sisterly advice

“So whadya get her for Valentine’s Day?”
“A card.”
“A card, like, the first of many things, right?”
“I don’t believe in Valentine’s Day.”
“You do know it’s not like the tooth fairy, right?  I mean, there’s nothing to not believe in.”
“The commercialism in it.”
“Dude, you’re cheap.”
“Money can’t buy love.”
“Oh, but it can.  Pretty sure diamonds would have worked.  Okay, conflict-free diamonds, Leonardo.  Or pearl earrings, big ones.  Trés chic. A bracelet could work, too.”
“I’m not going to let society dictate how to–”
“Oh please.  Valentine’s Day is for the girl.  It’s not my rule.  She wants something in a box, even if it’s chocolate.  And she wants flowers, despite how dumb you think they are.”
“But they wilt, and she’s on a diet.”
“Hey, Mr. Considerate Solution Man, it’s not your job to fix things today.  It’s your time to court her and let her know how much you love her, with a box, with overpriced flowers she can stare at all week and smile, knowing her man hasn’t stopped thinking of her the way he did at the very beginning… in stupid silly awe.  Because we all want that.”
“Then she’ll let me get to third base, right?”

Valentine’s posts of the past:
2004 valentine envy
2005 a game of losses
2006 injaculation and alone feels more than together
2007 state of your union



  1. Now that you are a mom you can enjoy Valentines Day. In years to come you will help make valentines, heart shaped cookies, and have two beans who will get into the spirit of it all. I too used to dislike V-Day for all the usual reasons. With kids it is enjoyable again.

    Precious shot of your babies, love the little chicken legs!

  2. “It's your time to court her and let her know how much you love her, with a box, with overpriced flowers she can stare at all week and smile, knowing her man hasn't stopped thinking of her the way he did at the very beginning… in stupid silly awe. Because we all want that."
    So very true.
    Ok I hate the people who say, “ I hate Valentine’s Day. It’s so commercial. Yada yada yada” They’re the same types who, when you’re feeling bad say “it could be worse you could be in Iraq or have cancer.” It’s like WTF?? Get a grip, Grinch! It’s a day about love for Christ sakes. I love it! This year I sent care packages to my mom and my sisters. It makes you feel good to know people are thinking about you; that they love you. And if you’re single celebrate with friends. A holiday, any holiday, is an excuse for more wine and longer dinners.
    Happy Valentine’s Day, Steph!
    What did you get the suitor??
    And the beans look loverly. All they need now is some I love NYC onesies and they will be all set.

    FROM STEPHANIE: With my limited time, I made it to the mall and got him a very cool button down shirt and two cozy sweaters, since he'd been complaining forever that he didn't have anything warm to wear here in Texas, with all our winter clothing still packed away in a NY warehouse. He got me a card. We're fighting today.

  3. Happy Valentine's Day! Your babies are GORGEOUS!

    Hope Phil remembered the candy and flowers or boxes of special shiny pretty things that smell good!

  4. HE GOT YOU A CARD???? I would ask if he got you a card because you are fighting, or you are fighting because he got you a card. But I think I can deduce that by your post. As trite as this sounds, your jellybeans look sweet as any chocolate confection. They are so so adorable.

  5. I don’t want to be a comment whore but trust me I can empathize. I know I sounded grouchy but that’s b/c yesterday I made my bf a six (six!) course tasting menu of all of his favorite meals, which included filet mignon, chocolate soufflé, a scallop and pesto dish among many other things. I surprised him b/c I figured he would make plans for today. After working a full day and fighting off the flu to boot I even made homemade parmesan crisps!, which I know are easy but it was more about going the extra mile. Well the bastard didn’t even have a card for me when I work up today. “Oh well I don’t have to work today so I’ll have something by the time you get home” What? Where is the planning? Where is the love? I didn’t make too big a deal of it but when I get home there had better be something good. I’m talking diamonds good. He got me for my birthday- a jewelry box. Sweet and thoughtful, yes. Amazing? No. For his birthday (next week) I got him weekly golf lessons for 3 months.
    What is it with the men in our life??? Sweet, loving, amazing- Grinches! I’m sure the Suitor has something good planned. If not, then I’m sure Leah’s convo at least propelled him to make An emergency trip to the mall where I’m sure there’s at least a Kay jewelers.
    As an aside, isn’t it weird to shop in mall now? Ahh the suburbs.

