Monday, February 9, 2009

Cupid and The Lazy Lover

by Julia Buckley

Valentine's Day is almost upon us. It will be something like my 22nd Valentine's Day with my husband, if you count the time we dated. Look at us there, in our twenties, getting all flirtatious with our eyes. Things have a way of changing over the years, don't they? First of all, that was back when I used to actually blow dry and curl my hair, and spend all sorts of time fawning in front of the mirror, hoping to achieve perfection. Now, after getting my kids ready for school, I'm just proud if I remember to put my pants on. Does anyone else experience that phenomenon?

My husband used to write me love poetry; I kid you not. He once wrote a song that was a tribute to my brown eyes. Now his e-mail responses tend to consist of "sounds good" and the occasional happy emoticon (when time permits).

I'm not suggesting that my husband no longer loves me. He does, in a lazy and comfortable way. But men, take warning: Valentine's Day is the one day of the year when your wife does not want you to be lazy.

Even in our early marriage my husband (we'll call him Jeff, because that's his name) was rather, say, casual about romantic gifts. I had once made the mistake, while we were in our salad days, of telling him not to send flowers because they were so expensive. So in 22 years he's sent me flowers about three times, and one of those was because I cried. On some romantic holidays we just agreed not to exchange gifts, because we were broke. But this, alas, can become the rule rather than the exception.

In order to get Jeff back in the swing of things, I have even been known to leave explicit notes in order to prevent my own disappointment. "This is the candy I want. You can get it at Fannie May. Remember to ask for VANILLA buttercreams instead of chocolate." Why so specific, you may ask? Because all women can explain the crushing defeat in the flavor of drugstore candy--its very staleness cries "I don't love you anymore."

Now my husband knows that I cling to all the trappings of romantic life, so he makes more of an effort, but he'd still prefer to stick to his remote control and a comfy couch. To him, it's romantic enough if I join him there. To me, a little sparkle wouldn't hurt.

But I'll tell you this: in 22 years, despite the fact that my dress size has sometimes increased as rapidly as the national debt, my husband has never, ever hinted that I was fat--in fact, he's never seemed to notice the changing proportions of my body. That is love, and I know it.

But I still want candy or flowers. Call me selfish if you will, but let my story be a parable to all of you husbands and lovers. You love her and she knows you do: but get her gifts anyway, or you might be sleeping on the couch.


Keith Raffel said...

Could have fooled me. I thought that was a recent photo of you.

Anonymous said...

Where'd you get those peepers?

Listen, my wife told me the same thing about flowers being too expensive and then chided me for never sending them. Mixed messages!

Julia Buckley said...

We do send mixed messages, Paul. We are a mysterious gender. :)

Keith, you are too kind. There is a slight resemblance, but now I have a rather shopworn air.

Jessica Lourey said...


"Because all women can explain the crushing defeat in the flavor of drugstore candy..."

Happy Valentine's Day, Julia!

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Great post, Julia. Alas, I have no valentine this year, but my last one always did it up right for the time we were together.

If you men think we ladies don't remember the lovely romantic gifts past February 14th, think of this -I still have the three pretty negligees given to me during the past 15 years, even though none of them fit. And I wouldn't dream of parting with a single one of them.

Then there was the one boyfriend who told me to go to the store and pick out something nice for myself and he'd "cover it." Now THAT'S lazy! He didn't last long. Even drug store candy would have been better than that remark.

Julia Buckley said...

Thanks, Jess. :) And I forgot to mention that the best valentines come from children. My sons have written me some of the loveliest I'll ever get.

Sue Ann, that guy gets low marks for sure. Although my husband has done a similar number at Christmas, because he always works terrible holiday hours. I've gotten to the point that I say, "Okay, fine--I'll get myself some Christmas presents." Then I spend a fair bit of money and he doesn't get to complain. :)

But negligees--very romantic indeed.

G.M. Malliet said...

Love that photo, Julia!

Julia Buckley said...

Thanks, GM!! It's my one and only glamour shot, and it's because I was dressed up for a wedding.