February 14, 2014, - 8:58 am

Happy Male DREAD: Doghouse Risk Extra-Avoidance Day (a/k/a Valentine’s Day) 2014

By Debbie Schlussel

Happy DREAD – Doghouse Risk Extra-Avoidance Day. Yeah, I know. The card, candy, flowers, jewelry, and eatery industries call it Valentine’s Day. But, as I note each year on this site, it’s not about love or even romance. It’s about obligation. And the obligation is strictly one way: men are obligated to give gifts and bring some flowers, chocolates and other lucre home or they have a high risk of being resettled into the doghouse for a loooong time. Working hard to provide for your family and raising your kids with respect and values–that’s love. Flowers and chocolates on a set, artificial day–not love. Just unwanted obligation. I see it every year on this day when I’m at the drugstore at the end of the workday and I see miserable-looking men feverishly searching for something to buy and bring home to gain re-admittance to the family abode–the home they paid or helped pay for.


DREAD Artwork by David Lunde/Lundesigns, Design by Debbie Schlussel


I don’t need to go on and on about this. I’ve written about it many times on this site before (though I’ve posted an excerpt of one of my previous columns on it below). You get it. Today is Male Obligation Day.

So, to the many married or otherwise-attached men who read this site, Happy DREAD. Now, go out and buy some roses. (But not Islamic-terrorism-supporting Edible Arrangements!)


Anyone who confuses what Hallmark tells you to do–and the expectations of females who don’t appreciate your hard work and caring 364 other days of the year–with love doesn’t know what the word means. Today is something you gotta do to stay out of the doghouse. It’s not something you chose to do. It’s an expectation you must meet or meet that fury far beyond what’s in store in hell, as the saying goes.

I’ve written about this every year (including here and here), and every year it’s the same. It’s expected. And the sheeple men do it because they won’t stand up and say, “Hey, does it not occur to you when I work 365 24/7 to put food on the table and keep our house heated, that that’s love?” Yes, I know, today, many women are the workers and make more than hubby. For the men in those relationships, I’ll bet today is that much worse. They already feel less of a man (if they’re honest), and now they must show they’re more of a man by buying something when their wife/girlfriend–the bigger breadwinner–holds not just the purse, but the purse strings.

So, for me, today is always an entertaining day. So predictable. It never changes. If there’s one good thing about Valentine’s Day, it’s the billions that get pumped into a very sour American economy. But it’s out of obligation and it’s an artificial one-day-a-year thing. Nothing impactful in the long run.

And the DREAD entertainment continues today. Though it gets old. It’s like Groundhog Day. Same old thing each year, only worse.

Happy DREAD, guys! Won’t you not be my DREADentine?


One more thing: even though more and more women are far out-earning their husbands and significant others and more and more men are Mr. Moms and stay-at-home dads in our ever-more-wussified America, the obligation by men on Valentine’s Day won’t change. That’s the one “traditional” role (brought to you by Hallmark and Hershey) that remains stuck and hasn’t been blurred by our chickified, Oprahfied day and age. Women have been trained to have high expectations and tough and swift “disciplinary” methods for guys who come empty-handed on this day.

So, guys, you’re stuck with this one. You rightfully dread DREAD.

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18 Responses


And if anyone heard what Facebook has employed, I just offended 1.3 billion people in the world by implying that I like women. Yup, can’t say that anymore, gotta keep all gender references, not just sexual orientation to yourself. That’s right, don’t even identify as a man or woman, ESPECIALLY heterosexual, etc.

But back to topic. Debbie, thank God for you, too, you know I really mean that. All 74,658 Standing Room Only fans in Debbie Schlussel Stadium are standing and roaring their approval at this column, and billions more around the world.

Alfredo from Puerto Rico on February 14, 2014 at 9:17 am

Lol!- so true so true. After 38 years of marriage to a loyal and hardworking husband, I’ve decided to give my husband a “pass” on this holiday. I know he loves me. The cost gets ridiculous( have you seen the cost of cards let alone flowers?) Sorry, we’re saving up for another trip to Israel. Now THATS romantic to me:):):)

Yehudit18 on February 14, 2014 at 9:20 am

Oh yes, the pressure is totally on us guys. My wife noted that while shopping for my cards, it was easy to find funny ones but the only good ones that were heartfelt and romantic were from the guys. I said there’s two reasons: 1) the pressures on guys today, 2) guys need cards to say sweet romantic things that some of us may not feel comfortable saying out loud. I added, “we’re dudes. Talking about feelings is your job.” THAT cracked her up!

BTW I love that commercial you included. BRILLIANT ad campaign.

