Wednesday, February 11, 2009

VD: A Male Perspective

Do you have any idea how much I'm looking forward to Valentine's Day? It's right up there with International Catheterize Yourself Day on my list of Top One Million Holidays and Other Obscure Observances.

It wasn't always this way for me. I used to love Valentine's Day. Back in the first grade for instance, decorating my little Valentine sack. Then watching with glee as the cute girls in class dropped cards in my bag. Never mind the fact that everyone in the class was required to give everyone else a card. I never fully grasped that minor detail. It's that innocent forced socialization that I really miss about Valentine's Day.

But inevitably and invariably, things change. There comes a point when giving your guy friends a Valentine card is no longer fun, just... odd. Then you turn twenty-one, and your mother stops buying Valentine presents for you to give to your girlfriends.

As the self-appointed spokesman for male bloggers who watch General Hospital, I think it's safe to say that for most guys Valentine's Day is like a wedding, or shaving. If it were left entirely up to us, we'd skip it. I've even heard of guys--present company excluded, of course--who have actually broken up with girls right before Valentine's Day just to avoid the hassle.

But we do it. Why? Because the most important thing in the world to us is the woman's happiness. Also, we generally don't enjoy getting yelled at.

Here's the thing: It's not that men aren't thoughtful. Actually let me amend that statement right off. It's not that men aren't thoughtful on holidays. It's that for some reason, the things that are considered romantic are found in the last places on Earth a guy would normally go. A florist, the jewelry kiosk at the mall, a department store. I don't even like walking through the lingerie section in Wal-Mart to get from the electronics to the food. I take the long way around through the shoes, candles and pillows.

Who decided that these would be the expected romantic gestures? Why not incorporate things guys like to do? Like car stuff. What says I love you more than a guy who changes the oil in your car? You could even have commercials. "This Valentine's Day, tell her you love her with five quarts of Castrol 20W50. Roses wither and die. But engine sludge is forever."

No? Well then maybe Auto Zone could put in a florist. Or how about a pre-Valentine Day promotion at sporting events? First thousand men though the gate get a free diamond heart pendant.

That is why the mix tape was so successful. It allowed the guy to use his love and knowledge of music and high tech devices--the dual cassette player--while also (theoretically) satisfying the romantic needs of the female. If someone made you a mix tape, you knew they loved you. And that it would last.

And so on this Valentine's Day, let us pay tribute to the romantic perfection that was the mix tape. Flowers are dead in a week. Jewelry is gone once you pawn it. But a mix tape was forever. Or at least until your Walkman chewed up the cassette. And by that point, the relationship was usually already over anyway.

"So play it all over. Turn it wide. Now there is nothing but a mix tape left behind. Now it won't rewind..."

33 comments:

  1. Oh Bone you make me laugh because of course I did not think VD was Valentine's Day. Go Figure.

    A female perspective I think Valentine's Day is way over rated. If the only time my man brings me flowers or jewley or another type of I love you gift I am not overly impressed. Why because the TV and Hallmark have been reminding him for a month to do so. I would rather he do that when he thinks about it on his own and suprises me.

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  2. This post begs the question: What does Jason Morgan do for Valentine's Day? I have a hunch it wouldn't be a box of Russel Stovers' chocolates.

    Personally... I'd love an oil change. It's way more romantic to me than a piece of lingerie is, since the oil change benefits me and the lingerie is really a gift for a man in my life. And while I love flowers, I'd rather get them some random day in April just to say "I was thinking of you" than when everyone else gets them. Peer pressure, plain and simple. Someone needs to stand outside Hallmarks and florist shops on all this week saying to men, "Now, if your friends jumped off a bridge, would you jump too?"

    What I think I really want to know though, is what do men want for VD? I mean, if it's a "couple's holiday" like is touted, then they should be getting gifts, too. Or did I just cross over into that world of feminism and equality we don't go to?

    P.S. I have the "Get in the zone, Auto Zone" commercial playing in my head right now. Thanks for that.

