3 Important Differences Between Men and Women: What I learned while helping my son shop for Valentine’s Day . . .
I couldn’t post this story last week around Valentine’s Day because it would have ruined someone’s surprise. However, I recently had the pleasure of helping my 16-year-old son shop for Valentine’s Day. This was a new experience for both of us. It was the first opportunity I’ve had to see Valentine’s shopping from the male perspective.
You can read my general commentary on Valentine’s Day in my post It’s Not About Valentine’s Day.
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Valentine’s Day falls right in the middle of basketball season here in Indiana, so it’s an incredibly busy time for us. For my husband and me, there’s pretty much no hope of ever being able to go out for Valentine’s Day as long as we have kids on teams. Someone’s going to have games or practices that evening. My husband did bring me home a sandwich for lunch that day, and I would definitely rather he spend money on a sandwich than a card. He also brought me the flowers in the title picture. They are lovely, and they’re not even wilted yet which is great because I tend to have some issues with taking care of flowers.
Because my son has games or practices pretty much everyday, our shopping experience was limited to online retailers. I’m not sure I would have been allowed the pleasure of even knowing he was shopping if he hadn’t been forced to tell me because he needed to place the order on my credit card and then give me his cash. Sometimes there are benefits to paying in plastic, especially for this nosy mom.
As we were shopping from the comfort of our own living room, I couldn’t help but notice a few key differences between men and women. I was really fortunate to be allowed on the male side of Valentine’s Day shopping this year.
1.) Men think Valentine’s Day is kind of silly, but they participate because it makes a woman happy.
And that’s okay! Good men do what they have to do to make a woman happy. They may not see eye to eye about the importance of a certain day or a certain event or a certain anything, but they’ll go with the flow just because it’s important to a woman. Women have to be constantly reminded they are a priority. Some woman, especially girls in high school, tend to place a hugely high importance on Valentine’s Day. It’s much better for a man to err on the side of going overboard in getting a woman something for Valentine’s Day, rather than not getting anything at all.
I can assure you, men, if there is a woman out there who is even vaguely thinking you might get her something for Valentine’s Day, and you don’t acknowledge the day in any way, you have entirely ruined her life for at least a year. Men who care don’t want to ruin a woman’s life, so they participate in Valentine’s Day no matter how silly they might really believe it is. Men who value their relationship DO NOT want to risk losing it, so they go above and beyond everyday. If you’re not paying attention to her needs, you better believe there’s another man out there who will.
Women need constant reminders of your affection. I’m not saying it has to involve spending a lot of money. You should never spend money you don’t have, but there are plenty of ways to acknowledge a woman’s wishes with little or no money. Even if you have to scrounge for all the change on the floorboards of your car to buy a balloon at the Dollar Tree, or you have to make a card from construction paper, you better do something if you think a lady is expecting it. If you brush off something that’s important to a woman and something you know she was hoping for from you, you are scum and don’t deserve a woman. Sorry, not sorry!
2.) Men don’t take the act of shopping quite as seriously as women do.
Shopping is just a means to an end for men. The shopping itself is not something they relish. It’s just something they endure to buy what they need or for the sake of pleasing a woman. Think about all those men you see sitting on the benches at the mall holding all the bags. Those are good men – and even better if they follow their lady around each store holding the bags.
Because shopping is not a serious act in itself to men, shopping with my son was way more amusing than any shopping experience I’ve had with my daughters. It started out just fine. He had me searching online for necklaces. At first, he was just looking at necklaces in general. He stopped me briefly on this one because he thought it was cool.If the shopping had ended there, it would have been a perfectly normal and perfectly sweet story, but he decided to keep looking to see if there was anything he liked better.
The shopping took a brief detour while there was some discussion and consideration given to buying a Trumpy Bear. He thought that was probably a bad idea because if he ordered a Trumpy Bear, he would want to keep it instead of giving it away, and “that would be selfish.” Then we searched for a Trumpy Bear just to see if they are even available. Once we saw the price, we realized that was not going to be a feasible option anyway. Although he has a steady cash flow during the summer from a couple of mowing jobs and farm work, he can’t work at all during his athletic seasons, so he definitely didn’t have that kind of cash. Sorry, no Trumpy Bear.
