Jason Davis: Happy miserable Valentine’s Day

Feb. 11, 2014 @ 02:54 PM

For over 200 years now men across the western world have dreaded Feb. 14.

We’ve all been plagued by a collective lump in our throats, sweaty palms and a panic that what we’ve done just won’t be good enough.

Valentine’s Day, also known as the day florists, chocolatiers and card makers rule the world, is this week. As always, I’m not ready.

How do you express the sincere love you have for your significant other with sugary confections, mass-printed words of affection and overpriced roses? I’ve determined it’s a vast conspiracy to drive us all crazy.

Don’t get offended, ladies. I know some of you try just as hard as the guys to get the perfect gift for the man in your life.

But how hard is it really? If they’re anything like me, cards can come and go, but a medium-rare cut of prime beef works perfectly to patch the holes of the heart.

My wife, God bless her heart, is impossible to shop for. Not just on Valentine’s Day, but on any day where gifts are expected. The reason is simple — she’s more practical than a U.S. Army Field Manual. She has no material wants, except maybe a good scarf. It’s cold outside after all.

Raised in a working-class military family just one generation or so out of poverty, Leigh Ann’s family taught her to value a dollar and appreciate what you have, not what you don’t.

It’s maddening.

As the rest of the world is scrambling to find the perfect gift, I’m stuck thinking the simple gifts I’ve accumulated aren’t enough.

It’s probably rooted in the fact that I myself am too materialistic. Growing up, I was a little bit spoiled by my father and grandparents, likely because of my mother’s death when I was a toddler.

I always had a glut of toys, games, puzzles and books, and each concurrent holiday added piles more. It’s no wonder that on our first Christmas together I was a bit underwhelmed by my wife’s gift of a pack of argyle dress socks.

Over time, I’ve grown used to her frugal practicality, but the over-the-top holiday advertisements and gotta-buy culture always push me to think I’ve got to “wow” her with a great holiday gift. 

Other guys, I’m told, have the opposite problem. Always worried about one-upping the gifts their girls’ friends receive, they’re in a constant struggle to out-do everyone else.

If I only had that problem. I can do extravagant. Try showing your love with something practical. It’s tough.

What I can do this year is resolve to actually make a purchase prior to Friday.

The last thing I need is a last minute hunt for a good sturdy stepladder or a breakneck search for a perfectly romantic replacement light for our pantry.

So first thing Monday I’ll drive into Sevierville and shell out a little cash for a card and a gift and be done. The card will be the hardest part.

How do you profess the love for the mother of your child with some cheap cardboard? But the gift? That’s easy.

Lowe’s has a perfectly practical set of screwdrivers on sale, and we have a ceiling fan that’s needed installing for a few months. 

I’ve got to get to work.