Thursday, February 10, 2011

Valentine's Day The Outdoors Way

  Is it just me or is Valentine's Day on a serious amount of steroids this year?

  It seems like just yesterday that the Christmas decorations were taken away by burly garbage collection workers, only to be swiftly replaced by red hearts, chocolate boxes and cheap, gaudy jewelry.  Shoppers no longer have a moment to breathe as they are assaulted by ad after ad reminding them of the "Valentine's Day Sale" or to not forget their loved one on this commercialized "holiday", and best yet; "Take 30% of on this pile of crap that will surely be forgotten and thrown away before St. Patrick's Day when we'll force you to buy more things you either don't need or can't afford!"   This year, in accordance with my anti-conformist ideals, DU and I won't be doing anything special. I know people (generally women, yes I can be sexist as I am one) will say, "Oh don't get me anything" or "I really don't want much this year" and expect the largest bear God ever deemed acceptable to be created on his earth to be lowered by the National Guard on the front lawn, all to illustrate her beloved's adoration of her.  But I really don't want anything, in fact I think the holiday is a complete waste of money.

  This was always not the case, however.  In high school, I was not the most popular nor the hottest thing to ever grace the halls of Aquinas Institute.  I was short, freckly and played hockey.  Hence, boys didn't chase me up and down the school; I wasn't tan, skinny, or played soccer. I had a great group of friends who helped me out of there alive but the males I came in contact with were on the boarder of ruthless.  I was called a lesbian, a midget, and was asked if the torturer in question could play connect the dots on my face.  All in all, it was a terrible experience.  I wanted to be "normal" and "pretty", this feeling was multiplied ten fold around February 14th. Leading up to this day, rumors ripped through the school like an F5 tornado. Who was getting what, who liked who, etc.  When the fabled day came, I would watch in silent envy as squealing girls would open their overflowing lockers; flowers, pillows, and heart-shaped entities tumbling out to paint a grotesque mural on the floor.

   I wanted to be one of those girls.  I wanted to have a boyfriend who adored me THAT much.  Fortunately, I was not one of those girls. I went through high school focused on hockey, having little time for anything else.  I received a few hand-made cards from boys who I had called friends and who may have wanted something more. I had my first kiss when I was fifteen and dated my first actual boyfriend in college.  I went through years of torment in high school and came out on the other side stronger for it.  I'm assuming that I'm leading my readership to conclude that my cynical attitude towards this fake holiday resonates from my past.  While there may be a touch of truth to that, I can confidently say that this year, the past has no bearing on the present.

   DU and I are a pretty disgusting couple. We overuse "I love you" daily, kiss constantly and work our way through problems like adults.  We have ridiculous pet names (Hunny bear,  Woman, Stupid Inconsiderate Woman, Sandwich Maker, Beer Wench, etc.) that we generally, as if out of our complete control, verbalize in baby talk. My friends find it strange that we can get up really early to hunt, be in the stand all day and still want to talk over dinner at night. Hence, this "holiday" of flowers, candy, and pink things is wasted on us.  "Us" as in the collective "we", the contingency of lucky couples who show their love everyday, not just once a year.  I am blessed but I know some are not as fortunate, which of course makes Valentine's day necessary.

  Greeting card companies use this ploy to their monetary advantage annually. Commercials exemplify the "late guy", "bad boyfriend", or "forgetful husband" as evil men who never buy their wives copious amounts of chocolates everyday and must make up for it in the middle of February.  Usually these monsters, always clad in business suits, crisp and clean from their wife-abandoning office hours, are portrayed running into the nearest [enter name of discount store trying to make money off of guilty husbands] to procure necessary implements of heart meltification. These men are always exonerated at the end of the 30-second exercise in marketing genius by a wife who laughs with her perfect teeth, kisses him and leads him upstairs, leaving the audience to guess what exactly will happen as the summit of the incline is reached.  The love-sick will believe that he lead her to the bed room and laid her down on a bed of roses.  The more pragmatic of us will know that just like in real life, the pretty wife put on a smiling face for the cameras but waited till doors closed in order to browbeat him for the laundry that didn't get done last night.