  6. I'm not really into celebrating Valentine's Day, Mother's Day or Father's Day as I feel that an all year show of love means more than gifting on one special day, a day thought up by the Hallmark people unless I'm mistaken. However, my husband always asks what I'd like for Valentine's Day, as I do for him. My request this year was that he make a donation to the Exceller Fund, an organization that provides sanctuary for horses who otherwise might end up on the auction block bound for slaughter, a horrendous practice. The Exceller Foundation also helps to find adoptive homes. As nice as it is to celebrate this day in a romantic way, I feel far better doing something for those who need much more than the gift I'd ordinarily receive.

  7. The babies are adorable & getting so big, what do they weigh now? I got my man a small book of poetry, some dark chocolate & (are you ready?) one of those large 'rain' shower heads. He loves taking long showers so he will like this. My plan is to install it tonight and call him into the bathroom to join me in a nice shower…then things will get steamy!

  8. Okay, I wasn't going to post until the card thing.

    I'm going to go out on an optimistic limb and hope that the card is decoy and that he got you something fabulous but wanted to get you off of his trail, hence the card.

  9. I heart your babies! Sorry you're fighting today, that sucks. We don't even do Valentine's day,for so many reasons. Just to give you an idea- in 2004 he was in Iraq,no gift or card would do, but a phone call was worth more than anything else he could have bought me. In 2005,I was bit by a dog and had to have surgery. He enjoyed a lovely hospital meal that evening since I couldn't eat. In 2006 he was really sick for about a week and I played nurse. So all that being said, we've pretty much written this day off our calendar. We are more than happy to just be together and healthy. We do things for each other all year to show our love for each other, so for us, this is just another day on the calendar. Not saying we're right and everyone else is wrong, just another point of view on the subject of the day.

  10. He got you a card?!?! He would have been better off pulling the flushed red face and exclaiming, "Oh I totally forgot babe!" and then ordering you lunch or dinner out at the last minute and setting up a candle and a blanket on the living floor to picnic in. Kinda difficult to forget with all the jewelry commercials, but that's a good forgive-and-forget fix to me. Hang in there Steph! And Happy Valentine's Day; I hope it gets better for you! The beans are absolutely adorable!

    FROM STEPHANIE: Phil does a lot around the house, deals with insurance companies for the babies, makes calls to doctors, and is, well, busy taking care of things every day of the week. With his spare time, he headed to the mall and refused to buy "some cheesy gift or dumb sweater," ahem, and didn't have time to plan anything. I understand this, being a new father thing, but I've been hinting for big pearl earrings forever. Forever and half, really. And I'd feel guilty buying them for myself given all the new expenses we have for the beans. All in all, it's not the end of the world, but an expectation had been set, and now we're that couple, in that place, where all I get is a card on Valentine's Day, and even if it is commercial, it feels kind of crappy. Yes, he loves me and shows me he loves me every day of the week, but on the one day where it's really expected, a card? And it's no ploy.

  11. Um, I was just sitting here all happy looking at my flowers from my husband. And then after reading your post, it occurred to me – I've been downgraded. Don't get me wrong. They're fab, but they're standard this year. Uh oh.

  12. Buy yourself the earrings. I spent 2 weeks debating how to tell my H that I want an iPod — just the mini — no big bucks involved (child going to college next year; we only spend little bucks for the foreseeable future). Last Thursday, I realized that there was no way to tell him without just blurting out "Buy me an iPod for V. Day." So I bought it myself. It's blue and lovely and makes me very happy. As the earrings will make you.

  13. It's 3:31 p.m in Florida. I wonder how many people, (mostly guys I would think) will be crammed around the card aisle around 5:00, grabbing any leftovers just because society pressures them to do so? It is nice to get that special gift, but I would rather receive it any other day of the week unexpectedly. Chocolate over roses any day of the week. Regardless, Happy Valentines Day.

  14. Now he will get the earrings after reading about your blog and you guys will fight about him buying them just because you said something.
    Happy Valentine's Day. I say, buy the earrings yourself, wrap it yourself then ask Phil to sign the card and give it to you.
    I bet he wont make this same mistake again. :D

  15. Your last response was in part word for word of my rant to my friend…"no it is not the end of the world". But c'mon something with a little thought, a little heart. And because it is expected on today of all days, it is needed. You see all the chesse ass going on around you and because you have the man and the couple you want to be apart of it too.

    Nice hinting at the bracelet as well. Smart.

