What to Expect From Men on Valentine’s Day

February 14… Ahhh, such a torturous, gloom-laden date for heterosexual men. Not only is it the darkest of times for us, being that morose period between the close of football season and the commencement of NCAA March Madness, a veritable no-man’s-land of flavorless days and hopeless nights, but it is also the time when the expectations of the fairer sex run high, provoking a dull ache and a gripping sort of pain in the pit of the stomach.

For many men, Christmas is for fun with the kids, and Easter is that day when there’s ham. But Valentine’s Day just doesn’t seem to have been designed with men in mind at all. At least not in the United States. In Japan, things are a bit different. There, men are given chocolates by women on Valentine’s Day, and within the goodie gifting is a clear but subtle code allowing the level of the giver’s affection to be easily ascertained in the type of chocolate presented.

The girls act first, and though I’m not personally fond of that part of the custom, a few weeks later our Japanese friends have what is called White Day, where the men are expected to return the favor. Of course, all the return presents are governed by the code as well. If a man fancies a girl who gave him fine chocolates, then he’s expected to buy her a gift at least twice the value of her initial offering. If he fails to return her gift at all, then he’s not interested. If he gifts her with chocolates of equal value, it’s a consolation prize, for he wishes to dissolve the relationship. Not too shabby a system, really. At least you know where you stand without investing more than the price of a few pieces of candy.

It gets one pondering the issue of value in relationships overall. During the time of Valentine’s Day’s ascension as a romantic occasion, Chaucer was in vogue, and courtly love was all the rage. No doubt the idealization of love and romance had been around for some time, but this was really the period when the whole modern concept of being “in love” originated. What’s often lost in all the poetry is the pragmatic fact that love, relationships, and sex are all part of a value placement system. A kind of sensual economics. Value attribution is not an innate quality or instinctive reaction. Value is ascribed according to need, desire and interest. This factor is always variable. If it weren’t, divorces would never happen, and “happily ever after” would be a viable outcome.

But affection is variable. And on Valentine’s Day, the day of destitution and woe for all “man”kind, a girl is given tangible evidence of just how much value a man places on her particular charms. After all, if a guy really despises this day, or is at best indifferent to it, then any effort he makes contrary to that personal aversion is a pretty fair barometer for how interested he is in pleasing you; a almost failsafe indication as to how well you have seduced, charmed and bewitched him over the past year.

Just out of curiosity, I asked a young friend of mine, a typical red-blooded American lad, what he might do for a girlfriend on Valentine’s Day. He shrugged, dullness coming over his blank expression.

“I guess I’d have to do something,” he said. “Take her to dinner… I dunno.”

I then asked, “Well, what if the lady wasn’t just any girlfriend? What if she were, say… Carrie Underwood?” (Knowing that he holds this particular lady as something of an ideal in his mind).

His face blazed at the very prospect and he sat bolt upright. “Well, yes,” he answered. “Then I would have to do something special. Something she’d like. Something just for her…”

See? If you’ve seduced your fellow well, he should react just like that. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t Carrie Underwood. What matters is the value he places on your existence. What it all comes down to is: What do you mean to his life? What do you bring to his world? Or at least what does the prospect of winning you bring to his world? If a woman simply demands affection, thinking she’s entitled to it without work on her part, she’s woefully mistaken. It takes cunning, skill and charm to weave a spell of feminine enchantment. In the end, there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and if you snooze then you will lose in life and in love.

So this Valentine’s Day, take a good look at the man in your life. How much thought did he put into honoring you? He might very well hate the day itself, but if you’re the girl he’s pining for, he’ll make the effort to let you know it. If he buys the requisite roses and candy, it’s not a good sign. Because it’s lame. If you find yourself the recipient of a Valentine’s text message, or an obligatory chow down at the Golden Corral, you need to look at increasing your value in your mate’s eyes. Soon. Or decide that the work isn’t worth the effort, and move on. Having said all this, however, let me add that some men are the product of cultures that have no affinity for Valentine’s Day. Keep that in mind when gauging your fellow’s efforts.

