So Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and I have yet to make my husband’s card or get him a present. That’s not as heartless as it sounds, and in my defence I’ve got him a little present on-line (we never do anything big as we're always broke), it just hasn’t arrived yet; and it’s hard to make his card when he’s been off sick and hasn’t left me alone long enough to make it without him seeing it.
That’s another reason why I don’t buy his cards anymore, not just the cost; which is horrendous by the way. How can I choose a card when he’s behind my wheelchair every time I look round, and grabbing the handles every time I try to surreptitiously wheel away? It’s impossible; I’m not Super Wheelie Woman, I can’t propel my wheelchair at the speed of light and so he’s there - right behind me - all the time; it’s like being on a lead, in fact mine’s even shorter than the dog’s - at least he's got one of those extending roving things...you can insert my sigh here.
So I’m now just hoping my husband's present turns up tomorrow and that he goes back to work, that way I can get his card done; failing that I’m going to be getting up in the middle of the night and going downstairs to make it – of course the present is going to be a whole different nightmare if what I’ve already ordered doesn’t turn up...
But that leads me to me another question; since when did Valentine’s Day become such a big thing. I mean I remember it being fairly important when I was at high school because it proved a boy liked you, even if it wasn’t the one you liked (and no, I never got any – ugly geek girls like me just didn’t back then, not at my high school anyway).
Because of this it sort of passed me by for the most part; of course my parents would send me one, which is excruciatingly embarrassing as you realise you’re so pathetic that even your own parents pity you. I know they had the best intentions, like all parents do; but....really, don’t do that. No teenager is going to thank you for it, trust me.
Through my younger adulthood, I might have a boyfriend who bought me card or not (I didn’t have many boyfriends so you’ll have to work with me here) and so it was never that important to me. I had very low self esteem so never really hankered after the bouquets of roses, chocolates and over the top cards, mainly because I didn’t think I deserved them.
Then I fell on my feet and I married a great guy and he did buy me cards and things whilst we were dating and even after our wedding. But then money got tight and then a few years later we had our daughter and finances got even tighter; so Valentine’s fell away to support Easter, birthdays and Christmas for her. It was just a day to us; sure I’d cook a special dinner, make a cake or some such for him – but that’s it.
But these days I’ve noticed it’s becoming almost as big as Easter and Christmas; the cynical side of me said that’s not personal choice, that’s just the miracle of marketing. People are now being pressured into thinking that if they don’t buy just the right card and gift for their partner/fiancée/fiancé/girlfriend/boyfriend/husband/wife (delete as appropriate) then the relationship will effectively be over. Of course deep down we all know that’s rubbish, but I’m sure there’s enough doubt that you end up second guessing yourself all the time.
Now I’ve been happily married a long time, twenty one years this year; and yet even I stress about making the card just right. So I can only imagine how new couples get; or the newly married; and men must go through torture akin to the seven circles of hell – usually because they’re naturally not hopeless romantics. They’re not supposed to be and they’re generally not raised like that so, with maybe the odd exception, they don’t really have a clue what to do.
Of course the more they read in the press, see on the tv and look at in the shops, the more the panic rises as the choices are endless and yet which one is right? Do they buy the huge card with a cute teddy but few words; do they buy the smaller card with the lovely words but boring picture? What present do they get? Chocolates? But what if she’s on a diet, or she thinks they just want her fat?
Flowers? But then, especially if the relationship’s new, do they know what flowers she likes? Don't let's forget Madonna's reaction to a more than acceptable bouquet from a fan. In fact does his new girlfriend even like flowers and chocolates? Weird I know; but honestly not all women do. I have two female friends – one hates cut flowers as she thinks they’ve been murdered, and the other one hates chocolate. Okay they're a little weird, but you get the picture.
Women can fare little better; does she buy him aftershave? But then would he think she’s saying he smells? Does she get him sweets? But then he might think it’s a bit girly – most of them around at this time of year are heart shaped regardless. Does she get him something to do with football; hardly loving, but at least manly. Stop right there – I hate to tell you this ladies; but not every man likes football. My husband hates it; and I mean genuinely, completely, utterly hates it. If football’s a religion then he’s an atheist.
So, I can hear you all muttering "now you’ve put the fear of God into us – what do we do?" My advice, not that I necessarily intend to take it myself, is to get a nice card with loving words and try and think about what your partner might like – older women like me usually love chocolates (flowers need water daily and looking after – we invariably have a dog/cat/budgie/fish and so don’t need another thing to fuss about).
If we’re on a diet, we will have told you – double check if you’re not sure. But BE CAREFUL; seriously I cannot stress this point enough gentlemen – imply your wife is dieting when she’s not and I cannot guarantee your safety. Start to worry if she then starts talking about hankering after a new patio....
If you’re newly dating stick to a generic card that’s not too over the top on the lovely dovey; men might not like it, and women might either get scared you’re coming on too strong and think you’re a would-be stalker or indeed start planning the wedding (which will probably frighten the man concerned as he thinks the woman’s a would-be stalker). Flowers are good in this case as, and I speak from experience, younger women are usually on some diet. Go for roses; young women seem to love roses; older women not so much as they know what they cost and wonder where you got the money and whether the gas bill's gone up the swannee to pay for them.
It’s us older married couples that I think have it the easiest – don’t think about me, I’m mad. Generally I mean; they know each other and know all the likes and dislikes and there’s no pressure to get it perfect. So wait until you’re together about twenty years and, about then, it’ll be a cinch. Of course the other answer is just to ignore it altogether - which is, apparently, what my fourteen year old daughter is intending on doing so she informs me.
This is Simi, thanks for reading.....