   If the wife in question brought Valentine's day back to its essential roots, she could kill him in celebration of the day.  Given that this holiday is the commemoration of St. Valentine's role as martyr for the Christian church, those who yearn to participate in the holiday should just off their significant other, just as the saint was back in the 200's AD. Yes, I know legend tells that Valentine wrote notes of love and stuck them in random places, but that is trivial to his actual sacrifice.  Valentine so loved his church that he was unwilling to renounce his faith, so he was murdered for it. Hence, that poor husband in the [we're trying to sell you things that she'll hate anyway] store commercial should really have just given her a gun to do the honors and make them both happy.

  Unfortunately for the cave man in all of us, it is no longer socially acceptable to show your love for your woman by beating her over the head and dragging her into your cave.  Likewise, women can't off their husbands because her love for him overwhelms every fiber of her body.  Societal conventions restrict our actions so that unlike Saint Valentine, we show love through fluffy teddy bears rather than sacrifice.

   I picked up a magazine while at the grocery store, simply because I have a secret passion for reading tabloids while the check-out girl looks at me awkwardly as  I laugh at the dumb celebrities.  Across one of the sides of the cover, parallel to an article about 5 Ways to Get Thin Before Spring Break and under a PETA ad for saving poor piggies was an article about What Your Man's Valentine Gifts Say About Your Relationship.  I figured this was a joke until I actually took a gander at page 25. There it was, in all of its mind-numbing glory- a spread of flowers, candy, office supplies and furniture- each with its own little bubble proclaiming, "Your man thinks your sweet- and skinny! Eat these chocolate bon bons up and lap up the luxury of his embrace".  The article only got worse when I turned the page to a tear-out center that the reader can give to her man in order to perfectly instruct his Valentine's day buying spree.  I started laughing at the beginning of the article and was in full hysterics once I saw the "Man Guide". I asked the bewildered clerk if people actually buy this. She looked a little offended and said of course, I bought one last week.  I inserted my foot in my mouth, took my groceries and without a backwards glance hurried to my Jeep.

   I realize that many do not share my cynical views on this holiday, and for the majority who use it as simply another day to show the person they love their appreciation for the person they are, I applaud them. Nothing is better than feeling a little bit special everyday and if Valentine's day brings it out, then fine with me. However, if one uses it to rectify a year of bad behavior, to get what they want via a red and pink guilt trip or as a performance based outpouring of faux-affection, you should stop reading this now and go treat your partner better each day, not just on February 14th.

   Men seem clueless as to what women want.  Especially those manly men who spend the majority of their time outdoors, who kill animals, grow beards and fail to shower for days on end.  To those guys out there who are good, hard working dudes who love their families, treat their women right and want to do something nice for Valentine's day, there is hope.  I yearn to help out whenever I can so I figured that since I am a woman who hunts but also knows how a woman's brain operates,  I can debunk some theories of what to get your wife/girlfriend/mistress, etc. (Be rest assured, there is no tear-out pocket guide.)

   Things to not get your woman:

    Vacuum- Or any appliance, unless she has SPECIFICALLY said something along the lines of, "I hate this stupid [insert broken oven, dish washer, refrigerator, easy bake oven] and this marriage will end if you don't do something about it."

    Waffle Maker- Goes along with the vacuum but this says, "Get in the kitchen where you belong, woman."  There is a clause however, that allows a man to give this as a gift as long as he is the one who makes the waffles.  *cough* DU,  I'll have mine with chocolate chips*cough*

    Pajama Gram- No. Whatever you do. No.*  Women can buy their own footie pajamas if they feel that dressing like they're five is sexy.
               *Not to point fingers, but this comes specifically from DU's mom who was on the receiving end of such a gram. His well-meaning father sent the gram with the best of intentions, resulting in less than successful results.

