Every happily married man has to have an opinion on Valentine’s Day. And being in that category (most of the time!) my opinion is well known to Camera Girl. Being a very wise woman, she pretends that Valentine’s Day is of no concern to her. But that is a façade. The point is for me to show her that I have a way of making Valentine’s Day a useful ritual within our domain. In this way she doesn’t have to seem to be dependent on this odd gift receiving dynamic while I can demonstrate my romantic aptitude and at the same time rightly honor her importance in the whole male/female dynamic.
Wow. That was weird.
Anyway, I’ve long ago given her all the jewelry she needs or even wants. I usually check to see if she wants any perfume but she’s pretty well stocked there too. So, this year I said I’d take her out to eat. And at first, I thought we had a plan. But at the last minute she changed it. We were supposed to have the grandkids over for a luncheon of delicatessen food. But someone got sick so we postponed it. But apparently Camera Girl was in the mood for pastrami, which, as everyone knows, is the most sensual of the salted cured meats.
So, her idea for Valentine’s Day was pastrami sandwiches at home. She is a thrifty woman. And I should be more grateful for that than I am. So today she served up pastrami on Italian bread with melted Swiss cheese and tons of brown mustard. There was egg potato salad and dill pickles on the side and a giant mug of very good, hot coffee. Afterward there was a big slice of apple pie with three big scoops of premium vanilla ice cream. Now that is what I call a Valentine’s Day celebration.
It reminded me of that scene in the Maltese Falcon where Sam Spade serves corned beef on French bread and coffee with brandy to Brigid O’Shaughnessy as they warily circle each other in their dance of murder and passion. And after all Camera Girl is a femme fatale. Her allure has side-tracked me from my intended career as a classical philologist by, as far as I can reckon somewhere on the order of forty five years, give or take. And there has been many a night that I suspected she was contemplating smothering me in my sleep. I have no incontrovertible evidence for this. But for someone who knows her moods all the signs were there. But I digress.
So, the key to a successful Valentine’s Day gift or celebration is buy-in from the woman. There has to be an effort by the man to imbue the ritual with some special significance for the pair. And to do that requires good will on both sides and for an established relationship the desire to break the monotony of a settled routine with something different and in some way exciting.
And exciting doesn’t have to be the Hope Diamond or a trip to Bora Bora. The excitement is breaking the routine. It’s talking about different things. It’s putting a little more of your personality into your presentation than you normally do. And, of course, it doesn’t hurt if you drag her off to bed to consummate the proceedings properly. But, just like Sam Spade, remember that she may be hiding a revolver under her side of the bed so sleep with one eye open. Especially if she has two or three aliases.
Happy St. Valentine’s Day