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  3. Nothing says love like a car battery!
    I got out of the "standard" oil change on the car for valentines day present, this year due to the freeze causing moisture in my oil, the hubs got on to me for inadequate oil checks, and did the heroic deed of changing my oil two days ago- so lucky me, I just might, might get some of that propoganda they sell around town.
    I married a mechanic.
    I think you should confuse all the girls you are even slightly intetersted in or even know and send every one of them a card- just like first grade. Spreading the "Love" could have a ripple affect.

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  4. itunes should come up with the modern day equivalent of the mix tape. Something that would let you compile songs and send them to someone load them onto someone's ipod as a special playlist. Maybe they already have it, actually, I'm not sure. But reading this makes me want to dig through the boxes in the basement to see if I still have any mix tapes that I received. I may not be able to play them anywhere, but maybe it'll generate a blog post!

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  5. PennyCandy - Well, that's exactly how I feel, too. I like to be original and can't stand just getting the same thing everyone else is buying.

    One year, I sent flowers out of the blue like in January and just kinda played it low key on VD with a candlelight dinner, stuffed animal, and a card. Didn't work.

    TC - What does Jason Morgan do for Valentine's Day?

    That is an excellent question! I'll be watching to see if he gets anyone anything this year, although with the hospital in the process of burning to the ground and him inside, it's doubtful.

    Personally, I don't care what I get for VD or even if I get anything. I mean, if I do get something, I'll appreciate whatever it is. But it's just not that important to me.

    Daily Panic - Haha. I like the card idea. It seemed to be more fun when the question was "Will you be my Valentine?" rather than "What should I buy you this year?"

    Susan - Somehow I don't think it would be the same. I mean, burned CD's were never the same as the mix tape to me. Not even close. Maybe it's the effort required to fast forward and rewind to the beginning of each song :)

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  6. I'm somewhat of a non-conformist, so I think homemade pizza and royal blue t-shirts are way more romantic than crowded restaurants and impersonal, overpriced gifts. I kept secretly hoping that there might actually be one single male on the planet who wanted to go to a D-III men's basketball game with me on Saturday... but I finally gave up and accepted an invitation to make dinner with a female friend instead. C'est la vie.

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  7. Bone: I understand the not feeling comfortable going to the florist shop or Jewelry counter...but could you please explain why he can't go to the section that clearly says WIFE above it to pick out a card? (birthday, Christmas, Anniversary...whatever!) It is like some total adversion to the WIFE section of the cards. If I get another generic card I'm gonna scream! I don't even care about VD. We normally just exchange a small amount of candy for that.

    And TC: that whole buy me flowers in the middle of April thing is nice, but the problem is that they DONT THINK THAT WAY! I've been married almost 17 years and I can count on no hands how many times I got flowers "just cuz", this after even he said he should get me flowers just cuz. He has bought me flowers for my birthday...loads of times (cuz he couldn't think of anything else to get me!) but never just cuz and he has a total adversion to buying them for vday...it is just his form of fighting the system. "I won't be forced into buying flowers!" lol!

    good thing that I love the man or he would be eating very salty food.

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  8. Is it true Luke and Laura are back together?

    You crack me up. I don't believe your mother stopped buying presents for you to give. Come clean Bone. Just saying that to be ornery

    Happy almost....I can't imagine what it's like for such a romantic as yourself to have your birthday two days before VDay

    I agree with TC but understand where Renee's coming from

    My father gave my mother a chocolate heart once. I know every detail of the heart and the package as she kept it for 25 years :) And we would all go to its little home and hand it to her on VDay. We were cruel.

    Thanks Bone I haven't thought about that in about ten years. will mention it at the family gathering on Sunday--Monday

    My niece will understand that lack of romantic notions runs through the generations--and my parents were madly in love--and mad in the crazy sense

    So when i had romantic boyfriends--never R--I would either be this is so great or are you crazy, do a random act of kindness for somebody else

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  9. Why to people get so wrapped around the axle about Valentine's Day? Bone I would have liked your idea of a good valentine's day. We've been married almost 25 years and we pretty much ignore the day. I"m home sick and the ad that I've seen about 15 times today is the Vermont Teddy Bear ad. I think I would be sick if my husband bought that for me. But they sure are hoping guys will fall for this ad campaign.

