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Love is a fickle beast

Women love it, men dread it and singles hate it. Welcome to Valentine’s Day.

When I was newly married, one of my first Valentine’s Day gifts was a Hoover vacuum. Clearly he had missed the meaning of the occasion. Sadly this was not the worst gift I’ve ever received on the day of love. There was the talking magnetic pig head that squealed each time the refrigerator door was opened (nothing says ‘love’ like a squealing pig head), twelve pair of tube socks and a not so lovely tumble weed bouquet. I have often been left with “what the hell was he thinking?” ringing in my head.

VD (I know it’s a rather inappropriate abbreviation for Valentine’s Day but just go with it) has some pretty quirky facts that surround it. I thought it might be fun to share them with you.

The average man spends twice as much as a woman on his Valentine gift, approximately $156.  This being said, I have no memory of any man ever spending even half that on me. I am not amused.

Condom sales are the highest around VD and March is the month when the most home-pregnancy tests are sold. Somebody’s doing something wrong.

Teachers receive the most Valentine’s. Next in line are children, moms, wives, sweethearts and then pets. I love that teachers are first in line but do I have to come in next to last just before the cat?

Speaking of our beloved pets, those of us who are owned by our furry friends spend around 9 million bucks a year buying them Valentine goodies. I confess to have contributed to this astronomical number and apologize to no one for rewarding my dog and cats for loving me just as I am. I’m thinking that’s worth a squeaky toy.

Sixty four percent of men make no advance plans for VD day. No big shocker here.

The city of Verona, home of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, receives more than 1,000 Valentines a year addressed to Juliet. The last Valentine I received in the mail was in 1972. I’m not sure how I feel knowing that a fictional character that has been dead for hundreds of years receives a thousand more Valentine’s than I do, but I can share that it’s a bit of a blow to the ego. For those of you who are interested, my P.O. Box is listed on my website. (hey! I’m just offering up the info).

It’s reported that more than a third of men prefer not receiving a VD gift (this is probably because they don’t want to suffer the indignity of having to wear briefs with cupids and hearts on them). And less than 20% of women prefer not to receive gifts. Clearly this is the group of women who have just flatly given up of ever receiving a suitable gift (a group I am probably destined to join).

Probably the most startling fact is that VD is the biggest relationship break up day of the year. I think breakups happen when our expectations don’t meet our realities. I’m not sure which of these needs adjusting.

The bottom line is that love sells. Whether its dreams or diamonds, flowers or fantasies, candy or brandy, it’s sure to soar in price on VD day. Being the consummate business woman, I take offense to the excessive prices tagged on to ordinary dinners, flowers and candy. Money doesn’t buy me VD happiness, but backrubs go a long way.

My best VD gift was when I was treated to a professional home massage, a candlelit dinner and a DVD of Wuthering Heights followed by chocolate fudge sundaes. My worst was when I was taken to Burger King and treated to an oil change on my car.

All of us have some kind of sentiment about Valentine’s Day. I, for one, remain hopeful. Love it or hate it, I hope your evening of love does not involve a talking pig head.

As far as I’m concerned If you bring home one of my favorite movies, some Chinese take-out, mood candles, bubble bath and give me a foot rub, I will be yours forever; or at least until you buy me a lawn mower for my birthday.


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Laura Lee Carter aka the Midlife Crisis Queen - Hey Tammy:
Thanks for the VD info., but I only found one small mistake in your analysis. SEX sells and most men think fancy gifts and romance leads to sex! Come to think of it, your home pregnancy data suggests they may be right! My all-time favorite name for a home pregnancy test: Answer Plus! … the understatement of the century!
LOVE, Laura

Michelle D Keyes - Tammy I just LOVE this post! I have never been much of a holiday person – I’m not sure why. I get kinda excited by Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years (and am quickly exhausted by them as well) but the rest of the holidays? Not so much. In fact, fake it til you make it is more my response to holidays. Now that I have a family of my own, it’s a little easier to get excited about the holidays – seeing my daughter’s excitement usually does a lot for me. Valentine’s Day (VD) has never been particularly high on my list of holidays. In fact, if there’s any holiday I’m likely to forget about, it’s that one. I’m allergic to chocolate, flowers aren’t a big deal (unless my fiance surprises me with them in which case I melt) to me, eating out happens on a regular basis for us (at least once a month) and after Christmas, who really has the money to spend on expensive gifts anyway? That being said, my fiance and I are happy to use it as an excuse for a date night and a night away from the kid(s). Hmm.. maybe it should be my favorite holiday after all? Thanks for the laughs! 🙂

