Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Valentine's Day Part I and II - Reposts

You get a two-fer this Valentine’s Day. These words are as true today as when I wrote them oh, so many years ago. And unfortunately, I know even less about women now, so I have nothing new to add. Enjoy, and have the best Valentine’s Day you can possibly have, given the fact that it’s impossible to fully enjoy. Cheers!

“Valentine’s Day”
Originally posted February 14, 2012

I am coming up on ten years of marriage, so I thought, this Valentine’s Day, I would help all you guys out by imparting to you all of my knowledge about women. This should be pretty quick.

All you guys out there who have been married longer than ten years can refute this entire article, since marriage is an ever-changing, dynamic situation. All those of you out there who have been married less than ten years, treat this advice like the gospel itself. I know what I’m talking about!

All my vastly limited knowledge about women boils down to what I have learned about “quality time.”

In the beginnings of marriage, usually, unless you did things in the reverse order from the standard procedure, you don’t have any kids. You both work, and other than that, you have no responsibilities whatsoever. It’s awesome. You come home from work, and spend the entire evening together. You go out to dinner all the time, and you have more money than you know what to do with, even though, at the time, you think you’re poor. Boy, were you wrong.

Then the kids come and you find out the true definition of poor. When the kids are newborns, you foolishly think that you have no free time, but again, you are wrong. It is only when they grow up and start going to school and playing sports, and karate, and piano that you truly have no free time.

As your married life progresses and the kids get older and stop staying where you put them, your couple’s together time gets less and less. After almost ten years of marriage and three children, hypothetically seven, five, and three years old, you and your wife see each other for about twenty minutes a day.

As with anything in life, when you start running out of time, you invariably are forced to concentrate only on what is critical. For example, if you were only given five minutes per day to eat, you would not spend any of that five minutes chatting or doing the dishes. You would be stuffing your face with anything that was even remotely edible within arm’s reach for the entire five-minute period.

I think, as a general rule, guys tend to be much more pragmatic in those squeeze-play situations than women do. For instance, if a guy is on a boat and the captain suddenly starts shouting orders at him in an excited voice, most guys will tend to just grab the winch handle and start cranking it clockwise like they were told to do. It is more of a female trait to pause for a moment and wonder if the captain doesn’t think they can follow orders without being yelled at, or if they did something earlier in the day to make him angry with them.

When the couple’s together time gets squeezed down to twenty minutes per day, both parties naturally agree that they’d better make that time count, and make sure it’s all “quality time.” This is where the differences between men and women come into play. Both parties yearn for “quality time” with each other, but unfortunately, both parties have different definitions of “quality time.”

Now, like it or not, us men are pretty simple animals. Our “quality time” standard is universal, and does not involve clothing. Enough said.

Women, on the other hand, are very complex and complicated creatures. Their definition of “quality time” is a fast-moving target, based on a multitude of different factors that may or may not include the weather, the rude clerk at the department store, the temperature inside the house, their awesome boss, the cable company, their idiot boss, the smokin’ deal on spaghetti sauce in the paper, the kids’ reaction to dinner, the tone of your voice, the cost of living, the note from the teacher, the situation in the Middle-East, your cute text this afternoon, your son’s snotty attitude, the neighbor’s stupid dog, and any number of other things that you cannot possibly know about, but have a heavyweight bearing on the situation.

Nine times out of ten, your wife’s definition of quality time that day involves you doing a lot of listening, and cuddling on the couch, usually fully clothed. When that is the case, guess what you’ll be doing?

If you thought that you would be receiving some incredible nugget of wisdom or some sage-like advice at this point, you were dead wrong. I’ve got nothing. I don’t know any more about women than I did ten years ago. In fact, all told, I know a lot less.

All I really do know is that you’d better get on board with her definition of quality time if you ever hope to have her get on board with yours.

Happy Valentine’s Day, and good luck out there, men!

See you soon,


“Valentine’s Day, Part II”
Originally posted February 13, 2013

Valentine’s Day is a confounding “holiday.” The number of people around the world who actually enjoy Valentine’s Day is very, very small. Most women will probably tell you that they enjoy the day, but they’re lying. They’re only saying that because they don’t want to be seen as “anti-romance.” Truth be told, Valentine’s Day is very stressful for most people, men or women.

