Well, lovebirds – Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. And if you thought to yourself, “Oh shit, I haven’t gotten anything,” there’s still time to avoid being an empty-handed douchebag this year. You’re welcome.
I can only guess what’s going on at companies that specialize in traditional, yet somewhat thoughtless gifts for the people we love. I’m sure the Vermont Teddy Bear company is cranking out those furry bastards as fast as workers can stuff them. Over at Whitman’s and Brach’s, vats of chocolate and nougatey goo are bubbling 24/7. And they’re all so busy, no one noticed the family of rats drowning in boiler #3. Yum!
How do these gifts…these lowest common denominators of affection, keep showing up year after year?
It’s our fault, America. We’ve gotten lazy at love. Plus we love chocolate. Even shitty, rat-tail chocolate.
For the record, I don’t think expressions of love have to involve expensive gifts or even gifts at all. It’s the thought that counts, provided the thought actually matches something your partner wants or enjoys doing. “I THOUGHT you’d like this Bose Surround Sound,” probably won’t get it, even though you technically thought about it. And show me a guy bragging that his wife doesn’t care about Valentine’s Day and I’ll show you a woman throwing him under the bus.
It got me thinking. Where did we go wrong? At what point did Cupid stop shooting arrows and start playing beer pong? When did a dozen roses-so-red turn into “I’ve got a carton of Marlboro Reds with your name on it.”
Like the Black Eyed Peas so eloquently put it, “Where’s the love, y’all.” Can we turn it around? What if someone could show us how to avoid a future filled with Valentine’s misfires?
For your consideration, I present…A Valentine’s Carol
It’s the night before Valentine’s, blah, blah, blah, you’re Ebenezer Scrooge, blah,blah, getting visited by three ghosts. You know the story, so let’s jump to the parts that matter.
Ghost of Valentine’s Past: Travel back to the first REAL February 14th of your teen years. You were too young to drive, so someone’s mom played chauffeur. You were a bundle of nerves as she escorted you and the object of your affection, the one you knew you’d spend your life with, to Applebee’s and a PG movie.
While your interest level was high, your resources were low. You scraped together enough cash to spring for some drug store perfume, a single supermarket rose, and a Bon Jovi cassette tape (or whoever the heartthrob musician was in your decade). While these probably didn’t make the lifelong connection you’d hoped for, they were good enough to get you to 2nd base in the back of mom’s minivan while she stopped at Taco Bell to drop a deuce.
Ghost of Valentine’s Present: It’s 2017, and you’re a pro at this shit. You’ve got more Valentine’s Days under your belt than Hallmark. And there were some years you actually tried. But something’s changed now. It feels like an obligation instead of a celebration. Your offerings of love consist of a bouquet of flowers from Costco. Flowers you happened to notice on the way to pay for a bag of dog food. You also swung by Kay Jewelers and picked up a dazzling little number from the $99 table. You devil!
And the secret sauce you’ve cooked up this year??? A romantic dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings! She’ll be so surprised, she won’t even notice you’re watching the basketball game on the giant screen behind her. I’m sure you’ll be quite the charmer with nine empty beer bottles and wing sauce smeared across your face.
Ghost of Valentine’s Future
Jump forward to 2029. You leave the strip club early and swing by CVS to get your gout meds refilled. While waiting, you notice they have Whitman’s sampler boxes, the BIG ones, marked 70% off. “Oh yeah. It was Valentine’s yesterday.” You arrive home and hand her the chocolates (which you’ve gotten a head start on) and a handwritten coupon book made of bar napkins stapled together. Aren’t you crafty!
As the mother of your children, the love of your life, your reason for living flips through the coupons to see that –surprise-they’re all for blowjobs, she also notices one of them is scribbled on a napkin from Tom’s Titty Palace…and something snaps.
“Why don’t you draw US a hot bath,” she whispers. “I’ll be there in a minute.” She turns down the lights, turns up Marvin Gaye’s Let’s Get It On, and slips into that nightie that used to do it for you, but now is covered with Doritos cheesy salt. She saunters into the bathroom, and you notice she has the coupon book of delights in one hand, and a toaster in the other. And just as she tosses the Sunbeam 3000 in the tub to fry your sleazy, unromantic ass, you wake up.
It was all a dream. It was all a dream! You roll over in bed and there she is next to you…a vision in flannel, snoring like a grizzly.
“It’s not too late,” you yell, scaring the shit out of her as you kiss her full on the lips.”It’s not too late!” And as you struggle to slide off her PJ’s and wish her the happiest Valentine’s Day in years, you catch a glimpse of a towel in the corner…flung nonchalantly over a box…a box shaped a lot like a toaster.
Have a story for the Valentine’s Day Hall of Shame? Feel free to share in the comments.