Those high-minded professors of social engineering who insist men and women share an inherently common mindset surely never considered The Three Stooges factor – that near universal phenomenon of indifferent women rolling their eyes at grown men reduced to sophomoric giggle-fits by the slapstick trio’s frenetic hi-jinks.
But that’s a power tools to fashionable shoes comparison, and one that misses the point besides.
Yet, there is a single day each year that strikes, quite literally, straight to the heart of the matter. And Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day, is fast approaching. This holiday celebrates the romance, passion, and the manifest attraction that bonds she whose fancy bathroom towels are not to be touched to he who covets the TV flipper as if it wielded the powers of the sword Excalibur.
But let’s face it, guys. Most of us view Valentine’s Day with the skepticism of an e-mail from a Nigerian prince who will gladly repay tenfold our generous loan to help restore his wealth and status. In bars and bass boats from Oregon to Alabama, men are in a defensive fuss about the “holiday” that demands burden of proof regarding their undying affection and commitment to wives and girlfriends. And from there, the guys are just a snagged fishing lure or a Shania Twain song on the juke box short of concocting conspiracy theories linking the dubious trinity of the greeting card industry, flower shops and that St. Valentine guy.
That’s it, boys, get it out of your system. Then wise up. Because that worn-out macho saw about not being able to live with women, and not being able to live without them, well, it’s only half right.
And as for that highly-suspect trinity of co-conspirators? Actually, gentlemen, they may actually be in your corner.
For example, maybe it is high time a certain young woman knows just how happy you’ve been since that chance encounter with her three weeks ago. Or it could be the perfect occasion for the guy who is bursting inside to tell his best girl he won’t take no for an answer when the engagement ring arrives with dessert. The veteran husband will never admit it to the guys, but the teary sparkle in his wife’s eyes is more rewarding than the extra golf outings he’ll earn for getting the Valentine’s Day drill right.
Still, men often regard Feb. 14 as more of a chore than a holiday. There is the ponderous ordeal of standing in the grocery story express checkout lane -– just you and a dozen other guys wearing guilty expressions and carrying a bouquet of flowers. Harder still is the task of juggling work with fourth-quarter attempts to snag reservations at the latest haute cuisine joint, the one that features a $47 goat cheese, poached sea bass and shitake mushroom fajita.
He doesn’t even know it, ladies, but this is no chore. It is a labor of love, performed dutifully for the special woman in his life. And he’s doing the best he can.
So try to remember, as country music legend Tammy Wynette so aptly put it, “after all, he’s just a man.”
And hey, men, consider the bright side. At least the perpetrators of this day of romantic obligation had the good sense to schedule it after football season and before baseball starts up.