  16. well, i haven't received anything yet. tonight, i'm making a rack of lamb dinner for two, with minty mashed potatoes and baby peas. For dessert, espresso brownies. I hope my hubby puts a little more thought into something for me then just a card. I am slaving in the kitchen after all…
    Love those onesies (sp?)!!!

  17. For what it's worth, I didn't even get a card…I'm pregnant and was still in the middle of morning sickness last month when it was time to make dinner reservations for tonight. Feeling miserable, I said I wouldn't want to go out. Guess that was interpreted to mean I didn't want anything! Oh well — I don't care too much because we've been together for nine years and I know this is how he is. But every once in awhile, it would be nice to see a romantic side…

  18. Nothing wrong with emailing the link to something you like. I did and I got this gorgeous Lizzie Scheck necklace. Better than the alternaive….

    P.S. Babies look fab. Miss those skinny little legs. Now MY baby is almost 6. Weep, weep. But the clothes are cuter now.

  19. I got my Dominick's grocery store bouquet on MONDAY because he was going to be out with clients Tuesday and Wed nights. The card is still there, unopened.

    The thought occurred to me that what if he dies on the way home and it's the last thing he's ever written to me.

    There better say something good in that card!

    Stephanie–did you get you Baby Prize yet? I hope so! You had TWO in one shot, and gave him a boy and a girl. For my first, I got garnets, for my second, I got diamond earrings. For my third kid, A jewel-toned MINIVAN.

    FROM STEPHANIE: No. I never got any BABY PRIZES, aside from having the actual babies BY MYSELF! He just doesn't get it. He thinks just because he's so thoughtful and good to me each day that I don't need jewelry. He thinks it's a selfish expense with all the new ones we have (with two babies). But yeah, I'm with you. I always thought my husband would get me a "new mom" gift when they were born. Not to compare, but why the hell not, my other friends with babies also all got their "new mom" gift from their husbands. I think either Phil just doesn't know people do this… or he just doesn't think I'm worth the money. Which kind of makes me cry, just writing it that way. I think he wants to prioritize. Like, "I know she wants a pool, so I'll save up." You can't have everything… but you sure can complain about it!

  20. you make me feel a day is about expectations and never being able to fulfill them. i work all day, stress about things you don't even contemplate, clean, spend 2 hours on the phone trying to get our twins their needed shots with 4 different parties, make sure you can go out to dinner/movie you want to see while i stay home and take care of the babies by myself. you- queen bee perched atop the house directing and judging all without recognizing what you are doing. i spend the little free time i have last week going around town stressing over a gift for a made up day that means nothing to me(as i spend my life doing for us/you, telling you how much i love you, etc.) a shirt or any other material junk at the mall was trite and cliche and said nothing about what you mean to me so i picked up a card and wrote what i thought about when i thought about your "needs" to me. Heartfelt and showed real thought rather than some oyster from Zales. you proceed to make me feel like i shit in your coffee. i go to kiss you and you turn away., i ask you what you'd like for dinner and you heap expectations on me which no matter what the answer will be unacceptable. you make valentine's day one where i dred. your actions and reactions make it not a day to look forward to. and why? it just makes me want to shut down and not do anything but be selfish as that's how i feel you act and it seems acceptable to you to treat me like this.

    FROM STEPHANIE: you spelled "dred" wrong

  21. You guys, love each other. I'm going through it too- with only one baby. I can't even imagine the stress and exhaustion in your lives. Stephanie- Valentine's Day will be a lot easier next year. Phil- hug her.

  22. uncomfortable silence…

    okay you two, here's how it goes:

    Phil – just admit you should have bought her a present
    Stephanie – lighten up on the guy, overall, he seems pretty fan-friggen-tastic

    now go enjoy what's left of your commercialized fake romantic holiday!

  23. Oh no you guys… come on, play nice, please! My valentine is halfway around the world right now, and I don't know when I'll see him again. I don't know if I have a prayer of spending enough prolonged time with him on the same continent to have fights over small things..we do the best we can but it's couples like you I live vicariously through for the time being.

    Please just appreciate each other's presence.

  24. lol… I know Phil was angry, and his post probably made you the same way as well… But, it was sweet, nonetheless! Give him a big hug, a kiss, and chalk this year's ruined Valentine's day up to stressful situations.

    We have great men, but sometimes we forget that. :)

  25. save your money and don't buy gifts. use it for therapy instead.

    he didn't forget your birthday or anniversary. he bought you a card and wrote his feelings for you in it simply because of a hallmark holiday. doesn't sound like a hanging crime to me.

