Sex and the Mid-Size Town: Valentine’s Day Backlash

I’ve never had a bad Valentine’s Day. Never, that is, until this year.

I say all this with my tongue in my cheek because my past experiences have not all been shining examples of felicity. I have been alone and impossibly busy on Valentine’s Day before, I have also spent the day smuggling candy home in my backpack to keep my overprotective parents from thinking I had a romantic interest. Ah, youth.

These are unspectacular yet relatively run-of-the-mill V-Day stories.

But there have been some brilliant times on this ever-so-commercial and superficial of holidays as well. Like the time I unexpectedly met my Valentine outside the campus library the night before the dreaded day and we ended drinking red wine, laughing the night away and having a blast, or the time my beau very kindly cleaned up after I spilled melted fondue cheese all over the blanket we were having a romantic t’te-’-t’te on. This year sucked for one reason: I expected something.

Expecting, ladies and gentlemen, can be a big no-no. Especially when you’re dealing with a holiday paying homage to Cupid and his damnable arrows, and a noncommittal, casual relationship with adolescent legs to stand on.

In Murfreesboro, people do fairly normal things for the big day. Five Senses will always charge an arm and a leg to couples that want to go all out. Demos’ traffic nearly blocked Broad Street. There won’t be a single droopy red rose left at Kroger.

But there’s a trick to all this. I don’t give a damn about what the fella in my life gets or doesn’t get me for the ’big day.’ All I’m looking for are good intentions that day, and every day in general, and I bet most women will agree.

So, suck it up gents. Here are a few Valentine’s stereotypes to avoid turning in to for future reference.

The One Trick Pony

Some men are so obsessed with finding someone to spend holidays with they’ll do the unthinkable’date blind. Dating blind is different than blind dating, mostly because blind dates at least have good intentions, or at least some intentions. Dating blind usually means dating for appearances only.

Don’t be surprised if he’s a post-holiday bust. At least you got dinner out of it.

The Mush

This man can pop up at any time. Your well-meaning, perfectly normal manfriend can sometimes get a bit too serious about events, and turn into a blubbering mess.

Beware overtly emotional behavior at Valentine’s Day, birthdays, weddings, and six-month anniversaries.

The best thing to do is hold his hand and wait for the storm to pass.

Thankfully most of these celebrations are one-day events. If his behavior extends past the holiday, seek professional help.

The Overachiever

So you’ve been together for less than two months and a holiday approaches. It’s safe to say you’ll spend it together, but it’s hard for some men to know what to do to commemorate the day.

I’ve seen women fall into this trap, too, so if you’re reading this to be smug about your not-a-man-ness you may be barking up the wrong tree.

You don’t know what to do so you do too much. I know, you’re sitting there thinking, ’How can that be a bad thing?’ but trust me, it can be embarrassing to your partner in crime if they don’t have something that nice set up for you.

It’s kind of like Christmas etiquette’a little discussion can help you find a happy medium.

The Underachiever

Ah, the underachiever. And now we will see why my Valentine’s Day fell short. Even if you’ve only been seeing a girl for a week before the most romantic holiday of the year that’s no excuse to fail completely.

Do something, ANYTHING. At least give the girl a call. I don’t care if it’s young romance, I don’t care if it’s infantile. Buy that girl a candy bar or a gas station flower and send her a cheesy free e-card, but if you let it go by without any commemoration at all, she’ll remember and you may find yourself axed.


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