I think there is too much pressure on guys to make Valentine's Day really special. Women can get by with making his favorite meal and/or providing sex, but guys gotta ratchet things up a bit. Food and sex are just for starters.
I'm as guilty as the next woman of
having hopes and expectations. Luckily I once had a boyfriend who asked me what I
wanted, instead of trying to surprise me and risk my disappointment. I told him flowers, candy and
perfume. I'm nothing if not easy.
I was expecting a single rose,
maybe some Russell Stover chocolate cherries and a handful of sample
perfumes they give away at the make up counter. Maybe with a card.
He gave me two dozen roses he chose himself -- all different colors. PLUS -- three pounds of
Godiva chocolates. Have you ever seen how big that box is? AND a bottle
of expensive perfume, not cologne.
the top of my head, those are the only Valentine's Day gifts I remember
getting from a guy. My evening was usually a variation on food and sex which all kind of blur together with the passage of time.
Remembering those gifts just shows how easily I can be dazzled by chocolate, flowers and trinkets.
Wait a minute, I also remember a
lovely unsolicited fushia stole I got years ago. I kept it until
recently, when I
realized that I had never, ever worn it. I had only saved it for
sentimental reasons. I don't even know why I had any kind of
attachment to it though, since the guy that gave it to me confessed
long ago that he forgot to get me anything for that particular Valentine's Day. His dad
had bought the stole to give
to someone else and gave it to his son to give to me to bail him
out. I saved it anyway.
There was also the gift certificate to a hardware store from
another admirer who knew how much I loved browsing the aisles. You can
never have too many can openers and measuring spoons.
Unfortunately too many women expect
a ring, when her go to guy may not be ready to give her one yet. But
there's so much pressure that he caves and asks her to marry him even
though he's not feeling like marrying her at that point.
A few years ago I got a call on
Valentine's Day from a couple I knew. They had been dating for
four or five years. He had confided to me on more than one
occasion that they could never get married because she was too high
maintenance. How high maintenance? He was a successful doctor and he still
couldn't afford her.
So I was really surprised to get
their phone call. He said they wanted to tell me first about their
engagement. I was thrilled for their happiness, but a little
voice in my head was saying -- what changed his mind? Did he win
She wore a three carat diamond
engagement ring. He gave her a new Jaguar. They bought a new house. Two
or three hundred people came to their wedding and reception -- the
second nuptials for both of them. A mother of grown children, she
wore a white wedding dress, designed to her specifications. Okay, maybe
it was off white.
Clearly she was still high maintenance, so she hadn't
changed. Maybe he just loved her and that was enough to change his mind
about getting married.
Before the wedding, I remember helping a relative of
the bride set up a video camera in the choir loft to record the event.
This relative was talking about the groom and said, laughing, "How is
he going to pay for her upkeep?"
The marriage lasted eight months.
He had cracked under the pressure. The engagement ring was a fake. The Jaguar was leased. Her
parents paid for the reception. She didn't want
to move into their new house until it was remodeled. So they never
They received some expensive gifts.
Yes, it was a second wedding where gifts are considered inappropriate.
However, I was present when they received an ornate sterling silver
coffee and tea service that included an enormous tray. Remind me to find
out whether the set was ever returned. Or melted down.
The pressure builds and guys do stupid things to keep the lid on.
A couple of years ago a young woman
I know was wined and dined by her longterm boyfriend at a very romantic
dinner. Engagement was definitely on her mind. Her family's too as I
recall. At the end of their candlelight evening, he presented her with
a beautiful velvet box that sure looked like a ring box to me when I
saw it later. However, when she opened it up there was an adjustable
gum ring inside. He thought it was a riot. Did pressure turn him
into an idiot? Or was he just an idiot looking for a chance to reveal
I couldn't believe she didn't break up with him then and there. It took another year, but she did, finally.
Maybe because I don't have a significant other, all the bling seems so
superficial. Instead, I can look forward to a bunch of hilarious cards from my
girlfriends around the country to keep my spirits up so don't hold a wake on my behalf.
From my table for one, though, perhaps I can appreciate other
people's relationships better than they can. I know that tomorrow
can be a special day or a nightmare. A
disappointment if you expect too much and a joy if you appreciate what you
Being with someone who makes you laugh is worth so much more than champagne poured in a limo on the way to a concert.
In the end "I love you" scribbled on a napkin is worth more than any diamond.
A handwritten love letter lives forever in your heart.