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A man’s view: We do it ‘cause we love you!

Most of us know Valentine’s Day as the annual February 14 celebration of romantic love. That it certainly is. But what many don’t know is how it began or why we still celebrate it. I could bore you with obscure historical details and endless factual minutiae, but that would be about as much fun as standing 50-deep in a line of male “romantics” on February 13 solely for the thrill of forking over a C-Note for cruddy red roses that will prove, beyond doubt, our eternal love for our ladies. Yes, folks, I am about to explore this sugary annual rite through male eyes. Ladies, you’ve been warned.
First a little background. Do forgive me. An unclear number of Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine got to the heart of things (get it?) a few millennia back.  Their loving actions and deeds spurred Pope Gelasius to create a remembrance day for them in 496 AD. As a result Saint Valentine’s Day was born.  In 1969, the Roman Catholic Church officially stopped celebrating the holiday citing ambiguity concerning the original Saint Valentine as their reason.  Hmm…My guess is the change really came at the behest of male parishioners.
“Yo Padre, give us boys a break wit’ dis sissy holiday, wud ya’? Our guylz are spendin’ all our loot on frilly junk and askin’ us to be respectful too. It ain’t right! It goes against natural laws or somethin’!”
It may be true. The money that I’ve spent over the years on lingerie, jewelry, lingerie, fancy restaurants, lingerie, flowers, candy, lingerie, perfume, “Who Loves Ya’ Baby?” airplane-banners, lingerie, sappy mix-tapes, Vermont Teddy Bears, Please-take-me-back-before-I-jump-off-a-bridge cards and more lingerie, could have been far better spent. One example: I could’ve sent my long-suffering fiancé (AKA “The Fair Maria”) on countless weekend trips with suitably handsome and witty male escorts. Instead, my beloved will now spend yet another Valentine’s Day with yours truly; a tedious and unsettling pastime not dissimilar from digging out the last shards of an ingrown toenail.
Such colossal letdowns fail to factor in the epic battles that often occur on this blissful day of manufactured love. Like Christmas, the holiday can build up great expectations in the minds of those seduced by it (women only). This will often lead to an anti-climax, or worse, when the day doesn’t quite work out as planned.
Some years ago I took a romantic phone call from my sweet, loving lady on that heavenly February day. She was purring rather suggestively, affirming her undying love for me while whispering sweet nothings in my ear. At the risk of sounding soft, I must admit that the moment was idyllic, and, if I’m being honest a tear had come to my eye. Then my girlfriend picked up the extension line and ruined everything! Killjoy.
All kidding aside (or am I?) you’re probably asking why we “relationship guys” go through this tiresome ritual each and every year without fail? Ladies, get ready to grab your hankies – or a camera to record for posterity (or blackmail) that which you’re about to read – because I feel more male honesty coming on. We do it for this simple reason: We love you and want to make you happy.
There, I actually said it. Contrary to popular beliefs concerning men and their supposed locker-room Machismo, we troglodytes are really happiest when we know that you – the women that we love – are feeling fulfilled. There are scores of ways to accomplish that goal, and many ways to fall short of the mark. I’m certain I’ve cornered the market on the latter. Nevertheless, Valentine’s Day gives us a grand opportunity to prove to you how much you really mean to us. We’d be absolute fools not to seize it!
Look, I readily admit that the associated shopping can be a genuine pain in the butt, and getting in touch with one’s deepest romantic emotions is tougher for some men than others. Yet despite our gruff protests to the contrary, I don’t suppose there’s anywhere that we big galoots would rather be on a bracing Valentine’s Day eve than in the warm, gentle embrace of the women that we love.
So there you have it. Just don’t tell my gym buddies that I said so. They’d never let me back into the locker room.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
  

-Jeff Bahr
jeffbahr@theobserver.com

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