Valentine’s Day is a veritable mine field of a holiday. I’ve interviewed a good many women who report feelings of depression, unfulfilled expectations and outright anger after this day of love. Valentine’s Day is fraught with problems for Southern men. Why? Because the south is a matriarchal society. Southern mommas take care of all the gift buying, the decorating, the meal planning, the teacher gifts, cookies and cupcakes and all of that glitter strewn around from card making- even cellophane bags stocked in at least 3 different sizes, perfect for goodie bags for? Every. Single. Occasion known to mankind. We might let men think they’re in charge of… say, the Deep Fried Turkey for Thanksgiving but it’s a woman who has the back up roast turkey just in case his fryer catches on fire!
Valentine’s Day is that exceptional holiday– she may done everything for the children’s parties yet southern women don’t think it’s asking too much for Billy Bob to turn into a Sugar Daddy on Valentine’s Day. For just one day, is it too much to expect Billy Bob to turn into William Robert Smith IV, master of all things sweet and romantic on just one little bitty day of the year? Is it any wonder that Every. Single. Year- most men manage to blow it? They need help and she’s put her foot down she’s not giving him even a hint.
Knowing the average male attention span is short, this is the Short List.
- Avoid anything fuzzy, helium filled or a good deal like boxes of chocolate you forgot to remove the sticker which says- ‘Buy one Get one Free’.
- I’ll let you in on a big secret- Victoria or Frederick’s are names southern women associate with Hurricanes- this is not a good message to send and- really, you don’t know her size or preferences.
- Do not buy matching camouflage outfits and take her to the hunting camp, even if she’s bagged more quail or pheasants than you did. She wants it served under glass.
- If you do take her out to eat, make sure the place has tablecloths and seating- not just bar stools if you get my drift!
Now that I have your attention gentlemen, remember this above all else- Valentine’s Day is for her, not you. Please don’t go into a store, and buy lingerie- if you can’t pronounce it- you don’t need to be there! Listen to me- you’re gonna bomb on this one because just when the sales lady asks for her size- you’re going to fall into this trap by sayin’ ‘Well pretty lady, I reckon she’s just about your size!’ and boom! Too big or too little will not be forgiven any time soon! Now, if you’ve stayed with me this long… I can get into specifics-
- Do not- I repeat- do not buy her a digital bathroom scale. Do not sign her up for a gym membership! Do not buy sugar free candy or a trial membership in a weight reduction program, even if your Valentine has been asking you since New Year’s if you think she needs to lose weight- that is a trap.
- Dinner and a movie is generally a safe bet- unless dinner is fast food and the movie is ‘Chainsaw Massacre’, ‘Jaws‘ or ‘Walking Tall- Part 2′ . It just kills the mood. Believe me on this one.
- Please don’t complain about the prices at dinner or at the movies.
- Whatever you do- don’t have photo booth pictures blown up into framed 8×10’s, she may have thought they were adorable at the time… yet for her desk? Probably not so cute.
- About that desk- you might want to check with the florist- ‘Are there multiple orders going to her workplace?’ You wouldn’t want her to be mortified if she’s the only one there with no flowers! (I have known women, who in desperation have called the local florists and had her own flowers sent to cover for your gross negligence in this matter! Believe me, you will never live this down.
Speaking of flowers, we do know the difference in florist flowers and those bought at the big box or grocery stores. Whatever you do, please do not buy a neon blue orchid. Now, those are the basics, are you ready for more?
- Going to look at tractors, single wide trailers or pre-fab storage buildings are not exactly her idea of a romantic outing.
- Neither is taking her car for an oil change, new brake shoes or having the tires rotated- even if they throw in the Valentine Special of hot pink fuzzy seat covers. Just do your duty to see about her safety and welfare- not as a gift! Note one exception- *If you’re thinking automotive- buy her a new car! *
I know you’re thinking of buying her something for the household- this is another trap, believe me. Please don’t buy household appliances of any kind- a new vacuum, a toaster, a leaf blower or an electric drill. Let the kids buy her those things for Mother’s Day! Or better yet, hire someone to do all those chores that you’ve been putting off for…ages?
- Do not buy her an apron, oven mitts or dish towels. In fact, do not even think of buying her a trinket of any kind- especially if you found them at a truck stop or country cookin’ gift shop.
- Even if she’s the one who yells the loudest during football games- do not buy a 65 inch color TV and have it mounted in her absolutely gorgeous bedroom! In fact, don’t give her anything that is suitable for mounting on a wall- especially your latest ‘catch’ even if she’s won more tournaments than you have!
- A shirt with an Arrow pointing your direction- that says- ‘I’m His’ might be funny to you- believe me it’s not! Matching Tshirts are to be avoided at all costs for Valentine’s Day- especially if you’re taking her out somewhere nice.
By now, you’re probably thinking that a card is a nice touch and it is. Unless you’ve neglected to actually read the inside of the card! It might look great on the outside with romantic wording like ‘You are so beautiful to me…‘ yet on the inside there’s a picture of an Orangutan sayin’ ‘A face only a mother could love.‘ Now, you may have howled when you read it and gotten a big kick out of it all; believe me– this will not be well received, any more than :
- Wrinkle, hair removal, anti-aging products or the perfect shade of nail polish which you think will save on all of the beauty parlor bills! Leave this to the professionals.
- Handwritten coupons for anything will not spell Sugar Daddy- even if your handwriting is nice- this doesn’t read nice. It shouts- Cheapskate!
- Candy is always a nice touch as long as it’s not a fun-size bag, a quarter pound chocolate heart that she’ll need a chainsaw to cut (see above) Or…a cheap grocery store brand with four pieces of chocolates – go for broke here and get the kind of candy sold in free standing stores with nice gold wrapping paper- even if you think the price is ridiculous!
- And, if you’ve been dating a while, please don’t buy a hard candy diamond shaped plastic ring, a big old fake diamond keychain, a heavily over advertised open heart or a boxed set of jewelry on the sale aisle. She wants a diamond not a friendship ring!
- Listen up! Regardless of the song… Diamonds are a Man’s best friend! And of course-dogs, it just depends on where you’d rather be.
Southern men need help on Valentines Day. According to my hotline results- no matter how hard you’ve worked that day- she’s expecting you to show the same energy and enthusiasm you had for SEC football games. When you pick her up, please don’t say-
- ‘Are you wearing that?’ or ‘How much did that cost?‘ no matter what she has on.
- If she asks you if her shoes look funny- please don’t say ‘Well honey, they aren’t hilarious.’
- If she exclaims that her hair looks awful- refrain from saying ‘It doesn’t look any worse than usual.’
Some final advice- if she’s over the age of five- your valentine doesn’t want a bouquet of lollipops, a stuffed animal of any kind- no matter what size it is- and certainly not a bunch of helium filled balloons! Save that for birthdays or fun days. And remember above all else- Valentine’s Day is for your sweetheart, not you. If you can’t remember anything else, gentlemen, remember that. Or. Believe me, darlin’, she won’t let you forget it for a whole year or…maybe your own natural lifetime.
Love y’all, Camellia
*These helpful hints have been gleaned from an informal poll of southern ladies who have experienced some frankly disappointing Valentine’s days. The poll is non- scientific and based solely on the horror factor of it all. *Men, you have my full permission to reprint this article, IF you commit it to memory and can recite it in your sleep! Ladies, you have my full permission to reprint this article- as long as you promise to give it to your sweetheart, right before or after Valentine’s Day- depending on when you need it! It doesn’t worry me…much- I’m a fictional character.
*The wonderful free images are from @over including the cute videos!