Valentine's Day defies male logic

February 14, 2002|By Phil Perrier

LOS ANGELES - Women love Valentine's Day. It's all about feelings, emotions, romance - things men know nothing about.

Oh sure, we play along. We know that women want a card and flowers and chocolates, so we get them.

Sometimes women cry when we give them these things. This reaction confuses men: "Why is she crying? Isn't this supposed to be a good thing?"

She is crying because you thought about her. Your sweet actions proved that you love her, care for her, understand her and want her hopes and dreams to be your own. At least that's what she thinks it means.

You are actually thinking, "Man, it's a good thing I saw that Hallmark commercial on TV last night."

For men, buying presents for Valentine's Day is sort of like doing court-ordered community service; we don't necessarily want to do it, but we fear the consequences if we don't. And 30 days in the county lockup is a picnic compared to the treatment men get when they forget Valentine's Day. When a man forgets Valentine's Day, he is telling his special lady that all their shared experiences, candlelight dinners, walks on the beach and intimate moments amount to absolutely zero. You don't even care enough to send not even the very best. You are "using" her; her mother was right.

Will she break up with you for forgetting Valentine's Day? Perhaps, if you're lucky. At first it will appear as if she doesn't care. She may say, "It's OK, I don't mind, really." Which really means: "There will be ugly and far-reaching repercussions of this grievous oversight for years to come."

She will not be angry; she will be "disappointed." A cool detachment will come over her. She will have lunch dates with old boyfriends, and say odd things like, "Maybe I'll try being gay," and "Let's take separate vacations this year."

When you ask what's wrong, she'll say, "Nothing" - always a bad sign. When a woman says nothing's wrong, it's much like when the oil light comes on in your car: Something has gone terribly wrong. At this point, the man is sent on the mother of all guilt trips. The only thing you can do is act sorry, very sorry. You may not have bought her flowers on Valentine's Day, but you had better buy her flowers now. The only hope for redemption is an all-out frontal attack of sensitivity; take her to dinner, and we're talking expensive dinner (no coupons). Leave her sweet little sticky notes on the refrigerator ("I love you, Pooky! ... remember Myrtle Beach?")

Luckily, most men don't forget Valentine's Day. We just don't understand it. We are as non-comprehending of its symbolism as a dog staring at a computer screen. Expressing emotions is not our strong suit.

All we know is that when women start talking about "feelings," pretty soon they are crying. Nothing drives men nuts like seeing women cry. We just want them to stop crying. We say stupid things: "Honey, please stop crying, I'll pay you!" Or, "What do you mean you've wasted your life? Look at all the furniture you own."

Men sometimes fail to understand that periodically women need to cry. Crying is yet another way women "express themselves" (whatever the hell that means!). Men cry only after serious bodily injury or watching the movie Field of Dreams.

If men and women seem far apart on Valentine's Day, it's largely because women have about 50 more rungs on their emotional ladder than men. If a woman is a Rolex, a man is a sundial. Men do not mean to be thoughtless, we're just stupid.

Phil Perrier is a stand-up comedian and free-lance writer who lives in Los Angeles.

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