From The Mouths of Husbands - True (Thoughts About) Romance
I looked at my filofax today (sort of an ancient paper-based crude version of a palm pilot for you younger readers) and saw the words … “February 14 – V.D.” Well that’s a bit scary.
Now we ALL know that the modern day traditions of St. Valentine’s day are direct from the Madison Avenue marketing minds of the folks at Hallmark, The Vermont Teddy Bear Company, as well as the lingerie, “adult” novelties, chocolate, floral and PERFUME industries. You don’t have to be Oliver Stone to trace the inter-woven conspiracy.
In the Catholic Church there are records of three different Saint Valentines actually. Each of them was a member of the (supposedly celibate) clergy. And each was a martyr. Two of them were beheaded. Now there’s a romantic image eh?
Apparently in the Middle Ages, The English and the French believed that on February 14th, birds chose their mates. For the English, the word “birds” is slang for women. So women chose other women as their mates? … Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
But since the French were involved, and the French are the world’s leading perfume makers, one can see where the conspiracy had its roots.
I’m sure that Europe, being a tightly connected trading community, was the fertile ground for this commercial alliance to come together.
The Belgians and Swiss saying, “Chocolates! Chocolates must be the gift of Valentine’s Day!”
Whilst the Dutch tulip growers, chimed in with, “Flowers! Flowers should be the gift of Valentine’s Day!”
The German’s of course felt the day should be celebrated with gifts of latex and bondage equipment but fortunately they were too pre-occupied with building their munitions supplies to weigh in heavily with their opinions on the matter.
The Italians thought the day should be celebrated with lingerie and Roman orgies. God bless the Italians.
Of course the British, with their wordsmiths like Byron, Chaucer, Shakespeare et al, thought the day should be celebrated with greeting cards (… and strangely, hooligan rioting … though this did not catch on).
Unfortunately no voice was given to the Eastern Europeans, or we could be celebrating Valentine’s Day with vodka!
In the end, the French led the way. And (at least in my household) perfume tops the list of Valentine’s Day gifts.
I consider myself to be a semi-sensitive, semi-macho, existentialist, modern post-pre-post-modernist. By that I mean bollocks-artist who tries to display whichever temperament is the flavor of the day in terms of what Cosmo and Hollywood (another conspiracy?) tell women they should want in a man.
So now, as a 21st century male, I am confronted with trying to maintain … or even grow … the romance in my marriage … within the confines of the traditional commercial endearments, of this archaic holiday. And I present you this following insight!
Here is WHY (are you paying attention ladies?) men don’t associate perfume with romance in the same way YOU do!
1) Of the five senses, smell is only the second most important to a male when it comes to being attracted and aroused by a female … with sight, sound, taste and touch being tied for first.
2) A man could spend $50+ dollars on a very small bottle of something [perfume] that mightbig bottle of something [tequila] that will make a woman not care what you do to her!
3) In general, men do not like spending money on anything they can not pronounce. That is why he didn’t take you to see “Les Miserables” or even “Moulin Rouge”. (for example: and this is the God’s honest truth … until he was murdered and made the mainstream news, I honestly thought you pronounced “Versace” as “ver sace” as if it rhymed with “ver face”.
4) IF we buy you perfume … you expect us to remember which perfume it was … whether you liked it or not … on what occasions you wore it … and whether we should buy it again … or buy it again, but this time as the eau-de whatever-it-wasn’t last time. In other words … if we got the EDP this time we should get the EDT next time. [Hey pretty impressive huh that I’ve latched on to you secretive 3-letter-acronyms! I’m onto you!] Frankly ladies, a grown male’s memory is limited comparably with that of a Commodore computer, with MOST of the memory space allotted to sports statistics. In the modern day, we have too many PINs, passwords and accounts clogging up our cranial motherboards! I remember that my wife was wearing an olive green sweater when I first met her and I am proud of that!
5) For men that wear cologne, we invariably were given some once as an “I don’t know what else to give him” last-minute Christmas gift, straight from the “last minute Christmas ideas” display rack at Sears. We did not find it offensive to wear, so THAT, by default, became our brand. But our brand loyalty is best observed in how we buy cola. “Oh look, this one is on sale!”
6) We don’t understand the placement. You put perfume on your wrists and behind your ears. In a man’s mind that’s the same as setting up the Christmas tree in the closet or hooking up the playstation to the smallest TV in the house. The suggestion of something good is perceived, it just seems to be poorly marketed and displayed.
7) The shelf life confuses us. The perfume in the bottle remains potent for years and years. As long as it is in the bottle, if you remove the cap, or spray some, it smells as strongly as ever. The ONE thing you can do it seems, to diminish the smell, is actually spraying it on yourself! That strong perfumey smell … once adhered to female skin … evaporates faster than it takes a man to picture you and your best mate, whenever the topic of bisexuality is mentioned. Flowers wilt, chocolates get eaten and perfume dissipates. Only lingerie lasts forever (assuming normal levels of enthusiastic play). I’d belabor the point but I can hear women’s thoughts now getting far too close to the phrase … “DIAMONDS last forever [you pinhead!]”
8) Size matters! To a man, the prospect of bringing home a tiny little perfume box … wrapped with less paper than it takes to cover new mouse pad for example … does not have the same fun factor as coming home on Valentine’s day, carrying a (wrapped) HUGE box of something! It doesn’t matter what’s in the box (it could be a new Hi-Def Plasma screen or even the latest bagless Dyson) as long as it is huge and wrapped. Why ladies, do you think they only sell wrapping paper in great big sheets?
9) If we buy you lingerie … believe me … we will know when you are wearing it! If we buy you perfume, you deliberately play mean tricks on us. You say things like, “honey, did you notice what I am wearing?” [meaning the perfume we just bought you – usually without ever smelling it first] Instinctively our eyes scan you from top to bottom without a clue what you are banging on about. The problem lies in the language. IF we could somehow replace the word “wearing” when it comes to perfume, with something else that doesn’t make us think you mean clothing … we MIGHT (I repeat MIGHT) have a chance at getting this correct. Often the crueler women put a little of their every-day utility cologne and when we say. “Oh it’s the perfume I bought for you!” We get the rolled eyes, the pissed-off head shaking tutting and then the inevitable storming-out-of-the-room harrumphing that says, “Pal you got as much chance of getting some tonight as you do of winning a Pulitzer.”
10) Look good, feel warm, sound happy and dare I say taste nice …and you could smell like a nomad’s sandal and still get our attention.
Honey, that’s all … you know … har-har-har bollocks for your blog. You know I really care what you smell like… and you smell wonderful! Happy Valentine’s Day!