Every year around this time, I start getting anxiety attacks because I know Valentine's Day is coming and I will probably be disappointed again by my husband's response or lack of response to this very romantic and love-filled day.
To counteract my frustration, this year I decided to survey some friends and find out what they really wanted for Valentine's Day and how they would most enjoy spending this holiday.
There were the usual requests for flowers, nighties, fine jewelry, and romantic dinners. However, the funniest request came from a 44 year-old mother with toddlers who wrote that all she craved was "sleep, no screaming kids, no one watching me go to the bathroom and five minutes alone in the closet."
Another uninhibited woman wanted a massage by a muscular, male Swede, while one of my good friends only wanted her husband, after 20 years of marriage, to carry her and her additional 20 pounds over the threshold and not suffer a hernia while doing it.
Also desirable were good books on a specific interest of the recipient (not the giver); diamonds; week-end get-aways; gift certificates for something indulgent such as manicures, pedicures and maid service; a bottle of wine; bubble bath; and clothes.
Most appreciated were things that reflected thought and a personal touch on the recipient's behalf. One wife stated that, "a wallet was the most appreciated thing I ever received from my husband on Valentine's Day, because I needed it and he really listened to me."
Another said, "I like when my husband gets me a card that I can tell he spent time looking for. You know, it seems to be written just for us."
On the subject of candy, the vast majority of respondents emphatically stated that they did not want candy for Valentine's Day. It was too fattening and too tempting to have around.
The most disappointing gifts were those that were purchased without thought, originality or care. The biggest no-no was anything purchased perfunctorily after a million hints or in a hurry on the way home from work on Valentine's Day.
- The exact same thing he gives his mother
- Something with a bill to pay off
- Cheap flowers such as mums, colored carnations or rosebuds that don't open at all
- Ill fitting or unrealistic lingerie
- My husband and I would have the day to ourselves. Pancakes for breakfast, a long time in the shower with each other, a fire in the fireplace and a back rub. We would have time to talk, think and share without distractions
- Take a long walk
- Share a family meal, with our kids without arguing - simply enjoying each other's company
- Do needlepoint in bed, while watching old movies - ALONE.
- A massage in the late afternoon, and then home to fresh flowers and a catered candlelight dinner
- Camp in a secluded wooded area with my husband. He would cook out and then we would eat before the fire, sharing a good bottle of wine
- Fly to New York City with my husband, go to the Museum of Modern Art, grab a hot dog for lunch and that evening eat at my favorite Chinese restaurant and see a play
The reality is that New York City for Valentine's Day is out of reach for most of us unless we live nearby. The answers to the question about what things have you received in the past that were the most heartwarming and appreciated had little to do with money, travel or culture.
The same respondent that fantasized about a day's trip to New York City said the nicest thing she ever received from her husband was a pair of electric gloves because she has bad circulation.
- Note from my husband found on Valentine's morning on the kitchen counter, "Linda, Dinner tonight at The Heritage at 7PM. Baby sitter is arranged. Love, Mike"
- A special little trinket hidden in a raisin box
- Initiating doing something outrageous together, like flying a kite
- My husband calling me during the day just to say, "I love you."
- The gift of listening to me when I need to talk and loving me when I am at my most unlovable. I'd like a coupon for 1/2 hour of uninterrupted listening and a coupon for 1 prolonged bear hug when I am acting obnoxious
- Not getting mad at me when something does not go right and being understanding, calm and accepting of the overall, unpredictable annoyances in life.
Hands down, the most frequently cited item my contemporaries would like to receive for Valentine's Day is a handwritten note, poem or letter from their husband expressing kindness, appreciation and love.
Draw your own conclusions concerning what you feel is appropriate and desirable to give. The present I am giving myself is to be, just for that day, as frivolous, fun loving, flirty and feminine as I have ever yearned to be.
As for my husband, the rest is up to him.