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Is It Just Me, Or Does Valentine’s Day Suck?

GRUMPY VALENTINES DAYWomen love it, men dread it and singles hate it. Welcome to Valentine’s Day.

When I was newly married (eons ago), 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, twelve pairs 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 day was when I was treated to a professional home massage, a candlelit dinner and a DVD of Wuthering Heights followed by chocolate sundaes. My worst was when I was taken to Burger King and treated to an oil change on my car.

If you have a VD story that is worse, share it; it will help me to feel a little less pathetic. If you have a VD story that is wonderful, share it too, it will give us hope for a brighter tomorrow! If you’d just like to vent about this goofy holiday, nothing would please me more.

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


(This is a encore post, one of two that I’m often asked to re-issue, and happens to be one of my favorites…because it’s ALL true!)

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T.O. Weller - Tammy, thank you so much for the encore — I would hate to think that I’d missed it!

I’m not sure if I’ve simply grown cynical or whether I just see it for what it really is: a day manufactured to make us consume (i.e. spend after the Christmas bills have come in).

My favorite VDs (LOVE that!) involved no money. A walk in the snow, a quiet dinner together at home … but then, these are things that can happen any day and they’d be just as lovely.

My brand new husband feels strongly that a card should be a part of the day, so I’ll shop for one this afternoon to make him happy.

My grown son has been in a tizzy trying to figure out what he will do for his current girlfriend. He goes all out (do these things skip a generation?).

After I find the card, I think I’ll head over the pet store. 🙂

Carol Cassara - The Hallmark holidays can be problematic…who knew that it was the biggest break up day?

mel glenn - I don’t know the roots of VD day, but I wonder if it is a conspiracy dreamed up in the corporate headquarters of Hallmark in Kansas City. I hate to be a curmudgeon here, but it is completely a manufactured holiday. Would that every day be a Valentine’s day and love and care is expressed all the days of the year. But maybe men need reminding how lucky they are if they have someone who puts up with them.
But your encore column is valuable and makes a good point about actual expectations.

Kathleen O'Donnell - The fact that a dead, fictional woman gets more VD cards that living women explains another VD fact. The suicide rate is second only to New Years Eve. There you have it.

Tammy - Hi T.O., I don’t think you’ve grown cynical, I think you’ve wised up…like most of us. When you are young (like your son) you want very much to jump in and get it right. Years teach us that Hallmark is usually the only one that gets it right and we are just pawns in the love scheme. I appreciate any reason to share love and gratitude. I don’t buy into the hype, but I do buy into the sharing of my love and adoration for the man I’m lucky enough to be with. But then again, I do that every day. Happy VD, my friend. Enjoy that walk in the snow.

Tammy - Hi Carol, holidays in general can be problematic at my house. Stress always seems to accompany the expectation. VD day is an easy one for me to skip. I know, right?? What kind of schmuck breaks up with you on VD day? Geesh! Happy to hear from you! Thanks for popping in.

Tammy - Mel, I will be a curmudgeon with you. And, yes, it is a Hallmark holiday. But, the girl in me welcomes any opportunity to receive lovely flowers and a caring card from the one she loves. Truth is, it is a common occurrence in our house. You have no idea how grateful I am for that. Happy you enjoyed the encore. It’s one of two posts that I get repeated requests for. Happy day of love to you and your beautiful wife.

Tammy - And yet another reason to dislike VD day, Kathleen. Thanks for sharing, but man, that was damn depressing to read. It really should be called It Sucks To Be Singled Out Single Day. That way all of the singles would receive lovely gifts from the rest of the world. Don’t think Hallmark will buy into it.

Cathy Chester - Except for grade school VD has never meant a whole lot, partly because it’s my bday six days prior and partly because, well, I guess that’s it. I love romance and all, but my husband and I just spend quality time together. Welcome to the Hallmark holiday.

Joan Cooper - Too too funny !!! How do you do your research ? Fabulous info.

Well, I am not romantic, so I just send one Valentine out of respect for someone who is more romantic than me. Honest – I look for something I think he would like or laugh at and that is it. That is all.

Am I missing something ?


Ruth Curran - The biggest break up day of the year…. I am not surprised. Rose growers, chocolate makers, and Hallmark win this one don’t they?

Tammy - A Hallmark holiday indeed, Cathy! Grade school on VD day was stressful for me. It was before the teachers made the rule that if you are going to distribute valentines, make sure everyone gets one or no one gets one. It was a popularity contest and I don’t recall ever being part of the “in” crowd. It’s hard when you’re a kid and you walk away with a couple of valentines and much of the class gets tons. I look back now and am happy there is an all or nothing rule for those kids who don’t quite fit in.

Tammy - And that’s all it should be, Joan. All the hype is just smoke and mirrors. You are missing nothing, you are right on target! Happy VD my friend!

Tammy - Yup, Ruth, if only to be a florist or a chocolate maker! Otherwise, you can have it!

Greg - I love this article! Thanks Tammy! Here’s my version, in The Good Men Project:


Christina Embry - This year instead of going out for an overpriced dinner in a crowded restaurant, we are cooking dinner together and enjoying a peaceful house without kids! Along with some candlelight and a movie….oh and romance too!

Tammy - Hi Greg, so glad you enjoyed the read! I enjoyed yours as well and happy to leave a comment. Glad we found each other….like minds, and all.

Tammy - Perfect plan, Christina. I’m right there with you! Happy VD to you!

Carol Cassara - I agree in so many ways! Which is why today I am redefining Valentine’s Day over here:

Mary - Valentine’s Day is my favorite day! Not because I was always in a relationship or for the presents, it’s my day to show all those who I love how much they mean to me. I did not know it was the most popular break up day!

Greg - Yes, Tammy 🙂 I’m glad we found each other as well. You ROCK!
Happy Valentines Day!

Cathy Sikorski - Ah, yes….Valentines Day! More screw ups than any other day, for sure. But I do so adore chocolate, and buy it on sale the day after……as no one has ever given me chocolate for VD,

Tammy - Haaa! YES, it IS the day of most screw-ups! Too funny. I buy Red Hots this time of year. Hard to find them otherwise. Happy VD Cathy!

Tammy - Loved your post, Carol and shared it! Redefining VD in the most wonderful way!

Tammy - And, Mary, evidently VD has the second highest suicide rate holiday out of the year…first being New Years eve. Good grief! Kind of takes the pink and red sparkle out of things. It is a pretty holiday, and I enjoy seeing hearts and flowers everywhere. I’m thinking the world be a brighter place if we left them up all year round.

Tammy - Thank you, my friend. The feeling is mutual, Greg!

Doreen McGettigan - My first husband bought me a blender for our first Valentine’s together. I threw it out the window and threw him out the door not long after.
My current forever husband is pretty romantic and creative with gifts all year so we don’t make that big a deal for Valentine’s.

Tammy - Thanks, Doreen, for todays laugh! Man Follow Blender sounds like a good title for a blog! Thrilled for you that you found your happiness!

Carolann - I had to laugh while I was reading this because every time I saw VD I kept on thinking of well…you know what lol. Secondly, I have to say, I taught my hubby well. Every year he lets me choose my own gift and yes I love it that. I get exactly what I want! Maybe it’s not the most romantic thing ever, but at least I know I’m ending up with something I want and/or need. Great post. I really enjoyed it!

Tammy - Just viewed your response, Carolann, you cracked me up…thanks for that! I LOVE your technique. It’s a win-win proposition. And why not?! I do believe your idea could catch on bit time! Hope it was grand.

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