Thoughts by Richard Bleil
February is the Month of Love, and frankly, it makes me sick. With Valentine’s day just a few weeks away, and me just as lonely as ever, I’m again reminded by every store display of hearts and chocolates that I have nobody in my life for whom I can buy things and spoil.
Except for Star. I have my cat. I guess I’m a cat guy. And the thing about cats is that they really don’t care. If you spoil them, they might eventually check out your gifts, but they don’t care. Maybe they’ll play with it, maybe they won’t. Sigh.
But, gentlemen, Valentine’s Day is two weeks away. If you ARE one of the fortunate masses to actually HAVE that special woman in your life, here is your reminder so you don’t forget to get her something special. Although it bothers me that, apparently, there are those men who need a holiday to remember to periodically spoil their soulmate, the fact is that we all know the repercussions of forgetting. That doghouse feels like it shrinks by the year, doesn’t it?
Many men like the cliché gifts. They’ll buy chocolate or maybe jewelry, and perhaps even treat her to a dinner out (although it’s more romantic to make dinner, eat in with candles and Dom Perignon champaign and murder the children so you can get one damned night alone with your wife) but it doesn’t have to stop there.
My mother and father used to go to a Hallmark store together to look at Valentine’s Day cards for each other. Eventually dad would find one he liked and hand it to my mother saying, “this one is for you.” Mom would hand one back saying, “this is for you.” They’d read their choices, put the cards back and leave the store. Okay, it’s kind of cute. But before rushing off to buy a card since I just reminded you to do so, when was the last time you actually gave her a hand-written love letter?
Love letters are, I have discovered, incredibly powerful. It’s so rare and unexpected, and the sentiments expressed are yours and yours alone. It doesn’t even have to be particularly eloquent or poetic, just that you took the time to write her a note that has no purpose other than to express how much she means to you is just so incredibly powerful. My wife got used to getting these letters every week or two and every time she found another one, she literally swooned. Well, until the last one, but I’m sure she had already replaced me at that point since she asked for a divorce before I could write another.
Romantic dinners, massages, all of these are very sweet, but even something small is a great way to show her that she’s still special to you. If you don’t normally clear the dishes after supper, just clear the table and do the dishes. One of the most popular “porn” channels on a popular website is nothing more than a man doing household chores like vacuuming and dusting. If you don’t think women “get off” on this, consider that the primary viewers of this channel are housewives who want nothing more than for their man to get more involved in very simple little household chores.
And to be honest, I don’t understand why men don’t do more for their partners. I did (and, yes, I’m still divorced). There were some things she insisted on doing herself and I don’t really understand this, but I also knew not to intrude. Like vacuuming, which she did because she loved her very expensive vacuum cleaner and didn’t want me to touch it. And laundry, because she didn’t trust me to separate the clothes correctly (okay, that I understand; men don’t get sorting clothes). But after the laundry, I would sit on the floor with her to help her fold the clothes. In fact, she was shocked that I fold underwear; apparently before me she just never did. But the reality is that helping her with the chores (yes, I would clean the dishes, empty the dishwasher and even cook), the chores were done more quickly. That gave us, her and me, more time together. We could snuggle, talk, watch a movie all because the chores were done, and I had killed the boys. That, to me, is what a great relationship is all about, not what things you do together, but THAT you do things together.