Valentine’s Day is for the menz!

Apparently, ladies, we are expecting far too much on Valentine’s Day and are just selfish, selfish, selfish! We should be, according to this little spiel, be secretly arranging for him to have the day off on Friday (and three of his mates as well) packing his golf clubs in the car and driving him to the golf course to play golf. Then nipping home, cleaning up the house, cooking a gourmet meal and meeting him at the door in lingerie. It’s all about him after all. How dare we expect flowers. What were we thinking?

If Valentine’s Day irritates you, feel free to express yourself here. If you love Valentine’s Day, feel free to express yourself here too.

Disclosure: the hubby and I decided long ago, on my insistence, that cards flowers etc were not necessary, unless home made by the kids when they are lovely, because that money can be better spent on other stuff. We might go out to dinner on this Saturday night, but only because we are taking him to the airport and we will go as a family and candles will definitely not feature.



Categories: relationships

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55 replies

  1. heh 🙂
    We decided long ago that valentines was a load of bollocks and we don’t need a commercially contrived day to express our affection for one another through the gifting of landfill destined crapola.
    But perhaps I’m just cynical.

  2. Valentine’s Day is on Saturday. Why the f*%k is anyone discussing days off for FRIDAY?
    I’m in two minds about Valentine’s Day as I am about Christmas/Easter etc. I think it’s a relic of my Anglican upbringing that I like symbols and symbolism. So I can get into holidays/days like this, but in a different sense…not the ‘throw cash at it and be impressive way’…but the ‘this occassion is an opportunity to take stock/be generous/tell someone something they’ll love/do something nice for someone’ sense…one year I took a woman I knew to lunch, and I had written a long letter telling her my feelings had changed and I was interested in her romantically, that if she didn’t reciprocate, she needn’t respond, and we’d go back to ‘normal’ but if she did well you know…great. We’d both been single a long time, and I think we’d both noticed the shift in dynamics in the month or three before the letter, so it was really lovely to have this letter to hand over on that day which to any reasonable person could only have been flattering even if not reciprocated. It felt like an appropriately Valentine’s day ‘gift’.
    That said, The Bearded One and I have no plans for Sat apart from hanging out after the kids are asleep. Last year he’d said he was taking me to dinner, he turned up and I was dressed to kill, he was wearing jeans and dirty old Volleys with holes in them. That’s the one time I got shirty over dinner/money stuff as I had recently taken us out to an expensive meal for no reason, the first time either of us had paid fully for any one thing, on top of regularly paying for more than 50% in my effort to be ‘equal’ despite his huge income compared to my sad and lonely income, so I felt it wasn’t unreasonable to assume that he was not taking me to Maccas or that he’d dress in a reasonable manner. Anyway…we went to dinner and he put a parcel on the table, that said ‘Easy Rider’…I was like ‘If that’s a box of condoms I will have to kill him now’…but it was a harmonica as I’d expressed an interest in being able to play.

  3. mr tog and I do enjoy celebrating and buying each other gifts, but not the “traditional” Valentine gifts unless it’s scent (of which we are both extremely fond) – we tend to go for something the other has been needing/yearning for for a while – for instance, I know already that I am receiving an ergonomic keyboard. We also make our own cards rather than participate in the Hallmark Holiday aspect of it all.

  4. Hate it. It’s het/couple-centric and to me it feels like having het/couple privilege rubbed in my face.
    Then there is my hatred of capitalism and all capitalism-driven “holidays” godbagious or otherwise. I also hate the “buying what I’m supposed to buy her in order to get sex from her” attitude that some guys express. That ties in with theories about rape culture.

  5. We don’t do Valentines Day. And Mothers’ and Fathers’ Days come with coffee in bed and home made cards in our house.
    I preparing to be Valentine’s Day Curmudgeon tomorrow.

  6. I *like* Valentine’s Day. I don’t want (nor am I likely to get) expensive gifts, but it’s nice to get a card, and something small and thoughtful, and a message of appreciation. And to be giving them too! I am getting my beloved a new strap for his swimming goggles, and will make a card today.
    My grandmother used to send us Valentine’s Day cards when we were kids. It was sweet.

