(A year ago today, the lovely and talented Sisterwives invited me to offer a man’s perspective on Valentine’s Day. I saw it as my opportunity to open the lines of love-communication between the sexes. As the Day of Love approaches, here’s hoping men and women get something other than a busy signal…)
Since the dawn of time, man has feared Valentine’s Day. I’m a journalist, so you can trust my facts on this. And because I’m a man, you can also trust me when I tell you our fear isn’t because we don’t want to express feelings of love and romance; it’s because we are afraid of looking stupid while doing so.
This fear has been documented as far back as prehistoric times, in a pair of cave drawings paleontologists say depicts a caveman named “Glork” trying to court a cavewoman.
Image one: To demonstrate his masculinity and win a cavewoman’s affections, Glork fights a saber-toothed lion
Image two: Glork is eaten
Millions of years later, though the risk of being eaten by a large predator is relatively low (not counting cougar attacks), men still fear that their attempt to express love could lead to a fate worse than death: Embarrassment.
That’s because many men instinctively think of expressing love the same way they do everything else — as a competition. And as with any competition, there is a winner and a loser.
Lose a car race or bar fight? You can still look manly doing it. But lose your dignity by coming up with a really lame poem…
I am but a wingless bee
Fat and buzzless
For all eternit-yy
… and most men would rather cover themselves in A1 Steak Sauce and jump into a lion’s cage at the zoo. As a result, men everywhere are panicking because we know that impressing the women in our lives isn’t easy. We realize that you are complicated creatures who need more than a physical connection when it comes to romance; you also need an emotional outlet.
Men, on the other hand, just need an outlet located near a television.
Metaphorically speaking, even if romance was a TV channel, and suddenly every station on the planet went out except for that one, it still wouldn’t help men be more romantic because, let’s face it: They would curl up in a fetal position and require regular changing.
It’s not that we don’t want to be romantic. We just have a hard time allowing ourselves to become THAT vulnerable again so soon after the Super Bowl.
Ironically — and what most men fail to realize — is that oftentimes a man’s willingness to look foolish for the sake of love IS the gesture women find most romantic. In fact, the more foolish your attempt, the greater the romantic impact. It took me a long time to figure out this love/foolishness equation which, mathematically speaking, makes me the most romantic man on the planet.
That being said, men shouldn’t confuse this kind of gesture with gestures such as howling like a wolf or wearing a “Free Mustache Rides” T-shirt, which will simply make you look like a fool — and likely elicit the appropriate gesture in response. (Or inappropriate, depending on your point of view.)
When it comes to Valentine’s Day, however, DO go ahead and write that terrible love haiku:
When I see your face
I really want to kiss it
And I like your butt
Or plan a Flash Mob for your secret crush at her work place, even though you can’t dance and having your fellow inmates suddenly start twerking in the prison yard could get someone shot. (Disclaimer: The same goes for twerking anywhere, actually.)
Or, if you’ve decided she’s The ONE, go ahead make that proposal by hiring a team of midget acrobats to suddenly show up and spell “Marry Me” while sunbathing on your favorite nude beach.
Men, the bottom line is that however you decide to express it, say “I Love You” this Valentine’s Day by facing your fear and showing your willingness to look foolish for love.
Let’s be honest, it’s not like acting foolish is something we don’t normally do anyway when there isn’t romance involved.