February 12, 2010, - 5:15 pm

Happy Doghouse Risk Extra-Avoidance Day in Advance

By Debbie Schlussel

As you know, Sunday is Doghouse Risk Extra-Avoidance Day  (DREAD) for American men, or what many conventionally call, “Valentine’s Day.”  I think my moniker for it is far more appropriate because–I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again–there ain’t nothin’ romantic about it.  Unless taking orders from Hershey and Hallmark, on how to conduct your relationship, is sexy.  It isn’t.  Valentine’s Day is an obligation men obediently and harriedly complete–buying cards  and chocolates or flowers or getting dinner reservations–in order to stay off their significant female others bitchy side.  And that’s about it.  It isn’t spontaneous, caring, or heartfelt.  It’s a dreaded obligation.  Any woman who thinks otherwise is, well . . . not thinking.  There’s a reason heterosexual men spend almost twice as much as straight women to sate their significant other on this day.


I wrote about this extensively, last year.  Here’s an excerpt:

It’s a forced day. By forced, I mean that most men aren’t buying women chocolates or flowers for their wives or girlfriends or taking them out to dinner because they want to. It’s because they have to. It’s an obligation, period. Not an expression of love. Don’t fool yourself into naive notions otherwise.

So what did I want to do? Well, last year, Valentine’s Day a/k/a “Doghouse Risk Avoidance Day” fell on a weekday, on a workday. I happened to be at a CVS near my home between 5:30 and 7:00 p.m. I laughed as I watched the steady march of a crowd of men on their way home from work, trudging through CVS–without happy looks on their faces–looking for cards and chocolate or other candy. None of ‘em looked like they wanted to do it. But if they didn’t, they’d be in the doghouse with their women. This was their last chance, the last outpost before a trip to man’s best friend’s humble, dark, cold abode.

Is that really what women want? A forced expression of obligation? Well, if you like Valentine’s Day, that’s basically what you’re getting. There’s nothing wrong with romance. But, for the most part, for men, Valentine’s Day is an obligation, not romance. . . .

What these guys were doing all day long before they got to CVS–struggling to make a living, put food on the table, and, likely, to support a family–is the real love they show every day of the year. Any woman who puts any one of them in the doghouse despite all of that–because he didn’t buy chocolate or a card on top of it–well, she’s missing what’s really happening.

Read the whole thing–it’s like verbal comfort food for men. Guys, I feel for ya.

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42 Responses

I agree that it is a pressure cooker against men, and that is an important and negative aspect to it, but I do think that there is an additional dimension to it that is gender-neutral.

I know that a lot of bars and social groups peg their activities around any kind of event day they can: Halloween, Super Bowl Day, Sweetest Day, St. Patrick’s Day, etc. Valentine’s Day for a lot of people is an excuse to have parties, go to bars,celebrate etc., so I think that it has a mixed aspect to it.

Little Al on February 12, 2010 at 7:14 pm

I Think we all live at the behest of the great marketing genius’ manipulating us all. I keep this day as inexpensive as I can with candy and a card if thats not enough too bad.
DS got room in that doghouse for one more?

Sic Semper Tyrannus on February 12, 2010 at 7:20 pm

I’m saving myself for International Talk Like A Pirate Day.


My wife knew she would be making certain concessions to my personality when she married me.

The Terrorist's Advocate on February 12, 2010 at 7:41 pm

St. Valentine’s Day was established to honor a few men named Valentine before courtship was even a concept (496 AD). No one know exactly when it became associated with love, but it was mentioned in Shakespeare. Due to this, I don’t regard this as a ‘Hallmark Holiday’ like Sweetest Day. It has a real tradition before all modern stores came into business.

I am not saying DS in not in a relationship, but this holiday tends to be dissed by those not in love. And it doesn’t have to be celebrated with lots of money or cards. Time and gestures are enough to show that you really appreciate one another. So why not embrace it?

Lee in the US on February 12, 2010 at 8:53 pm

It’s a clever plot by stingy chocolate eaters to stock up on half-price unsold chocolate on February 15.

Tempus Fugit on February 12, 2010 at 8:59 pm

    Now that WAS FUNNY! LOL!

