Welcome a very dear friend of mine, Handsome Hansel or HH as he’s known to his friends from Dance of Romance If you want warm fuzzies for your romantic side, make sure you follow HH on Twitter at @DanceOfRomance
Let’s face it, Valentine’s Day wasn’t invented for men. It was an idea latched onto ages ago by women who needed at least one day a year where they could count on their man to go out of his way to express his love for her… hopefully with some sincerity behind it.
At the risk of sounding a bit whiny…it’s a lot of pressure to put on a man. The wounds from the holidays have finally healed. The last rogue pieces of confetti from the New Years Party have all been accounted for and thrown away. All just in time for Hallmark to spin us around and throw us back in the ring for another round, with barely a splash of water on our face. Why do we not resist getting thrown back in, ladies? Because we love you and are willing to go to any length to prove it. Even if we get our ass kicked in the meantime.
My point was proven this afternoon at the local mall. I needed inspiration for characters to write about so I decided to go people watch for a while. Standing in line at Starbucks in the heart of the mall, I couldn’t help but eavesdrop on the conversation between the two thirty-something men behind me. In the time it took for the barista to make my drink, I learned they were at the mall with the intention of “knocking out” their Valentine’s Day shopping during their lunch hour. (Keep in mind ladies, we love you.)
Taking a little longer than usual stirring sweetener into my coffee, I wait until the guys are handed theirs and decide to follow them. I’m genuinely interested to see if they will be able to accumulate enough tokens of love and affection in under 60 minutes to warrant their significant others holding onto them for a while longer.
Obviously intending to get the easiest gift out of the way first, they make a beeline for the card shop. As they scour the racks looking for the just the right card with just the right words and just the right pictures, I take a moment to size them up. While they both come in at around 6 feet tall that is the only similarity they share. The dark haired one is dressed in a casual suit and is closing in on 40. He’s also the only one wearing a wedding ring. His fair-haired friend is in the shallow end of his 30s and is wearing jeans and a shirt with his name stitched on it. They’re expediently skimming each card, occasionally sharing one they think comes close to what they want to say. After a dozen or so tries, they each find a card that suits them and it’s off to the next stop.
For the next half hour, I watch as they pin-ball from store to store,, buying gifts for their lovers. Gifts that say what they can’t put into words.
Married guy’s gifts are more practical. His wife is getting a couple candles, the obligatory stuffed animal and a classy, yet sexy, pair of pajamas from Victoria’s Secret which scream, “I’ve learned my lesson from the Valentine’s Day of ’07 thong debacle.”
Single guy on the other hand will be showering his girlfriend with an assortment of bath oils, the obligatory stuffed animal, some bedroom “novelty” items from Spencer’s, and a lace teddy with matching thong from VS which earns him an all-knowing, Don’t do it! shake of the head from Married Guy.
It’s obvious they have wrapped up their shopping trip and I was about to break off and find a place to write when Married Guy nudges his buddy and nods his head towards a jewelry store. As I drew closer there was some good-natured ribbing going on and I heard Married Guy ask, “When are you finally going to ask Julie to marry you?”
“Soon. I’m thinking when we take our vacation in a couple months. I really want to do it right. She deserves it.”
“I couldn’t agree more. Asking Em to marry me was one of the best days of my life, right behind our wedding day.”
Single Guy seemed to reflect on this then asks, “No regrets?”
Without hesitation, “None. I don’t know what I’d do without her.”
They exchange a goodbye handshake peppered with a few more chuckles. I toss my cup in the garbage and as I head for the door I can’t help but wonder if our attempts to be romantic through gifts, cards and sweets on Valentine’s Day can ever express what us men truly feel deep in our hearts but fall over ourselves sometimes to say. Sometimes the best gift you can give is one that’s not bought.
RU Readers – Here’s your chance to get the man’s eye view on romance, Valentine’s Day and love – got questions?
Join us on Monday for Creating Characters for the Keeper Shelf with Donna MacMeans – and don’t forget the Tainted Love Contest RU is hosting for Valentine’s Day.
Bio: Like most of us, I’ve been around the block a time or two (or three) in the relationship world. I like to think of myself as having a pretty thick skin, however, that skin doesn’t surround the heart.
I’ve been in love; I’ve been in lust. I’ve been hurt and got up to do it all again, each time having learned more of myself as well as “wants” and “don’t wants” for my next relationship. Amazingly enough, I never gave up on that one true love wrapped in Romance. You can visit me here, at http://thedanceofromanceonline.com
- Valentine Schmalentine with Handsome Hansel
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- Empathy. It’s Where Characters Are Born – Handsome Hansel
- Weekly Lecture Schedule for February 6-10, 2012