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..."