  7. Six years ago, on my first Valentines Day with my current partner (we’d only been together about six weeks at that stage), I wasn’t planning anything. I knew that he (like me) disliked commercial holidays, and I wasn’t really fussed, so I figured that niether of us would mention it. I was also having a really bad day — I had a fight with my mother in the morning, I had to deal with a particularly cantankerous customer at work, and I hadn’t slept well.
    And then, just in time for my lunch break, my boyfriend turned up at my work and took me out to lunch for Valentines Day. It wasn’t a huge ostentatious thing — we just went to a cafe in the shopping centre I worked in — but it was exactly what I needed to cheer me up. So my feelings towards Valentines Day softened a bit after that, and I bought him a rose, which I gave to him when I finished work.

  8. I’ve never really “celebrated” Valentines day – or at least, not intentionally. When I was young and silly, I was also single (and loathing it); once I had a partner, I’d reached the point where I wasn’t into celebrating holidays for the convenience of the manufacturing and retail sectors of the economy. Himself will occasionally give me a rose or something similar on Valentines day, but we’re more likely to “celebrate” it by having a hug or similar (just like we celebrate every other day of the relationship). I suppose part of it is the awareness of it as a very USAlien holiday as well – my mother in particular had a strong prejudice against the Americanisation of Australian culture, and I picked up on that.
    Meg Thornton’s last blog post..Meggy brane broked.

  9. I’m very indifferent about Valentine’s Day in general. Mr Bene loves to give gifts and cards all year, at the drop of a hat, so I’m sort of dragged into it…
    I can see both sides.

  10. I like it much in the way fuckpoliteness does. It’s fun to have heart shapes on my screen saver. I like thinking about love and friendship and sex and affection. And I’m the candy person at work, which means I can buy all kinds of pretty heart shaped candy and enjoy some of it without any going to waste.
    Husband used to go out and get a dozen red roses for me thinking that was what he was supposed to do. But I put my foot down. 75 bucks (they’re probably 100 now) for a dozen roses with petals thick as leather, stems like iron, will die in maybe a week, and sometimes don’t even have a smell? That is crazy.
    Chocolate, on the other hand…

  11. What bugs me even more about this article is the stereotypes about what men and women want. Women want flowers and champagne and chocolates and fancy dinners. Men want steak and golf and beer and women in lingerie and Hot Lesbian Seks (as a favour, not willingly of course).
    I am getting a chuckle trying to imagine my boyfriend’s WTF expression on his face if I surprised him by taking him to golf or showing him a DVD of sports highlights. He would certainly be surprised, but only surprised that I had suddenly gone nuts.
    For the record, I am surprising him by taking him out to a nice dinner and I even arranged with the restaurant staff to make him a special dessert.

  12. The Blues will be celebrating by sitting on the couch, snuggling, and watching crappy DVDS. I like the spirit of Valentines day, but not the commercialism that surrounds it; for me, it’s about taking time out of my (at the moment) ridiculously frantic schedule to spend time with the person I love.
    And there may be a liiiitttle present, but it’s freakin’ awesome and cool and contains no heart shapes or chocolate. If V-day wasnt coming up, I’d have bought it for them anyway.

  13. Oddly enough, next Monday is Chap Goh Mei, which is the 15th day of the new lunar calendar, and considered the “Chinese Valentine’s Day”. Something people (specifically, women) apparently do on this day is throw mandarin oranges into river (or some similar body of water).
    I didn’t even realize that Valentine’s was this Saturday. I was just planning on calling a friend out to go down to the farmer’s market and catching a movie. I may have the reconsider the movie, lol. Maybe I’ll rent Season 2 of She-Ra and vege out at home!

  14. On that most romantically romantic of days, I will be romantically getting my four wisdom teeth extracted from my mouth. I expect I’ll be in luuuuuuuurve with Valentine’s Day forever afterwards.

  15. I like valentines ’cause its an excuse for me to either sit at home and pamper myself or hang out with my single friends/housemates.
    Every time I’ve had a partner during valentines I always ended up feeling guilty for some reason. probably ’cause I wasn’t all that interested in them and they usually went to some effort to please me.

