What Do Men Really Think about Valentine’s Day?

Advice from three of our guy friends. This week they answer the following: “What’s the male consensus on Valentine’s Day?”

daniel_100Gay 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?

mark_luczak_100Straight 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)!

anonymous_suitStraight 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.


  1. My opinion about the damned thing changes from year to year, nevertheless I think the emphasis shouldn’t be on what you’re supposed to do or not do but on communicating your expectations and desires. I sense this weird Vday message that lovers are meant to accurately predict what their partner wants. And yes some ideas are like asking for a vowel, it’s likely to pay off, but to totally beat the high pressure, easy to resent game is to stop playing it.

  2. We were watching the Olympics and out of the blue, The Man grumbles, “You know, I hate Valentines Day.” “Yep!” I replied, cheerily while watching some insane person hurl themselves down a mountain. I said nothing more.

    The next day, for me: A bouquet and a box of Fannie May and a really cute card, for him, a sampler of massage oils, some trail mix and a really cute card. Now I will make a red velvet cake and we’ll order Chinese food for take out. He’s watching some shark show, now. Love in the morning, hot monkey sex in the evening and it’s a perfect V Day.

  3. Whether VD is a made up event to sell cards and candy is irrelevant. It is a relationship benchmark that every woman has. No lady wants to have lunch with her pals on Feb 15th and tell them that he did ‘nothing’. Guys, you don’t want be the lame boyfriend/husband in the discussion. So suck it up and do the drill. There are no real winners, but don’t send your girl home a loser.

  4. I’m not saying that someone shouldn’t do anything on Valentine’s Day. I’m saying that it really doesn’t mean as much as if they do something nice on a random day.

  5. I absolutely agree with most of the comments above… yes, Valentine’s day is overly commercialised and men may be annoyed at the sense of obligation to do something romantic. But it doesn’t matter how you feel about Valentine’s day, it matters whether you want your girlfriend/wife to feel good about herself and your relationship, or feel like you don’t care enough about her to put in a tiny bit of effort to make her feel special. So yeah, you’re obligated to be a good boyfriend/husband on Valentine’s day (heaven forbid) – stop trying to rebel against “society” and just suck it up and be nice! And if you’re unwilling to do that, maybe you should rethink whether you should even be in a relationship.

  6. I really dislike the “I don’t want to do it on the ‘made up day’, but want to do something special when I want to.” I dislike it because a lot of people say it…and never do anything.

    I know a guy who never gets his wife flowers on V day, because he wants to ‘do it on his terms’. Which means she never gets them at all…

  7. PK, a LOT of men are capable of doing BOTH. (My Man is. I get flowers, candy and junk on all manner of random days AND on VD and other days of importance.) Many men are capable of being spontaneously romantic AND remembering a day on which their women would be HURT if they simply did nothing.

    It won’t kill you to do something, it does NOT “cheapen” the relationship, and she will care if you do SOMETHING or do NOTHING. (Guess which one makes her happy? ONE guess. Is that important?)

    Most people can do spontaneous things, and do things on the Reminder Day. A LOT of men do have to be reminded, (say they will do these things on “random days” but usually don’t) which, IMO, is why the day exists in the first place.

  8. First off, I’m a full on sappy romantic, who’s had moments so saccharine that I’ve disgusted myself. Having said that, I’ve always maintained that VD is a “monkey score” day. By which I mean that it’s the score you’d get if you gave a monkey a number 2 pencil and a standardized test. Everyone even a monkey knows to do something re VD. That diminishes it’s worth in my mind. I’ve always told friends, that you don’t want to be with someone or judge them on VD, you want to be with the person who thinks of you and does something nice on some random day, without prompting, without reminding and without the prefabbed cliches. It’s the person who runs you bath, buys you flowers, rubs your back, creates a card, gives you a full bodied kiss, makes you dinner, grabs your ass, or in some other way makes you feel how special you are for no other reason than expressing just that, that you should want to be with.

  9. I’m not a huge Valentine’s Day nut. But, a little SOMETHING to remember your lover doesn’t kill anyone.

    BUT, I hate it when guys say, “I don’t have to be told what day to give her candy and flowers, I’ll do it when I want to do it.” It reeks of self absorption (“MY time schedule and need to profess hatred for a Hallmark Holiday is MORE IMPORTANT than my woman’s feelings….”)

    Just buy the flowers and candy, GOOD candy, (not, A Whitman’s Sampler you got at the last minute at Walgreens, tastes like wax with crap in it) Get her Godiva, Fanny May or Dove chocolate and pick out a funny or sweet card. It makes a difference to HER, and isn’t that what matters? As for a stuffed animal, if your woman is over the age of 10, you can skip this. (Never understood the grown woman who still “collects” stuffed animals. What would you DO with them?)

    A GIFT isn’t about what the GIVER likes, it’s about caring about the receiver and his or her feelings. Knew a guy who dated a friend of mine who said he “hated” flowers, candy and jewelry. So, he never bought any of these things for women. (Or anything else of import, for that matter.) He thought it was a good reason (excuse)not to engage these things, but all he did was hurt feelings. I’d get a tearful phone call EVERY morning after Valentine’s Day from his wife, bemoaning her husband’s self importance and selfishness. She’d pretend not to care to him, but she did. They did not have an otherwise particularly romantic time when HE deemed they do so, either.

    Believe it or not, a lot of women DO care that you care enough to stop somewhere (even if it on the way home from work at Jewel) and grab some decent candy and a bouquet. How hard can that be?

    I’m happy to get The Man a 6 pack of exotic, micro brew and a new pair of funny boxers and a silly, preferably filthy card On V Day. It doesn’t matter that I, personally, don’t wear boxers or drink beer, it’s about HOW I feel about him, and what HE likes. And, although he professes to not care about “Hallmark Holidays” he still dutifully comes home with a bouquet and decent chocolate, and occasionally even a sexy nightie. Because he CARES. About me. And my feelings.

    I guess it’s just some sort of reciprocity or just plain kindness towards the person you say you love. Most guys I know who say, “I’ll do it when I FEEL like it, not on someone else’s schedule or on a set calender day” most of these guys NEVER do it.

    Micheal, I don’t know you, (or if you ever actually do nice, romantic things spontaneously or not) but how do you think your WIFE feels when you get her NOTHING on Valentines Day? Think she feels just great about it? Think it makes her day? Think again.

    I’m betting her best friend gets that teary phone call Monday morning….and has for years.

  10. Michael & all the other “real romantics”, I’ve been seeing this argument all over the web – Valentine’s Day is made up, a Madison Ave plot, etc etc. Your argument can be used to not get the woman in your life a gift on her birthday, Christmas, or any holiday, or for that matter, any day at all, because you prefer to “keep it real” and “do it when you want to”. So when was the last time you “wanted to” surprise her and what did you do?

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