Friday, February 15, 2013

Celebrate Valentine's Day... Or Any Holiday

I've noticed a big move towards people shunning holidays, like Christmas and Valentine's Day. They don't want "society" to dictate when they show love or appreciation for others. They don't want to bend to social norms or add to the consumerist nature of our culture. Fair point. But I think there's another way to look at it. I apologize for not posting this before Valentine's Day, but it was really the extraordinarily lovely at-home Valentine's Day that I just had that lead me to this epiphany.

Everyone who shuns traditional holidays always says that we should show love EVERY DAY or WHENEVER we want. Why do we have to show it on a mandated day? True, and maybe those people do show their love all the time. Maybe those people exist in a real-life romantic comedy where their significant other slips the office janitor $50 to sneak into their loved one's office and spell out "I Love You" on the wall in Post-It notes. I'm happy for them, but for most of us mere mortals, that doesn't happen. We are busy. We have jobs, families, obligations and, well, just life, that gets in the way of planning grand romantic gestures on a random Tuesday.

Sure, most of us show our appreciation in small ways every day like opening a beer for one's spouse when putting out dinner, fixing their coffee the way the like or changing a diaper without being asked. That's the stuff that builds the foundation of a solid relationship and we should all be doing that all the time. But, the extra-special as a tendency to fall to the wayside over time. It's nobody's fault. We are human. But Valentine's Day, or any holiday for that matter, is a reminder to take the time-out to make someone feel special and loved in ways we don't every day. It's easy to say that your wife /girlfriend / husband / boyfriend knows you love them and doesn't care about that sort of thing, but, humans are anxious, insecure individuals and, believe me when I say that neglect has a way of creeping up on people and filling them with doubt and resentment.

This is not an attack on men. Or maybe it is, but if it is, it's as much an attack on women. We gals need to go the extra mile too. Make his favorite dessert. Wear his favorite dress. Do that thing that you never let him do. And, most of all, if he is making an effort to woo you or make you feel special, for the sake of love and women everywhere APPRECIATE THE EFFORT! We can not hold our loved ones to some ridiculous, unreachable standard that is impossible to meet. Don't say:

  • "These aren't roses." to the husband who buys you Tulips.
  • "This ring isn't my style. Did you keep the receipt?" to the boyfriend who made sure to get the right size and knows your birthstone.
  • "What do you mean you didn't make reservations?" to the guy who spends hours shopping and preparing your favorite meal

If you are THAT girl, you know who you are and YOU SUCK! You ruin it for the rest of us. You make men HATE Valentine's Day and stop trying. You're not raising the bar, your building a wall.

With that, I remind guys to put in a decent effort. Your gesture need be thoughtful, not expensive - unless you're with THAT girl, in which case, you are screwed no matter what you do. But if your woman is kind and reasonable, then know her favorite flower, her favorite meal, what size shoes she wears. Or, don't buy her anything. Write her a poem. Build her that craft table you know she wants. Frame artwork from the kids. In other words, listen to your heart, it knows what to do.

In short, take time to celebrate! Life doesn't give us enough reasons to celebrate so if the world has decided that February 14th is a day to eat lobster, crack open a bottle of champagne and do that thing we don't usually do, then, what the hell, we are going for it! It's as good as any random Tuesday.