A fellow decided to buy his girl some perfume for Valentine’s day, so he went to the cosmetic counter in his girl’s favorite store. The prices were horrific! No matter what the sales lady showed him, even the tiniest bottles were beyond his budget.
Finally, he asked her: “Can you show me something really cheap?”
She handed him a mirror.
Every guy reading this just winced and cringed.
There’s something wrong with that.
Let me get to the point.
- Where did we arrive at the notion we guys are responsible for making all the effort? Wash and wax the wheels . . . candy . . . flowers . . . expensive this or that . . . Don’t misunderstand. It’s normal to want to give your sweetie something nice, something unexpected. But when you’re made to feel like something the neighbor tracked in because you’re not buying/doing what everyone on Facebook says they are?
That’s the point.
Social pressure lays it on thick: get your sorry carcass out there and buy her ( whatever the TV commercials have convinced you she’s got to have if you’re any kind of man ) so she doesn’t have to sit at home with her poochie lips hanging over the half-eaten pizza.
What if you can’t? What if life has intruded, and you’re unable to do much other than struggle through the red/pink/white/purple sea of cards to find one that works? Are you less of a man because you sit, scrolling down through everyone else’s Facebook drool, seeing pictures from exotic places and reading accounts of the fantastic dinner and evening they had or plan to have?
That’s the not-so-subtle message sent by the snooty, imperious saleslady at the Dillard’s perfume counter. I think when they’re hired, part of their training is to learn how to arch one eyebrow, quirk their mouth and slightly wrinkle their nose as if getting a whiff of something from the dumpster. She never mentioned the only scents she offered him were the ones she couldn’t afford to wear, either, unless she worked there, even with a generous employee discount. It’s written all over her face: “You—you’re disgusting ! Vermin!”
What if love, for you, means cooking a simple meal so your sick wife doesn’t have to? What if it means reminding you of your own hardworking dad’s passing on Valentine’s Day?
“If you love me, you’ll buy me something I don’t need and I know isn’t in your budget” is shallow and demeaning, whether you intend it to be or not. This is no appeal to let cheapskates remain that way. There’s something else true under the sun. More than one guy somehow thinks buying something gaudy once a year, or taking ‘the little woman’ out to Freddie’s Frozen Custard for an unforgettable night on the town will make up for 364 days of immaturity, self-interest and taking her for granted.
As a centering method of appreciating what real love is, may I suggest spending a little thoughtful time today in 1 John chapters 3 and 4?
This is the kind of love we are talking about–not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God . . . . First we were loved, now we love. He loved us first. ~ 1 John 4:10, 19
By all means, if you’re able, find a special gift for your spouse. Treat her to a fine meal. Take her to a play or concert or a favorite movie. Do it in gratitude to God, who’s made it possible.
If you’re not, don’t be driven by the glitzy pap of a foolish world that’s largely abandoned any understanding of love. Be the special gift for your spouse. Be the best man you can be for her. Do your best to honor the spirit of these two chapters, written by a guy who’d spent time with the Savior.
You’ll find ‘Valentines Day’ will mean more than the foil ornaments that are already beginning to hit the 70% OFF! bins in WalMart.
© D. Dean Boone, February 2018