    Carnations- I realize that the guy selling these on the side of the road on your way home from work is really tempting but for the sake of your relationship, refrain. Carnations, again unless your woman likes them, are the ugliest and cheapest of the flower family.  It takes four seconds to call up a flower company and have them deliver something beautiful to her door, a hundred times shorter than the fight that will ensue if you thrust Carnations into her arms.
  Things to get your woman:

    Jackalope- Okay while many women do not enjoy dead animals adhered to slabs of wood, an exception can be made for this mythical beast.  This gift is unique in and of itself, hence she will feel special- it's a win-win! Additional brownie points are added if you go Wyoming and harvest the thing yourself.

    Mount of 2 Jackalope heads fighting- I really hope this needs no explanation. What is more rare than the perfect love you share with your significant other? Not one but two jackalope mounts engaged in an epic, everlasting tussle.

   Venison from this season's harvest- Yes, my dear outdoorsman, nothing says love and devotion like being able to provide for your lady with your own two hands.  Cut her some nice backstrap and relax together near a fire, preferably from wood you cut down earlier that morning.

   Time- A simple but meaningful present that means the world to any down-to-earth girl. Turn the TV (even if Uncle Ted is on) and cell phones off, cut the world out for a little while in order to enjoy one another. Talk about everything and nothing; even silence says more than roses ever could.



Justin said...

As always, a great post!! One thing though, if you cut the wood that morning for a fire, it would not have anywhere near enough time to dry, therefore you would be burning green wood, which we all know how that one turns out.. :P

On a more serious side of things you do have a lot of valid points, I do things for my GF everyday of the week, just because, not because I need a day to tell me to. And for that reason we are taking a very similar approach to Valentine's Day.. Stay at home and cook dinner together, that's about it.. Really though, I have to admit the last one you said, time, I am horrible with, I'm always doing 5 things at once, and never just stop.. Guess I really do need to slow down sometimes and just give her my time away from the computer, TV and cell phone, since even your guide calls for it.. Haha, Thanks for the advice!!

Anonymous said...

Well this was quite the post and i do understand how you felt in years past.
We all need to do at least a little for each other every day to make life what it is.
I have been married for 25 years and I'm not going to lie by saying it was easy but in a way it wasn't hard either.
I sincerely hope you have a nice Valentines day and think positive, it does help.

Whitetail Woods Blog / Deer Hunting and Blackpowder Shooting at it’s best.

Hunt Like You're Hungry said...

Justin- I didn't think of that... well thank you for the correction. I'm not the lumberjack type.
Props to you for making your girlfriend happy... and yes, put the phone away.

Rick- I LOVE that.. "I'm not going to lie by saying it was easy but in a way it wasn't hard either" It is exactly how I feel about life with DU.
Congrats on 25 years!


A Reel Lady said...

I was the same girl in HS as you...sans the hockey playing. I shot trap instead (still as unattractive to stupid teenage boys). I share very similar views to you about this Holiday. I think it's ridiculous as well.

Murphyfish said...

Hello HLYH,
Excellent post (as usual me dear), like most things once the marketing folk get hold of em all meaning and true value is lost. Last thing I bought fir Clare on valentines day was a Shakespeare Ledger rod a couple of years ago, an eyebrow was indeed raised but she still catches more fish than me with it today (just knew that I should have got flowers!)
Love your approach.

Albert A Rasch said...


I have found that an air guitar rendition of George Thorogood's "Who do You Love," is especially poignant reminder of one's undying love.

Especially delivered first thing in the morning on the 14th.

No charge for that one fellows!

Best regards,
Albert A Rasch
More Turkey Hunting Tips!

Hunt Like You're Hungry said...

A Reel Lady- I'm sorry to hear that we have similar HS experiences but glad that we came out of it better people! (And terribly attractive, if I do say so myself)

Sir Fish of the Murphy- Thank you, sir- your compliments decrease my self-loathing concerning my writing. A fishing pole is the perfect gift.. especially if she catches more than you!

Albert- I'd say that I would order such a Valentine gram but you're currently in a war zone... does it still apply after the 14th or would the national guard air-lift you along with my gigantic teddy bear?