Archive for Thursday, February 17, 2005

True men don’t rely on Valentine’s Day

February 17, 2005

By the time you read this, you have indulged in your share of Valentine candy and activity, no matter how you chose to spend it. As with most of the holidays, it is commercialized and exploited for the profit of parties involved.

This day also brings out the softer side of men who are supposed to shower their the female counterparts with adoration that ranges from flowers or candies to fancy dinners. Somehow, as much as women participate in this holiday, it is the men who are the butt of the jokes as well as the obligated party to make this holiday special. Just so you know, I am not against this holiday. I have my share of indulgences but somehow I think, in my view anyway, it subtly makes mockery of men.

When you look at the Valentine cards from a man to a woman, most of the messages are usually about how the men have failed to recognize their significant other through the year but choose this day to make amends. When I was shopping for a Valentine card, I was disappointed to see card after card that carried messages apologetic for men's romantic shortcomings. Although this might be true for some men, I have found that this has now become a stereotype.

Why are men made to look like weaklings and bumbling fools when it comes to romance? If you ever watch the TV show "Everybody Loves Raymond," it epitomizes a man who is clueless and incapable of being responsible and romantic.

It's a shame that some people have bought into this stereotype because most men I know are quite the opposite. These men know how to be romantic, and at the same time, know how to lead their family with honor and integrity. Men who are not afraid to take the role of the head of the house, yet know their place in supporting and helping in the housework and caring of children.

These men are not what the marketing of Valentine's Day is targeted to. You see, these men send flowers to their wives for no reason at any given time. They go out on dates to remind each other how special they are frequently. They don't have to wait for a holiday to tell them that they have to do something special for their lovers. They find ways to show that several times in the course of the year.

The marketing stereotype has almost become the self-fulfilling prophecy that many men live by. It is quite common to hear in conversations that a man may refer to his wife as the one who wears the pants in the family, where every decision has to be given approval by the "wo-Man" of the house. How many times have you heard a guy say that his wife takes care of the finances of the home? His responsibility is to turn in his paycheck. Not that those women are incapable of doing a good job at the finances, but when did it become OK for men to stand down from their responsibility and masculinity? Why is it OK for men to be made fun of in that manner?

Maybe I am old-fashioned, but I'd like to think that a man could still be a man and still be in touch with his "soft-side." You may have heard a term for this, its called "metrosexual." While these men are supposedly in touch with their softer side, it is only in the realm of how they take care and present themselves. Unfortunately it addresses the exterior of the men, not what's within him.

Men need not be ashamed to be who they are. Letting a stereotype define whom they are is doing a disservice to their family and friends. It is very possible for a man to lead his family in a manner that is nurturing and caring and still be the person who is responsible for his family.

There is nothing wrong with the man wearing the pants in the family. I'm sure some of you might be chuckling and saying, "yeah, right," but I suspect that deep inside, you would give anything to have that stereotype not be a part of your life.

When my wife was in the work force, I used to send her flowers every so often just to tell her that she is special and I was thinking of her. The first thing her co-workers would ask was what I did wrong. It didn't occur to them that I could send flowers for no reason, and that I am capable of showing my affection on a day that is not a birthday, anniversary or Valentine's.

Even though Valentine's Day has passed, I want to encourage everyone, especially the men, to continue to find ways to show affection for your spouse or loved one. Nothing lights up a person's face like when they are showered with affection when it's least expected. There is no limit to how one could make this happen. So here is wishing that everyone, especially the men, will celebrate a Happy Valentine's Day more often than on Feb. 14.

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