Valentine’s Day. You’re upon us again. But how could we forget you? Every florist in town is selling nothing but red roses for double the usual price. Every supermarket and corner store is overflowing with heart shaped chocolates and generic punny cards.
Even social media’s making sure we don’t forget you. Every Instagram influencer alive is posting a selfie of them with 12,000 roses and the accompanying comment: tag your significant other to give them a hint. Relatable. Hilarious. Etc etc.
Usually, I am okay with the traditional, sappy, romantic gestures. Candlelit dinners? Adorable. Home cooked meals? Give me some of that. But Valentine’s Day takes it to a different level. Primarily, I feel, because the majority of the responsibility lies with the male (in a hetrosexual relationship).
They’re expected to organise a surprise dinner. They’re expected to fork out the ridiculous amount of cash for some roses that will last less than a week. They’re expected to scatter the bed with petals.
We must admit that the pressure to “spoil” lies with the man. And that really isn’t right.
There are two people in a partnership, right? So why is it, on this one day in February, that one party is expected to take charge. To be the ‘romantic’ one. I thought maybe it was just me that felt this way. Maybe guys actually don’t feel any pressure.
So in true Sophia fashion, I asked all of the questions.
And the majority of them said absolutely they do. Particularly when they’re in a relationship. They feel a pressure to perform and spoil their significant other with gifts. Jewellery, roses, chocolates, the whole thing.
There are two parties involved here. So why does one have to be the giver and the other the recipient? Instead of keeping the conversation focused on what “he” should or can do for you why not shift the focus to what you can both do for eachother?
There’s alot of pressure on our men and our boys these days. Although it’s changing and what is traditionally defined as “masculine” is becoming more flexible, there are still a long way to go. Our men and boys are committing suicide at alarming rates. Men are still much less likely to speak up when they experience symptoms of mental illness. There is an overwhelming amount of pressure placed on men to drink until they can barely stand and pop a cap or two on the weekends to keep up with their mates.
They’re expected to be aggressive but smooth. Cut like Thor, but not too cut you know? They’re expected to hide the fact that they’re humans and they have actual emotions. Like sadness and fear.
God forbid they admit to being feminists.
It’s getting better, that’s for sure but some of our men are doing it pretty tough. We should not only acknowledge that but be helping to fix it.
We can help by actively challenging those traditional perceptions of masculinity. And I know Valentine’s Day seems insignificant in the scheme of things, and it probably is, but it’s a place we can start by shifting the conversation away from what he can do to what you can both do for eachother.
Last week I got into the car with my partner and I turned to him and said, “please, let’s not do gifts for Valentine’s Day. There’s really no need.” We started talking about it.
Should we go out for dinner? Not when prices are marked up by 500%.
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t do nice things for our partners. Not at all. In fact, I think we should be doing nice things for eachother as often as possible. Whether that’s a cheeky text in the morning. Cooking up a big breakfast. Telling eachother you love eachother every day. Whatever it is.
What I am saying, is that on this one day in particular, the pressure is primarily on the man and that shouldn’t be the case.
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