    Sewsalot on February 13, 2010 at 8:57 pm

I agree 100%! I would never get mad at my husband for not buying me some cheesy Valentine’s gift! He lets me know how much he loves me every day. Anyways, I never understood Sweetest Day either. When I moved to Michigan in 2000, all these girls in the dental office I worked at were going on and on about Sweetest Day – their plans, what they were getting their guys, blah, blah, blah. I had never heard of this day before and when I first heard it I thought somebody said Swedish Day – I was getting ready to party like Inga and Olga. Some women just get worked up over stupid stuff I guess.

Angela04 on February 12, 2010 at 9:39 pm

What a bunch of sexist nonsense! I am very much a woman, find Valentine’s Day deplorable; a day on which my dear husband and I roll our eyes in unison with one another. Now love and chocolate, on the other hand, is there ever a bad day for those things?? Women who are deprived from sufficient affection should be mad as hell at their husbands every day, not just Valentine’s Day. Oy, I suppose there are some people who only have sex on certain days of the week, too. What can you do?

Catharine on February 12, 2010 at 10:25 pm

To me it has always been being there to know she is taken care of. I mean if it is a chore then you are missing the point. If it is saying “I appreciate you and I will provide and protect” as a man then it is not a bad thing. If the woman is ungrateful then maybe it is time for a break up. Debbie you do you have a strong point and as I get older I think your line of thinking does ring louder. Hopefully not too loud.

As for Doghouses here is a JC Penny commercial that doesn’t put men in the best light. The mean lady judge looks like Gloria Allred.


Hey if is real bad then two days later it is Mardi Gras. Let the fun begin. Got Beads?

CaliforniaScreaming on February 12, 2010 at 10:32 pm

If I hadn’t divorced my husband I’d be a widow now. I haven’t had a steady romantic relationship since he and I broke up, but I do love Valentine’s Day. Why? Because my two daughters always make me something. Something silly, perhaps, but they never miss. And I make something equally silly for each of them. We’ve done it since they were little and made things in school, and it continues now that they’re aged 24 and 18 respectively. So no, not all women who enjoy Valentine’s Day are deluded. My daughters and I, far from not thinking, think a great deal of each other.

Alison on February 13, 2010 at 12:33 am

I agree. It’s stupid and silly and can even exacerbate problems in a relationship that is going through normal growing pains. Before we got married, my husband and I decided we were never going to acknowledge Valentine’s Day. I know my husband was really relieved that he would never have to go through some contrived expression of his love on one day of the year.

I really wish that more people would stand up and say “enough!” to the industries that make such a killing off manipulating them.

batyah on February 13, 2010 at 2:22 am

Debbie – you are – as the British would say – “spot on”. If you are a male and have a girl friend, it is (usually) an excruciating day. All revolving around the card. With the gift a close second.

Jerry Seinfeld had a hilarious similar routine when it was Elaine’s birthday and he spent hours trying to find the “appropriate” birthday card.

Pick one with the wrong wording and you are in trouble.

Buy an “inappropriate” (to be determined by the recipient) gift and you are in trouble.

Women will tell us that they “really don’t care about this day”, but come in with nothing and you are in trouble.

In other words plan on being in trouble. If you aren’t then it is a bonus.

Bill Brandt on February 13, 2010 at 4:13 am

I agree. I always get him a card for the day – sometimes he does sometimes he doesn’t and it is all the same. After 45 years we know how each other feels. If we feel like it we go out to eat – never anything fancy. However we don’t need a special day. We do for each other and he brings me flowers every couple weeks just because.

We all need to stop worrying about what the rest of the world things we should do and just go from the heart.

Marge on February 13, 2010 at 7:05 am

I mean, yes, if your girlfriend is an idiot, it’s an excruciating day. If you are dating a woman who throws a fit because you didn’t buy her the right card or the exact chocolates she wanted, it’s time to find a new woman – perhaps one that is not a spoiled brat.

But I do think that anyone in a relationship should take the time to do sweet little things for EACH OTHER, all the time, outside of the basic I’ll-do-the-dishes-you-make-the-money arrangement – because it’s sweet and if you actually love someone, you generally enjoy doing those things for them.

hellcat on February 13, 2010 at 9:12 am

I love your perspective on this, Debbie!

Timothy on February 13, 2010 at 10:40 am

I agree Debbie, ….dittos. The question is:

“to be or not to be…a good lil hubby and submit to the DREAD??”

