Wise Guys: Does Valentine’s Day Have Any Appeal to Men?

Advice from three of EM & LO‘s guy friends. This week a straight woman asks, “Does Valentines day have any appeal for guys or is it just for the ladies?”

Gay Single Guy (Justin Huang): I personally observe Singles Awareness Day on February 14th (during which I eat a lot of chocolate and watch a zombie flick), but I can definitely see the appeal of Valentine’s Day for both guys and ladies. There’s a certain nostalgic romance to the corny traditions of V-Day, where the man is expected to be chivalrous and to woo his partner with roses and a fancy dinner. Obviously Valentine’s is a clever marketing gimmick invented by Hallmark to sell cards and candy, but I think a day devoted to celebrating love is still coming from a good place, and if you are fortunate enough to have found someone, why not celebrate? And to be perfectly straightforward, I think our boys know they’re getting laid tonight. So if nothing else, that is probably appealing.

Straight Single Guy (Tyler Barnett): Let’s be honest, Valentine’s Day is not a holiday most men mark on their calendars and plan for all year. In fact, most guys really don’t care for the holiday. There is so much pressure to do the perfect thing that it takes a lot of the fun and spontaneity out of it. SO the short answer is yes, Valentine’s day is pretty much just for the ladies. But come to think of it, most of my girl friends don’t care for it either! They feel the same way — it’s cheesy and corny and people try too hard and you feel like shit if you are alone. I love love, and I love celebrating being in love, and I love doing things that people in love do! I, like most people just don’t love being told when to do these things. So, at the risk of sounding like a cynic I would ask you, Is there anyone who really truly loves Valentine’s Day?

Straight Married Guy (James Glazebrook): Does Valentines day really appeal to the ladies? Or does it simply persuade them to equate love with romance, and romance with flowers and chocolates, and convince them that their relationships are nothing without these things? The commercialisation of holidays is no new thing, but Valentines Day is one of those that has spending at its chocolate-covered heart. If we’re wasting money for no real reason, give me Halloween any day — at least those festivities are fun and pressure-free. Or bring to Valentines Day the gothic romance of All Hallow’s Eve, the twilit promise of eternal life together, and give me a fresh pig’s heart wrapped in a barbed-wire bow. Thanks dear.

Our “wise guys” are a rotating group of contributors, some of whom wish to remain anonymous and some of whom like the attention. This week’s Straight Married Guy is James Glazebrook, a British writer/illustrator working in Berlin with his photographer wife on their cool blog, Überlin; our Gay Guy is Justin Huang, an LA-based freelance film editor, producer, certified personal trainer and the voice of IAmYellowPeril.com; and our Single Straight Guy is Tyler Barnett of Tyler Barnett PR in LA. To ask the guys your own question, click here.


  1. Or, you know, whoever you’re in a relationship with. Not to be too gender-specific (though I think this is a heteronormative situation the Wise Guys were originally talking about).

  2. misspiggy, I think the general stereotype is that people DO expect a huge amount of extra effort to go into it. Which is nonsense. My experience of Valentine’s Day has always been that it’s a chance to celebrate being in love with the person you love, however you two want to celebrate it–which should be fun! I don’t know of anyone who celebrates the holiday as if it were some deep, serious, monumental day to go all crazy and romantic and profound–but I’m sure those people are out there, and they’re the ones who make it a task for the rest of us who actually just want to take a day and focus on being happy about being in love. Because let’s face it, despite all of our (closeted or not) romantic ideals, when people are busy, it doesn’t matter how much you’re in love–you still need to take a moment and re-appreciate the fact. Which should be good for both the man and the woman.

  3. Dannie makes an interesting point. But why would anyone not want to celebrate Valentine’s Day if their partner did want to celebrate it? It’s not a huge amount of extra effort.

  4. Sounds to me like guys’ problem with Valentine’s Day is actually a problem with their girlfriends’ or “women’s” expectations, which sounds to me more like a relationship problem. If you’re in a relationship wherein you’re both on the same page, and each person wants the other one to have a fun day, then it shouldn’t be an issue–whether that means going all out on the day, or pretending it doesn’t exist at all as a couple. If the girl in the relationship is really that fanatic that she cares more about commercialized ideas of romance than her partner’s happiness, that’s not a holiday problem: that’s a relationship/personal problem. My man and I have always chosen to look at the holiday as an excuse to tell others to leave us alone and take the entire day to cook delicious food and have hours of body-wrecking, amazing sex. Doesn’t sound to bad, I bet. 😉

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