  16. I loathe Valentine’s Day. I think it’s a terrible, artificial excuse, and I definitely don’t want to receive any tokens of love _because_ it’s Valentine’s Day. If I’m receiving love tokens I want them to be be because my partner wants to, not because they have to. And I would never use Valentine’s Day as a prompt re: love.
    I had a boyfriend many years ago who thought I was kidding about this, turned up at my work with a red rose. We didn’t last much longer.
    s’s last blog post..books read january 2009

  17. Tigtog’s "Hallmark Holiday" label is spot on. Unlike the US, any observance of St V is recent, much less than living memory, and it should be as important to us as the 4th of July.
    When I was a kid, if you were to do a word association test with “St Valentine’s Day”, the word you’d say would be "massacre”", so it would be more traditional in Oz to take to each other with tommy-guns.
    Besides, you’ve got the tokenism of the thing, a means to avoid more continuous desired behaviour, a phenomenon described by Tom Lehrer in "National Brotherhood Week" (YouTube – the first few seconds are a black screen as video has been lost)

    But during National Brotherhood Week, National Brotherhood Week i’ts National Everyone Smile at one-anotherhood week, be Nice to people who are inferior to you, it’s only for a week so have no fear be grateful that it doesn’t last all year

    Bah, humbug!
    Yours,
    Scrooge McDave
    Dave Bath’s last blog post..Incentives for the finance industry I’d like to see

  18. I’m indifferent usually, most years I’ve skipped it, but not always. Also, there’s a lot of family birthdays in the same week as well as two acquaintances with birthdays on the 14th, there’s only so much an introvert can take. I always look at the articles suggesting things for single people to do on the day: they tend to be more interesting, if just as cheesy in a different way, as the couple suggestions.
    This year though Valentine’s Day comes at the end of a lot of travel and a bit of illness and stress. Tomorrow I’m hoping to take some time out from the research I’m working on and will be working on through the weekend, buy a small number of extremely rich chocolates and eat them in a park with my partner. In the rain, it looks like, but luckily I like the rain.

  19. “If I’m receiving love tokens I want them to be be because my partner wants to, not because they have to.”
    So you don’t like birthday presents either?

  20. “be secretly arranging for him to have the day off on Friday (and three of his mates as well) packing his golf clubs in the car and driving him to the golf course to play golf. Then nipping home, cleaning up the house, cooking a gourmet meal and meeting him at the door in lingerie.”
    What a terrible idea! I’d hate that ;p
    Perhaps substitute a band for the golf…?
    (Silly attempts to take my life into my hands aside, Mrs ‘Gnac and I will be at home, the only place we can be with Mighty Mouse just a few weeks old. I plan to getz teh flowers, nice wine and quality TM take away tho…)

  21. It’s Valentine’s Day? I couldn’t me more passionately ambivalent.
    On that most romantically romantic of days, I will be romantically getting my four wisdom teeth extracted from my mouth.
    My flatmate was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes on Valentine’s Day. Kind of killed the magic (and gifts of chocolate) for him.

  22. The Beloved and I don’t do Valentines though we both fondly remember the meal we had one year at Valentines Day. A Villies pie, a plastic cup of VB and we watched Souths and St George at the Charity Shield. We were courting and it was her first ever footy game.
    Oh yeah, I know how to woo.

  23. And there was the four years I lived in Japan where they not only theri own twist on Valentines Day (where the blokes recieved chocolate from the ladies), there was White Day on March 14th. On this day, if you were a bloke who had received chocolate, you were supposed to reciprocate with biscuits, chocolate etc.

  24. I don’t mind if people aren’t *into* Valentine’s day, but I’m not sure why it’s become a moral issue. As Rebekka points out, people argue it’s *evil consumerism* or cheap tokenism and yet we buy each other birthday presents, we accept mother’s day and father’s day gifts.

