Award-winning writer: Jackie Papandrew
Airing My Dirty Laundry!
Survivor for Sweethearts
This is the time of year when I start to feel sorry for men. They've still mourning the end of football season. (YEAH!! Sorry, couldn't resist saying that.) And to add insult to injury, they've just had to endure another Valentine’s Day. As a result, many of them are now in the proverbial dog house.
Take my teenage son, for example. He has a new girlfriend, and he’s been feeling the holiday of the heart bearing down on him like a freight train.
There are probably no couples who sail through every Valentine’s Day with their relationship unscathed, each person miraculously meeting and exceeding the other’s expectations, and neither one feeling put out or shortchanged. We women can be particularly hard on our men at this time of year.
I once labeled a guy I was dating (who happened to be named Joe) “about as emotional as a park bench” when he sheepishly handed me a clip-on teddy bear with the price tag still on it after I’d given him a beautifully wrapped cashmere sweater. I’m more mellow in these matters now. Really, those things just don’t bother me anymore. (Joe, wherever you are, I want that sweater back.)
So my heart hurts a little as I watch my boy trying to navigate the treacherous rapids of romance. Like most males, he really wants to make his lady happy. But just like that hopeless romantic Sigmund Freud, my son often finds himself asking the age-old question: What do women want?
And like Freud, he doesn’t have a clue.
Just before V-Day, I found him sitting on his bed, staring forlornly into his dog-eared wallet.
“I hate Valentine’s Day!,” he groaned. “Every guy hates Valentine’s Day. If you don’t have a girl, you’re miserable. And if you do have a girl, you’re miserable, not to mention broke. Cupid is so stupid!”
Actually, Cupid must be pretty smart, even though he apparently has never been able to get out of diapers. At this time of year, the little flying man with the bow and arrow manages to make fully half of our species quiver with fear. (Get it – bow and arrow, quiver.)
That’s because men tend to see Feb. 14 as a trial-by-fire day during which they try to stay out of trouble while not forking over too much money. Kind of like a Survivor for Sweethearts reality show. Unlike the million-dollar winner on the real Survivor show, however, the most a man who makes it through Valentine’s Day can hope for is a wash. At least that’s what a married (and male) friend of mine told me.
“You don’t get credit for going to a nice restaurant or buying jewelry,” he said. “Like paying your mortgage or showing up for work, it’s just expected.”
Many women, on the other hand, believe that what happens on Valentine’s Day will be an indication of how the rest of their relationship will play out for eternity.
That's a lot of pressure we're putting on our men, ladies. I suggest that we cut them some slack and allow them to come out of their canine quarters. We really can't expect them to be able to read our minds. Not even the brilliant Dr. Freud could do that.
~ © Jackie Papandrew 2008 ~
Jackie Papandrew is an award-winning writer, syndicated humor columnist, coffee addict and mom to a motley crew of children and pets who provide a steady stream of column ideas and dirt. She's also wife to a very patient man who had no idea, years ago when he still had time to escape, what he was getting himself into. Visit her website at: JackiePapandrew.com
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