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  10. Great post! And I want to personally thank you, on behalf of lots of women I know, for taking the extra time to walk around the lingerie department--it makes me very uncomfortable for guys to be hanging around while I shop for underwear.

    Also, the car stuff is a great idea--I'd love to have my car washed and waxed. If the weather's nice (in some locales) the guy could even do it wearing something--interesting.

    I've never thought V-day was such a big deal, and am appalled at how it's escalated--diamonds?? Roses are awfully expensive, too. It's a day that makes unattached people feel weird, and some attached people feeling cheated. A card and a box of candy, anything, is all most women expect, and it doesn't matter if you get the stuff at the grocery store, or actually walk into a Hallmarks. Just get it over with:)

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  11. R8chel - D-III? Maybe if were D-II.... Then again, if you're throwing in homemade pizza, I don't see why someone would turn that down. Maybe you should try crimson t-shirts ;)

    Yeah, I'm thinking of planning a group bowling outing for Saturday night. (As opposed to a solo bowling outing?) We'll see how that comes together.

    Renee - No, I can't explain that. I'm picky about cards. I usually spend at least fifteen minutes looking for a good one.

    Maybe he's just lowering expectations so when he does send you flowers you'll be blown away. Blowowowowowwwwn! :)

    Pia - Yes, I didn't even address the issue of having my birthday two days before VD.

    I love how writing and reading remind us of other memories we hadn't thought of in ages.

    Yes, I think it's possible to be too romantic. At some point, it just gets creepy.

    PennyCandy - Thanks. I've never been married and I'll pretty much be ignoring the day this year. lol

    Actonbell - Well, you're welcome. Though I must say I don't mind having women around when I'm shopping for underwear. Bathroom tissue, yes. But underwear, I don't mind. I like having someone around that I can ask for advice on clothes.

    Here lately, I'd rather be single on VD than dating. And yes, I've found most women are understanding and content as long as you put forth a little effort.

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  12. I'm with Chica. Oil change, please. Or even better: a car wash, interior vacuuming, dog saliva wiped off the inside back windows and blackening the tires so they are all nice and shiny (I actually don't understand that but it seems a nice "go the extra mile" kind of thing for VD).

    Big A once attempted the lingerie thing. I should share that story on the ol' blog in honor of VD.

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  13. I lived a happy life until you reminded me of my lost Valentine Sack in elementary school...

    Thanks =(

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  14. Oh. Should I mention that there's also a D-I game here in town on Saturday evening? :)

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  15. One of my best Valentine's Day gift was actually a couple of days after Valentines's Day.

    Funny I would actually go for something from auto zone. Like Hawaiian decal floor mats or kitty seat covers.

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  16. Wow, I really like your writing.
    I'm cool with no gifts on V-Day, flowers or no flowers, oil change or no oil change.
    Time is the best gift really (to me).
    So why is my boyfriend working on the 14th??

    I'll be back for more male perspectives on life.
    lushlist.blogspot.com

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  17. Murf - Ah yes, Black Magic Tire Wet is what you'll want for that, I believe.

    Big A once attempted? So once was enough, huh?

    Phyxius - Did I say sack? I meant, um, Valentine suckers! You know, those red heart-shaped fund-raising suckers they sold. Or was that just at my school?

    R8chel - Honestly, with the homemade pizza, it shouldn't matter. It could be D-XII. Except, of course, there is no D-XII that I know of.

    Cathe - A couple of days after Valentine's Day? You get gifts for President's Day? :)

    Ooo, good thought! I could use some new floor mats, too.

    The Lush List - Thank you! Yeah, I always thought the best gift was just getting to hang out for awhile together.

    Thanks for stopping by.

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  18. That was a lovely piece, though I always think of Valentine's Day as the day the wife beaters buy their wives affection for another year.