BB on February 13, 2010 at 10:57 am

Amen, Debbie. It is one more of those Romano-pagan debauchfests with a layer of Christianity to make it respectable. It isn’t. In the Middle Ages the gentiles of Strasbourg France rose up one SAINT Valentines day and slaughtered over 6,000 Jews simply because they were Jews. A good reason for us Jews particularly to avoid it.

mk750 on February 13, 2010 at 11:12 am

I see there’s alot of singles commenting on this entry. Well add me in the list too. I believe I’m cursed from having a female in my life, and telling you all about it would take up alot of the screen.

The thing is…I just want to be with one woman for the rest of my life, and even though I treat a woman with class, repsect, dignity, all those things…I…oh forget it. Ya’ll probably don’t wanna read my bad luck with women.

I could not care any less about Valentine’s day.

Squirrel3D on February 13, 2010 at 11:24 am

I had a funny situation this year.
I get these emails from pro-flowers. Everyday for about a month and I had been deleting them. Last year I used them and got the worse roses I had ever seen, including the grocery store. I get some emails telling me that time is running out, time is running out. Then last friday I get one that says, “Two days left!” I’m like stressed and decide wtf, get them, time is short. Not realizing that the dam date is the 14th. I go to order and the bill isn’t the 19.99 they advertise, but around 62.00 with all the fees!!! I enter the promo codes etc, but it’s still outrageous at 62.00! I x-ed out the window and went to the local flower shop and picked up a very nice dozen in a vase for about 30.00. I get them home and my wife finds them hidden in the bedroom and loves them, etc, etc. The next day my buddy calls me in the morning over coffee and I advise him to get some his self. He calls back after rushing off the phone to laugh at me and tell me it’s next week. I look at my calendar and inform him that I’m not a slave to convention and Hallmark doesn’t tell me when to express my undying love for my wife. I’m doing that from now on.

Joe on February 13, 2010 at 11:52 am

I don’t see anything wrong with Valentine’s Day. It’s a great way to get dates with single women. And you don’t have to do anything special. You would probably spend as much on a first date as you would spend on her for Valentine’s Day. You kill two birds with one shot and you don’t have to worry about it again for another year.

Jarhead on February 13, 2010 at 11:56 am

Two items and two compliments –

Compliments first – Debbie, wow. It’s a good thing I’m thoroughly and happily married because your sensibilities and views are exactly what I’d look for if I weren’t. The blonde thing ain’t bad, either. But it’s how you look at the world. (big smile)

Second – Talk Like a Pirate Day. Genius.

Okay – short story how I learned to hate Valentines Day. I was a delivery geek for a large florist when I was much younger. Holy Shiite. The horror stories of weeping men throwing money at their problems like lepers on the run, angry overly emotional women, floral designers screaming at each other with raw nerves and Guilt piled on top of Guilt. Sure there were some smiles and hugs and Ooohs and Ahhs. But on the whole … it was like being on the front lines during a fire fight and screaming for more ammo that wasn’t going to get there in time. Pretty much ruined it for me, just like working a restaurant kitchen pretty much ruined ‘going out’ for me. Or, working as a surgical tech to put myself through college absolutely ruined me on ‘modern medicine’.

The stuff you see Behind The Scenes is not for sober men.

michael on February 13, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    Good post! LOL

    Joe on February 13, 2010 at 1:48 pm

“Valentine’s Day is an obligation men obediently and harriedly complete–buying cards and chocolates or flowers or getting dinner reservations–in order to stay off their significant female others bitchy side.”

No, you’ve got the day confused with an anniversary. Stop being such a party pooper.

ari-free on February 13, 2010 at 6:29 pm

Or, just examine the person or persons originally referred to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Valentine

That would probably be a better use of time.

Worry01 on February 13, 2010 at 8:04 pm

I’ve said this exact thing for years: guys start off in the hole and have to do all this phony BS just to get back to zero. They in no way come out ahead. And like Debbie said, the lemmings, sorry, I mean girls, eat it up.

verbatim on February 13, 2010 at 10:36 pm

For some reason, maybe my time as a teen in the 60s watching The Untouchables and those 60s ganster films, I always think of The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre and not chocolate and candied little hearts that are bad for the teeth. Now, 40-plus years later, I can’t eat chocolate or mints (GERD) and my other half doesn’t want me “wasting” my money on flowers and candy, so I simply visit her and her elderly mother.

levotb on February 14, 2010 at 3:43 am

For one thing, this thread is discussing Valentine’s Day. Do you normally associate this holiday with homicide? Also, why would anyone wish to address you seriously with the language you use. You might want to look into evolution before posting again.

