Private Talk by Sabrina Jennings
Women and Sex by Isabel
I’m not a fan of expectations. Because I know that expectations are always accompanied by inevitable disappointment. And for me, Valentine’s Day falls clearly into the camp of expectations, a place where I know I can’t win. In fact for guys in general, there’s no winning on the day of the cupid, because there will always be some guy who just has to up the ante and fly his partner for a special night in NYC, or to some tropical isle, or pull out all the stops with rose petals and bubble massages, or organic chocolate instead of the kind you get at the local pharmacy. And then there’s always the guy who just has to propose on this day with a diamond the size of one of Mike Tyson’s gold teeth. But the worst part about the day is that I don’t like being “told” what to do, or made to feel that February 14th is a day of special significance above all others, a day where I show my undying love with the rest of the card carrying schmucks, husbands, and boyfriends who buy into the whole charade.
But I try. And I guess I must get points for that, because my wife always seems content with whatever I do, which really is pretty basic. Flowers. Chocolate. Her favorite take out food. Or a night out at our favorite restaurant—using coupons of course. And if we still have enough energy after putting the kids to bed, maybe a little rendezvous in the hay.
But the thing is, we can do that on any day. February 17th, April 12th, July 1st, September 22 are no different for us than February 14rth. And on days when there are no expectations anything can happen. It’s on those days—tabala rasa—where the real magic happens. An afternoon playing hooky from work to take a long walk in the woods can lead to a quiet appreciation of your partner. A friday night in the cheap hotel a mile from the house might just bring out a side in you, or better still, a side of your partner you only hoped was there. (As long as you can get the grandparents to babysit.) A surprise lunch at work perhaps shows your partner that you’re thinking of her beyond the bedroom. And a “Get out of Parenting” card where your partner can sit around and watch her favorite shows while you do the nighttime kid routine can lead to the other “Nighttime Routine.” (Except this time it’s not routine.)
And frankly, I perform much better when I don’t have the eyes of the world watching my back; and when I don’t have to compare tales by the water cooler the next day, like I compare summer vacations with other parents while attending Back to School Night and other fall functions. Somehow my “little” trip to California or Cape Cod—which I thought was amazing, and actually was—always seems to get dwarfed by somebody’s trip to the vineyards of France or the ancient ruins of Greece or the aquatic wonderland of the Bahamas or the rainforests of Belize. And then I’m left wondering if I even had a good time?
So I propose we change the focus of Valentine’s Day to the one day where we get to take a break from being romantic. Let’s just do the opposite as George Castanza said in the famous episode of Seinfeld. I say it should be a day where we all get to be selfish and irresponsible. It should be a day where we get to give the world “the bird.” A day where we can choose to do nothing or everything, with whomever we want or don’t want.
Because I believe that every day has the potential to be memorable and unique. Every day provides us the opportunity to be creative and show the people who are close to us how much we love them. And to me, saying “I love you” on a cold, random day in November is just as good, if not better, than giving flowers and chocolate on that “Go To” day in February.
But don’t worry, I’m too responsible to buck the trend completely. So I’ll have chocolates and flowers in tow as I do my best to follow the pack and conform. Because I do love my wife, and I also know if I ignore the day, she’ll have nothing to offer the next day in the powder room as her co-workers and friends talk about their amazing Valentine’s nights. And any reasonably intelligent guy knows that this is really what Valentine’s Day is all about.