My 5th grader’s Harriet Tubman Project is due this week. The car is encrusted in salt and grime and needs new wiper blades. The dog ate an entire jumbo rawhide bone in 20 minutes, and now has a bad case of the runs. Two days ago, I sprouted a cold sore.
And tomorrow is Valentine’s Day.
Every year, it’s the same thing. We’re engrossed in the hectic pace of normal family life. We’re paying bills, deciphering homework assignments, cheating on diets, reprimanding teenagers, grocery shopping, car pooling, and shoveling snow.
When February 14th rolls around, you can almost hear a collective exclamation — “Oh crap, it’s Valentines Day!” And we rush around to get the proverbial check in the box.
Mustering fresh romance after 17 years of marriage can be tough. Even if we manage to pop open a bottle of bubbly and exchange the obligatory cards with meaningful sentiments (scribbled in the car outside the 7-Eleven,) we still have to fight back the urge to yawn once the clock strikes nine.
It all seems so contrived. As if some corporate conglomerates who market greeting cards and heart-shaped balloons conspired to add more tasks to our daily “To Do” lists, all in the name of Valentine’s Day profits.
A few years ago, I was complaining to a friend of mine about Valentine’s Day messing up my schedule, when she told me about her tradition with her husband. They forgo the convenience store cards, and skip giving nick-nacky gifts like picture frames, teddy bears and Whitman’s Samplers.
She never cooks a nice dinner. He never buys flowers.
Instead, they get out the Hanky Panky Party Pail.
Nothing more than a cheap purple plastic sand bucket, they unceremoniously throw in a few items relating to “hanky panky” – an adult beverage, lingere, anything that will facilitate a Valentine’s Day romp in the hay.
At first I thought, “Well, that’s just disgusting. No hearts? No candles? No flowers? What kind of marriage is that?” But I soon realized that there are really only two reasons our husbands buy us cards, flowers and chocolates on Valentines Day: 1. So we won’t get mad at them, and 2. On the off chance they will get lucky.
And the only reason wives cook and buy cards and ties for our husbands is so that we can say we gave them something, even though we know it’s not what they really want.
So why rush into our salt-encrusted cars to buy silly pre-printed cards and new ties just so we can dash back home to wrack our brains for something meaningful to write inside the cards and search our closets for old gift bags that they have most likely seen before?
Why go through the rigmarole and expense of getting babysitters so we can stand in line for the Valentine’s Day Chicken Quesadilla special at Ruby Tuesday?
Why pressure our husbands to give us flowers when we know they will eventually wilt, drop petals and pollen everywhere, and leave that grody green slimy ring on the inside of the vase?
Why expect heart-shaped boxes of chocolates when half of them are filled with nondescript fruity fluff anyway?
Why not skip all the unnecessary holiday commercialism and get right down to business?
It’s a win-win for both parties. Wives don’t have to cook, clean or find time between orthodontist appointments and school projects, and husbands get what they always wanted.
And if you are my husband, it only takes a few minutes.