  26. I don't know about next year, but I can guarantee you that 25 years from now you're not going to stress out about Valentine's Day. You're going to be happy to be together with your family, hopefully healthy, & will have a different outlook….both of you.

  27. I'm 100% with Phil on this one. Stephanie, you're going to squeeze the life out of him. Appreciate, simply appreciate what you have. And Phil, nice job at being completely honest.

  28. Okay, boys and girls — play nice!! Don't you live together? No need to have your fight on a blog, as entertaining as it may be to us.

  29. OMG, Phil is a fool for not noticing the thinly veiled hints Stephanie has been dropping for months about gifts, Vday gifts, push presents, etc. Stephanie, you have lost your mind if you care about this one bit. Despite the fact that Phil clearly knows your materialistic bent and should get with the program, the fact that he is caring for the babes instead of shopping for jewels is just terrific. Get over it.

  30. no matter how shitty your v day is, i can top it i've had the nobel prize of shitty days. first let me explain, i've had the flu for the past week, not even my mother called to see if i was ok during this week, my car died this morning a terrible aweful death, i got absolutely nadda for v day, and my bday is next week, which i promise will pass with out recognition from a single soul. so be thankful for the card even if it is crappy, and be greatful for the little things and people in your life.

  31. Well, if it makes you feel any better, at least he's awake… we got snowed in here in Pittsburgh, which I thought would mean a cozy day snuggled up watching t.v. and doing grown-up things… he's been knocked out cold asleep for the last three hours. And I made breakfast in bed. I would ONLY whine online, because really, in a blizzard, how much can a girl ask for…. but as a newly engaged girl, I was at least looking forward to a card. No card. Nada.

  32. My husband and I agree that this argument sounds much like ones we had early on in our relationship. Even after seven years together I tend to put expectations on him that are unfair. I try very hard not to. I've mentioned this to you before that Phil sounds very much like my husband. After our daughter was born, he did so much. I started to take it for granted. We ended up separating. We have since gotten back together, but the scars remain.

    I think you are fantastic. I appreciate your honesty and the fact that you share parts of your life with your readers. That being said, I'm with Phil on this one. In no way do I think that he thinks you aren't worth the money. He's a man. Men think differently. You know this. Love him and accept him. Let him kiss you. Kiss him back.

  33. It's obviously about expectations. He married someone who values these sorts of displays, and therefore, that sort of obligates him to participate in the ceremonial giving of gifts. It's who you are, and he knew what he was getting into.

    Don't get me wrong, I don't agree with the gift stance, but I know that makes me an anomaly. My boyfriend knows that were he to give me jewlery or worse, flowers or chocolate I would be indifferent at best, or in the case of flowers, angry, and with chocolate – well, I don't eat it, so there's no point.

    The point is that you know what you're getting into, and if you're in a relationship where gifts are expected, then you've got to either suck it up and give in, or expect a lot of pouting and arguing.

  34. Stephanie – I can tell you're ticked. Think of this- I got roses from my sister – woo hoo -and my dog is my valentine.

    I know you hate to hear it, but you have the man most women would want 364 days a year. Cut him some slack cause he's awesome in other areas. Maybe he will surprise you with pearls soon…Appreciate what he already does and what he did and you'll see more of that. Remember what you think about expands – what you think about, you bring about. Be pissed and you'll just stew vs be happy.

  35. from ben stein's column in the ny times sunday…

    "NOW, I said that this was about two investment thoughts. Here’s the more important one.
    My wife is a saint. She is a living, breathing saint. She is good-natured, patient, helpful (she cleans out the icky cat litter boxes and bathes our pitiful three-legged adopted toy poodle), and she has put up with misconduct by me on a scale that is beyond imagining.
    We have been together for decades, and for decades she has wanted a big diamond ring. I thought of every excuse I could for not getting it for her: let’s give the money to charity, what about our old age, what about our dogs’ old age, the cats’ old age and so forth. Finally, two years ago, I gave in and bought her a big diamond that I could ill afford.
    It makes her so happy that I feel like an idiot for not having done it sooner. She looks at it endlessly, twirls it around and around her finger, loves it, worships it.
    Now, bear in mind, most of her waking hours are spent helping animals through the International Fund for Animal Welfare. She is a charitable, saintly woman. But human beings like tokens of affection. She’s a saint, but she’s a human being.
    In a few days it will be Valentine’s Day. Don’t mortgage your future, but if the last few years have been good to you and if you have given what you should to charity, make the investment in your spouse or significant other.
    The return in her happiness, as far as I can tell, is beyond counting — and tax free.
    When you’re out of town, when you’re under the ground, that stone will still be there on her finger — and in a way, you will be, too."

