. I went to the average Joe and did an informal email survey with my male friends.
I asked these guinea pigs two questions. The first was, “What do you think of Valentine’s Day?” Most emailed me back and said Valentine’s was all right enough. A few admitted they were fine with Valentine’s as long as it did not interfere with hockey.
The second question was, “What plans are you making for Valentine’s Day?” Interestingly, the men either “forgot” to respond or were brave enough to confess they did not have any plans unless their girlfriend or wife wanted to do something.
Aha, I knew it! On behalf of women, I knew I had to write something about this travesty. Smugly, just as my fingers were poised to write a column blasting men and their lackluster sense of romance, I received my last email.
This friend wrote about being confused with women and romance. Apparently, when he first moved in with his now ex, every Friday he would go to the corner store and buy her flowers. She was ecstatic at his thoughtfulness.
After a few months, however, she became bored with the flowers on Friday routine and started telling him not to trouble himself. She felt the flowers were an unnecessary expense.
Yet over the months, he had come to appreciate the ambience the flowers gave their apartment. He also felt the flowers were a minor expense compared to how they were a visible symbol of his adoration. He kept buying the flowers and they did not discuss it (can you see a big red flag unfurling here?)
The story (and perhaps their relationship) ends with him bringing home two dozen long stem white and Pink roses for Valentine’s Day. She told him he wasted his money and did not speak to him for the rest of the evening. He was unbelievably discouraged because he had taken a lot of time to plan an evening of romance. After that experience, he no longer planned for Valentine’s Day. Why bother?
A slight chill ran down my spine. Flashbacks of girlfriends—maybe even me, yikes—guilty of being romanced and thinking, “Is this it? Ho-hum.” Frustrated and ungrateful because the man’s seemingly clumsy show of romance did not jive with our storybook being-swept-away notions.