While brainstorming angles for this Valentine’s Day column, it suddenly occurred to me that this February 14 will be the 30th my wife and I have celebrated as a couple (combining courtship and married life).
I’m glad I can share this milestone with you. Melissa grows more beautiful every day, but she was initially self-conscious about my trumpeting the three decades aspect. She relented only when she was able to pull some strings in Washington and get me listed on the Federal Cradle Robber Registry.
Perhaps I exaggerate when I say we’ve “celebrated” 30 Valentine’s Days, since we shun ostentatious gestures and keep the holiday rather low-key. We never fully forget the occasion; but some years - what with jobs, parenthood, health issues and such -- we need our memories jogged. (“Valentine’s Day - that’s the one that comes every fourth year, right? No, wait...there’s something about a groundhog having 5 o’clock shadow...”)
We’ve become accustomed to frugal Valentine hacks such as NOT treating the date as set in stone. There’s no shame in celebrating your love BEFORE prices of everything go up in February. (“Remember that candy apple you enjoyed so much last September? Courtesy of ol’ Dan Cupid! How about some Private Displays of Affection??? OW! Now I need a Private Duty Nurse worse.”)
I’m glad I’m not the only person who doesn’t get wrapped up in Valentine folderol. One trivia site says 64 percent of men do not make plans in advance for a romantic Valentine’s Day with the Love of their Life. (Strangely, 73 percent of men DO make plans in advance for dealing with a possible beer supply disruption during the Zombie Apocalypse of 2023.)
Those 30 Valentine’s Days have become a blur, but there are some general distinctions one can draw as a relationship evolves and matures.
Initially, everything is shiny and new. Then the only thing shiny is the husband’s dome. At first those Three Little Words are either “I love you” or “I forgive you.” Then they become either “Watch your cholesterol” or “Toilet seat DOWN.”
That first Valentine’s Day probably involves a revelation of “You had me at hello.” As time passes, it’s more like “You almost LOST me at ‘I just need to finish reading one more chapter before...ZZZZZZ *Snort* *Choke*’”
Early on, you try to be in lovey-dovey agreement about everything. Then comes “You’re not really going to wear THAT?” - which is especially bad if you’re wearing your birthday suit.
Relationship maturity means combining our snuggling with reviews of our 401(k) account, plans for a last will and testament and consideration of funeral preferences. Of course there are still madcap antics such as “When we eat our elegant Valentine’s supper at McDonald’s, be sure to swipe extra napkins and sporks so we’ll have something to put IN the will.”
Don’t get me wrong. Longtime couples still have chances to enjoy an R-rated Valentine’s Day. R-rated in the sense of “Remember to put out the cats. Remember to leave the water dripping because of the freeze warning. Remember to take your Metamucil...”
I love Melissa so much that have written a marriage advice book, which will soon be coming to Amazon.
I hope it sells well, because Melissa’s actions have limited my career options. With that “cradle robber” stigma, I can certainly kiss a furniture salesman job in an IKEA store goodbye.
Danny welcomes email responses at email@example.com and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.”