The Valentine’s Day Massacre

January 31, 2018


Vacuum GiftShalom, San Diegans: Today, I’m taking a risk. I’m taking on, or rather kvetching about a technically “goyishe” holiday that has become part of mainstream American culture; Valentine’s Day, or as I call it “VD” for Very Depressing. Simply, I loathe love by hype and hand grenade. For example, just yesterday I saw a pop-up ad displaying a classy small, velvet box from a store no doubt frequented by Paris Hilton. A voice, halfway between James Earl Jones and Ben Gurion, said: “Real Men Give Diamonds. It means never having to say ‘You’re Sorry’– again.”

As Jewish women, anti-Semitic stereotypes to the contrary, we are the least spoiled around “holiday” gift-giving. After all, what Jewess on Hanukkah expects even one night of a diamond in the shape of a latke?

It’s also no doubt why our Jewish sages in their wisdom, created holidays that keep us too busy praying, eating, or starving, to wander around Saks or surf eBay.

Yet, we go secular and boing!  Gifts and cards take on magical meaning. Our expectations swell. For me, a Boomer, it started at age five when that witch of a kindergarten teacher chirped how much fun it would be for the class to bring in cards. And I was always the one who got two: One from the class nerd, and that cut-out job from the teacher, under duress from AFT.  There you go. A “loser in love” before you’ve cut your permanent teeth. And mamalas, it’s downhill from there.

We want the men in our lives to bring home more than a bag of rock-hard kosher caramels to show he “cares.”

Equating gifts with love on this one day has more minefields than Angola. Forgive the political incorrectness, but males and females often differ in their view of and ability to “gift.”

The female thinks, “if he loves me he should know what I like” built on the false notion that what he gives us represents how he loves me. This is a foul lie! And a source of potential disaster.

When we moan, the male thinks, “Why bother? Nothing makes her happy anyway.” This false assumption can wear down a relationship like a poppy seed under a molar.

So … for those MOTs “celebrating” read ahead for strategies to emerge from this day of “love” unscathed.

Getting It:
Your Personal V-Day Strategies

Ladies First …

Think motive – his! Don’t confuse rotten gifts with rotten love. Ask yourself, even when he bought you those oven mitts that light up, was his intention to make me happy?  You bet. He wants you to see inside a hot oven so you don’t burn your fingerlekhs. Are we wowed?  No. Was he thinking about us? Yes. Separate his intention from his taste.

Most men are not guilty of not caring. Pardon my lack of PC, but in my vast experience with the matter, I’ve found that the average male is Genetically Shopping-Challenged, which is why they love stores named either “‘R Us,” “Depot,” “City” as in Perfumes ’R Us, or Godiva City. This way, even if they forget what they came for, they won’t get confused.

Partner your mate. They aren’t mind-readers. Be specific. “Third floor. Glove department. Second case from the left facing the elevator. White cotton. Medium.  Go at three. Tomorrow. Ask for salesperson #12987. She’s waiting for you.” Now, that may be a bit extreme – on second thought – I mentioned to my late husband that I loved apricot roses and sweet notes. I got red roses, signed from “your pal.” (“There was a mix-up at the florist,” he explained.)

Appreciate his attempts, no matter how … strange. Admit it.  How many times has a man tried and we acted like we just choked on curdled sour cream? The prune face does not inspire creativity in men. It just makes them feel they’ve failed, and from this unspoken reaction, big anger arises. Always praise the effort in proportion and in specific terms. “David, I loved the 50 pairs of knee-high stockings. Wow you must have really thought about that.” Then you can go shake your head – or laugh it off.

To You Boychicks …

Notice! Notice! Notice what pleases her.  If your mission is to make her happy then don’t get her something: a) you’d like; b) is a generic one-size-fits-no-one. When she mentions things she wants, note it down in your Smart phone. Look around. If she has one she might like two (perfume not heating pads.)

Make the attempt to please her.  Confused? Enlist her mother, bff, or your daughter to help you out. You asked directions! What a mensch! They’ll jump to the task.

Wrap it well. Wrapping is to gifts as “location location location” is to real estate. Professional shoppers and small children know this. Tossing a fine bottle of perfume into a plastic shopping bag is a gift-killer. Not handy with tape? Go to a pal or pro.

Use words!  Not all of us can afford even small bling these days. Know this; most women are more “wowed” with words and effort than bling.  Trust me. One “I cherish you” attached to an apricot rose not only beats a box of rock-hard caramels and a cutout card job from a Thrifty Mart – but maybe even a small but perfect diamond.

Most important for all: Gift your mate daily… with a wink, a special loving signal, a note, a small surprise. We Jews are duty-bound to celebrate our mates the other 364 days.  And isn’t that what loving is supposed to be about?


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