Guys need their own Valentine’s Day

Why is it men are always the ones buying the flowers and giving the gifts and making the dinner reservations?

Right now a lot of guys are scurrying around trying to find the “right” flowers or the “right” card for Valentine’s Day. Men, however, don’t just face these tasks on Feb. 14. The truth is – hold on Gloria Steinem – there are more guy-giving than guy-receiving days in the year.

On days like Valentine’s, even though chocolate pours out of stores like molten lava, guys get, if we’re lucky, a couple of moldy Twix bars left over from Halloween.

Then there’s Mother’s Day – a holiday that is to Father’s Day what Barack Obama is to me: so much more important. On Mom’s day, gifts in very large boxes are brought into crowded restaurants where reservations had to be made eons in advance.

Compare that to getting reservations on that afterthought, Father’s Day. “Party of four at 7 p.m.? No problem. Want to come in at 6, 8:30, 9? How about we just stay open till you get here?”

Then there is the wedding shower, another occasion for a deluge of presents for everyone but the male. Ever hear of a “groom” shower? A guy getting a new bowling ball or drill press? A shower for us is a can of Mountain Dew that has been shaken too long.

Women have even taken over newer celebratory traditions, like Super Bowl Sunday. Guys used to watch the game with a couple friends who knew when not to make noise. Now the game is essentially a national holiday, an excuse for entire neighborhoods, including present and even former spouses, to unite over dips, wings, and too many decibels. Without a headset tuned to the radio broadcast, you have no idea who won.

I realize women will complain that too many guy days already exist. Specifically, those other football Sundays, when, after nine hours, the couch potatoes seem to develop roots.

But I maintain that those days are more than balanced out by the number of Sundays we spend at movies definitely not meant for guys. This year alone millions of us have sat, squirming, through two films far more painful to watch than any Detroit Lions game: “Sex and the City” and “Mamma Mia!”

When 25 chorus boys in bathing suits and flippers were dancing on a dock to ABBA, even my wife leaned over and said, sympathetically, “You can leave now.”

Guys aren’t totally without their days. Birthdays and Christmas are sort of egalitarian holidays. Yet, even here, men accept any gift, while women always have something specific in mind. Years ago, my friend Frances Lehman, after receiving a new toaster, hurled it at her husband, Elliot. The indentation in the cabinet, not Elliot, is still visible.

This is why America needs a new holiday – a Guy Day. A day when guys can look forward to thick steaks and a thin list of things to do. A day when women worry about getting the “right” present and making reservations at the “right” bistro. A day, above all, without hearing one song by ABBA.

• Chuck Cohen writes from Mill Valley, Calif.

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