Thursday, February 15, 2007


For those of you stuck with a romantically impaired partner, having just endured another disappointing Valentines Day, there is hope – or at least understanding. It isn’t lack of love or even initiative on his part. Sheer terror is a more accurate description. He won’t admit it, but he has slipped furtively into the lingerie department where he blushed as red as any Victoria Secrets lacy bit of nothing, then agonized over choice of words when an attractive woman asked if she could help him. When asked your size, he was reduced to absolute horror. The male brain understands size in motorcycles and snowmobiles, but lacy female things? He looked back at the woman trying to help him and thought, “smaller there” and “bigger there” – but – some things he has been taught not to say in female company.

Where they sell those heart-shaped boxes of chocolates he wasn’t quite so terrified, but he’s not so dense that he hasn’t been aware of you complaining that just looking at chocolate adds to your hips. Now if there were only one or two styles of boxes, he might cope, but there are eighteen verities, each promising to melt the heart of his beloved. He’s not sure what a melted heart looks like, but he’s quite sure it is not healthy – and there are so many to choose from. Now in the hardware store choosing among twenty hammer-drills that range from a throwaway model at $24.95 right up to a professional model at $184.95 is not a problem. But how does he weigh the merits of artery-clogging decadence? He knows you’ll say he shouldn’t have – and he knows you’ll be right, but all the signs hint at wedded bliss if he does and dire, unnamable consequences if he doesn’t. It’s enough to bewilder any man.

Greeting cards are another ordeal. “How do I luv thee? Let me count the ways.” He stares at the verse, turns the card over to see if the back shows French or Italian, then stares at the verse again. He puts that one back on the shelf and grabs the next one. The flowery font is beyond him. He thinks he can make out the word “love,” but doesn’t know if he’s promising to take you on a world cruise or just a supper for two. He made a rash “Let’s do it,” comment once years ago – when you spoke longingly of some dreamed of outing. He may not be any wiser now, but he is more cautious. The foolish cards, those gag types you buy for brothers when they hit fifty – he can understand. But he’s heard rumours that at least at Valentines, they are grounds for divorce – so he goes back to the ones in a language he cannot read. He finally closes his eyes and grabs. He’ll make a final check to be sure it isn’t calling you his loving Mother-in-Law, but won’t risk reading further. At the cash register he’ll gulp and give a sick grin, mumble something to the girl behind the counter, try – and fail – to pretend he is an accomplished flirt, and blushing and sweating, run from the store. He might have the envelope with him. He might not. He might remember to sign it. He might not. But if love is a verb, the effort it has taken him, regardless of what the card actually says – speaks of deep love.

Your man has a limited vocabulary when it comes to romance. He’ll gladly let you model something from Victoria Secrets. If he doesn’t have adequate words to express his appreciation, his eyes will tell you much. And he’ll gladly share some of those artery-clogging chocolates, just to spare your hips of course. He really wishes he could understand those greeting cards and come out with the sweep-you-off-your-feet lines that James Bond seems to have down pat. He agonizes over that lack. – And he really does try to remember to put the toilet seat down. If the curtains are drawn so the neighbours can’t see, he might even push the vacuum around. If he forgets to plug it in, that doesn’t lesson the love behind the act.

So if he hasn’t quite fulfilled all your dreams this Valentines Day, please understand that he has made intense efforts to do so – efforts that have cost him in ways beyond your understanding. And believe it or not, he loves you enough that he will go through the same agony next year, though the results will probably be the same. So snuggle up beside him. Shock him by sharing the same chocolate at the same time. Who knows, he might find other ways to show you how much he loves you – and you just might burn off at least as many calories as you have eaten.


Belinda said...

Woo-hoo Brian, I love it! And you are blogging!!! And isn't it wonderful?--We get to read your writing and enjoy laughing and smiling at your unique and touching way of presenting the "male persona."

Anna Dynowski said...

Brian, that was fantastic! I really loved it. And I love your humor.

N. J. Lindquist said...

Totally loved this, Brian! But I think you're wasting it on us - this should be in one of those glossy magazines!

N. J.

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