And one last thing, for the more pagan oriented… Let’s not forget that the real day for lovers to get those erotic juices gushing is February 6, the Festival of Aphrodite… Our Lady Who Started It All. Go forth and drop your togas.

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7 thoughts on “What to Expect From Men on Valentine’s Day

  1. idlives

    Yesterday I would’ve agreed with the Valentine’s text message faux pas from a guy. But today I have a different take. This morning I was awakened by a blaring text alert from my cell phone – made me quite irritated since it was so early in the morning. But when I pushed that blaring alert aside, I was facing the most beautiful, heartfelt Valentine’s Day message that said it all. It left me breathless! No card could’ve captured what that message conveyed. It was the only “gift” I got, and the only one I needed.

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  3. diannerobbins1963

    I agree with acerhope… especially in newer relationships. I’d rather a box of chocolates or a flower than having a cyberstalker!

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  5. acerhope

    I don’t know about you guys, but take note of these happenings with my ex-; He gave me a laptop, cellphone and printer so we could go and make a call online to me anytime of the day. He would call me 5 hours a day and every 2 hours checks on me even in the middle of the night, 2:00 AM and gets mad if I I refuse to talk to him at 4 :00 AM . And if i failed to go online, he would keep the phone ringing until I answer it.. he even worry about what/how I eat. Sounds romantic? OK, hold on tight, here’s the catch, he forgets my birthday and even called me crazy or just shrugged his shoulder when I remind him after my big day; then 2 weeks before Christmas and he said he has a gift for me, even showed the photo of a beautiful jewelries. But that’s all to it, 4 days before Christmas time he stopped calling and remained silent past Christmas, until New Years day. After those big days He resumed his schedules ;called and again spent 5 hours talk about his dogs and how he wished we were together so ” I can take care of his dogs and we would be sleeping together with his dogs on our bed.” grrrr… After a couple more of his usual phone calls and online tryst, I realized I can not be 24/7 for him both online and on phone. plus the fact I hardly can do anything, much less have a decent rest. And now, before Valentines Day, ( Jan 14, 2011, to be exact!) I called it quits and ended that time / verbal abusive relationship. Now, I would rather have those simple chocolates/flowers as gifts from a simple guy who remembers my birthday minus a gift and not be silent during Big days. Romantic gestures are “NOTHING” if he is a jerk like the one I had. And oh, he wants the laptop , cellphone and printer returned to him. He said he needs them for his future girl…grrr…any takers?

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  6. tray

    Yep, that marvelous day is approaching again. Valentine’s Day, that toe-the-line day, that performance pressure day, that day that our society has carefully orchestrated for men with sweethearts and lovers and wives to perform like trained seals. That day when – no matter what he might’ve said or done those other 364 days a year – it’s ground zero and a man’s butt is officially on the line. All men know that if they do something for their woman then they’ll be some degree of OK and get through it, but do nothing and it’ll be hell to pay.

    It’s also relationship extortion. And a shakedown and emotion-based forced compliance with the machinations of merchandisers like jewelers, candy makers, florists, greeting card companies, stuffed toy peddlers and so on. It’s a “holiday” mainly for females. In all my time I have never once heard any man say “Oh goody, Valentine’s Day is almost here”.

    Some say the holiday is was based on a martyred Roman cleric who died over 1,700 years ago, so isn’t it time that we gave it a rest and de-emphasized it? Or at least made participation optional?

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  7. chrissiem

    it’s even worse for me as Valentine’s day is my birthday no luck getting a romantic dinner out without major time planning, chocolates and flowers all go up in price, and I make and design jewellery so pressies can be a minefield clothes are never a good option for me as I have to have them altered as I am a non standard size and although I love reading I always get doubles of the books I like to read when people buy for me, someone’s trying to tell me something there, I’m sure

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