February 14, 2012

Cold Sweats, Drill Bits, and Other Tales of Romance.

Little-known Valentine's Day facts:

-Most historians believe that St. Valentine was never a patron of lovers.

-The first reference to Valentine's Day as a tradition was found in the fictional context of Geoffrey Chaucer's Parliament of Foules. Translated from the Old English, that's "Fools". Irony is fun.

-Although St. Valentine wasn't actually the patron of lovers, he did coin the term "cold sweat" when, in the year 261, he forgot to buy his wife flowers or even a card for their anniversary and was forced to run, in the freezing cold, to the grocery store, which had one disheveled bouquet of carnations left at that hour of the night. He then ran all the way home and, sweating and shivering, handed his wife the wilted bouquet. She was touched by his effort and forgave him, but it was touch and go for a while there. He described his "cold sweat" experience in his blog, and the rest is history.

-47 percent of men in a committed relationship say they dread Valentine's Day.

-63 percent of men say they think Valentine's Day is unfairly slanted in favor of women.

-The average price of a dozen roses increases by over 100 percent on Valentine's Day. This shameless gouging is second only to Mother's Day, when the increase is over 150 percent.

Ever made a Valentine's Day blunder? I sure have. Before we were married, I took my wife to what I remembered to be a very nice restaurant for Valentine's Day. In all fairness, my previous visit to this place left a distinctly better impression on me than it did when we returned. Our table was chipped. The dining room was loud and decidedly not romantic. The food was mediocre, and the service was more of the boisterous hole-in-the-wall variety than the stately and reserved. As kind and gracious as my lovely wife is, I could tell she wasn't thrilled. Luckily, she let me make it up to her and I learned a valuable lesson. And she married me, so I guess it all worked out.

Do you dread Valentine's Day, guys? If so, you're doing it wrong. Women have a hard-wired need to feel loved, and if you show them you love them the rest of the year, you won't need to take out a loan and buy them a trip around the world for Valentine's Day just to make up for the rest. You'll have nothing to make up for. I'm not saying you don't deserve a trip around the world, honey, I'm just saying...oh, you know what I mean. I love you.

An aside: I'll be giving my three-year-old daughter a Valentine's Day rose for the first time this year, and I'm really excited to see the look on her face. She narrated a Valentine's note to me yesterday (our awesome day care provider did the writing), and as I read it and gushed over it, I could see how pleased she was, how loved she felt. And there it was - that female need for love being fulfilled. I also want my boys to see how we treat the women in our lives, how we give them what they need because we love them, not because Geoffrey Chaucer or Hallmark Cards said so.

Maybe someday I'll get a bouquet of hardened-steel screwdrivers and a box of matching drill bits for Valentine's Day, but frankly, I don't care. If I'm doing what it takes to avoid that marital cold sweat, I'm good to go.

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