Funny {Cheap, Lovely, Crazy, Funky} Valentine

I run into the market for some milk. I navigate the crowded card & candy aisle. Worry-slapped men blink panicked eyes: The funny card or the sentimental one? Box -shaped box of chocolates or heart-shaped? Flowers or… Forget it. Nobody’s worth $50 and a half-dozen weeds. Condoms- presumptuous or just well prepared or both with a side of wishful thinking?

    I am just here for the dairy, so I push a buggy past these Valentine’s rookies bidding them good fortune for all their sweet-hearted effort. I think to call Tom at that moment and leave a three-word message. “I love you” would be appropriate, I guess, but I was thinking something a little more along the lines of “You are welcome“. For years, I’ve high-fived myself for missing the Demanding Diva memo. My low-maintenance insistence that I could really not care less about the showy gestures of love I took to mean that I was doing my partner a favor. Every year, as stores stock shelves of pink and white goodies and flower prices skyrocket like a bad mortgage, I remind my most lovingest dude how blessed he is to have me (mostly for my modest and totally humble demeanor but also for a number of other great qualities). Despite his impressive understanding of my easy-to-please self, he still asks what I’d like as a token of his affections on this annual Day of Lovey Dovey. Clockwork. I recite the following monologue and wait for his all too gracious smile:

Flowers? How about you just hand me $50?

Jewelry? The only piece of jewelry I ever coveted was Susie Wilcox’s turtle-shaped mood ring in grade school. That snarky witch traded a 5th grader a Twinkie for the jewels one day at recess. Oh, what’s that have to do with Valentine’s Day? Nothing much, I guess. Just to say I’m not interested in bling unless it’s shaped like a reptile and will glow red when I’m pissy.

Whatever, Cartier. Can it tell me if I'm feeling "blue".

Candies? I’m eating healthier which is to say I’M STARVING. Come at me with some chocolate, and things are bound to end poorly. Possible outcomes: A) In a fit of hunger-rage, you’ll lose a thumb in the process of handing me said treats or B) I’ll have no choice but to assume you are a terrorist, forming sneaky plots to undermine my taut tummy with sugary sinfulness.

Cards? You love me like the fire of a thousand suns? Life with me is heaven? Images of rainbows and love birds and glitter worked into one greeting from Hallmark? That sounds like a wicked bad acid trip. Find me a card that says something real: Thanks for not making me sleep on the couch/ I just so happen to love stretchmarks/ Your snoring is sweet, sweet, wilderness music to my ears, Lady Bear.

Oh ick. Just ick.
That's more like it.

   Weeks ago, when Tom skirted around this issue of what the skirt of the house would like for Valentine’s Day, I jumped paragraph deep into the multiple reasons gifts are whack. Just as I finished Point XXVI and started in on my thesis statement on why loading the dishwasher is far superior to buying roses, I noticed a disappointed look on the sir’s face. All of these years I’d assured the poor mister he was the lucky one to have such a practical gal, I’d overlooked one major argument:

   Sometimes one can be so severely low-maintenance

that high-maintenance makes things look easy.

  In case you don’t follow scientific speech, I was the “one” in that little revelation. That flustered, sighing look in his eyes made one thing abundantly clear. He didn’t mind the $50 flowers, the sappy cards, the crowded store aisles, the effort. He wanted to do something nice for me, and by chopping all socially-acceptable gift ideas off at the knees,  I’d made his heartfelt gesture feel like a headache

   Love is compromise (and cards and roses and cookies shapes like hearts). So over the next few days I made an obnoxious number of mentions about my sudden and serious love of flowers, heart-patterened gift bags, and love sonnets saturated in magestic rainbow imagery. I would undo years of denouncing sweetheart gifts and throw the generous guy a bone. I would convince him to get me these somewhat stereotypical trinkets because it makes him glad to show his love for me. Quite frankly (and despite my crude frankness) I am gladder than glad to get that love.

   Just when I thought I’d sold him with genius lines like “Nothing makes my heart happier than carnations and bows and also mystery chocolates in cardboard boxes. Hint. Hint. HINT!”, he flipped the script on my anti-sappy self and announced that we would be doing something different for Valentine’s Day this year. Different? Different just when I told you Same Old was okay? Different like I’m going to have to wear a bra? Stay up late? Eat like a lady? I talked myself into a mushy, sugary sweet corner. There better not be violinists. I will get downright hostile if I see a dainty salad fork.

What do y'all mean you don't serve chicken nuggets? Why's this menu talkin' all un-American?

