Last night I stopped by the store looking for a Valentine for my sweetie. I couldn’t help but notice that there were a dozen young men, wandering the isles in a slow panic. I could feel their anxiety from across the room. As a mom, I have some compassion for these man cubs. I overheard one muttering in the card isle… should it be funny or serious? Boys, let me tell you, this is very serious business.
A gift… what kind of gift? Stuffed toys, funny signs, coloring books, jewelry are all good options. They could go the flower and candy route. There are so many choices, but they are not all equal. The gift must strike a perfect balance. It must show that they are paying attention to the one they are with… personal, thoughtful, and well chosen. It must also make sense in the relationship. So, maybe we pass on the Red Sox baseball cap and stuffed bear, or maybe that is just the right one.
A card… The options here are endless. I love you forever, Let’s have fun together, or You have nice hair cards are stacked up in rows. I wondered as I watched them read and replace, read and replace how many have spent one moment thinking about how this relationship is going, where it is going, or where they are on the journey. But, as a woman, I am pretty sure that she has. She has been analyzing this in her head and with her girlfriends. The pressure to capture the essence of this relationship in a card is daunting.
A date… If they have any sense, they will plan this together. Dinner, a movie, or a monster truck rally are all good options when you have collaborated a plan. A monster truck rally, when she longed for a romantic dinner, not so much. I took an unofficial poll of my kids and found they are all headed out to dinner and Deadpool (the superhero movie) this weekend. This just makes me grin.
On our first Valentine’s Day, Keith bought a rose and a box of chocolates from a convenience store. It was only week two in the relationship and I offered him some grace. The first year as a married couple, my dear husband purchased me a Kitchen Kit-n—caboodle. It was a plastic spinning container with 40 new utensils to store on the counter. In his mind, this would remind me of his love every time I used it. It did not. I cried for a week. Lesson learned.
Somehow, we manage to get through these romantic minefields. I hope those boys at the store get it right, or their significant others offer them grace. It makes me sad to think of the anxiety and turmoil this fake holiday causes these young men. It feels a bit like a setup. So, here’s to all those celebrating in new relationships this Valentine’s Day… give it your best shot. There is always next year to try again.