Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Green Girl Posits a Theory

Today my sons give these on Valentine's Day

The other weekend I sat with Team Testosterone and a few boxes of Batman valentines. Mr. T and Mr. B duly copied the names of their classmates, signed their name in the "From" space and folded them in two. Mr. G scribbled a bit on each of his and I rewrote his signature in a more legible fashion. All three boys worked diligently, picking up each card off the pile as they went down the line of classmates and their biggest concerns were:

1) how quickly they could complete the task at hand so they could go play
2) what kind of candy I'd buy to tape to the cards.

When I was little, writing out my Valentine's Day cards took forever. I'd personally select each card for each child in my class, making sure the message on the card ("Valentine, you're out of this world" or "Bee Mine, Valentine") was exactly what I wanted to convey to my classmates. There were subtle differences that I detected, a picture of a cat was good for a girl classmate, not a boy. Anything that sounded romantic ("Let's monkey around, Valentine") had to be used for only the nicest boys in my class, lest the icky ones get any weird ideas. My best friends got the biggest, prettiest cards in the box of 25 purchased at the local five and dime.

On Valentine's day I'd come home from school with my white paper sack, decorated with glitter and hearts, and pore through the messages I'd received. Sighing with contentment, I'd nod, thinking, "That's exactly right," as I read each card. And I'd save the cards to re-read for days and weeks to come.

My sons come home on Valentine's Day and dump their bags onto the carpet, rip off the cards and toss them aside as they go straight for the candy. The card is inconsequential, a sort of gift wrap or garnish that accompanies the important part of Valentine's Day for them--the miniature chocolate bar or the tiny bag of Skittles.

And then we grow up into adults with two very different perceptions of the holiday. Women have expectations because for us the day has meaning and significance--and our Valentine's Day card/gift damn well better demonstrate that to us in as unique a fashion as humanly possible. Men have no expectation for Valentine's Day, and generally have little sense that anything is expected of them. They go through the motions to fulfill their "obligation," all the while thinking about what is important to them (food, sex, NASCAR, tax returns, college basketball scores, you get the picture).

What do you think, readers? Is our adult treatment of Valentine's Day reflective of our childhood treatment? Do you see your children, boys and girls both, reflecting adult behavior on Valentine's Day? Or does Green Girl need to lay off the coffee a little bit?

Someday, someone will expect my sons to give this for Valentine's Day


  1. My girls definitely give thought to which Valentines go to which classmates.

    As for myself, V-Day is a total nonevent and would not be celebrated at all in Jenworld if it weren't for the girls. I just could not care less, much to my husband's delight.

  2. Also, if you get a chance, would you please, pretty please, email me at jenontheedge(at)embarqmail(dot)com? I have something to ask you but can't find your email. Thanks!

  3. Sigh. I remember those days. My childhood was similar to yours.

    But somehow, I don't really care much anymore. I guess because I'm lazy and hate to reciprocate. ;-)

    Maybe some cinnamon hearts would thaw mine?

  4. Repeat after me - boys and girls are different creatures. It only makes sense that they would grow up into men and women, also very different creatures. And it doesn't matter how much gender equality you shove down people's throats, that will never change.

  5. For us, as adults, we don't do much for Valentine's Day. Other than order in a nice dinner, which, in my book, is the best present I could ever get right now ;)

    My son didn't care much about the cards other than the girls got the pink ones and the boys got the red ones.

    And yes, I agree with another comment, boys and girls are different creatures!

  6. Valentines day is very important to me because, as my sisters often accuse me, I am very romantical. It is the one day for sure that I know that love will be celebrated. I know my husband could care less but am so thankful that he respects what it means to me. Bon bons and champagne! Serious about the romantical!

    I think that you are quite right, men and women are just different and they are generally from the get go. I can't totally say I know though b/c I was home schooled till 16 so didn't really have that experience of the valentine in the classroom.

    PS I would never judge you for your coffee consuption, that would be like the coffee pot calling the coffee...uh...you know what I mean!

  7. Children don't 'do' cards here...it sounds sweet though (pardon the pun).

    As for adults, I think it depends how romantic you are - we always do something on Valentines (but didn't as children).

    Have a lovely Valentines - hope you get spoilt rotten!

  8. Green Girl: Honey, you are onto something. I will posit that theory right alongside you. My 11 year old son whips through Valentines: this year, however, he created a crude Simpsons Valentine that would NOT have met Matronly approval but his father was the parent at hand. The difference start there: fart joke or heart? And my darling Scarlett, who so fully lives her name, cut and pasted and laced and painted and hand-made each one of her lovely valentines, with 'best best best best friend Ellie' getting one so special its radiating glow fills our whole house. Then she asked if she could do Merrick's our 4 year olds. SHe has divided the valentines into gender: girls get cat cards and boys get dogs. Girls get one Hershey kiss, boys get a mini-snickers.

    Green Girl, She IS your theory, incarnate.

    The Matron? Ah, holidays of most sort have been destroyed by her long education which was spent deconstructing and critiquing just about everything, especially Hallmark. But she knows she'll get, at least, a VERY good back rub!


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