  25. I’ve never much been into gifts, and I don’t like celebrating things like my birthday, but I do love going out to dinner. But, because I actually like going out to dinner, we’ve stopped doing it on Valentine’s Day – too many idiots, too few staff, too much price-hiking and it just isn’t that special. So this year I’m working and he was going to be ferrying some workmates around Victorian wineries – sadly that bit isn’t happening.
    So the plan is I work, come home tired and cranky, he cooks spaghetti bolognese, I might make some biscuits, and we sleep. Maybe sex. We tend to avoid planning that, or offering it as a gift. It’s something we do because we like to.
    A big reason I have for disliking Valentine’s Day is that anything he does for me that I love, isn’t good enough because it doesn’t involve chocolate, or jewellery, or flowers. I don’t really dig those things. Instead he cooks my favourites, or buys me a cool pan/pot/ingredient, or something else he knows I love. Buys me a cookbook. But because it doesn’t fit the rulebook, it isn’t good enough and I have to explain that I’m not upset, or annoyed, or pitiful. I’m happy. But I can get away with doing nothing. Maybe some form of sex act – except it’s supposed to be a favour (and hence something we don’t normally do, or I don’t like) and we don’t ever do that stuff. If we like it, it’s part of the regular lineup. If one of us doesn’t, we don’t do it at all. Simple.

  26. I do like to be romantic, but the thing about all this that upsets me the most is the commercials. “Pyjama-grams are the best thing for your girl! And you know what she’ll give you in return!” “Vermont Teddy Bears, because we all know that you need the perfect gift and stuffed animals are thoughtful enough for you to get laid, man!” This is sickening.
    But it’s the bf’s birthday on Valentine’s so it’s even more confusing! I try very hard to make sure that birthday presents are not chocolate hearts. *g*

  27. While I have a personal loathing of Valentines Day, I do have a sneaky fondness for chocolate hearts. So inconsistent.

    I am going on a picnic with the Noodle. The husband is staying home (I expect to finish watching his DVDs of the Wire without threat of conversation). Funnily enough, that works out as quite a nice gift for us both this year.

  28. As a long-term singleton, the relevance for me is … nil. If I took it seriously (which I don’t – Hallmark Holiday, indeed) I might get annoyed at having my non-coupledom rubbed in my face like it was a bad thing but honestly, I can’t take a marketing opportunity seriously.
    Now pancake day is a whole other matter…
    Deus Ex Macintosh’s last blog post..No iffs, just butts

  29. For those who want cut-roses, but also want to be environmentally-friendly:
    My SciAm feed today had this: Blooms away – the real price of Flowers.
    According to Flowerpetal.com, which tries to limit the environmental impact of flower purchases, sending the roughly 100 million roses of a typical Valentine’s Day produces some 9,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from field to U.S. florist.
    A 2007 study by Cranfield University in England found that raising 12,000 Kenyan roses resulted in 13,200 pounds (6,000 kilograms) of CO2; the equivalent number grown in a Dutch hothouse emitted 77,150 pounds (35,000 kilograms) of CO2.
    (Say it with a guilt trip)

  30. And there was the four years I lived in Japan where they not only theri own twist on Valentines Day (where the blokes recieved chocolate from the ladies), there was White Day on March 14th. On this day, if you were a bloke who had received chocolate, you were supposed to reciprocate with biscuits, chocolate etc.
    I still have a White Day cat mug that I bought for myself from the clearance table @ my local 7-11 the day after White Day. It’s so cute 🙂

  31. I used to feel totally inadequate on Valentine’s Day cos my sister had this boyfriend who showered her with gifts. And then shortly thereafter, he dumped the poor girl – which made a bit of a mockery of the roses and cards and all that. Really, it means sod all. Happily, my sister eventually met a guy who, as far as I’m aware, doesn’t really do the Valentine’s Day thing, but is loving and steadfast – that’s all you want. My hubby and I don’t do the Valentine’s Day thing at all (at least, I hope we don’t – I haven’t gotten him anything – and he doesn’t usually get me anything!)
    DEM, I’m with you on Pancake Day. In fact, any celebration which involves food is good. One of my Jewish friends was explaining that all Jewish religious festivals could be described as follows: “We were persecuted. We won. Let’s eat!” apart from Yom Kippur – gotta fast for a day…but then…let’s eat!

  32. I used to be neither here nor there about Valentine’s day, and liked to conveniently use my ambivalence to be cynical and superior about the capitalism and tackiness of it. In short, didn’t celebrate it. Then last year by bf, who then lived in another country visited on exactly that date so we went out to a nice restaurant that night and behaved in what would look like a traditional manner. Now we live together, but Feb 14th is part of our history so it’s significant to us for that reason, and this year will celebrate by going to a nice restaurant (ie, not a pub). Not so big on the flowers and chocolates, I’m happy with just dinner, and drinks.