Nancy Wurtzel - Tammy, you have totally captured my feelings about VD!!! That’s how I’ve always referred to it: “The dreaded VD”…so true! I love the tube socks and that may take the prize. The vacuum actually sounds pretty good! Keep ’em coming on the posts…luv them!

Jenny Paulsen - This is a wonderful story and it is true. 25 years ago I received a coupon for Valentines Day. It was good for a lifetime of love and happiness. No expiration date. You know the guy, best piece of paper ever!

Tammy - Hi Laura Lee, it’s always a kick to hear from you. Yup, sex sells and if I had gotten into the market years ago perhaps I’d be living in Beverly Hills now (or Tobacco Road). But as you and I know, sex is miles away from love. It’s wonderful when they intersect and often tragic when they don’t. Thanks for the contribution. Always enjoy hearing from you!

Tammy - Hi Michelle, this was such a fun post to write. I began remembering all of the goofy and tragic gifts that have come my way on this hyped holiday and thought I would share. If I didn’t laugh about it, I’d probably cry. I’m with you; this holiday is purely Hallmark, flowers, candy and diamond driven. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of all those things but think that it would be awesome to receive that stuff throughout the year. Right? But experiencing VD through the eyes of your little girl is way precious and worth its weight in gold. Enjoy the moment and enjoy your date night! So happy you are a reader; thanks for posting!

Scott Morgan - Don’t feel bad, Tammy. Last Valentine’s card I ever got was from my mom, and I was in college!

Tammy - Hi Nancy, yeah, the tube socks might be the winner, a close second to the pig head. I no longer dread VD partially because I have a wonderful man in my life, which by the way still needs GG (Gift Guidance) and partially because I see it for what it is; hype. It seemed much more important to me when in my younger years and when I was alone. Nothing like a healthy dose of ‘love’ everywhere you go to make you feel a bit like a loser when you are a single gal. I’m over it. I’m no loser and I’m not buying into all the hearts and flowers. Although….diamonds would be nice! Just saying. Thanks for posting, its awesome having you here!

Tammy - Hi Jenny, ooooh, that is the sweetest story ever. Yes, I know the guy and he is a keeper. I also know the girl; and he is a very lucky man. Thanks for sharing, I’m still smiling!

Tammy - Hi Scott, I’m still laughing (tears welling). Yeah, you win this one. That’s pretty funny. At least mine wasn’t from my mom (so sweet by the way). Hope this VD finds you with card in hand from your beautiful wife. That and a pair of heart boxers (had to say it). Have a great one and thanks oodles for sharing. Yeah, I’m still laughing.

Jeff Davidson - Tammy,
Happy VD!!
I think being forgotten by someone that you thought had special feelings for you may possibly be the worst. Not necessarily a gift but just a card or a special greeting, call, etc.

This might just be what she needs to say to him on Valentine’s Day:

A woman came home, screeching her car into the driveway, and ran into the house. She slammed the door and shouted at the top of her lungs, ‘Honey, pack your bags. I won the lottery!’

The husband said, ‘Oh my God! What should I pack, beach stuff or mountain stuff?’

‘Doesn’t matter,’ she said. ‘Just get out.’

Keep writing what is “right!”

Tammy - Hi Jeff, you guys have me in stitches. I can so relate to that joke (is that a bad thing)? But on a more serious note; you’re right in saying that exclusion is the worst. I hadn’t thought of that. Leave it to my readers to set it straight. I remember a boy I had a crush on in high school. He always smiled at me and often went out of his way to help me in one thing or another. VD came along and I got nothing. I would have been thrilled with a candy heart. I still remember the sting. Your comment was funny and thought provoking; as usual. Thanks for sharing and posting!

