With Vagina Day just around the corner (yes, you read that correctly) I thought it would make sense to talk a little bit about entitlement, appreciation, and attitude. This holiday is little more than yet another example of how society brow-beats men into worshipping women through supplication, material goods and mandatory romantic gestures. Many women will say “I don’t need anything” to their SO’s, yet things take a nasty turn when he actually shows up empty handed. Women are fine with not doing anything special, until their friends regale them with lavish stories of spontaneous proposals, flowers, balloons, hotel rooms, chocolates and expensive dinners.
The worst perpetrators in my opinion however, are the women that buy presents for their SO, only to feel injured, neglected, and unappreciated when they don’t receive anything in return. If you care about and love your SO, that’s wonderful, and you should take the time to show him how you feel. Just don’t be the shallow-giver, the woman that feels righteously indignant when she receives no presents, or complains that what she does receive is sub-par and not good enough (in her opinion). Gifts are always optional and never mandatory.
Some men express their love in different ways, and women often miss all the little things their man does to make their quality of life better. Many men take care of concrete problems. Fixing or replacing a busted appliance, takes out the garbage, cleans the drain pipes, changes your oil. If he opens up, asks for your advice, brags about you to friends, or shows you affection in public – then he’s telling you how much you mean to him and showing you that he cares. If your man does give you something, be grateful. Don’t complain to friends the next day that he got you the wrong kind of flowers, or that you don’t like dark chocolate. You are not entitled to jewelry, flowers, spontaneous trips, or chocolates. You have a man that loves you, that has committed himself to you so stop trying to make him jump through artificial hoops.
Gifts are supposed to be selfless acts of kindness - gestures that we want to make. Your presents should not come with asterisks and strings. Today, men are simultaneously emasculated by society, while also experiencing pressure to live up to the Gentleman standards when they date. They are expected to pay for meals and drinks. When a woman suggests they split the dinner bill in half – she’s a good woman. When a man makes the same suggestion, he’s cheap. Men are tasked with wooing and chasing women prior to establishing a relationship…but that obligation never really ends for RP men. They know how important it is to maintain attraction and continually display their value.
I enjoy giving little, personalized gifts. Seeing my SO’s reaction, the way he smiles or laughs – to me-- that is the reward. Focus on what really matters in your relationship, being with a man you love and respect. When you think of your happiest memories with him, I think most (if not all) well revolve around things you did together and moments you shared as a couple– not trinkets or chocolates. Make this February 14th a day dedicated to tenderness, appreciation, and love – whether that means showering your man with affection, or (if you’re single) taking some time to appreciate your friends, family, and yourself.