  33. So enjoying this . Meg, I suppose part of it is the awareness of it as a very USAlien holiday as well – my mother in particular had a strong prejudice against the Americanisation of Australian culture, and I picked up on that. I feel for you. My Dad described himself as a conservative but was forever growling about Teh American Imperialism, bless him. He’s better now. (I am a hypocrite, as I use this excuse to avoid participating in chintzy “festivals” but love American blogs and US-speak.)

  34. Birthday’s are something that has actually happened, to you. Therefore they carry some semblance of meaning beyond the commodification of a loving gesture.
    Mother’s and Father’s days I can’t defend, they are just as bollocks as Valentines. In general they have not much meaning to your average punter, beyond that which is commercially prescribed.

  35. I like the idea of subversion. Being involved in libraries, it is Library Lover’s Day. It is also the first anniversary of “Sorry Day”. Both of which I can appreciate much more than being coerced into being pleasant to my Dearly Beloved because it is “expected of me”.
    Will probably watch a favourite and appropriate movie though. “Conan the Barbarian” or “Red Sonya” are looking good at the moment.

  36. Gah, the thing that really, really bugs me about Valentine’s is the masses of red and black silky undies that are all over the high street. For a start, it’s not sexy to everyone (quite the opposite for me, personally) and I loathe the idea that a woman should ‘dress up’ (down, surely?) for her ‘man’ because obviously you have to put out for him regardless of how you really feel. There’s lip service paid to the idea that men can reciprocate (silk boxers and the like) but it’s drowned out by the suspender belts and impractical negligees (they ain’t for sleeping in, that’s for sure!). And the thing I noticed the other day? New Look had a window display of red and black silky undies, with the heart themed windows, and the target demographic is as low as 9 years old. Sure I shop there and I’m nearly 30, but I feel like it’s telling little girls that that’s what you do on Valentine’s, you know?
    Anyways. I’m not wanting anything from my husband tomorrow, or even especially on Monday (it’s my birthday!) other than time to talk and hang out and tell each other that we love each other amongst other things. Which we do most days, anyway. I’m not fond of telling folks it’s my birthday either, I hate that people might feel obliged to get me a card or a gift that they wouldn’t otherwise.
    I’d better shut it now, and maybe write a whole post on my own blog instead!

  37. I’m really indifferent to Valentine’s Day. My girlfriend of 13 years, though, sees it as a competitive holiday, each year needing to one-up the next. So I try to get creative.
    And I suppose that the faux lesbianism of male fantasy will never die. But guys, your slip is showing. The reason so many guys fantasize about bedding two women? Could it be that lots of guys can’t satisfy the one they’ve got?
    Just puttin’ it out there.

  38. Rob gave me a sleepy kiss this morning and murmured
    ” Happy Friday the 13th”.

  39. I am with P.P. way up top there. I shall be spending tomorrow at home with my five best buds and my sinus infection and my new shiney antibiotics from the doctor.

  40. My partner and I have done Vday in the past, but we’re skipping it this year. Christmas and New Year’s were so crazy (with all the travel!) that we still feel like we’re recovering from those. We’ll probably do SOMETHING, but we usually do something on weekends anyway.

  41. Rebekka, fuckpoliteness: I have known several people who do not do presents on any “designated day” (birthdays, Valentine’s etc) because of the wanting to be loved on genuine impulse feeling. I am not clear on what genuine really means in this situation, it probably varies by person: I myself am more interested in receiving reminders of closeness/caring when I am particularly in need of closeness/caring, not so much when a friend happens to experience a surfeit, although that’s nice too.
    I imagine I would find Valentine’s much more distasteful if I was privy to the TV advertisements. (I don’t ever watch TV and therefore I’m never up on advertising rhetoric: I should add that I don’t intend this to come across as some kind of “I am more mentally pure than thou” contest, which it sometimes can. I’m actually not boycotting advertisements, it’s the programmes I’ve never found compelling.) I once got a bunch of roses delivered from someone, it was from Roses Only who were doing a cross-promotion with Liptons Iced Tea (of all things) at the time. The bunch of roses not only came with advertising inserts, which was annoying enough, but the angle was along the lines of “been a naughty boy? roses are an easy way to get back in her good books.” I have no idea why Liptons/Roses Only thought that was a good idea, I guess they were imagining a relationship dynamic where not only do roses buy forgiveness, but the recipient is required to acknowledge this and agree to laugh at herself (of course, a woman) and how easily she is bought as well.