Back to the jewelry – we continued to scroll through all the necklaces. He made me pause on this weird necklace.
Neither of us can figure out why this necklace even exists. It’s really odd. He made me stay on that page for about five minutes while he contemplated whether it was worth spending the additional money to buy this necklace too and then give it first just to see the reaction. Thankfully, he decided against that.
My oldest daughter, the one who was married last year while still in high school, had suggested he get some kind of customized jewelry with names on it, so we started searching for that. He saw this necklace and wanted to order it because it was a “cool, curvy snake.”
I had to explain that chain was not going to stay in that shape. Oh, never mind then.
He really liked this infinity necklace.
But he doesn’t like his name, so he wanted me to order it with Olivia and Gabriel still on it. His name is nowhere close to Gabriel, and her name is nowhere close to Olivia. Um, no. I was not going to order that with random names on it!
He decided a name necklace was out because of not liking his name, and all the name necklaces “looked cheap.” I told him we should look at necklaces with basketball charms, and then we could get their numbers instead of names.
As we were scrolling through all the basketball and other charms, my son suddenly became very animated and started wagging his finger at the screen. He yelled, “Mom, STOP! What is that? What in the world is that?” He was pointing at this charm necklace.
I was caught off guard by his reaction because it seemed so unwarranted. I told him that necklace is for a mother with the names of her children and the birthstones. He let out a sigh of relief and said, “Oh, thank goodness. I thought it was something for Sister Wives.” Needless to say, he did not want to order the “Sister Wives” necklace.
And that brings us to:
3.) It’s the thought that counts!
After a whole lot more scrolling, he finally asked me to put Browning in the search terms, and then he arrived at a necklace that appealed to him. Many women may not prefer camo and hunting emblems. I’m sure there are some girls who would say “Ewwww!” if presented with hunting-related jewelry, but considering the importance of hunting to my son, deer jewelry is a strangely thoughtful and meaningful selection. Although his apparent tastes in jewelry disturbed me a few times during the shopping process, and I’m sure most people would consider his final selection an odd choice, it’s actually a very fitting gift if you know my son. Girls might really want diamonds, but from my son, they get antlers instead. Men buy gifts that have meaning to them. It may or may not be what a particular woman wants, but that’s okay because it’s the effort that’s important. It’s always the effort that’s important!
While women may be very complex and complicated, men are extremely easy to read. They will always SHOW YOU where you rank on their list of priorities by the amount of effort they put into trying to make you happy and the amount of interest they show in your interests and endeavors. Effort = Value. No Effort = No Value. Young ladies, a man who is not consistently making an effort is a man you should be showing to the door. It’s better to be alone than with a man who can’t be bothered with the inconvenience of trying to please you.
My son ultimately ordered a set of matching Browning heart necklaces – one black and one dark pink. I promise he really was being thoughtful.
Parting Thoughts and a Shocking Find at the Dollar General
While I was pleasantly amused this Valentine’s Day by being allowed into the male perspective on shopping for a gift. I was unpleasantly surprised by something else on a trip to Dollar General. One night while my son was still in practice and unable to come with us to his sister’s game, I had to stop in at Dollar General to pick up some candy and additional small items to go with the necklace. Hanging on the shelves right between Valentine’s gift bags, Valentine stickers, and a number of different Valentine toys were these interesting fuzzy, pink handcuffs.
I think I almost had the same reaction to these handcuffs as my son had to the necklace he thought was for sister wives. I really just started laughing right there in the store. What on earth were they thinking putting these with all the kids’ stuff? There were little, stuffed bears and frogs right below these fuzzy handcuffs. I wonder how many small children begged their parents for these because I’m sure to a little girl, they just look like some kind of princess toy. At least they’re available at the bargain price of $1.50! I guess the Dollar General really does carry everything.
What has been the most meaningful Valentine’s gift you ever received? Have you ever come across anything extremely interesting/shocking in Dollar General? Let us know in the comments.
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