Love means never having to say ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’

The longer I am married, the less Valentine’s Day means to my relationship with my wife.

valentine's day roses
I'm sorry but this just isn't natural.

I have learned that my wife operates by a simple but sometimes confusing philosophy: if everyone else is doing it, she wants no part of it. Therefore, if I come home on Valentine’s Day with a dozen red roses, I get the third degree on why I overpaid for flowers.

But, if I show up with a dozen white or pink or even yellow roses for no reason in the middle of June, I’m a hero.

The same is true for cards. If I go out and spend $4 on a Hallmark Valentine’s card, no matter what the message, she questions my sanity. If I take a blank piece of stationery and write a heart-felt note on a random Tuesday in September, I’m a champ.

Don’t even go there with chocolate. If I want to induce self-loathing in my wife, there’s no quicker way than to give her a giant box of chocolates that will tempt her until they’re gone.

I can only imagine her utter horror if a box of pajamas or a giant teddy bear was delivered. In fact, if there’s a commercial for it during the two weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, she finds it distasteful.  As much as she may appreciate diamonds, she has an involuntary convulsion every time she hears the jingle “Every kiss begins with Kay.”

Don’t get me wrong. Carla wants me to shower her with love and affection, just not on the same day and in the same way everyone else does.

Over the years, I’ve come to the inevitable conclusion that Valentine’s Day just doesn’t mean anything for us anymore. And maybe there are others like us.

Carla has this theory that the earlier you are in your relationship, the more important Valentine’s Day is. Insecurity is at the root of all the card-writing and gift-giving, not romance.

valentine's day chocolates
Just because they come in a heart-shaped box doesn't necessarily mean they will evoke affection.

After you’ve been together for, oh, let’s say 15 years as a completely hypothetical duration, there’s less insecurity in the relationship. Demonstrating love and commitment comes in more practical forms.

If I really want to make my wife’s day, I’ll take the kids off her hands, send her out shopping or let her watch “Say Yes to the Dress” uninterrupted while I read to the boys. If I really want to show her how much I love her, I will leave her alone completely.

Before you think we’ve lost all sense of romance, let me say that we enjoy date nights from time to time, and any day other than Valentine’s Day is a good day for me to show up with flowers.

Truth be told, I think more women subscribe to Carla’s view than the Valentine’s Industrial Machine wants to admit. It requires no thought, no planning, no special effort to give your loved one the same gifts that everyone else is buying.

It’s like “Romance for Dummies.” There’s nothing about those traditional gifts that have meaning once you reach a certain stage in your relationship.

So while the rest of the guys out there are shelling out $50 for roses, $30 for chocolates or $100 for an oversized teddy bear, I’ll score major points by putting the kids to bed early, turning the lights down low and uttering those three little words that melt her heart:

“Here’s the remote.”

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Am I right, people? If the over-commercialized ideal of Valentine’s Day still appeals to you, speak up! Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.

My big royal redneck wedding

Prince William and Catherine Middleton
The prince and princess

While I type, NBC’s Today Show hosts talk breathlessly about the royal family members entering Westminster Abbey for the wedding of the decade. William and Catherine’s nuptials have created a media stir, drawing the obsessive attention of anglophiles and royalty voyeurs from around the world. It is reality TV at its most unreal.

As I contemplated a New South angle on this cultural phenomenon, I was reminded of another wedding-oriented reality TV experience I stumbled upon one night while channel surfing. No, it wasn’t “Bridezillas,”Say Yes to the Dress,” “Wedding SOS” or any of the nearly 20 other wedding reality shows.

Amber and John
Amber and John

“My Big Redneck Wedding” is a train wreck you can’t look away from. I would never seek this out again, but it did make me wonder if this was a Southern thing or a blue collar thing. It’s been well established that redneck culture knows no geographic boundaries.

We all know that “redneck” can be a derogatory term as well as a badge of honor. If you are a self-proclaimed “redneck” is it really an insult? Jeff Foxworthy is not an insult comic. He has tapped into the sense of pride so many feel in the redneck identity.

The themes of the redneck wedding reality show are familiar and cliché: lots of camouflage, farm implements as decorations, tractors and ATVs, horses and dogs, sports venues such as demolition derby tracks and a consistent emphasis on guns, shooting and hunting.

Demolition Derby wedding
A car wreck no matter how you look at it at this demolition derby wedding for Kelli and Ron.

What has undermined the concept of this particular reality TV is that several of the couples featured had “real weddings” and then staged these redneck affairs just for laughs. I won’t explore who is laughing at whom, but the whole thing is a little off-putting.

Southerners have traditionally been self-deprecating, and staging a redneck wedding would seem to be the height of self-deprecation. But what really seems to be at play here is desperation to be on television.

This “by any means necessary” approach cheapens their relationship, their culture and the wedding covenant.

I don’t think William and Catherine suffer from the “must be on TV” malady, and I don’t think anyone at the reception will be in camo. But it would be kind of fun if there was a demolition derby in Trafalgar Square.