  42. I don’t have an issue with birthdays, it’s an annual celebration of the individual person and a reminder that other people care about you.
    Deus Ex Macintosh’s last blog post..Deadbeat Dad at 13

  43. @FP “we buy each other birthday presents, we accept mother’s day and father’s day gifts.”
    Not all of us do. I don’t. It’s not a moral issue for me at all; it’s just one more thing I hate about patriarchy and all the sneaky ways it manifests in the everyday.

  44. slave2tehtink : We’re sinusitis buddies! Wooooooooooo*clonk*
    I don’t much mind Mother’s Day. It’s near the opposite end of the calendar from both my birthday and my mother’s, so it’s a bit of a prompting (excuse?) for me to mail her some of my homemade soap, and my partner to get me something I’ve been wanting but haven’t got around to buying for myself, which is usually something like books. He makes me breakfast in bed quite often, so that’s not exactly a novelty; and I don’t feel taken for granted the rest of the year, so I recognise that lots of mothers aren’t in the position I am, and Mother’s Day can have quite a different feel for them. And the advertising at that time of year is crap crapitty crap.
    We don’t do V Day, though quite often (and on no particular day) my son will bring me a giant heart he has drawn on a piece of paper, and call it a “valentine”. I can go for him getting that cultural message over the silky-undies message, if they were the only two choices. Plus, awwwww.

  45. My kids usually do something special for me, coffee/toast in bed etc and they write me beautiful notes affirming how I am in fact the world’s greatest mother, but they’re down with my reasons for not buying presents on days that culture dictates.
    When they were younger, I hated having to buy myself presents just so they would have something to give me on that day.
    My problem with M-Day is that all the gift advertising seems to be around domestic appliances or products to make mum more beautiful.
    Cards that acknowledge that as a woman/mother the state has been exploiting my domestic labour for centuries and how a media-driven faux appreciation campaign once a year doesn’t *quite* make up for that, would be great!

  46. “My problem with M-Day is that all the gift advertising seems to be around domestic appliances or products to make mum more beautiful.”
    For! For! Advertising is FOR not around!
    Mary: “I have known several people who do not do presents on any “designated day” (birthdays, Valentine’s etc) because of the wanting to be loved on genuine impulse feeling.”
    I’m down with that, if that’s what people want. But I’d feel terribly disappointed if I didn’t get any birthday presents, I must say!
    But Y – “Birthday’s are something that has actually happened, to you. Therefore they carry some semblance of meaning beyond the commodification of a loving gesture.
    Mother’s and Father’s days I can’t defend, they are just as bollocks as Valentines. In general they have not much meaning to your average punter, beyond that which is commercially prescribed.”
    The issue was whether people felt any more “obligated” to buy a Valentine’s day present that a birthday present. I’d argue that if there’s a sense of obligation, it’s the same – you’re buying a present because it’s a particular occasion on which you feel obliged to buy a present. The fact that our birthdays can be any one of 366 days, and Valentine’s/Mothers’ day/Fathers’ day are only once a year is largely irrelevant.
    Personally, I buy my loved ones things because I love them and want to share things with them, not because I feel any sense of obligation. And the various “days” are a good prompt for doing that. I see no reason why we can’t take the good and leave the bad out of our private celebrations of our love for each other.
    I think humans have a fairly deep-seated need for rituals, which these “days” partly fulfil.

  47. I’m actually not quite sure why I’m arguing here – the saccharine gifts marketed for m day/v day are gross and cheesy. I am not into the prefab gifts. I do like celebrating particular days though – and perhaps I’m being naive/optimistic if I think I can take the day and transform it by the way I do it, but so far that’s my approach. Everyone around me knows that a long message inside a card/a letter means more than a chintzed up teddy bear to me.
    I DID just go to the store and saw the flowers everywhere and was a bit disgusted by the fact that it was clear the men were *supposed* to get the 80dollar red roses and that any other bunches were lesser. So I do get the points about the competition/the nasty side of all of this.
    But also…my best friend just told me that her lover she’s been separated from for a year by circumstance just sent her a link. He donated money to a very left wing radio station, dedicated it to her, they read out her name, her thesis title with a Happy Valentine’s message…I think that was pretty spesh, and a lovely surprise for her today.

