Community Blog: Why Bother With Valentine's Day Romance?

Community Blog: Why Bother With Valentine's Day Romance?

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.

Yes, even if you are a modern day woman, deep down inside you have to admit there is still that longing for your man to have some grandiose surprise he spent months preparing. Just for once, to be the envy of all your girlfriends and coworkers alike. I know many a woman who has vested a lot in Valentine’s Day being their one opportunity to have this over-the-top show of romance happen.

Have the 64% of men not making plans realized that it is a losing proposition to try and romance a lover? Or are they simply lazy? I still have yet to find a credible answer.

What are you doing for Valentine’s Day? Are you making a big fuss, getting a babysitter, going out for dinner or buying cards and presents? Is it going to be a low key affair? Conversely, are you not going to put yourself out because Valentine’s is just one big commercial exploitation simply meant to put a dent into your pocketbook? Or do you really not care one way or the other—apathy, got to love it.

Whatever your Valentine stance, one thing is certain: there certainly is not enough romance in the world. Valentine’s Day is our once a year reminder to get back on the romance wagon and plan something for our special someone.

True, romance planning is laborious. Being grateful for romance plans is essential. Sharing a memorable romantic moment is a rare gem in an otherwise routine life.

Be a part of the 36% who creates a wonderful moment.