The Tide of Pink and Flowery

Not to be confused with “red tide,” this is an annoying February phenomenon:

Most of the “typical” valentine’s day gifts are not things that would particularly charm me. Cut flowers — they die, and also with my allergies many of them are not enjoyable to me.

Candy is OK, though most of the “heart box” candy is frankly kind of cheaply made and is not that good. And there’s SO MUCH of it. I’d rather have a couple of nice truffles from a gourmet counter, or maybe a really good chocolate bar, instead of one of the big plushy hearts full of over-sweet creams and caramels. (And some caramels, I can’t eat any more: dental work.) Or for that matter — I really don’t NEED to be eating candy; I’d probably be more thrilled to have someone call me up and say, “I’m going to make some hot soup that you like and bring it over to your office so you can have a nice hot lunch.”

As for jewelry — the ads show all kinds of fancy diamond jewelry. Beyond the concerns I have about the treatment of the people who mine the diamonds (at least in some parts of the world), I have absolutely nowhere I would wear a fancy pendant or ring. I have two very nice pieces of jewelry — both gifts from family — that I almost never wear because they are too fancy for my everyday life. I’d be much more likely to wear — and in fact, to be charmed by — something a bit idiosyncratic and incorporating my interests — jewelry made out of old typewriter keys, for example, or something out of turquoise made by a Native American artist that was actually purchased FROM the artist at an art gallery.

If you blinked at “jewelry made out of old typewriter keys,” take a look for yourself.

Speaking as someone who has never quite comprehended what it is that women want, I consider it a boon when one will say what she doesn’t want.



  1. Tatyana »

    11 February 2009 · 1:40 pm

    Oh, be careful what you wish for. We can shower you with long lists of things we DON”T want. Explaining every minute detail why it is so. If only men listened!

    Which is (the “not listening”) also the root of all the red-pink-and -cheap-chocolate phenomenon. Along with endless dozen-of-red-roses, plastic keychains and other trinkets, and badly designed diamond necklaces.

    It is so much easier to go to a drugstore, buy a cheesy teddy bear in red panties and a syrupy Hallmark card, than to stop and think of something personal to present your favorite girl with. But that requires attention to what she says, the way she dresses, what she’s interested in.

    Besides the whole other issue of giving gifts of love on a designated day, as part of an army of unthinking robots.

  2. fillyjonk »

    11 February 2009 · 3:09 pm

    I also dislike the attitude that some take: that a “nice” (read: expensive) Valentine’s Day gift is the equivalent of a Get Out Of Jail Free card.

    A sports commentator (of all people) once remarked something along the lines of: “Guys, here’s the secret: treat the woman in your life with love and respect EVERY day. If it’s first thing in the morning, it’s hectic, she’s trying to get the kids off to school and get ready to work, don’t be all, ‘I have my coffee; I’m good.’ Offer to HELP. That’s what love really is; carrying your share of the burden.”

    Something tells me he’s been married a while, and that his wife is happy.

    I don’t know. I’m also a little squicked out by one of the messages on the tiny piece of Dove chocolate I had in my lunch: “Be your own valentine,” it said. What’s the fun in that?

  3. McGehee »

    11 February 2009 · 3:37 pm

    “Be your own valentine,” it said.

    I hope it also said, “…and then wash your hands.”

  4. Deborah »

    11 February 2009 · 5:09 pm

    What do women want? In my fantasy, my husband of 39 years gives me a handful of crisp $100 bills and says, “Here. I bet there’s something pretty you’d like to have.”

  5. Sarah »

    11 February 2009 · 8:55 pm

    Fillyjonk pretty much summed it up, as far as I’m concerned. But since this is a topic that always gets me going, I have to pile on.

    To me, Valentine’s Day seems mostly about obligation, or that “get out of jail free card,” or about impressing one’s coworkers/friends. I’ve had coworkers in the past who have (I kid you not) competed with each other over who got the best flowers delivered to them at work.

    I was discussing the subject of Valentine’s Day earlier today with friends, and someone argued in defense of the holiday, saying that couples should have a special day that’s just about them, and about their relationship. I say, I have that day. It’s my wedding anniversary. And I don’t have to share it with everyone else. (Well, except for those who also married on July 18th.)

    Besides – from what I’ve seen in the past (see competitive coworker story above) Valentine’s Day seems more about everyone else, and not the couple.

  6. Andrea Harris »

    11 February 2009 · 9:27 pm

    Yeah, but Ron White’s joke about the diamonds commercials is still funny: “Diamonds. That’ll shut ‘er up.”

  7. fillyjonk »

    12 February 2009 · 7:32 am

    “What do women want” is actually pretty easily answered:

    It depends on the woman.

    For some, it MIGHT be diamonds (o unlucky man). For others, it might be a hand with doing the housework. For still others, it might be an uninterrupted 4 hours on a Saturday afternoon so she can go and paint with watercolors.

    I’m always a bit amused at the quandary over “what women want.” Do women spend lots of time and agony asking “What do men want?” Most of the women I know? They go and they ask him.

  8. Dan B »

    12 February 2009 · 6:22 pm

    “What do men want?” Sex and food, in that order. We aren’t complicated, but then we aren’t who have been brainwashed to believe that we deserve something special just because it’s the middle of winter.

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