This is Mr Tabubil on the subject of Valentine's Day:
"Did you know that price of flowers goes up by seven hundred and thirty percent on February 14th? The florists know you're coming. Flowers and chocolates mean nothing except that you are a sheep following a ringleader that’s baa-ing just as loudly as you are. All of the romance - if there ever was any - is lost in an expensive wash of cheap sentimentality - and sheep. Roses, particularly, are a meaningless gesture in a mercenary sea of overpriced artifice and scripted spontaneity and I think everybody should pull their quilts over their heads and stay there until the whole horrible thing is over. Gnnnrrrrggghhhh."
"Can't you just appreciate the spirit of the day and take the occasion as an opportunity to express love and joy toward the people you care about?"
"Since I already feel as if I’m being sucked into the hungry maw of the
ugly capitalistic advertising machine, I don't think people should even kiss on Febuary 14th because if they do, Madison Avenue will get the
wrong idea and start charging hearts and sparkles to my Visa card."
"Does that mean I don't get flowers, then?"
Which just shows that you can help anybody reach their breaking point if you do it right.
But I'm not really a bad person. In fact, I felt for the poor fellow. It's true that February 14th is undoubtedly over-commercialized, and last year I thought I'd empathize a little - I'd embrace his horror of the season and do things his way.
I was thinking polyester. Polyester granny panties, a box of chocolates with a bite out of every single one, my oldest, saggiest bra, and a dinner of liver 'n onions.
It certainly helped that he'd gotten home the morning of the 14th from a trip overseas and was jet-lagged to a point only a shade this side of lucid. I may not be a bad person, but I'm not always very nice.
"Oh Tabubil!" The man wailed. "I didn't get you anything and here you are making dinner all for me-e! I don't deserve a wife like you!"
"No kidding." I thought, and bent over the frying pan, holding my breath. I set the table and proudly uncovered -
"Calf liver?" Mr Tabubil breathed, turning green. "Have I never mentioned to you that I don't… um.. er..."
"No." I lied firmly. "You never." I took up a knife and sliced. He covered his mouth and made a choking sound.
"I'm sorry" he mumbled through his hand "but the smell..."
And then the jet-lag kicked him in the back of the skull and he came over all remorseful.
"And you cooked it all for me-e! Even knowing how I feel about the 14th. Well, I feel awful. I should be grateful - I should be loving this. I'm a bad bad baaaaad bad husband!"
Fortunately for both of us, there were leftovers in the fridge that he could eat while I choked down a slice of the liver.
"Tabubilgirl, your face looks sort of, well - "
"Not at all!" I gasped. "S' lovely! Not quite what I was expecting, but it's the first time I've made it, and - mmm-mmm! Yummy! And special - all made just for you!"
And that went straight down the black hole of remorse as well. He knew things weren't quite right, but was too strung out on time-zones to do anything but swallow the flashy neon malarkey I was peddling wholesale. He felt so terrible he ate half of what was left on my plate.
Liver disposed of, "Valentine's Day presents!" I cried, bouncing up out of my chair to grab the chocolates.
"Sweeetie..."Mr Tabubil moaned, and when I handed him the big heart shaped box his face took on an expression intended to convey love and gratitude, and guilt, and deep deep remorse for not repaying me in kind.
"I don't deserve you." His eyes said, damply, to my own. "You dear dear sweet sweet darling."
And then he opened the box, and his features turned- in rapid succession- to shock, distaste, disgust and at last, a deep, dawning suspicion.
Swallowing a deep breath, he stalked in high dudgeon to our bedroom, where he shut the door firmly in my face and proceeded to laugh his head off.
Eventually he calmed down enough to let me in and we went back to the kitchen for proper dessert - a big squashy chocolate cake. He made me take the first bite. Which hurt, because I'd selflessly resisted the urge to bake our leftover Halloween spiders into the middle layer. And if he really loved me like he said, he'd never even have dreamed of thinking it. I'm not all bad.
Things were perfectly amicable until we went to bed, and then he saw the granny panties and I had to make a run for it.
O divine granny panties - $5.03(less tax) of slippery nylon knit, oily plastic sheen and the ambiguously pink color of an undercooked ham. They creeped up past my belly button and drooped down past my thighs, and capped the dimples above my knee-bones with embroidered nosegays all done up in ecru plastic lace.
Don't ask how long I spent looking for drawers that looks like that. It was an odyssey of many parts and many stories, of triumphs, tragedies, great leaps of faith and heroism past the bounds of woman and of man -
O raise your voice for vinalon and acetate - for britches that ride up past the ribs and briefs that wallow underslung - for running hosiery and slipped knits - for bobble knit, for ladder stitch, for gossamer translucency,elastic bands that clamp your thighs with purple grip -
Stripped to my dreadful nylon drawers, I stood, chin raised, and proudly stared my husband down. He looked at me and looked at me and sat very very still. His mouth opened, and he said "Take those off."
And then he turned his head to the wall and very firmly went to sleep.
Happy Valentines Day!