    I also thank you for the history lesson ion the "mixed tape".


    Happy Birthday Bone.

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  19. I am making my annual Valentines day CD right now.

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  20. You're blog title--VD--that ought to get you lots of interesting hits.

    Valentine's Day is the not the day to learn your sweetie hates (or is allergic) to chocolate!

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  21. LOL! Funny post. "This Valentine's Day, tell her you love her with five quarts of Castrol 20W50. Roses wither and die. But engine sludge is forever." Favorite quote!

    If I was in a serious relationship,semi-serious relationship, or just a relationship I would let the guy skip out of VDay. Here's my reasoning. See, I'd rather have a guy send me flowers, take me to dinner, or buy me a card on a random day- like March 2. Then I'd know that I meant something to the guy. He took the time to do something nice without being forced. ANNND that's my two cents on VDay!

    Also, I agree with TC I'd love an oil change. I hate dealing with my car.

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  22. TC asks a great question of Jason Morgan-- all I know is that if Jason Morgan were my Valentine, he wouldn't need to get me any silly card or chocolate or flowers.... I'm just sayin....

    Second- thank you for calling it VD. That always makes me smile. Seriously. Sitting here grinning at my computer :)

    Third- I've told you before- Valentine's is a VERY selective holiday- not just anyone can make the cut. Better to be alone than accidently ending up in a serious relationship that you thought was just gonna be a single sympathy date.

    Happy VD!

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  23. Happy BD my favorite Bama fan

    Writing a BD post for you was worse than writing a Bone roast

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  24. I'm just not into the Hallmark holidays and have no need for one to let my husband show me how much he loves me. That should be done everyday.

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  25. Cooper - Thanks. The mix tape really deserves its own post, or series of posts, but this will have to do for now. Thanks for the birthday wishes also!

    Hotpinksox - Ah, everytime "Turn On Me" or Flaming Lips come on my iTunes, I think of you. Well, maybe not everytime. But sometimes.

    Sage - Yeah, I figured the VD had some staying power.

    Nor is it the day to realize she hates anything to do with hearts.

    Thank you.

    OKC - Thanks. I thought I might get a birthday dedication post, but I guess we've drifted apart more than I'd like to admit ;-)

    Cami - Love the phrase "accidentally end up in a serious relationship." LOL I'm sure we've all been there.

    Pia - Thanks! And thank you so much for the wonderful birthday post. I'm thinking I should link to it.

    Kontan - I agree. People in relationships shouldn't need a day to make them do something nice for their significant other.

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  26. I thought of you and this post today when the pilot told us that it was now safe to turn on all of our hand-held electronic devices: "Cell phones, Gameboys, Walkmans..."

    He must be your age ;)

    Hope you had a wonderful birthday, Bone!

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  27. I'm kinda unusual.. I don't really get into vd day.. it's too hyped. and I like romance all the time, not just on one day.

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  28. Valentine's Day is over rated. My favorite VD was when my boyfriend at the time made dinner and we watched 16 Candles. No flowers. No chocolate. Just popcorn and twizzlers. It was perfect. I think the stores hype up the day WAAAAAY to much.

    By the way: you should never purchase lingerie from Wal-Mart. Nice lingerie doesn't hang two isles over from Hannah Montana socks. ...just saying.

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  29. Sorry. I didn't have time to prepare a birthday dedication post! I did leave you a message on facebook. :)

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  30. engine sludge in,
    engine sludge out... get the picture?

    cheers big guy!

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  31. TC - Wow, he said Walkmans, really? Why isn't it Walkmen?
    Thanks.

    Shelby - I don't think that's unusual :) Judging by the comments here, I'd say you were in the majority.

    Charlotta - Thanks for the tip. But like I said, I make it a point to avoid that section altogether, so I don't foresee that being a problem.

    Tagster - Aww, thanks! Hope you are doing well. Both of you :)

    OK Chick - I understand. Your busy with your world ski tour 2009.

    ArtistFormerlyKnownAs - You have the distinction of being the only person who refers to me as "big guy." :)

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