It's Valentine's Day, and since I write about marriage a lot, I think somewhere in the bylaws of the blogosphere that obligates me to write about Valentine's Day.
So: Valentine's Day.
Mike and I don't really do Valentine's Day. Some years we'll be like, "Hey, you want to do something?" and we might go out for dinner or something. We tried doing the dinner and a movie thing one year, and that went badly. (Because we decided to see King Kong. What?)
I'm pretty sure it was for Valentine's Day that one year in college we got dressed up and went to Taco Bell. It was awesome. I wore sweatpants under my dress because it was so cold. And Mike didn't care. Because he's awesome.
There are two main things I hate about Valentine's Day. And no, it's not the whole "Oh, it's just a commercialized holiday and acts of love should be spontaneous blah blah blah."
The first is this message: "Men, even though your wife insists you don't have to get her anything, she really wants flowers/jewelry/whatever."
This pisses me off because it assumes that I'm incapable of speaking for myself, and argues that if I do say something, I am lying.
Mike knows exactly what would happen if he bought me a piece of jewelry:
- First, I would say, "Hello? Have we met? I don't wear jewelry."
- Secondly, I would say, "How exactly did you pay for this? I know you don't have this much money in your personal account, so you must have spent our money on this piece of jewelry that I'm not going to wear. Why would you do that?"
It would not surprise me if the women at Mike's work asked him what he got me for Valentine's Day, and when he said, "Nothing," they told him, "No, listen, believe us, she really does want you to get her something." It wouldn't be the first time he's had such a conversation.
The fact that other people presume to know what I want more than my own husband makes me angry, and plays into the whole "bumbling, ignorant husband" stereotype that I hate.
The second thing I hate about Valentine's Day is the women who actually do say they want nothing when they want something.
No! Stop it! Why would you do that?
All you're doing is making it more likely your partner will do the "wrong" thing, setting yourself up to be disappointed, and making it more difficult for me to convince people that I'm telling the truth when I say the same thing!
I mean, I get the theory behind it. If you say you want nothing and he gets you something, he has the chance to "surprise" you. If you tell him to buy you flowers and he buys you flowers, then it's like he's just following orders.
But if the goal is for you to be surprised, rather than the "obligation" of Valentine's Day to be fulfilled, then why not say, "I would like it if you surprised me with flowers every once in a while"? If that's the most important thing to you, then the day shouldn't matter so much.
And if you do care about getting something on Valentine's Day, then be honest!
Or you can have a conversation about it: "Would you like to exchange gifts for Valentine's Day?"
Or you could say, "I would love for you to plan a surprise date for us for Valentine's Day."
If you are legitimately expecting something and will legitimately be disappointed if you get nothing, tell your partner.
No matter the context, expecting your partner to read your mind almost always ends badly. (Though maybe not this badly.)
I realize this post may be coming too late for some of you, but consider it a lesson learned for next year. Or maybe for your birthday, Mother's Day, anniversary, or any other date you want your partner to acknowledge in some way.
If you're in a relationship, do you and your partner celebrate Valentine's Day? How did you decide how you would celebrate it?