So I find myself dreading the approach of Valentine’s Day.Can I pull it off? Will she be happy?And now we’ve got a culture crazed with the upgrade of everything. Dinner and a card used to be a home run. That sounds so blasé these days, like you barely even gave it a thought. How boring. Now you’ve got to make it an all-day occasion—flowers in the morning, call and sing to her at work, write a poem in the card, dinner yes (and not the same place you went last year), but then something romantic afterwards like a hot air balloon or a drive in a rented convertible up Sunset Ridge. We have blown this day way out of proportion. It’s taken all the fun out of it.

And the truth is, women feel the pressure too—the pressure to be beautiful, to have just the right earrings to go with just the right dress, for their hair to be perfect—to achieve “sexy” without tipping over into “skanky.” (Edith Head said your dress ought to be tight enough to show you’re a woman and loose enough to show you’re a lady). A woman feels the pressure to make all the right conversation, not to order too much at dinner (“I’ll just have a side salad”) and certainly don’t eat it all. And they feel the sexual pressure coming—either to offer sex “because it’s Valentine’s Day” or because they want to win their man. (Have you noticed all the November babies? Count back nine months. I know one family where all their kids are November birthdays. It was one of the few “sex days” of the year).

Real romance doesn’t work like that.

Romance seems to happen not because we’ve turned our google-eyed attention to romance, but because we are focused on other things—a beautiful fall day, and a spontaneous walk in the woods. An evening out “just because,” and we stumble on a great little restaurant and it all just becomes lovely. Or maybe the two of you simply rent a movie and watch it in your sweats, but it stirs both your hearts deeply and afterwards you have an amazing conversation and the intimacy makes you want to rip each other’s clothes off.

Romance requires free hearts.

Pressure, on the other hand, kills everything it touches.



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