February 14th, 2002

Self-Portrait 3

The Eiger Sanction

I don't see what the big deal is about Valentine's Day. I really don't. Of course, that might have something to do with the fact that I've never had a girlfriend on Valentine's Day (hereinafter referred to, appropriately enough, I think, as "VD"). I'll either have broken up with a girl, or be just starting to realize that I like some poor girl (in which case VD is a completely inappropriate time to do anything with her), or in the middle of one of my legendary dry spells. So February 14th has always appeared to me as the kind of day for national insanity, where damn near everyone in the free world loses their frelling mind for one reason or another. Either they're going all ga-ga over their ladyfriend or they're swooning over their boyfriend or they're sitting at home drinking or baking cakes or watching slasher flicks or what have you, specifically because they don't have a girlfriend.

I mean, don't get me wrong. It'd be nice to have a girlfriend. It'd be really, =really= nice to have a girlfriend. It's great to be able to get home from work, and she's already there and you ask her, "how was your day?" and she goes, "oh, it was okay", and you go, "you don't sound to happy about it, baby. Come on over here and I'll rub your feet and you can tell me all about it." And then you rub her feet and then the two of you go eat dinner, or maybe you eat in that night. You sit on the couch and you watch a movie, or maybe you just sit there and talk. But whatever you do, it's nice, and the reason it's nice is because the two of you are together. Yeah, sure, you can do the same things with your friends, but it's different when it's your girlfriend. Because this just isn't a friendship, this is a relationship. This is the two of you doing something that, yeah, really isn't any different than the stuff you, or she, or you and she, could be doing with your friends, but it's just you and her, and everything you do is because you want to be closer. Not to anybody else, just to each other. And that's nice. In fact, don't get me wrong, that's damn near wonderful.

BUT, I don't see why we need the ritualistic exchange of gifts to make us feel better about having a significant other. It could be that women look to these gifts for validation, for assurance that their man doesn't take them for granted, that he really loves them. Which is all well and good, but two things: (1)guys, if you're doing your job right, she shouldn't need a box of candy, some flowers, and/or a silver-foil balloon to tell her that; and (2)in this day and age, you'd think a good woman would be past needing trivial little things like that to reassure her of her place in a relationship. VD really is the last bastion of sexism, a socially-accepted practice of giving a girl pretty stuff because heaven forbid she just go out and buy it herself! That's not ladylike! Well, fifty years ago, neither was wearing pants or having a job. That's over and done with, but I don't think Valentine's will be anytime soon; Hallmark is making way too much money off of it.