Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Throwback: Why Men Hate Valentine's Day


Before I get into the "why," I think it's important to talk about the origins of this day.

There are conflicting beliefs as to how Valentine's Day has become the holiday that we know it to be. What we know for sure is that a martyred Christian by the name of St. Valentine was stoned, clubbed and beheaded on February 14, 269 A.D. for refusing to denounce Christianity in ancient Rome. Legend has it that before he was killed, he wrote a love letter to a prison guard's daughter who had befriended him from jail. He supposedly signed the letter, "With love from your Valentine," thus spawning the catch phrase.

All of this took place the day before the annual Lupercalia (Latin for "wolf") festival, where young women put their names in jars to be drawn by young men. Once the names were drawn, the new couples were obligated to "date" each other for the day. Of course by "date" I mean predatory sex--hence the "wolf" chasing the prey.

Once Christianity became popular, the Lupercalia festival was replaced by a more wholesome festival designed to honor Christian Saints. The festival was renamed after St. Valentine to remember his sacrifice.

In short, the history of the holiday comprises beatings, torture, martyrdom and sexual enslavement.

In the early 1800's the holiday was revived and a new version, fusing the two festivals, was created complete with chocolate, flowers, cards and other arbitrary items designed to boost sales in the retail industry...

Sooooo... back to the point of this post. Why men hate Valentine's Day...

To a lot of men, Valentine's Day seems like a re-enactment of St. Valentine's death at the hands of our significant other, only it is our jobs to play Michael J. Fox's character in Back 2 the Future and prevent our/St. Valentine's death by bringing a suitable peace offering to our captor. If the gift is not acceptable, all Hell breaks loose.

Think about it... every man knows that if he comes home empty-handed, or if he brings home an inexpensive gift (I despise the word "cheap") to his lady, he's going to pay the price one way or another: whether it be through withheld sex, arguing, and if you are a drama-prone couple, probably a little domestic violence--with Ike eating the cake, not Tina...

On the flipside, the REAL downer is that if he does bring home an acceptable gift it is not fully appreciated because it is simply expected. Of course she will say "Thank You for the [generic] flowers and candy" and you may even get some that night; but in reality she's happy and thankful, not because of the romanctic gesture in itself and not because she is surprised by your thoughtfulness, sponteneity, and kindness. She is truly thankful because 1) She's happy that she's not one of the "losers" that didn't get ANYTHING and 2) she does not have to curse you out for forgetting. Peace is maintained... for the night.

...and for those women that didn't get a damn thing, it further widens the gap between the sexes to the point where some of those women are bitter at ALL men in general. They end up feeling undesirable, unwanted, and unsexy: all of which factor into their future interactions with men.

After hearing both sides of the disgust for this holiday by men and women alike, I came to see Valentine's Day for what it is: a third-rate marketing holiday (after Christmas and Halloween) — a cheap, commercial parody of romance designed to foster greed and disappointment (in women) and guilt and resentment (in men).

Partly, that's because of some basic differences between the sexes. Most women I know couldn't forget about the existence of February 14 even if they wanted to, regardless of whether they happen to be alone or in a couple.

Most dudes, on the other hand, wake up on February 14 thinking, "Oh Shit! I haven't gotten my girl a card yet!" In fact, I read some study that estimated that roughly 86% of men don't think ahead when it comes to Valentine's Day. Why? Because we think it's a stupid holiday... up until the day of--at which point we know that if we don't get her something, we'll get our asses handed to us come night time. So there we are after work standing in line at the florist, or Harris Teeter (depending on your budget), to buy some flowers...

Moreover, Valentine's Day creates required expectations of men for something that should be spontaneously romantic. I would much rather rub my lady's feet and bring home flowers and candy to her after she's had a rough week on a random day in April than to conform to the expectation of Valentine's Day. To me, being romantic on Valentine's Day is forced and not genuine. To me, and to a lot of men, it cheapens love.

Regardless, your boy WILL be standing in line to buy flowers on every February 14th for his wife after he's married. I'm rational... but I'm not stupid! I refuse to re-enact St. Valentine's death. Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee-it!

