The pressure Valentine’s Day places on men has made us dread the day

“Is this a joke? You know I already have this top, right?” Fuck. After six months of dating I finally thought I had a grasp on my girlfriend’s taste, and I had lucked into finding an H&M online sale a week before Valentine’s Day. Now I understood why I thought the top would be something she would wear. It was because she already did wear it. I bought myself some time by claiming that wasn’t all that I had got her, and came up with an excuse so I could run to the shop and get her something else. I came back with a teddy bear. A safe bet, right? She pulled out her phone and showed me a picture of the teddy bear she had at home. The thing was eight feet tall. My bear, about the size of a forearm, seemed to shrink in my hands in retreat at the image of this beast. There was no way I could win today.

The fact is that Valentine’s Day sucks for men. The planning and the paying always seems to be our responsibility, and while we are rewarded with some reciprocation after, it is precisely that; reciprocation. Find a table for dinner? Every place that’s half decent and affordable is booked two weeks in advance because there are countless other poor bastards making moves in advance to avoid screwing up. Buy a present? You better make sure that you improve on it later for her birthday, or you’re just delaying your troubles. Only after a day complete with perfect, seamless expressions of your love and gratitude toward your significant other can you hope for a happy end to your night. Don’t forget that all of your girlfriend’s friends are putting up every part of their day on their Snapchats, so you have to make sure that her day surpasses all of theirs, lest you face further ire. We didn’t ask for this day. We have birthdays already set aside as special, and if every single other couple is also celebrating how special does it really make Valentine’s? The arbitrary selection of this one day to celebrate love to sell boxes of chocolates and varying sizes of teddy bears only causes us only stress and grief as we barely make it through in a cloud of fear, only to do it all again next year.

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