Lee Lefton - Tammy, you’re too much! But nothing you’ve said about spousal support or lack thereof over the many VDays you’ve spent with He-who-shall-remain-nameless surprises me.

A magnetic pig’s head? What do you suppose the message was there? Rhetorical. Sorry.

Anne and I came to the agreement long ago that we were not going to any more “romantic” $200 per couple prix fixe dinners on a relatively meaningless and totally commercialized holiday. (My apologies to those who disagree). It does have its merits.

A card and a nice bunch of flowers always suffice quite nicely. And we get the latter at Trader Joe’s where the prices are always between $5.99 and $9.99. In fact, I don’t just buy ’em on VD, but at least a couple of times per month when I do the shopping.

It’s the little things like that that really count. You don’t need a special day to do it.

P.S. I miss those days in grammar school when we all traded Valentine’s day cards and gave them to our teachers as well.

Suerae Stein - OMG, Tammy, a squealing pigs head? Really??? Your post cracks me up – thanks for the laugh. It’s a silly holiday, really, but I guess I’m not that romantic anymore. My husband will be out of town on VD, so it’s just me and the kids. But we’ve always been low key about it, and I think if you are both on the same page, that is the best way to be! Thanks for the great post! ~ Suerae

Cindy buehler - Tammy, the Pig’s head was a hoot…but yes, even though VD is a silly, over-commercialized holiday, deep down we all hold out hope for that “meaningful and appropriate” gift. But actually I am yearning for a new canister vacuum cleaner. I love those things! If I could just find one that I could strap to my back………..Anyways, have a very Happy Valentine’s Day! xoxoxoCindy

Tammy - Hi Lee, It IS the little things that count. Lucky Anne for having you as a husband. Being attentive is so important. It goes both ways. Yes, “he who shall remain nameless” was not the best at providing sensitive and sweet gifts. All I can say is love is blind. As I look back on all those things I laugh and sometimes I cry. It was all such a lifetime ago and all that remains are memories. I prefer to focus on the good ones and the funny ones. The squealing pig head wasn’t funny at the time but now, I laugh so hard that my eyes water. Funny how times does that. I too miss those fun elementary days when the class would exchange Valentine’s and we would go home and count them. Life was much simpler then, at least for this girl. As always, love hearing from you. Thanks for posting and for being here.

Tammy - Hi Suerae, it IS a silly holiday! Still, it’s alwasy nice to feel remembered and loved. Spending VD with your kids is the best! Make cupcakes, drink apple cider, play a board game. Wait … I’ll be right over! So happy you got a kick out of the post. Appreciate hearing from you. Thanks so much for being here.

Tammy - Hi Cindy, isn’t it funny how age alters our perception of a good gift?! Seriously. But I hear what you’re saying and love those canister vacuums myself. And you’re right; deep down inside we all hope for a meaningful and romantic token of love. I don’t know about you…but I’m still waiting. Happy VD to you! Thanks for posting, it means a lot!

Jane Redfern Jones - In my first job I worked in a jewellers. We’d get lots of men in buying presents, then, over the following week, the women coming in to exchange them. We were next door to a hotel and on Valentines Day we’d often have people calling in for rings after making a tipsy proposal next door!

Stephen C. Spencer (@PaulDMallory) - I suppose a waffle iron is out of the question…?

Tammy - Hi Stephen, actually, no! Waffle irons rock, especially when they are in the shape of animals. When my daughter was little we had one in the shape of Mickey Mouse. I think I liked it more than she did. You’re too funny! I would love to hear a post from a guy on all the silly things he got for VD throughout the years. I imagine it’s probably just a dreadful. Hope yours is wonderful! It’s great for me, knowing you are on the other end of my rants. Thanks for being here and thanks for posting!

Tammy - Hi Jane, that’s a funny story. Why is it we always exchange the jewelry? I love the part about sending out for a ring from the hotel next door. Maybe that’s what I’ve been doing wrong all these years. Maybe I should be in a hotel somewhere getting tipsy…with my dog. Haa! Lovely to hear from you…thanks for posting!

Kellie - Tammy
You and I have very similar feelings regarding Valentine’s Day. (see my post) However, my food of choice ALL types. Wish I could say I was a picky eater bring me anything to stuff my face and you are mine forever!

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