Sean M on February 14, 2014 at 9:44 am

You go Debbie! I just had a man call me & say he is NOT sending me flowers for Valentines Day. Mad just for a minute I thought of everything he has done for me: Making homemade chicken soup when I had the flu, circling the airport for an hour so he could pick me up when I returned from Israel, taking me to the hospital for a test at 5:00 am, & telling me he loves me & misses me every day. I don’t need flowers!

Paula Malka on February 14, 2014 at 11:12 am

Debbie is so spot-on with this. There are so many different ways to show love, care, understanding, and such every day of the year. I’ve always felt the small things have greater meaning and are appreciated more than the big ticket items. Too bad there are so many women out there who don’t get it and don’t want to because they’ve been assimilated into the “all about me” collective.

Go ahead and spend buckets of money on worthless crap because in the end, the old adage reigns supreme: One “Aw shit” wipes out 10 “Atta boys”!

IceNoMore on February 14, 2014 at 12:00 pm

Luv it. Luv how Debbie takes the air out the room, just like me, I luv it! She is realer than the real deal Holyfield.

Big D on February 14, 2014 at 1:08 pm

I am amazed the Obama’s have not came out and said, Valentine’s Day,instead of buying gifts,candies,flowers, sit down with loved ones on this declared day of love and claim if family really loves you , they all will agree to sit down and talk for hours, learning about how much more important Obamacare is to their love lives, so much more than any card,box of candy,flowers,etc,etc,etc can ever be. Obama’s wanted to disrupt everyone 25th dec ,stating have very quick gift exchange and now let us all sit around the table, as we eat,let us all begin talking about how we must start signing up everyone for Obamacare. Pressure the nonbelievers to sign up.Refer to PajamaBoy, ad for Obamacare.To convert nonbelievers

Steve on February 14, 2014 at 1:55 pm

last night the wife mentions tomorrow is valentines day and i perk up in feigned interest. then she says, “let’s just skip it this year”. whew, i think and reply, “ok”, trying to sound as neutral as possible.

when we get up for work this morning the wife says, “i wonder what i’m getting for valentine’s day?!”.

damn it.

kirche61 on February 14, 2014 at 2:31 pm

I abolished all of this nonsense and every other “obligatory” crap-iday routine in my household years ago and have taught the same to my kids. And it must be working because I’ve been married ro the same woman for 20 years.

The only exception is MLK day on which we have lavish feasts, go carrolling and read aloud anecdotes of white treachery and petition our state, local federal representatives to enact a day of mourning and remembrance for Trayvon Martin.

MobileDSR on February 14, 2014 at 3:12 pm

That video was a crack up Deb, happy valentines day, because I love your work!

Dave on February 14, 2014 at 3:23 pm

Oh, heck, it’s just “Girly Malignant Narcissism Day” …

Pray Hard on February 14, 2014 at 4:02 pm

Debbie your column on this day never fails to crack me up. You may think this is funny just like me but today I went to the local Navy Exchange (NEX) and got my wife the standard roses and candy(she likes starburst). The funny part is seeing all of the military men go around with the look of dread on their faces. I overheard this Navy captain telling the female ensign he was with that if he didn’t get the missus the candy, flowers, large bear and card that there would be hell to pay. Seeing how some officers wives act it didn’t surprise me. My wife though doesn’t expect me to get her anything heck she brought me a card and some pistachios(we’re funny like that). The point is that I really don’t need one day to tell my wife that I love her and she knows it. Happy Oh My God Please Let Me Get A Good Gift So The Wife Doesn’t Kill Me Day Debbie. Keep up the good work.

Ken B on February 14, 2014 at 7:45 pm

It is a day not celebrated in Muslim countries, but I bet that if the women there knew about it, they would wish it were.

marblenecltr on February 15, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    I’m not sure. The Russians and other seculars are promoting it here in Israel but the rest of us couldn’t care less. It’s a holiday steeped in pagan symbolism and ritual. It derives from the Roman Saturnalia and has nothing with kindly old saints providing dowries to poor girls. The rituals of this holiday were some of the most depraved in the entire pagan rota of feast days.

    Meira on February 16, 2014 at 10:03 am

On the other hand, most of us men have become feminized, as Debbie has written on other posts. Therefore, we might enjoy coming home empty handed so we can get the expected swift discipline that Debbie wrote about in the last paragraph of this article! Maybe we really enjoy it. 🙂

Bri on February 17, 2014 at 9:12 am

I played my banjo and did a tap dance for my wife on Valentines Day. She said I’m a dork, but loves me anyway.

Truth on February 17, 2014 at 4:01 pm

International Mysandrist Day

CharlesMartel on March 11, 2017 at 11:39 pm

Sorry – Misandrist

CharlesMartel on March 11, 2017 at 11:43 pm

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