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February 9, 2013

Josh Drespling: When it comes to Valentine’s Day pressure, love stinks

NEW CASTLE — It’s that time again. The clock has churned forward and brought us to the doorstep of that most dreaded of holidays.

Yes, Valentine’s Day is about to rear its ugly head again, inflicting its culturally forced expressions of affection — which causes every male to fret over the perfect gift for that special lady in his life.

Now this dread is not the type that we would face if we were confronted with our impending demise from a giant meteor speeding toward Earth, or an outbreak of zombies or even vampires. This is more a dread of disappointing a person who is special to you and who you want to see happy.

It also is a concern about making the correct choice to properly express your love. The representative elements have to have just the right balance of romance, cuteness, sweetness, and, of course, bling.

Being a happily married man makes this situation even more complex and troubling. If I sent my wife flowers or a token of my love and appreciation on any ordinary day, it would be perceived as a sweet and romantic gesture. Her friends and other girls in her office would wish their guy was as thoughtful and romantic as me.

However, on Valentine’s Day, these activities suddenly become expected and, if I somehow slip up and miss the opportunity, I could quite possibly trigger my own extended vacation on the couch.

This fear and anxiety has lingered since elementary school, when we gave all our classmates a cheap, drug-store Valentine, but saved that special one for that extra-special girl. Those moments of uncertainty and fear of rejection were overwhelming and quite frightening. To not know if the lovely girl you have been infatuated with would accept your thoughtful and passionate gift was enough to rattle even the most confident of suitors.

In spite of the fact that I am now some 20 odd years removed from those days, I still tremble over the acceptance of my offering.

To this day, guys wonder if we are doing it right. We honestly have no idea. We do not have an internal romantic meter. We have to take our cues from movies, songs, and sappy television commercials. We scour the web in the hunt for ideas beginning just after New Year’s. We troll the aisles of the department stores, longing for a solution to the arbitrary expectations that this holidays imposes on us.

To all the woman in our lives, please understand that it is with hope and apprehension that we present you, our glorious better halves, with these chosen gifts. Know that we have thought long and hard about you and this holiday. If our gift happens to fall flat, please know that it was not from lack of effort or caring.

We love you and have spent the last month worrying that we would somehow mess up. Please forgive our clumsy attempts. We want the best for you and love you with all our hearts, but we don’t always know how to express it as eloquently as Hallmark.

 

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