   Saturday night approached. I painted my nails. I fastened my bra. I spritzed on enough perfume to make myself sneeze and for the love of fancy, I wore tights. Tight, tight tights. As we pulled from the drive, Tom beamed with the pride of a man who’d outdone himself. I began to sweat. To my horror, his plans for the evening were enough for him to actually woo himself. I cursed myself for convincing the poor guy to go the roses-and-ridiculous route. I willed myself to suddenly love things that normal ladies love. I pleaded with myself to think Brad Pitt was dreamy and flower arrangements were significant and diamonds are my very best, best friend. I snapped the digging band of tights I had no business wearing, and said a silent, beggy prayer: Dear Funny Valentine, please don’t woo me. Don’t wine and dine. Don’t shmooze me. Here’s to hoping for a sap-less evening of arcade games. Here’s to hoping for the comfortable kind of love where we wear sweatpants and watch re-runs. Here’s to hop- God. Here’s just to hoping.

So I ran out of gift ideas. But I DID find some kid scissors and tissue paper.


Check back tomorrow to see what The Dude’s big date involved. Three bucks says I ripped my tights and offended most of everybody in town!

What was your favorite Valentine’s gift/ date?

Are you so low-maintenance it hurts?



45 thoughts on “Funny {Cheap, Lovely, Crazy, Funky} Valentine

  1. Are you trying to steal my Queen of Low Maintenance crown? Okay, okay you can be the Princess. Sounds more high maintenance anyway! It’s our five year anniversary today. We’ll probs give each other a high five to celebrate, then talk about how much we’ve aged!! xx

    1. Haha! That’s the funny part. I’ve worked myself into such a low maintenance corner that I make it a bajillion times harder for the poor guy to figure out what to get for me. I think he’d be THRILLED if I just loved flowers and bling 🙂

  2. Yeah, I’m like you. In fact, I’m like a dude in most couple’s romance department. I just don’t get the whole “romance” thing. I don’t have a sentimental bone in my body.

    Women have traditionally been the one who remembers the dates, the music, what we were wearing, what we ate, etc. I don’t remember ANY of those kind of details. My brain is too busy remembering when we pay the next bill. When my husband says to me, “Hey, honey, you know what today is?” I get flashes of panic for fear I’ve forgotten some important (important being a relative word) anniversary, like the fifth anniversary of the day-we-went-to-that-one-park-that-one-time-that-was-so-cool-because-we-saw-a-guy-get-bit-by-a-squirrel-and-we-had-a-fried-chicken-picnic. I mean, what kind of sane person remembers that shit?

    1. Hahahahaha. First, I love you. Second, I think we are both dudes. Someone asked me how long Tom and I had been together the other day and I think my response was “Uhhhh, lots of time? Like years?”.

      1. I just read our responses to my hubby and he said, “Wait a minute! I am not the one who remembers the time we…the chicken…and squirrel… Oh. My God. I AM the chick in this relationship! Okay, then, where’s my flowers? Where’s my bling? Where’s my breakfast in bed?”

      2. Ahhh! Our comments backfired! Hope you don’t get stuck having to woo your sweetie too much! Mine is pretty much resigned to the fact that a “Hey, you look nice today” or “Thanks for taking out the trash” is about as mushy as I get 🙂

  3. The lower the expectations, the greater the thrill.

    On the flip side, I started crying in the card aisle this year. Couldn’t decide on one, so I bought 3. I’m a sap and proud of it. 🙂

    1. Aww, you are sweetness. I wish I had a little sweetness in me. I am a total jerk when it comes to the lovey dovey stuff. A high-five and an early bedtime is my idea of a romantic evening!

  4. I’m pretty low maintenance with the gift expectations, but honestly: a day devoted to celebrating LOVE with CHOCOLATE (and wrapping those chocolates up in my favourite color, red) is fine by me. Bring on those antioxidants! 😉

  5. I thought I was low maintenance (after 20+ years of marriage). I told my husband I didn’t need no stinkin’ jewelry. But when he and I landed on St. Thomas last May with the best-est of our couple friends and the husband of said couple took his wife jewelry shopping for two hours and my husband made me run around in a downpour on the one rainy day we had on vacation* … really, I looked like a drowned rat … I decided that I very much wanted (deserved) some high maintenance BLING. But I didn’t get any. And he’ll never forget that. I hope that tomorrow he doesn’t forget that I could live on dark chocolate truffles. Just remember: it’s our prerogative as women to change our minds for the best of reasons and for absolutely no reason at all.