12 comments:

Gene said...

If you treat your woman like it's Valentine's Day every day, she won't expect no bells and whistles on Wednesday.

Buy her stuff just because.

the chairman said...

You should treat your lady like a queen everyday of the year, but you still have to come out of pocket for V-Day. Why? not because your girl will be mad but her co-workers and girlfriends will bring it to her attention that your Sorry Ass didn't get her anything.

Like B said, I might be anti-tradition, but I am not stupid so I play the game.

beautifullife00 said...

I agree Gene. My husband doesn't have to go all out for V-day, but pink roses (definite) and jewerly or a day at the spa would be nice. I would rather spend that day inside and in the company of my husband catering to each other rather than out with the masses of people in restaurants.

It's sad, but other women judge her man by the size of the engagement ring and the type of gifts he buys her. We say we are not materialistic, but the first thing women ask each other is what did your man get you for _______. I admit, I would be uncomfortable if my fiance to be bought me a tiny engagement ring. I would wonder if he didn't think I worth at least 1 carat. I would be uneasy if I didn't atleast get roses on V-day. I mean you can get them for cheap at Wal-mart. LOL!

Gene said...

Well then its the WOMAN'S fault for letting jealous, hating females question her relationship! That's the equivalent of my actions being shaped out of fear of my boys calling me whooped. If I didn't get my wife anything and she got mad at me because her co-workers got her worked up, there'd be problems at the Scott household. That's all I'm saying ...

A Beautiful Life said...

There doesn't have to be bells and whistles, but the man has to do something on that day. Most women crave love and romance. V-day is a reminder of romance. Unless both parties agree that V-day won't be celebrated you are asking for her to be uneasy.

In the same way many women let their men think he is in charge because we don't want him to feel whooped. We know that men need to feel respected by us and other men.

the chairman said...

Life and Gene that you for agreeing with each other in different words... We are all human beings that are swayed by other people's option. Women want their man's actions or gifts be validated by their girls. Guys don't want to look like a punk in front of their boys. At the end of the day its a game we calm we don't play but we do.

Rell said...

I'm not one of those angry dudes who hates valentines day because he is single. As a matter of fact it really isn't that important to me.

However, how wack is it that they created holiday with the specific goal of getting men to buy material gifts for their females -- wack i tell you.

Gene said...

Rell -
It's wack that we fall into it .. and that females fall for that stuff. He beat you on the 13th and cheated on you on the 15th, but you hype cause you got a teddy bear!? A TEDDY BEAR?! Come on ....

T.C. said...

OK I am hella late, but for the record, some women HATE V-day as well...me being ONE of them...well I don't hate it...but I seriously, do NOT get into it...long story short, I don't get into the whole commercial "thing" of the day...so for me its really about showing love 365 days a year from both parties...

Don said...

I agree w/ the majority of what you wrote. Especially where Vday presents should fall in the spontaneous sect.

But you know how it is...as men, we have to play the game sometimes.

Alastair said...

I have to say that I couldn't agree more with your comments. Valentine's Day has been taken over by card shops and florists and we become under pressure to out-do the gift that we gave the previous year.

Still, it gives us the opportunity to write humorous blogs about it!

John Brown said...

@A Beautiful Life

there has to be NOTHING. There is no mandatory rule on this day. It is not even a holiday. Women tend to believe men have to do something on this day, but in reality we don't. Simple fact.

On top of that, where's the romance on Valentine's Day when it is expected? It is shallow. Originality lacks, the surprise lacks and the romance lacks. If you want to be romantic, take her on a hot air balloon ride in the summer, or something, not to a restaurant in the dirtiest and wettest month of the year. Catch my drift?

Also, to the writer of this article; the story you described regrading Saint Valentine writing a letter is also make-believe and there's no records of that ever happening. As a matter of fact, Valentine was a common name and thus it is not even know how much Valentine's Day relates to Saint Valentine, or if it relates to various people named Valentine.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Valentine gives more insight.