Tokens of Affection . . .

THIS will (not) shock you but I'm not a big fan of Valentine's Day. NOT because I'm opposed to love (check out my last name, fool!) but because I don't like the idea that ONE day a year we "have" to go out and buy some stuff so that the one we love knows they are loved.

And yet - here we are - Valentine's Day Eve (not a real holiday) and there are millions of men still scurrying around trying to figure out what to give and how much of it to give and millions of women have prepared cards that the men in their lives will read and discard shortly after and they have likely put great thought and focus in to an actual thoughtful gift (while the men, to repeat, are just now shaking off the slumber of Valentine's Day 2013 and getting started).

What will they give the women in their lives? Statistics say RED ROSES (Seriously? SERIOUSLY? If you are giving red roses to someone you "love" on February 14th, you need an actual intervention. Literally. Put the 800 Flowers discount code down and step away from the Internet. Slowly.) or CHOCOLATE (fellas, fellas, fellas . . . seriously. Even the GOOD STUFF is not okay on this particular day. Next? Lingerie. I like where your head is at (Geddit!) but . . . no. Gift certificates . . . are you fist f*cking me?! Who is she? Your postal worker? Ugh.

Now I know, I know . . . ALL these things are are fine gifts on their own (you pick any of the other 364 days of the year - 365 on leap years) and we're good. You and I are straight. We can hug it out. But if you feel COMPELLED to give a gift on Valentine's Day (and - seriously - do NOT do it), do yourself a favor.

  1. Give it to her between the two of you. If you are sending flowers to her at her work . . . you're . . . (deep sigh) . . . you . . . (groans with frustration at being able to unfind the words) . . . you are part of the problem. Gifts between intimate people should be exchanged intimately.
  2. Make it PERSONAL. Deeply personal. I'm talking a thing that might cost $1 or $1,000,000 but will make her do that thing where she utters a sorta word and smiles and tosses her eyes between you and the gift for a few, speechless seconds before exclaiming pleasure in it. I don't know what that gift is - you're the one who loves her. But figure it out. Tick, tock.
  3. Do not let price be a factor. If you feel like you have to spend X dollars for Valentine's Day you're already lost. You're my father in 1993 during one of my college visits before GSP, smart phones, intuition, or focus. Stop it. Be GENUINE - not budget conscious.
  4. Symbolism. See that picture up there? It is a metal heart my mother gave me in the fall of 2003. She and my father had come to visit me in DC and to meet my then-girlfriend. We went to a few museums and my mother grabbed two of these and gave one to me and one to the woman. She told us to protect, cherish, and treat them like something far bigger and more precious than a little hunk of metal. I stuffed mine in my wallet. I just asked the woman the other day what ever happened to the one my mother gave her. She texted me a picture of it a minute later. Those hearts were $1 each. They are 10.5 years old. They are still protected and treated as important. Because they are. 
  5. Do something. Literally. An action. A woman I have shared loved with (yeah - I just said that . . . you're welcome) loves to read MORE than I do (an accomplishment). We have spent time reading to each other. Newspapers, magazines, books, short stories, Yiddish Folk Tales, etc. It is calming and intimate and I cherish it more than any physical gift she could have given me. Find something you both enjoy (table tennis, deep cleaning, grocery shopping, sex, etc.) and spend sometime on Heart Day (and just about every other day) sharing that activity. Save your duckets.
So there you have it. A cheap, petty, curmudgeon's take on Valentine's Day gift giving. I will be giving a gift to my daughter tomorrow morning. I hope she likes it as much as I liked picking it out. I hope that considers it special. I hope, a decade from now, she will show me a picture of it - still in her care.

Pound sand, red roses!