That’s right. Valentine’s Day is right around the corner - Tuesday, in fact. I read somewhere the other day that this is the most procrastinated holiday of the year, meaning that many people (OK men) wait until the last minute to buy their sweetheart a gift. There’s a reason for that, I think. It’s not that the day doesn’t matter to them; they are puzzled by it. It’s also a holiday laced with land mines. One wrong move, and the whole thing’s going to blow up.
Sure, we kid ourselves and say that Valentine’s Day is for couples, sweethearts, lovers, whatever you want to call them. It’s not. It’s a chick holiday. Roses? Dainty chocolates? Jewelry? All chick stuff. And men know this, somewhere deep in their hearts. They fear the day. They dread it. I don’t think they get it. They know that they are supposed to shop or otherwise purchase something their sweetheart will love, but what is it?
As Americans, when in doubt, we spend. Consider these statistics:
According to Business Insider News, the average U.S. consumer will spend about $116 on Valentine’s Day gifts, meals and entertainment. Men will spend double what women will spend ($158.81 compared to $75.79). About 110 million roses, mostly red and produced specifically for the big day, will be delivered during a three-day time period ($1.7 billion worth). And about 11 percent of couples will get engaged on Valentine’s Day.
Perhaps most interesting of all is the research that concluded that 53 percent of women in American would dump their boyfriends if they did not get them anything for The Big Day.
There’s a lot riding on it, guys.
Why else will a man pay five times retail for 12 roses? No, the price of roses does not increase because of demand. It increases because of fear. It increases because florists know that, at the last minute, they can get whatever price they demand for roses, because a lot hangs in the balance.
I’d like to help if I can, gentlemen. For most women, a gift that reflects thought is much better than a gift for which you got gouged. By “thought,” I mean think about her likes, something she may want but would never purchase for herself, something she may have mentioned in passing. It may even mean you cooking dinner and giving the kids a bath while she soaks in a tub reading the latest issue of People magazine. Whatever matters to her.
Of course, this means you can’t wait until noon on the 14th to start thinking about this; thought takes time. Here are a few other pointers that I hope you find helpful:
A big, cheap bottle of perfume is not a bargain. Also, buying her a scent and telling her it reminds you of your mother is not wise.
Do not buy lingerie for a woman you don’t know very, very well. A gas station is not the place to buy roses, even if they are conveniently, individually wrapped in plastic.
Appliances are another no-no, even the pink and red ones.
Two tickets to your favorite basketball team’s next home game is not a good Valentine’s Day gift.
Jewelry is a great gift (I threw that in in case my husband reads this).
Well good luck. And if you do procrastinate and find yourself up a creek without a paddle on Tuesday, call a florist and prepare to pay - dearly. You’ll save yourself a lot of heartache in the long run.
Carole Townsend is also a Gwinnett Daily Post staff correspondent and author of the recently-released book, “Southern Fried White Trash.” The book takes a humorous look at families and how we behave when thrown together for weddings, funerals and holidays. She has been quoted on msnbc.com, in the LA Times, USA Today and the Christian Science Monitor, been featured on FOX 5 News and CNN, and is often a guest on radio shows nationwide.