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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

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!



Blogger tmp00 said...

The end result is choose wrong, you get beheaded or (enforced) celibacy. My best friends husband got her a toaster for Christmas when she asked for Commes des Garcon. The kid isn't old enough to drive herself to school, so beheading was out of the question.

All of this can be avoided by the application of Gay Best Friend (tm). Yes, Gay Best Friend (tm) will take those pesky notes, ferret out that ebay auction for the last known bottle of Derby and deliver it wrapped with a single Tuescher champagne truffle and a single Cymbidium, ensuring that you remain attached to your head and with the promise of sex sometime in your future.

Gay Best Friend (tm). Order today!

Sorry couldn't resist. Another hilarious review!

12:14 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not easy being gay, but women out there sure don't make it easy for my straight brothers. I'm being flippant of course and you can sign me up for the gay best friend anytime. Columbina, you are a lucky woman and Mr. Columbina, don't forget whose blog this is, you're lucky too. Love you both. I dunno, I just do.

1:05 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure I just let out a little bit of pee laughing at the Versace mis-pronunciation. I'll have to cover it up with a fragrance that fits - Miel de Bois perhaps (ask Marina; she'll understand).

Mr C., you ain't got an ounce of homo anywhere in your body (ooeeeer!). Keep up the good work.


You ever-loving, loyal (but with a sprinkling of British soccer hooligan throw in for good measure) fan


n.b. I'd be a hopeless GBF - I'm rubbish at shopping. I prefer the pub.

4:11 AM EST  
Blogger lilybp said...

Well, my husband insists on celebrating Feb. 13, instead of V-Day. Don't ask. And we have birthdays around then, so this is a fancy-dinner-out holiday--which should be relatively easy, but if I actually want reservations made (oh, there are no reservations available if you call on the 12th?--what a surprise!), I still need to pick the restaurant and make the res. myself. Which I did, and it was great but----clearly, DH NEEDS to hire Gay Best Friend (tm)!
Loved that, and loved the review!

6:02 AM EST  
Blogger marchlion said...

Hah! I am married to the man who will be picking up my card and present ... oh ... sometime around 2pm today, when he realizes what day it is by reading something on MSN. However we had a huge ice storm last night and everything is closed. My prediction: a "Happy 4th Birthday" card and a heart-shaped Whitman's sampler choc box from the little grocery store around the corner, assuming they're not sold out. All this with the Brood underfoot, because the schools are closed due to weather.

And you know what? I don't care. We've been married almost 18 years and I am, truly, the luckiest woman on earth.

7:28 AM EST  
Blogger marchlion said...

PS I forgot -- I do *not* put the TV in the closet ;-) I put it where I want the most attention directed.

Hope you get your Pulitzer tonight.

7:32 AM EST  
Blogger elle said...

LMAO! Brilliant, hilarious post! Can I just say how impressed I am that you remember what M was wearing when you met her? Just asked DH what I was wearing when we met. He got that glazed, deer caught in the headlights look. No clue, but that's OK because I have no idea either. I'm the original anti-romantic, so he's usually safe on Vday and, just because I will take *any* excuse to get more perfume, I always buy myself a scent on Vday for him and then tell him what excellent taste he has and how much I adore him (which I do).
And you deserve that Pulitzer. :-)

8:30 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I begged Mr. Katie to give me syphilis, but alas, I don't think he's going to come through with that for me.

In lieu an adorable plush venereal disease, I suppose a gal will have to settle for chocolates and homemade cards from the kids. Which isn't so terrible, really :)

I rather like the metaphor that the St. Valentines offer on a day of love: who amongst us can claim we haven't lost our heads over someone, too?

8:33 AM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I find the idea of a scent inspired by nomad's sandal to be very appealing. Great idea, my dear! We'll make a parfumista out of you yet :-)

Who says Vodka is not a romatic beverage? It works in your favour as successfully as tequila, doesn't it?

Oh and- DIAMONDS last forever [you...darling] :-D

8:36 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Colombina, you are a riot! And Marina is lucky to have you. Mr. Newproducts doesn't even *think* to get me anything on Valentine's Day, and I have stopped expecting anything or giving anything. Happy Valentine's Day to you both!!

8:40 AM EST  
Blogger Dusan said...

See, I'm the luckiest man on earth cos I don't have to buy scents for my GF - she says she's had enough of them for two lifetimes, wonder why? Now lingerie... is a different story... :)
I actually enjoy shopping, so I guess that makes me, what Gay's Best Friend?
Thanks for providing the roaring laughter, Mr. C! Hope you get shortlisted tonight!

9:34 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thank you for this revealing and, I'm sure, very true point of (male) view - by the time I got to No.9, I was laughing out loud so my DH came to see if I was all right ;) (and, by the way, he said he admires you for having the patience for writing *and* illustrating).
M and Mr.C, I think you can both be very happy to have found each other :-D.

10:36 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another smash hit!! (as your posts always are)

Thank you for making me laugh literally out loud today, a rare event for a widow on Valentine's Day.

by the way....I love your designer, think I could get one of those red cupid numbers at the local Macy's? ;)

11:58 AM EST  
Blogger Victoria said...

Colombina, At least your hubby is interested enough to post. I'm afraid you won't see a post from my hubby till I change my blog's name to - Victoria's Own Cigars. Happy Valentine's Day!

12:49 PM EST  
Blogger lilybp said...

Oh, Katie, I MUST give Mr. Lily syphilis! He will love it!

12:51 PM EST  
Blogger Marina said...

I want one too! DD saw it and said she want's the cute little pink "snake" as well. :-D

12:53 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want the flea.

1:51 PM EST  
Blogger Patty said...

Mr. Colombina, your sense of humor has to be gift enough for M. ;)

4:30 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Late to the party, but just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed Mr. Colobina's thoughts about Valentine gifts. Hilarious! My DH seems to enjoy Valentine's Day more than any other of the gift giving holidays. He gives terrific gifts too. How weird since he doesn't even have a gay best friend!

5:03 PM EST  
Blogger Trina said...

Mr. C, you may be pleased to know that for Valentine's Day I bought my hubby a home micro-brewery kit :~D

7:13 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Absolutely charming and witty! I love it

12:53 AM EST  
Blogger ForTheLoveOfPerfume said...

Colombina you are one lucky woman!! What a smart and witty gem you've got there. Mind if I follow in suit and have my hubby post something hilarious? I am seriously entertained. :-)

8:01 PM EST  

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