In Preparation for Valentine’s Day: A Cautionary Tale
Whether you are firmly lodged in Camp Romance or you think Valentine’s Day is a trumped-up excuse to sell greeting cards, there’s no getting around that date on the calendar. Like it or not, Valentine’s Day is big business for a lot of people and has been since the first cards were mass produced in the 1840s. Not 1940s, friends, 1840s.*
I still don’t know what I’m getting my love to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year. Playing the numbers, the odds are that I’ll possibly buy candy (58 million pounds of chocolate are sold in the week leading up to Feb 14) or indulge in a little sparkling wine (174,000 gallons of the stuff are sold during the week of Valentine’s Day).* But I’ve done that before, and it didn’t end well.
There’s a little story I’d like to share with you a story of a Valentine’s Day gone horribly wrong. Once upon a time, there was a young woman who was smitten by a young man. We’ll call him Carl (not his real name). Carl asked her to have dinner with him on Valentine’s Day. She was very excited, as she had recently experienced a bitter breakup of a previous relationship and was ready to move on. Plus, she had developed a substantial crush on Carl after they became study buddies in their Introduction to Introductions class in college (not the real class).
Well, this young woman spent an entire part-time bookstore clerk’s paycheck on chocolate, a tasteful plush bear, and an even more tasteful bottle of wine for said Carl, in hopes of wooing him to return her affection. Carl was very smart, and very handsome, and also had a part-time job.
But Carl did not have any common sense. Because Carl showed up at her doorstep bearing a dead fish in a bag. A whole, dead, fish. As a gift. On Valentine’s Day. Oh yes, he did.
When she looked at him quizzically, taking the stinky bag from his proudly extended arms, he smiled and said “As in, there are others in the sea.” Oh, Carl. You really shouldn’t have. It went downhill from there. You probably already know that that was their first and last date.
In the end, it all worked out fine, because only a year or two later the young lady met her best friend, and fell in love, and he proposed and it has been an adventure ever since. But I digress.
So if you’re ready to aim and fire a love bazooka at your servicemember or military spouse like our pair of cupids up there, I’d like to suggest, right underneath “Dead Fish in a Brown Paper Bag,” a few other gift ideas that you should NEVER give your valentine. I’m just looking out for you.
A gym membership:
Nothing says “we need to talk” quite like a gym membership. Except maybe this next gift idea…
A gift card for Dental Whitening
But honey, I thought you loved my smile?
Really, personal hygiene products of any kind are not big libido boosters. So avoid gift wrapping these:
And unless your valentine specifically asks for one, do not get him or her any gift that requires feeding, grooming, walking or litter box training.
I’m as much of a sucker for a furry face as anybody, but pets are big time responsibilities, not last-minute gifts.
If you know your love at all, you know what gifts would be off limits and what would be welcome, and odds are good that if you’re not sure, you can ask for ideas. That’s a sign of concern, not of weakness, my friends. Hey, maybe this is the year you can invest in yourself and take a class or two?
However you celebrate – or don’t – here’s wishing you all the happiness your hearts can hold on Valentine’s Day. And unless you’re actually going fishing (which would also be awesome), or you are a cat (which would be weird) I hope no one brings you a dead trout.
*sources: history.com, US Census Bureau