Jerry Nelson: Valentine's Day preparations
It’s a perennial problem for those of us who are lesser-abled in the area of romance, people who lack the knack for expressing their deepest feelings of endearment to those closest to them. We are of course talking about guys.
Guys generally aren’t very adept at communicating mushy sentimentality. This is because, as kids, it was impressed upon our gender that being a man meant that we should “Suck it up!” or “Walk it off!” or “Don’t get mad, get even! Although hiring an attorney to address the issue of not getting a turn on the teeter-totter might be taking things a bit too far.”
The message was clear: big boys don’t cry. Especially not at the end of the movie “The Notebook.”
This is why guys tend to communicate with one another via caveman-like grunts. For example, a conversation between two guys might go like this:
“Heard you and wife are expecting. Congrats!”
“Boy or girl?”
“Can’t imagine what it cost to raise kids nowadays. My wife would make me sell fishing boat!”
(Sobbing) “Unga! Gonna miss my Bayliner!”
Our tragic romantic ineptitude is rocket fuel for the greeting card industry. During the Valentine’s Day season alone, we guys will spend more money on love-dovey greeting cards than the gross national product of Lithuania.
Sure, you can try to create a do-it-yourself Valentine’s Day card. But the problem here is the “yourself” part. Poetry is obviously called for in this situation, but when most guys think “poem,” what springs to their minds are the epic elegies that were written by Dr. Seuss. Something tells them that a similar poem wouldn’t do.
A guy could attempt to pen his own romantic verses, but they would likely end up being something like:
Roses are red,
Violets are blue.
I made you this card,
And saved $3.92.
A major problem with Valentine’s Day is that it comes during the dead of winter. This precludes the cheapskate, I mean, thrift-minded guy from going outdoors and picking a vaseful of dandelions or lilacs that he could present to the object of his deep affections. And I’ve been told that it’s bad form to regift the artificial flowers that you gave her two years ago, even though you are doing your part to save the planet by participating in recycling.
There are other options for nonverbal communication of your undying feelings of very high regard. Jewelry is a good choice, especially if you can find a way to claim it as a tax-deductible item.
Say that you purchase a lovely necklace chain for your beloved. Who’s to know if it was the kind of chain that can only be used for decorative purposes or the type of chain that could be used to pull out a stuck tractor? It’s all in the eye of the beholder. Or perhaps it’s in the eye of that snoopy auditor who was sent around by the IRS.
If you are non-teetotalers, a bottle of wine would be fine. Get the pink stuff, which is commonly called rosé, and you can count the gift as both a refreshment and a flower. Wine has the added benefit of being something you can both enjoy together.
Candy would also be dandy. But don’t simply go out and buy a bag of miniature Snickers bars. You might be accused of being lazy because it looks like you are merely recycling leftover Halloween candy. Although doing such a thing should count as doing your part to save the planet.
The safest bet would be to purchase one of those so-called samplers. Resist the temptation to take the label literally; don’t perform any unauthorized sampling. This could lead to awkward moments, especially if you both like chocolate caramel cashew clusters. Take it from me, you do NOT want your Significant Other to open a sampler box only to discover that many of the candies have teeth marks.
Some years ago, my wife and I had the occasion to tour Old Kentucky Chocolates in Lexington, Kentucky. One of their products was bourbon-soaked chocolate-covered cherries.
These treats were a triple threat. Each of them contained something from the fruit group, something from the chocolate group and something from the hard liquor group.
I purchased a box of boozy chocolate-covered cherries. As I presented them to my wife, I said those three magic words: “Happy Valentine’s Day!” It was the last week of May, but romance knows no season.
My wife unwrapped the gift, beamed at me beatifically and said those four little words every guy longs to hear from his paramour.
“I’ll share with you!”