  36. I'm sorry, I couldn't concentrate on what you wrote because those babies are too adorable.

  37. Stephanie, you're a wonderful and interesting person, and you're going to be an amazing wife and mother as soon as you grow up a little. Not getting you a gift DOES kind of stink, but I think you focus a little to much on the THINGS in life, as opposed to the real gifts.

    It's Valentine's Day, and you have newborn twins at home. This year, they should be yours and Phil's Valentine's. Next year, you two can get a sitter, have a date night, and make it all about you again.

  38. Sorry, I'm with Phil. And I can't stand it when people expect gifts. Gifts are things people give to other people as a nice gesture. They are voluntary, and a recipient should be thankful when she receives a gift, not resentful and judgmental that the gift she received wasn't good enough. And for what it's worth, a card with thoughtful words would be worth a million times more to me than generic pearl earrings, or that $500+ bracelet, which you surely don't need. And if you infer your "worth" as being greater because he gave you expensive jewelry then I might wonder about your priorities, not his.

    And I despise the demand for "push presents" or "baby prizes".

    Sorry, this post touched a nerve. I do hope you guys work it out. No need to punish each other.

  39. The man is worn out! The gift to him should have been a day away from what is apparently becoming an exhausting grind. His comment shows desperation; he's completely flummoxed and bewildered. Hasn't got a second to himself and Valentine's Day on top of everything else was evidently way too much for him to handle. As it is, he goes above and beyond–into the stratosphere. He's now cracked under the pressure, poor thing.

  40. I know what you're saying. My husband didn't get me gifts when the babies were born, but then again, he also was very helpful when it came to the kids – still is. Ultimately, it's the day to day stuff you'd resent not having much more than a bracelet. Some men are all about the jewelry, but honestly fail at every other part of being a husband.

    Our anniversary is in 10 days, so we haven't done Valentine's day for a long time. Wish I'd thought of that when planning the wedding!

    Happy Valentine's Day to you and those gorgeous children. They are truly yummy!

  41. This incident has bothered me so much that I have to comment again.

    Stephanie, you do not understand some men, and one of them is your husband. He didn't deliberately slight you on Valentine's Day. He had the intention of selecting a gift for you, and when he went shopping (an activity he probably hates) and couldn't find something that he believed was suitable, he gave up in frustration and went home. This is very, very common to men. Your hints about "big pearl earrings" fell on deaf ears. Men are quite impervious to this kind of talk, by and large.

    Phil, it appears, keeps on giving with his endless new job of being nurse to the babies, nurse to you, cleaning man and launderer, sterilizer and bearer of breast pumps. Yes, he might have realized that you would feel disappointment at receiving only a card, but he didn't. This argument is playing out like a teaser for the program Can This Marriage Be Saved? and that's a shame. There might have been more to this lack of a gift–it may be a rebellion, the first crack in the facade. His comment about your not moving from your upstairs roost should be taken as a serious sign that great issues are developing here. Phil has a problem on his hands–you. Get off your duff, get dressed, and meet him halfway. That'll be good enough for now.

  42. What is the point of having a husband if you can't even count on him to get you a damn Valentine's gift? It's not that hard – she told him what would make her happy, all he had to do was follow through. What is wrong with men?

  43. I can top all shitty Valentine's day stories. I totalled my car on Sunday, broke up with my boyfriend of 5 years on Monday and moved back into my parents house that same day. I spent Valentine's day with my parents and I am sitting by their fire place, crying my eyes out because of what I've lost. I am 25 years old and I feel like I have to start my entire life over again.

    I wish a pair of earrings was all I had to be upset about.

  44. I have to say that I am with Phil on this. I think that it is fantastic not to buy into all the materialism that dominates Valentines Day. Yes, it is very important to feel love and wanted, but if he felt that a card was the best way to express that to you, then thats pretty great too.

  45. i disagree with op- fight on your blog! your audience is enthralled!
    i think it's cute when our men silently 'stalk' our blogs- and then speak up when it moves them. my hubby keeps mentioning that he is going to delete his myspace, but i think he keeps it so that he can see what my girlfriends and i say back and forth.

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