Monday, February 13, 2012


It is Valentine’s Day and the question is: What do women want on Valentine’s Day? I watched the latest episode of THE MIDDLE on Hulu with my sweetie. It begins with Mike and Frankie, telling each other they don’t want anything special for Valentine’s Day. No fuss, no flowers, no dinner out, instead Mike will pick up a bucket of chicken and they’ll watch television in separate rooms.

My fiancé turns to me and asks me if this is what women really want? No, it isn’t what she wants I explain, but she knows it is what she’ll get so she tries to be okay with it. Who hasn’t suffered through V-day with a clueless spouse, or boyfriend? Many men just break up, so they won’t have to deal with the stress and expense. Many women, at least those raised on a steady diet of advertising expect big showy gifts.

Getting back to the show, Mike and Frankie decide to go out with two other couples. At least that way she has someone to talk to she jokes. Personally, I am amazed they can get reservations on Valentine’s Day. During their dinner, a lady comes by selling single roses. Each man buys one for his wife, except Frankie’s husband. The other women give her sympathetic looks. Mike, the husband, doesn’t understand why his wife is mad. She has to explain that it looks like he doesn’t love or appreciate her. That’s what women really want is to be loved and appreciated. It can happen in a variety ways that does not include diamonds or chocolate.

One icy Valentine’s Day I was driving home enduring another bout of freezing rain while men jammed the Walgreens parking lot to buy overpriced chocolate, cards, and other romantic gifts. I noticed walking along the sidewalk an older couple. The woman precariously balanced on a walker. The man held an umbrella over her while icicles formed on his beard. That is what love is: someone willing to hold an umbrella over your head when you can’t in freezing rain. It isn’t some stuffed mouse holding a heart bought at the last minute.

Love is letting the other person know you care. Love is also a two way street. Many men and some women too, buy their loved one gifts they think they will like only to have it rejected, ridiculed, or thrown back in their faces. One woman who scolded her husband early on for wasting money on flowers never received flowers again. Few people will try again if their efforts are belittled.

Going back to the show, you can imagine the husband is in the doghouse for his lack of sensitivity. The subplot is that the son has to write an essay on what love is, which he hates because he’s only ten. He decides to base it on his parents and details the thoughtful things they do for each other. Little things like his mother rubbing his father’s neck on long road trips or his father warming up his mother’s car on frosty mornings.

It is all about appreciation. You ever wonder why people get divorced or drop out of relationships. Statistics tell you it is money problems or infidelity, but it is deeper than that. People usually stray because they don’t feel loved, appreciated or special at home. (I know this doesn’t account for the players.) Money problems can result from one partner overspending, not appreciative of how hard the other partner works. I’ve heard tales of one partner pleading with the other to stop spending because there is no more money, and her reply is “that’s not my problem.” As you can probably guess, they are divorced. Every day we go out and work hard and would like our efforts appreciated. We try to be good employees, mothers, friends, wives, and girlfriends.

My boss always tells all the women employees how nice they look, but we really want to be told what a good job we’re doing. Sometimes it is good to hear both. Do you know what most men want to hear? Three things: that they are a good man, a good father, and a good lover. That’s it.

Valentine’s Day is reminiscent of the food baskets they give out at Christmas to the poor. I always wondered if the poor didn’t need food baskets all the other months too. December was the only month people got anything. Sometimes we treat February 14th like that is the end-all romantic day. If the guy or gal doesn’t pull out all the stops, then it bad news for them. I would be sad if my sweetie only showed his love for me once a year. I like to think I do several things a week to demonstrate my love for him.

Valentine’s Day just isn’t for lovers. I buy children’s valentines and to give out to everyone at work. We all need a little appreciation on February 14th, and on the 365 other days, this year, too.

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