Well, I made it through another Valentine's Day. Valentine's Day can be very stressful for the male species. We are not equipped to express undying devotion and make long term pledges of undying devotion.
In fact, if you give the average husband a pen and pad, lock him in a room for 24 hours and ask him to write expressions of love, there is a better than 50/50 chance he will come out of the room with a blank look on his face and a blank pad. The only way to normally get a man to express such words of unbridled love is to put him in the backseat of a '75 Impala with a first-time prom date. Then, the average man will make Robert Frost sound like Elmer Fudd.
Compounding the problem of no ability to express emotion is the fact a man is somehow expected to give a gift properly expressing sentiments for the particular holiday. Unfortunately, most ideas have long since been taken and have little effect such as a dozen roses or other such gifts.
In reality, I think that most major holidays were conjured up by women, and in a conspiracy with major retail sales personnel. I mean, let's face it. If we did not designate Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Secretary's Day and Christmas, there is a distinct possibility that many men would go through their entire life without having ever once given a gift or card to a single soul in their entire life.
I am pretty sure, right this moment, there are dozens of men who, after having read this last beautiful line, are quietly weeping at the breakfast table or office desk at the thought of such an awe-inspiring occurrence.
Let's face it, men just aren't all that great at emotions. A man will walk up to his best friend and say, "I'm sorry to hear your mother died." The other man will say, "Thanks." This heartwarming conversation represents the entire conversation that will ever occur between those two individuals concerning this subject matter from now to the end of time.
Women, on the other hand, will discuss the death of a pet rabbit for three weeks and bring over some fried chicken and a pecan pie to soothe the bereaved rabbitless friend. If a woman suffers a bad break-up, her friends will counsel her for hours, stay over at the house with her and offer days upon days of comfort and empathy.
A man hears that a friend has gotten a divorce or broken up, and simply says, "Let's go get drunk." Come to think of it, that is the same thing a man says if he hears a friend has been promoted at his job, won the lottery, gotten married or the Rogaine has made his hair grow back.
I tell you, it is just too much pressure on a man.
Compounding the problem is if you have children. I can remember when the only time you received a gift was one present for your birthday and a good number for Christmas. Now, a kid gets presents for his birthday like it's Christmas; Christmas, of course; Easter; Valentine's Day; Fourth of July; St. Patrick's Day; Halloween, and some damn fool will probably plant a tree in their honor on Arbor Day.
My kids got more toys for Valentine's Day than I received in my entire lifetime. After receiving all the presents, the little girl wanted to know what holiday was next. Her grandmother laughed and said Fourth of July, to which my little boy immediately corrected her by stating, "No, Easter."
I heard on the radio yesterday, one woman said her husband gave her a card that said "To my wife" on the outside and on the inside it said "Happy Birthday." This card would have been fine except he gave it to her on Valentine's Day.
I'm proud to say I have at least managed to give the right card on the right day, if I manage to get a card at all. I'm still working on expressing all my male pent-up emotions. Maybe before the next major holiday, I'll go to the local used car lot. Perhaps they've got a '75 Impala for sale.
Contact columnist T. Gamble at firstname.lastname@example.org.