Traditionally Valentine's Day has always been about women. Cards, diamonds, chocolates, red roses, and a fancy dinner are the basics that women expect. With the commercialization of love -bigger, better, more expensive - is more often now the rule rather than the exception. From preschool to adulthood the messages have been the same - the more candy (or gifts) you receive the more popular you are, and the more popular you are, the more you are loved.
There was a time however, around kindergarten, when Valentine's Day was about sharing and giving to each other, boys and girls alike. The lessons of "sharing is caring" is prominent at this age and everyone wanted to make sure everyone had at least one piece of candy.
This phenomenon has baffled me for quite some time and I have never really understood why the focus shifted from love being expressed between two people to it being all about the woman. I'm not bashing women receiving gifts on Valentine's Day, I'm just curious as to why it happen that way.
My mental reverie caused me to seek out the opinions of men about love and Valentine's Day to find out how they really feel. I asked a series of questions including:
A. Do you feel pressure as a man to participate in Valentine's Day?
B. If you could, would you get rid of Valentine's Day?
C. How would you define love?
D. How will this Valentine's Day be different than last year?
The answers to some of the questions were surprising and shocking! Here's what I found:
1. Men can handle pressure, but certain kinds of pressure - If you (women) didn't know it, most men feel a great deal of pressure around Valentine's Day because they either don't know what to buy or they don't want to be one up'd by the next guy or last year's gift.
Women, imagine if you will, your man has a man-cave and every year you have to redecorate his beloved man-cave. Every year he is expecting you to pour out your love for him though this man-cave, and can't wait to see what you've created for him. That's similar to what a man feels when he has to decide what to get you on Valentine's Day.
2. Men don't mind celebrating V'Day as long as there is balance - Women are in tune with love. Men, well let's just say they are in tune, but it takes a little longer to find a channel. Although men don't talk about love as often as women, they certainly do thing about it and wish Valentine's Day were more balanced to include them in the exchange of gifts. But more often than not, they won't say anything, because they want to please their mate or significant other by focusing on their happiness.
3. Men have their own personal definitions of love - When asked how they define love, none of the answers given were cookie cutter responses. In fact, they all seemed to reflect a deep sentiment by which they lived their lives. One response that struck a chord with me said:
"Not by Valentine's Day! Love is every day. Love is an emotion that connects you to another person beyond all other relationships."
My heart went out to those men who said Valentine's Day this year would be pretty crummy because they didn't have someone to share it with. With love being the most power force in the universe and billions on people on earth, how could anyone ever be alone? That's another study altogether.
What if Valentine's Day was an extension of love that is shown daily through a hug, a phone call, a home-cooked meal, a fault forgiven or a handwritten note? What if Valentine's Day was about two individuals reconnecting - mind, body and soul; or two people out-giving each other and recreating the love that they share by spreading it to others that are deficient in it?
There are many ways you can celebrate 'love' day: a romantic dinner for two, staying at home sipping wine and eating gourmet chocolates or having a "The Godfather" movie marathon. However you choose to spend the day, remember, love always surrounds you. Whether it grows or withers is completely up to you.
Celebrating Life and Love,
P.S. Shout out to the 50% of the men who said they would not get rid of Valentine's Day. You rock!