    * To find him a store where he could find a belt because his pants kept falling down around his ankles in the Caribbean port. Who’s high maintenance in this relationship, I ask you?

    1. Hahaha. A little hot and steamy belt shopping. THAT is romance, people! On the jewelry note? I’m actually kind of terrified of fancy bling. The only nice piece of jewelry I own is my engagement ring. I’ve managed to break and scratch that thing all to Hell, and that was my being “careful”. Give me a department store ring that’ll turn my finger green. At least I won’t be worried about protecting it!

      1. I’m just kidding about the bling. In fact, I never wear my wedding ring or engagement ring anymore [because I’ve gained 30 lbs since hitting 50 and I don’t want to risk losing a finger w/the rings being so tight and cutting off the blood flow and stuff like that]. A department store ring is the best! Especially when making meatloaf or hamburger patties.

  6. I never really know what to tell him do its allwsys a surprise but he’s usually pretty good about it! Hope your date went well!

    1. From what I can tell, you and Jason are just the sweetest to eachother. For his part, Tom is super sweet and considerate, too. I just happen to mess that up most of the time! The date went very well AND very weird (which is the perfect evening for a crazy wackadoo like me).

  7. We don’t do much for Valentine’s Day, so I guess I’m on the low maintenance end of the spectrum. He doesn’t seem to mind, so it’s all good.

    I hope you had fun on your date 🙂

    1. There’s really never a bad time for sweatpants. Tom would probably argue that point, but he’s the one who has to drag a sweatpants-wearing, messy-haired broad around town 🙂

  8. Looking at Valentine’s Day strictly by the numbers, there’s LOTS more pressure on the woman. MOSt women like flowers, chocolates and mushy cards, and MOST men could care less. What are we supposed to get them?

    My best gift to him…one year he needed new underwear. (When does a man NOT need a fresh pack of undies?) I bought 2, six-packs of briefs, rolled them up and rubber banded them around the end of chopsticks. Our dining room table boasted a vase containing a dozen red roses, side-by-side with a vase of a dozen underwear buds. Classic.

  9. Fortunately most of our problems with valentines day ended when our daughter showed up at 10:41 pm on February 13th of last year. Perfect way to skirt getting each other gifts is by focusing the love on our dear sweeties birthday.

    That aside I must say I’m a big fan of anything that involves pictures and a love note. Not a card–a love note. You know, the hand written kind. I wish I didn’t but dang it makes me melt. Especially since my husband can’t spell to save his life but he tries so hard!

    Can’t wait to see what your date was all about!

  10. Ooh, part 2 should be a doozy!

    I am so low maintenance I’m sub-zero maintenance. Every year I tell my husband, ‘ah, don’t bother getting me anything’ He never listens. But he doesn’t go overboard, yesterday he bought me a giant Ghirardelli heart right in front of me at Walmart. I didn’t mind one bit, ate half of them on the ride home (…isn’t it romantic?….)

  11. I am pretty low maintenance though my latest quest for stardom and fame kind of argues that……love the post and can’t wait to hear what happens with you!!! I honestly do not require much attention—-just the occasional watering and misting and I am good to go!!! Has worked well for us for almost 30 years of married life!

  12. This was the funniest post I have ever read! I am for the simple things in life, and why spend lots of money on flowers when all they will do is wilt and die. I would rather have a conversation that has meaning, depth, and love instead of store bought items. It always come down to the simple things in life that matter the most and which are most treasured. At least that is my take on the whole thing. Love your post & will be following you from now on!

    1. Welcome! So glad you stopped by! I couldn’t agree with you more. The superficial gifts just come across as a little less meaningful to me. You can buy anyone some flowers or a box of chocolates, so that gift isn’t really meant FOR me!

    1. Oh he always does! I put on this big “Please don’t get me anything. It’s such a waste. Yada Yada Yada” show and then he gets me something and is incredibly sweet. I, on the other hand, fail romance. I believe I bought him a wallet and a card I forgot to sign this year 😦

  13. Tori- I’m with you on all accounts. It can be a problem, though- my family is big on grand gestures and feeling “thought of”. I forget my own birthday. I seriously do. I put a lot of energy into creating memories for the kids- but Christmas, birthdays, Valentine’s Day….I’m good with a solid cup of coffee. And I don’t send cards because no one recycles. 🙂

    1. Are we twins? I will go just about crazy throwing a party for the boy or finding the perfect gift for Tom. When Tom asked that I tell him what I wanted for Christmas last year, I said socks. I didn’t even need socks but it’s all I could think of 🙂

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