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Published February 15 2010

Gabriel: Sorting through the fallout of Valentine’s Day

We are a country that loves its holidays.

There are the Category 1 holidays like Christmas and Hanukkah. There are those in Category 2, perhaps more accurately called occasions, such as Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day.

And then there’s Category 3. Category 3 has birthdays, anniversaries and … The Day of Ultimate Female Dominance Requiring Great Navigational Skill Based Upon Keen Insight and Prudent Judgment by Males in a Relationship, otherwise known as Valentine’s Day.

Now that it’s in our rear-view mirror, we can discuss it knowing once again that yesterday was either a complete victory or an incompetent failure.

Neither a birthday nor anniversary holds a candle to the pressure men feel on Valentine’s Day.

The problem is simple: Men have a higher rate of Gift Selection Failure (GSF) on Valentine’s Day than any other gift-giving day over the course of the year. And there are reasons for this.

Unlike birthdays and anniversaries, where women tend to offer little hints at what they might want to receive or attend, on Valentine’s Day we’re thrown into the ocean without a life preserver.

And this isn’t women being cruel, leaving us to fend for ourselves. Rather, it’s a genius test. They know that in the grand scheme of things, Valentine’s Day is perceived by men to be less important than a birthday or anniversary. It’s why they raise the bar to a virtually unattainable level.

This is sport for them.

Complete victory is tantamount to finding the Holy Grail. Incompetent failure is standard operating procedure.

At every gift fork in the road, signs are posted giving adequate warnings often ignored by men.

That you believe your gal would like a beautifully wrapped curling iron with a Ghirardelli dark chocolate square on top is another way of saying “I put zero thought into this gift, but all girls like curling irons, don’t they? And you LOVE chocolate!”

Mission Control, GSF has been achieved.

Most men think the Valentine’s Day gift fairy will appear and help lead us out of the valley of gift-giving ignorance. But she never shows up. They’re on the payroll, but not ours.

The time has come for men to wake up and realize the realities of Valentine’s Day.

Chocolates, diamonds, a full day at the spa, making a romantic dinner, perhaps a concert or a play; these are all great options. But each comes with its own trap door.

Here is your gift translation chart:

All actions have consequences. Hopefully you didn’t experience a negative outcome yesterday.


Christopher Gabriel is host of “The Christopher Gabriel Program” from 9 a.m. to noon weekdays on AM 970 WDAY. Read his blog at http://cgabriel.com and preview his show at www.areavoices.com/cgabriel