Fear and Loathing on Valentine's Day

by T.W. Winslow

Valentine's Day is just around the corner and, for many of us men, this is one holiday we could do without. Not because we're against romance necessarily, we just aren't very good at it. Of course there are exceptions to this rule, but for most of us men Valentine's Day is like a car wreck - something which we'd rather avoid. But like our annual tax bill, Valentine's Day comes once a year whether we like it or not.

Don't get me wrong, if we men were more capable in matters of the heart, I'm sure this would be a day we'd look forward to. But sadly, this usually isn't the case. Think of it this way; a man giving a Valentine's Day gift is much like him trying to hammer a nail blindfolded. Occasionally he'll hit the mark, but most often it will result in an unpleasant experience.

Each year we men struggle to come up with what we believe to be the perfect Valentine's Day gift. And more often than not, each year these offerings of love are met with less than wild enthusiasm from our partners. How were we to know such things as a new iron, blender, toaster, vacuum or dishwasher were not the ideal Valentine's Day gift? Or giving such things as a treadmill, aerobics video, or jogging outfit would not be interpreted as our saying "I love you" but rather, "Honey, your thighs look like cottage cheese." Maybe the women in our lives, rather than getting irritated and upset by our feeble attempts at romance, should simply take pity on us.

Perhaps we men have some strange genetic defect that hasn't yet been recognized by medical science. Or it might be Cupid's fault. Perhaps when he shoots his arrows of love at a couple he hits the woman's heart, but inflicts some sort of massive head trauma to the male involved. There must be some rational explanation for our lack of romantic flair. Why else would we men think the only purpose for candles is emergency lighting during power outages? That ambiance is some kind of bottled water? Or that loves notes are what we leave for our partners to let them know we are out of beer?

Men deserve sympathy, compassion, mercy and understanding, for when it comes to the fine art of romance, we men are sitting in our boxer shorts finger painting with our toes. So this year when you receive oven-mitts adorned with little red hearts or lingerie even a street walker wouldn't wear, don't get mad at the man in your life. Understand that he did the best he could... all things considered.