This is one in a series of columns I wrote for a local newsletter in the past few years. The column was called The Brink of Normal and it was mostly about public service, as you can see from the following article.
This announcement is important, gentlemen. If you are married you need to realize this now and begin preparing. If you are feeling sad this year because you don't have someone to share the day with, read on so you can laugh at the predicament of the guys who do. And ladies: do your guy a favor and subtly leave this column lying around somewhere where he is likely to find it and read it. In fact, forget subtle: Tape it to his windshield with a note that says something like "THIS IS UNIMAGINABLY IMPORTANT TO ME XOXOXOXO".
Let's look back at the origin of the holiday known as Saint Valentine's Day. Saint Valentine was someone who became famous for love, and this is his day. That's all I know, and that's all you need to know. Let's not confuse the issue.
I would like to address the feeling that Valentine's Day is actually a conspiracy cooked up by greeting card companies, florists and chocolate makers. Here's the deal, guys--it doesn't matter. I wonder about this myself, but sharing these thoughts can only get you in trouble. The best thing is to think of this day as an opportunity to share your love. In fact, as sappy as it sounds, you can actually get points by just saying that out loud. Unless it comes off as sarcastic, which will ruin everything.
Let's talk about expectations. What are you supposed to do on Valentine's Day? The traditional things are flowers, chocolates, cards and romantic dinners. Do all of those things. Yes, all of them. Why, you may ask? Let's imagine your wife talking with a friend on the day after Valentine's Day. She is so happy, because it was perfect. It was exactly what she hoped for, everything that she never dared dream. She has that enraptured smile, the look that says "The one for whom my heart beats has declared his undying love." Do you think you can achieve that with only a card that cost you $2.49, or even one of the really nice ones for almost 5 bucks? The answer is no, no you cannot!
Men, Valentine's Day (which always falls on February 14th, every year) is an investment. It is expensive. It requires planning. Like anything worth doing, it is worth doing right. You can do it. You must do it. You will do it! Success is the only option; the alternative is unthinkable.
As for specifics, I know what you're thinking about flowers: Why would I pay some stranger 50 hard-earned dollars to bring plant clippings to my wife? There is an actual reason deep in the feminine psyche related to conditioning by social influences and mass media, but I don't want to get into that. The point is that every time your wife sees them she thinks happy thoughts about you. This is nothing but good and it is the only point.
Keep in mind that ordering flowers on Valentine's is like shopping on Christmas Eve--nothing good is left. Plan ahead; plan very far ahead. Also, the flowers must be accompanied by an appropriate note. It should be flowery, sappy, and between five and twenty words. If you do it right you will be extremely uncomfortable reading it to the florist.
For the romantic dinner you'll want a nice restaurant. You're looking for candles, tablecloths, and extra pieces of silverware by each plate. You'll need to get a reservation now--they fill up long before, and they laugh at you if you call February 14th. It will be outrageously priced, but you can use this to your advantage. Every time you think about the bill or about how much it would actually cost to prepare each entree, compliment your wife. It should work out just about right.
As for the card and chocolates, yes, you still need them. The card is always good. Chocolates are usually good, but there are exceptions. If she is dieting, has some health issue, or hates chocolate then you should find out beforehand if she still wants them. The last words you want to hear coming out of your mouth are "I didn't get you chocolates because you said you were fat."
Before I finish I'd like to address the single people. Many now celebrate Single Awareness Day (SAD) on February 14th. If you feel this way and you are a guy, I would suggest a SAD party. Invite all of your likeminded friends and watch some ridiculous chick flick, mocking it the whole time. Then watch a couple of guy movies, eat all the food you can hold, make stupid jokes, and scratch your belly. You'll feel much better.
If you feel sad and you are a girl, you'll want to focus on the positive. Think about the things you can only enjoy while you are single. And notice the things you don't have to put up with. The very best way to do that? Go to the guys' SAD party.