Advice from three of our guy friends. This week they answer the following: “What’s the male consensus on Valentine’s Day?”
Gay Single Guy (Daniel): I honestly don’t think there is a male “consensus” of thought on the issue of Valentine’s Day. Men can be either true romantics who love this kind of thing, who wouldn’t forget it for the world, who enjoy doing something extravagant and/or totally thoughtful, who will remind you why you are (still) so in love with him; or they are NOT romantics — who see Valentine’s Day as some kind of obligation, who go through the motions of the holiday to get some tail, who might even break up with you BEFORE the holiday and try to get back together again after it because he is just a prick like that, or perhaps worse, don’t even care anymore because passion has been drained from their relationship like a once flooded basement. Now the real question is: do you want the former, or can you live with the latter?
Straight Single Guy (Mark Luczak): The stereotype that guys dread V-Day, or forget it, or make some kind of bumbling or half-hearted attempt to fulfill its “obligations” is kind of charming to a point, but isn’t at all necessarily true. I think relationship status determines a huge part of our feelings about the holiday, and it’s actually not even all that gender specific. If you’re in the honeymoon stage of dating someone new, it can be tricky and even nerve-racking to navigate the degree to which you acknowledge or celebrate the romantic benchmark with each other.
In a long-term relationship, the pressure to do something big can be low if both parties are on the same page about it (better make sure, though!), but it can also be as good an opportunity as any to do something special that stands out from routines that have been long settled into.
And finally, as depressing as it can feel not to have a Valentine, per se, single folks don’t have to rebel or poo-poo the whole scene. I myself am pretty romantic and thus would embrace sharing V-Day with someone in whatever fashion, but in the absence of that special person, I just use it as a catalyst for self-celebration, reflection, and motivation to keep becoming an even better person that will eventually find his partner in Valen-crime (saving some cash on stuffed animals, exotic chocolates, and extravagant nights out on the town is just a bonus)!
Straight Married Guy (Michael): Valentine’s Day is just Madison Avenue’s way of creating artificial expectations in relationships across the country. Should I bring her flowers? Lingerie? Chocolates? How about a candle-lit dinner? Doing any of these things on a designated day is a clear path to a romantic life about as exciting as a Hallmark card. Surprise is a much better approach. I’d rather do things for her when I want to do them: it’s far more romantic, truthful, and real.
Our “guys” are a rotating group of contributors. This week’s Gay Guy is one-time stripper and sex columnist Daniel; our Straight Single Guy is Mark Luczak, a tech geek at Carnegie Mellon University; and our straight married guy is shy. To ask the guys your own question, click here.