Tuesday, February 13, 2007
It's a Love-Hate Relationship
Ahh, Valentine's Day. A day rarely met with indifference. You can't avoid it in the US. Some retailers begin putting up displays as early as January 2 (those are the ones I despise the most), but by mid-January all the store windows are red and lacy. Heart shaped balloons are everywhere...but I'm not telling you anything you don't already know.
Because my wedding anniversary is in February, we made a decision long ago not to celebrate Valentine's Day. At least not formally. I will admit I have cheated over the years, but I think my efforts have been appreciated. One year I planned to meet Bubba for lunch and as he walked through the parking lot to greet me I flashed him a quick peek beneath my trench coat. Yup, you got it. Good thing our apartment was only a five minute drive away from his office.
Then came children. Yeah, they throw a bucket of cold water on those spontaneous trysts, but there are good things about it, too. I love watching their enthusiasm while crafting homemade cards for their teachers (hate the mess the glitter and glue make all over the counter). I love having the excuse to bake and the way it makes my house smell (hate the leftovers that I feel compelled to snarf down after the kids are in bed). I love coming up with creative ways to tell my kids I love them on that special day (hate the cheap toys and crappy candy that line the shelves of the supermarket and transform my girls into greedy whiners). I love, love, love chocolate and the excuse to treat myself with some decadent goodies (hate that I go overboard treating myself and end up with chocolate for weeks afterward).
My favorite part of Valentine's Day, though, is Victoria's Secret at 6pm on February 13th. I don't go there to purchase anything. No, I'm much more petty than that. I love to lurk - spying on the men who've saved their Valentine's plan for the last minute and are now seeking advice from the barely legal salesgirl who wears a size 2. There are the ones who, outside the store, swagger with confidence and self-assuredness and enter sideways as if under the spell of some magnetic force inside, looking around for people that might recognize them. Some of them give the naughtier racks a wide berth with their bodies while struggling to keep their eyes off the thongs and short teddies. There are the guys who think they're alone and head right for the racy, silky panties and then jump and redden when the salesgirl walks up behind them and offers her help. Man, I want to work there on February 13th!
I love watching them try to estimate the size of their girlfriend/wife by holding their hands out. I once witnessed a guy pull a label out of his pocket that he had removed from his wife's underwear that morning, only to discover that several million washings had removed the size from it altogether. I heard one man ask whether a gift card was a bad idea. I wanted so badly to be the salesperson who innocently answered, "That depends on where you expect her to wear it." I can think of so many one-liners and double entendres that would reduce these already embarrassed men to mere puddles of self-consciousness on the plush carpet. These are the guys who slowly study every lingerie catalog that comes in the mail. What is it about going to the actual store that is so intimidating? Would it be easier or more difficult if it was Frederick's of Hollywood? And why do I find it so entertaining to watch them frantically search for just the right thing in the right size? I certainly don't envy them their task. You've got to get just the right balance of sexy but not slutty, not-too-big and not-too-small in order to obtain the perfect response. I don't know - I might opt for flowers and a nice dinner out. It might not get you laid, but it probably won't get you kicked out.