Women Are in Control

Monday, February 14, 2005

And don't you forget it. Film critic Richard Roeper amuses us with his take on Valentine's Day:

Who's responsible for Valentine's Day becoming a major commercial and romantic event, featuring cards and flowers and dinner reservations and the giving of the bling?

Nope. We can't blame it on the greeting card companies or the chocolate manufacturers or the jewelers or even those mysterious people in Vermont who have devoted their lives to making cutesy theme teddy bears.

It's women.

Woman's Day

Without women, Valentine's Day would die a quick death. Without the input of women, Feb. 14 would be just another cold day.

A generalization? You betcha. But it's an accurate one.

I wish we could test it right now. I wish we could ask the men of this country just one question:

Should Valentine's Day exist?

What do you think the results would be? How many men would actually vote to keep Valentine's Day on the calendar?

Zero. Not even that guy on "Will & Grace."

Valentine's Day exists because women want it to exist. We can talk all we want about men and women being equal and wanting the same things and blah blah blah blah blah blah, but the truth is that most women are thrilled about the existence of Valentine's Day, and most (if not all) men would rather catch a head cold and stub their big toe every hour on the hour than observe the rituals of Valentine's Day.

And guys, you're really screwed this year, because this year we get a Valentine's Day weekend. Go ahead, pick up the phone right now and try to make a reservation for this Saturday night. You'll be laughed off the line.

But just because you're going out Saturday night doesn't mean you're completely off the hook for next Monday. There better be a card or some flowers or something on the actual day as well.

Of course, you could take a stand. You could tell your honey that you don't believe in Valentine's Day, and you're not going to be co-opted by a commercialized holiday. If you want to demonstrate your love, you don't need Hallmark to do your talking for you. You're a rebel, an individualist, a man's man! You're not going to send flowers or take her out to dinner or buy her treats just because the advertising agencies and the fluffy articles in the newspapers say you should!

One might think a woman would appreciate a man who thinks for himself like that.

One would be wrong.

The man who tells a woman he doesn't celebrate or believe in Valentine's Day is not rewarded or applauded; he is branded as a terminal cheapskate and a thoughtless oaf. Even if the woman in his life smiles sweetly and says, "That's all right honey, I don't care about Valentine's Day," inside she is thinking: You stupid jerk. How am I supposed to go to work and act happy when all the women around me are getting flowers and sappy phone calls? Stupid stupid jerk jerk.

Stop the madness? Yeah right

The only way this Valentine's Day madness could be reined in would be if millions of women of all ages decided to put a stop to it. If women led the movement to simplify and scale back Valentine's Day -- to make it less of an event -- well, they have that power.

Men: Imagine if the woman in your life came to you this morning and said, "Honey, please don't plan anything special for Valentine's Day this year. In fact, I insist that we don't do anything this weekend or next Monday. If you want to take me to dinner or send me flowers or tell me how much you love me, do it when you sincerely want to do it, not when the calendar says you're supposed to do so. That's not love, that's cultural peer pressure! Come on, what is this, the fourth grade? Now can you change the channel to ESPN, and oh by the way, my way hot girlfriends are coming over later because they've got some new negligees and they need our opinion . . ."

OK, so I got a little carried away there, but you know what I mean. Until the woman lets the man off the hook for Valentine's Day, the man is on the hook for Valentine's Day.

It's their holiday. We're just slaves to it.