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By Staff | Feb 12, 2016

Just when one Big Day – Super Bowl Sunday – is over, another Big Day looms ominously on the horizon – the momentous occasion known as Valentine’s Day.

Generally speaking, we guys are at a severe disadvantage in the area of romantic holidays. This is because guys of the male gender are generally terrible at expressing their deepest emotions, unless it involves a critical play at a sporting event.

“Just throw the stupid ball!” we will scream at the TV, displaying a level of emotion normally associated with such life-changing events as being hurled out of an airplane without a parachute.

This stands in stark contrast to the way an average guy might express himself when confronted with a romantic situation.

Let’s say that a guy takes his life partner to a classy restaurant for an evening meal. “Isn’t this nice?” asks the lady as she begins to peruse the menu.

“I don’t know,” says the guy as he swivels his head to get a better gander at the establishment. “Can we trust the food here? It doesn’t look they can afford to pay their electric bill.”

“Don’t be silly!” says the lady. “The candles are for ambiance. They’re trying to set a mood. By the way, do you notice anything different about me?”

The guy is instantly gripped with dread. He knows that this is a trick question and that giving the wrong answer will result in dire consequences.

Stalling for time, the guy “accidentally” drops his napkin. He bends to retrieve it and tries to steal a quick glance at his lady companion as he resumes the upright position.

This is extremely difficult. It’s hard to look without looking like you’re looking.

“Well?” asks the lady. The question hangs in the air like an unexploded grenade of expectations whose pin has just been pulled.

His mind races. What’s different? Her hair? Her eyes? Is this woman even his actual wife?

The guy remains outwardly calm despite the tsunami of panic roaring through his innards. He realizes that he’s hopelessly trapped.

In sheer desperation, he tosses a Hail Mary answer.

“That’s a cute look,” he replies coolly.

“You think so?” she asks, touching one of her earrings. “They aren’t too gaudy?”

“They’re very pretty,” replies the guy, feeling as relieved as a condemned prisoner who has just escaped the gallows.

Seeing the depth of his emotions, the lady reaches across the table and takes his hand in hers.

Staring into his eyes meaningfully, she asks, “What are you thinking?”

The guy’s initial reaction is again panic. Another trick question! But then he realizes that she doesn’t want to know what he’s actually thinking – that with these crazy menu prices, you’d think they could at least turn on the lights – but what he thinks about her.

He stares at the tablecloth, franticly striving to corral his thoughts regarding this matter. Some years ago, he had declared – at the altar and in front of dozens of witnesses – how he felt about her.

Why couldn’t that be good enough? He would have informed her if he had changed his mind.

How does he feel about her? This creature of an entirely foreign gender who came down from another planet and, for some totally unfathomable reason, chose to spend her life with him?

He thinks about their children and how she has done most of the heavy lifting in the child-rearing department, including 100 percent of the gestation.

The idea of a parasitical being growing inside of one’s abdomen causes the guy to squirm; it makes him think of the “Alien” movies.

But despite his ineptitude regarding child care – he has changed exactly one poopy diaper – she has always insisted that he receive equal billing as co-parent.

He ruminates upon all the things large and small that she has done for him. He suddenly realizes that she has been generous while he has been selfish; that she has indulged his hare-brained schemes without a word of complaint; and above all, that dirty socks never pick themselves off the floor and throw themselves into the clothes hamper.

These and countless similar thoughts nearly cause the guy’s brain to overheat. A feeling wells up from deep within him, causing a tear to perch at the corner of his eye.

At first he thinks this may be due to the jalapeno poppers he had for lunch, but then he realizes that it’s mainly because of something else.

He squeezes her hand ever so gently and murmurs softly, “I love you.”

The incandescent warmth of her smile is his reward.

“Whew,” he thinks to himself, “I said the right thing for once. Thank goodness that’s over with for another year.”

Nelson is a freelance writer from Volga, S.D. Reach him by e-mail at jjpcnels@itctel.com.

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