And we have to sit there at dinner or lunch or on a windy pier at the lake choking on the algae smell with a smile on our face and try not to laugh/cry/get angry or hurt their male pride because they did try. And like our mothers and grandmothers faked it before, so must we. My husband has had some great Valentine’s Day gifts. He’s surprised me with roses and last year a massive white teddy bear, but he’s also really, really blown it. While we were dating, he took me to one of our favorite restaurants for Valentine’s Day. There was romantic music. I think he got me chocolates and flowers and I knew, I just knew he was going to propose. He kept hinting that he got me something I really wanted. He reserved a secluded table in the back of the restaurant, Rod Stewart was playing over the sound system, and the glass of wine I was ordered was perfect. As he got ready to hand me my gift, I was so excited! I remember thinking, “OMG! He’s going to do it!” I even closed my eyes to prepare myself. When I opened them, there wasn’t a ring box but a card instead. “Ohhhhh,” I said with a painted smile. Inside were two concert tickets to Juanes. “I thought you could take your friend,” he said. *insert sound of deflating balloon*He had such a hopeful look on his face. He was so proud of himself. And he asked if I liked it. “Yes. Wow. Thank you!” I didn’t have the heart to tell him (until last week while he was shopping for gifts) how disappointed I was that day.
Now my husband is torturing me. I know he bought me a Valentine’s Day present last weekend, and he purposefully left it in a bag in the bedroom. He’s offered to tell me what it is. And I’ve been left alone with the gift plenty of times, but I don’t want to ruin the surprise. On the other hand, I don’t want another Juanes-concert repeat. I know what I want to get. I know I said it multiple times. I know I even pointed to it 10 minutes before he said, “Um, can you walk over there for a little bit,” last weekend when he left me and came back with a smile on his face. I saw him stuff something into his GAP bag. “The salesman said I made a good choice,” he told me. Now I’m torn. Do I peak to prepare myself for a shock because it may not be what I want? Or do I just wait and do my best to smile at a pair of clip on earrings so ugly I wouldn’t gift them to Goodwill?
Tips for faking: (Read more at www.chicktalkdallas.com)
1) Keep smiling, nodding and make eye contact. Don’t let him see the revulsion.
2) Block. Use your napkin to cover your mouth if you feel like laughing or you accidentally snort because he bought you a pearl thong!
3) Don’t damage it. You can return this eye sore in a few weeks if it’s unused.
4) Use positive words. “Thank you for this.” “Wow, I never expected this. It’s something special…um, now when will I use a tire pressure changer thingy?”
5) Gently steer his mind to better things. “You know, every year it’s something different, and I always look forward to special gifts, things that make me smile. Lots of things make me smile. You make me smile. Pink sapphires make me smile….no, this gift card to Best Buy is great! Stop it. I love it, and I want to use it. You know how much I love Blue Rays…and pink sapphires.
6) Distract him. Men want to see you smile and say something nice about the pink porcelain pig they bought you. That takes 5 seconds. Rub his leg, suck on a strawberry and he’s already forgot he even bought you anything. Use this to your advantage and blame the dog for “accidentally” breaking the pig next week!
7) Tit for tat. Most red blooded males expect sex after their obligatory Valentine’s Day gift. His effort, or lack of effort, should be reflected in your efforts (or lack of efforts). If you have a headache, he gets the hint. Next year: diamonds!
8) Tell him. I only recommend telling him about your dislike of the gift years after it has been given. Male pride is a delicate thing. If he really thought the frog purse was special because you love frogs, why crush him while he’s vulnerable? The thinking was there. It was just directed in the wrong area.
9) Be nice.It’s strange for a feminist like me to write about “traditional” events and roles on Valentine’s Day, but I’ve learned in my marriage that a little traditional role playing isn’t a bad thing. And it’s usually only for one day (and my anniversary and birthday). My gift is to not be such a b*tch sometimes.
10) Reflect back. He may be trying just as hard not to disappoint you! Ladies, men don’t always like heart socks and ties. They accept them (and grudgingly wear them) for you. Remember that. Faking goes both ways. And look hard at what you got him!
Guys, if you don’t know what gifts blow, here’s a short list! And here’s a list of gifts he hates, too!
- One Rose (it’s very lame. It says cheap, and now matter how you try to spin it, “You’re the only one I love,” or “You’re number one for me,” we know you didn’t opt to buy a dozen. You went for $2.99 not $24.99. Think about that when you want “something special” later that night. Sorry. We’ll cheap out too.)
- Oversized Stuffed Animals(Unless you know your grown ass woman wife likes big pink pandas, don’t buy it! It’s cute when you’re 14, but when you’re older, the only thing you think about is where the hell are you going to put that bear?!? Cuz you can’t throw it out. His feelings will get hurt! Smaller, in this case, is usually better.)
- Cash (Do I look like a hooker? Horrible gift.)
- Thoughtless Homemade Gifts (Times are tough, but a stick note coupon book of hugs and kisses and back rubs is better for a 5-year-old. A homemade dinner (even if it’s catered or just a picnic) goes a long way. I’d eat tuna and crackers, if it was with someone who made me feel loved.)
- Fitness Memberships (Do not sign us up for personal training, for Weight Watchers or anything regarding our size. Nothing says I love you like a “hey, fat ass” gift!
- Gift baskets (I don’t like those junk food chocolate things or edible arrangements with under ripe cantaloupe. Frankly, the idea of three King Size Crunch bars just doesn’t appeal to me. Well, it does appeal to me, but I don’t want the temptation on my kitchen counter for the next week.)
- Lingerie (I know Victoria’s Secret is really into this, but if my husband bought me a gift wrapped thong for V-Day, I’d hit him! I get the effort, and I’m not saying it’s all wrong, but there’s a fine line (or string) sometimes between silky romantic and raunchy romping in a size you know is too small for me! I’m not your naughty nurse.)
- Sex gifts (Unless you know you’re going to get some, and there’s no guarantee, buying oils, or dice or sex games as gifts is tacky, sticky and just plain gross! Wanting lovin’ on V-day isn’t the same as feeling entitled to it. Because you bought us dinner doesn’t mean we “owe” you.)
- Your idea of Valentines’ Day (I hate to say it, but the worst thing you can do is to make this day about you, not about your partner. Ribs are your favorite. Frankie’s isn’t my idea of romance. We shave for this night. Make it about us. Listen to us. Ladies, that means you must communicate with your man. Expecting them to know what you want and where you want to go isn’t fair. After almost six years with my husband (dating and married) I’ve left V-day in his hands. He still asks what I think, but he feels empowered knowing he’s doing something. He’s taking charge. That doesn’t always have to happen, but romance is about two people and frankly, we women need more romance in our lives!)