One year has passed since I last tiraded about Valentine's Day. I still feel the same about the ridiculous expectations that commercialism sets for men in America, but now I'm one of those men. As a disclaimer, I'd like to note that I have never had a girlfriend on Valentine's Day, and that has been by design. The pressure of clearing the bar that has been set so dangerously high was always too much for me. I figured that rather than trying to clear that bar, it would be easier to lay down on the mat with a pre-Valentine's Day breakup. That strategy doesn't work as well as a married guy.
I suppose that karma has found a way to make up for my despicable pre-Valentine's Day rituals of the past because preparing for the special day is every bit as difficult as I imagined and then some. From the perspective of a single guy, I have previously chronicled the idiocy of the poor suckers trying to measure up. Now that it's my turn to be the idiot, I'd like to write again about this subject in a different light. So here it is:
In an effort to figure out what would be the best course of action, I did what I thought all smart men do. I consulted her best friend. I was very appreciative of the advice given and oh how I wish I could have implemented it more effectively.
Natalie's first suggestion was, "Try and find a sitter. Look for a girl who is like 13-14. That way, they're old enough to be responsible, but also too young for too much boyfriend issues."
"That's a great idea, but I don't know any girls in that age range, which is probably a good sign that I'm not a sex offender." I replied.
Her second suggestion was lingerie. Again this was a great idea. I gave her some excuse about how Facebook put a Victoria's Secret advertisement on my page which I watched. The add had supermodels encouraging guys to snoop through their girlfriend or wife's underwear drawer for sizes and just pop into the store for a browse. Like any guy being told what to do by beautiful women, I snooped. And I found. Specifically something I'm guessing is my Valentine's Day present. (Sidenote: Why is it that people always hide things in the underwear drawer? Also, I hope my wife doesn't read this before Valentine's Day.) Natalie comes back with the end all be all of V-day suggestions that it doesn't matter what I give, just as long as we spend time together. So it turns out that asking the best friend is only a good idea for guys if they're willing to listen to the giver of the advice. I'm not smart enough to listen at first.
In the end, I decide on one of my own ideas and one of Natalie's. My wife has been annoyed with her hair lately, but she just doesn't want to give in and give up the bucks for a nice salon cut. As I approach the salon doors, I feel the eyes of every woman, window washer and gay guy in the salon scanning me in my Red Sox hat, surf shop hoodie, jeans and flip flops. Their eyes dart up and down. Their brains process the information and I'm sure few figure out my purpose.
I walk to the back of the salon where a security guard sulks in the corner, quite possibly upset at the fact that he pulled salon duty that day. A smirk crosses his face as he realizes I'm in there of my own volition. Besides the security guard, there are two other Y chromosomes in the place. The second is a guy who looked like he had literally killed his couch and made a shirt out of it. It's a "Southwest" shirt complete with purples, greens and weird blues zig zagged into pattern. His hair smacks of the 80's (see also, the middle of his back) and he complains about the last time he went in for a cut and color. The last dude is the dude working the salon. He's an older guy who smells like cigarettes. His teeth are stained purple, I assume from too much wine. As I talk to him I can't help but think to myself, "so this is what an older gay guy is like." He seems all too pleased to be speaking to me until I mention my errand and he discovers I have a wife. I quickly achieve my purpose and promptly leave the store.
The second store I patron is on the recommendation of Natalie and Facebook. For as much time and effort I spent in trying to avoid being pushed into the women's underwear section by my brothers as we walked the aisles at various department stores in our youth, I laugh at the irony that I'm now in Victoria's Secret of my own choice. The first woman I meet as I walk in is very friendly and quite attractive. I nervously fumble through a preplanned speech as to the entire reason I am in the store that day as if the women inside assume I'm some sort of pervert and an explanation would exonerate me of that mental accusation. The woman listens to my ramblings, smiles and nods her head. When I am done she simply says, "OK. Let me introduce you to (insert woman's name I can't remember here). I work in beauty and she can show you our other products." By the time I am done, I find I've spent $125.00 and I am sure that as I walk out of the store, all eyes are on my shopping bag and people immediately label me as a degenerate perv.
So what's the moral in all this? Well maybe I was a bit harsh on those poor suckers last year. Valentine's Day is rough.
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