Let’s try to figure out who really likes Valentine’s Day. No man in the history of the world has ever liked it, so take out roughly half the population of the earth. Sure, it’s a day dedicated to romance, so if a guy plays his cards (and flowers) right, he might get rewarded for his efforts. However, this is a day where he is expected to be romantic, no matter what. If he happens to forget and go about his business as usual, he will be in deep trouble. Birthdays and anniversaries are one thing, but Valentine’s Day is the one day of the year where every guy in the world can simultaneously get into a special, life-long, still-bringing-it-up-twenty-five-years-later kind of trouble, just for doing the same thing we did the day before. By the mere act of being yourself, you can be branded for life as an uncaring idiot, if you happen to forget the 14th of February. Who needs that?

By my (incredibly limited) experience, cards and flowers have a much more positive impact on her emotions (and on your love life) if they are given when she is not expecting them. A specific day of the year when they are mandatory?  Far too much pressure. And speaking of pressure, it is entirely one-sided. There has never been a man in the history of the world who’s has had his feelings hurt when his wife or girlfriend didn’t get him a card on Valentine’s Day. The onus is all on the men. Heaven forbid you screw it up, boys. If you do, Valentine’s Night will be pretty lonely. It’ll just be you and your onus.

As I said at the beginning, no man has ever liked Valentine’s Day, but that doesn’t mean they all dislike it. Single men who are not dating have no particular feelings towards it one way or the other. They could care less about it. Single women who are not dating, however, hate Valentine’s Day. This is due to the fact that men and women are polar opposites when it comes to feelings about anything other than food and shelter being good things. Valentine’s Day for the single female is a myriad of emotions, all of them probably serving some sort of anthropological function, but none of them that you want to get anywhere within forty feet of. Most of these emotions will be doused with wine, which can either have a suppressive effect, much like throwing a bucket of gasoline on a single match, or in most cases, an accelerant effect, much like throwing a bucket of gasoline on a campfire. Either way, it is best to observe the forty-foot perimeter.

Valentine’s Day for the single male means a shorter wait at the pizza place.

For women who are dating or married, Valentine’s Day is stressful. Not as stressful as it is for their men, but some amount of the man’s stress is transferred to the woman. That’s because the women know that we won’t get it right, no matter how hard we try, so they spend the weeks before Valentine’s Day worrying about what we’ll get wrong. Will he screw it completely up like I think he will, or will he surprise me and get it almost right? Never mind perfect. That ain’t happening.

Women who are dating someone casually worry that their significant other will go overboard and try too hard, making Valentine’s Day awkward instead if nice. Women who are dating someone seriously worry about the marriage proposal. If she feels that the proposal is imminent or overdue, she will worry that he won’t ask her to marry him. If she feels like it isn’t proposal time just yet, she will worry that he will ask.

In my estimation, women who are already engaged to be married are the only ones who truly enjoy a stress-free Valentine’s Day. If a lady’s fiancé has a track record of forgetting Valentine’s Day, she probably wouldn’t be engaged to him in the first place, so there is much less of a chance that she’s worried he will forget. (Naïvely, she thinks he will always remember the day once they are married. Boy, is she wrong!) There is no proposal pressure or worry, since that already happened, and since both parties are in constant communication about romantic stuff like wedding plans, chances are the guy will have a pretty good idea of what to do for the gift. Jewelry, flowers, chocolates, just a simple card… He is about as locked in as he’s ever going to be on what she wants. He will never know for sure, however, because reading a woman’s mind is a lot like reading Sanskrit in the dark. You’re never going to get it exactly right.

So, of all the people currently on the planet, the only ones who enjoy a truly worry-free and relaxing Valentine’s Day are most of the engaged women, and a handful of female newlyweds.  That probably works out to be far less than one percent of the population.

This leads me to the question of why we still have Valentine’s Day in the first place.

I don’t buy the argument that it’s just a day created by the greeting card, flower, and chocolate industries. It goes deeper than that. We all feel like we have to participate, because the men don’t want to be seen as the Scrooge of February, and the women don’t want to be left out. Truth be told, everyone would be a lot happier and less stressed if the day just went away, but stopping Valentine’s Day is an all or nothing deal. If there is one single solitary guy left on the earth still buying flowers for his fiancé on the 14th of February, the rest of us are going to hear about it.

Until those engaged guys can stand up and say no, we’re all going to have to keep going with it. Those engaged guys are weak. They are scared to screw anything up, and rightfully so. They don’t know what they’re getting into, and they know they don’t know. They are yes men, just trying to survive. They will never help us.

So, we’re stuck with it. Do your best, and hope for the best. That’s all we can do.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have to go see if they have any Valentine’s cards left at the gas station mini-mart. My wife loves those cards. I think.

See you soon,


Copyright © 2018 Marc Schmatjen

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