  48. And Rebekka – THAT is what I would have liked to be articulate enough to spell out. Ritual. NOT obligation. Generosity out of love. On special days and throughout the year.

  49. fuckpoliteness, I do love the idea of having your name read out on community radio with your thesis title as an offering of affection and respect. Any time though, not necessarily as a valentine.
    I suspect the reason I don’t ‘do’ Valentines Day is because it does feel like an obligation, not a love-offering. Mothers Day and Fathers Day actually feels significant to our family. I think we are still amazed that we manage to be parents at all. It help us to celebrate it.

  50. Rebekkah, did you just correct my grammar?

  51. My husband has a morbid fear of birthdays. When we first started dating, the only way I could find out what his birthday was to snaffle his drivers’ license on the sly. He just really hates being made a fuss of. But he’s decided he doesn’t mind if it’s me and the kids.
    I just love giving gifts; I probably enjoy it more than getting presents myself. The thing that annoys me about scheduled occasions like Christmas is that I often don’t have time to think properly about what to get/make. And shops keep trying to persuade me that certain things are “must-have” items. Grrr.
    I can’t believe that our supermarket has shelves full of Easter items. My daughter (3 years) noticed last night, and said censoriously, “But it’s not Easter yet, it’s not time for that yet”. Bless her, I’m sure soon she’ll get wise and try to persuade me otherwise in due course.

  52. rebekka at 19
    i like presents in general, i don’t like presents when people feel they have to give them. so, theoretically i like birthday presents, and theoretically i could like valentine’s day, but in practice valentine’s day makes me hate [television; marketing; people] and birthdays make me hate every extended family member who gets shitty when you don’t give them a present on their birthday.
    stephanie’s last blog post..a summary of days

  53. I think for me, the difference between Valentine’s and birthdays is what is being prescribed for them. For Valentines, there’s a whole advertising season around it, in which it is presented that all men must buy the female partners that they obviously have roses or chocolate, or possibly diamonds, and women must dress up in red lace lingerie and “give” sex to the male partner whom they obviously have. I’m not sure if the women are supposed to buy the underwear for themselves or if the men are supposed to get it for them (gee, great gift). I’m particularly bothered about the gift of sex part. If you both want to have sex, it shouldn’t have to be a gift then, and the idea of “giving” your partner the chance to perform a sex act on your body that you don’t want to do just makes me feel sick. I mean, it seriously bothers me.
    Birthdays, on the other hand, are happening throughout the year, so no one can really do special advertising for them attempting to get you to buy cliched and gender-normative products. I’m a seamstress (hobby, not my day job, but I make most of my own clothes) and a lot of times I make the people close to me clothes that I think they’d like. If someone’s not interested in clothes, or I’m not making something for some other reason, a lot of times I get them a book I think they’d be interested, or, for example, I make my dad a dessert of his choice, because he’s not really interested in a lot of “stuff” (and none that I can afford), but he likes homemade cookies and stuff. Also, (other than the baked goods) if I see something I know someone would like, or a fabric that makes me think of them or something, I’ll buy it and just hold on to it until their birthday, rather than racking my brain at the last minute for some stuff I can get them. So for me birthdays are more personal, whereas Valentine’s day for a lot of people seems like a chance to show off how well you fit into the heteronormative societal script.
    That said, if you’re doing something on Valentines day because it fits you and your partner, like the spaghetti bolognese, more power to you.

  54. Mr Bene sent me one of the great love stories: Much Ado About Nothing.
    In the original Klingon.
    squee!

  55. Interesting bit of meta regarding the idea that men have to get the V-day present “right” – this promo for a comedy room later this week just popped into my inbox:

    ”Make up for that shit Valentine’s Day present by bringing her to [comedy room]”

    Only just awake and not fully up to unpacking it, but it pinged my radar.

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