Worry01 on February 14, 2010 at 3:50 am

DREAD used to mean: Detroit Rockers Engaged in the Abolition of Disco. It was a WRIF club in the 70’s. We actually had memebership cards….lol.

Truth on February 14, 2010 at 9:10 am

Speaking of Valentines…….
Here`s Obama`s to the Muslim world.

Sat Feb 13, 11:35 am ET
DOHA (Reuters) – President Barack Obama said on Saturday he was naming a special envoy to the Muslim world.

Obama told a U.S.-Islamic World Forum in the Qatari capital Doha in a recorded video message that he was naming White House official Rashad Hussain to the post.

(Reporting by Regan E. Doherty)

What`s the scoop on Rashad?

Hermster on February 14, 2010 at 9:54 am

The proof that it is a dreaded “holiday” is you will never see any effective humor produced about this day. Never will a man try to make this aspect of life a laughing matter. See the Futurist article about feminazis.

Lars on February 14, 2010 at 10:26 am

I bought a card with a grinning dog on it.

I judge the quality of a relationship by the inverse bling ratio. The greater the emphasis on the size of the ring, the size of the wedding, the number of guests who bring expensive presents, the general gaudiness of everything else associated with the wedding, the salary of the groom, the size of the brides boobs, and other surface features, then there will be a corresponding de-emphasis on the quality of the relationship.

My wife and I treat each other as equals and after more than two decades together we actually seem to like each other’s company. Considering the fact that I don’t have a high opinion of people in general, (see my weblog) that’s pretty good.

The Terrorist's Advocate on February 14, 2010 at 11:22 am

Men would be making a living Valentines Day or not. They struggle for love? I think most struggle for the buck they make and would do it wife,family or not.

Many women find Super Bowl Sunday a joke but they go along with making snacks, etc for the guy.
Why is it such a big deal to give someone you love a card?

CJ on February 14, 2010 at 12:03 pm

Yep, first wife, big partier! Big expensive wedding, gown, photographer, etc.
Second wife, not a big partier, small out of town wedding, not a lot of involvement from the mother in law, my son as best man. Much more cohesiveness.

Joe on February 14, 2010 at 12:06 pm

Valentine’s Day, when you’re actually young enough to take it seriously, can be fun. I remember, I must have been nine, my Brownie troop made Valentines for the children in-I think-the East Side Settelemt House.

Miranda Rose Smith on February 14, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    Should be “Settlement House.”

    Miranda Rose Smith on February 14, 2010 at 12:25 pm

It is funny because some woman have just been sending me fake flowers on Facebook just as a friend for Valentines day.

To be fair this is a general problem in the culture that Valentine day is a very small issue.

This is the biggest issue I have with my religion. I have heard it is a big problem in Christianity as well. The Rabbi’s use the bully pulpit to always put down and demand that men always respect their wives but never care about the reverse. In fact they use their bully pulpit to do things that men in the trenches can’t do and it makes it hard for them to ever do enough that a woman would be satisfied.

In the Jewish religion on Friday Night they have a prayer called woman of valor which is a nice prayer and some women just demand this respect. However, many women don’t even know what it says that it is talking about a righteous woman but also that Solomon also said it is much harder to find a righteous woman then a righteous man as he said you will find one in a man but not among 2,000 women. Of course Solomon had 2,000 wives (which he wasn’t suppose to have) and they turned him off of G-d’s path so his view is affected by his own mistake.

adam on February 14, 2010 at 6:13 pm

Spot on Debbie.

At least everyone knows about Valentine’s Day. When I lived in Ohio there was also “Sweetest Day” in the Fall.

Talk about Jeapardy x2.

If St Valentines Day was just about couples being nice to each other, that’s kind of nice. The thing that I HATE is go to any office and all of the women are in a compretition as to who has the best man. That’s the situation where the guy gets in trouble if he doesn’t drop some $$$. Friday at my office some poor shmuck hired a barbershop quartet to serenade his girfriend !!!! Enough said…

jimmyPx on February 14, 2010 at 9:45 pm

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