Survival. I suppose that is as near an accurate description as one could give for the purpose of the first installment of this post written slightly over a year ago at the hand of a still blossoming husband of the "newly" variety. Avoiding the cliches, amping up your style for the night out, inciting ravenous co-worker jealousy with a rose bouquet---all splendid, if slightly obvious, pieces of advice to ensure you earn the Purple Candy Heart of Survival for your service in what is generally regarded as one of the most dangerous holidays of all time for a man (if not approached strategically).
But yet as of late, I'll be completely honest--this year I find myself inconsolably bored with the whole lot of it. No, not the romance and affection or the roses and the nice dinners, I mean the absolute drudgery of the traditional Valentine's Day norm that morphs what should be a moment of realization for the gentleman at how blasted lucky he is, into a responsibility, a duty, the culmination of required actions within one's role as a boyfriend, fiance, husband, whathaveyou. Blame it on too many viewings of 500 Days of Summer or the constant closed-captioned reminder of my inadequacy as an educated male when confronted with unrealistically talented men like Neal Caffrey and Dr. Gregory House, but I've simply got to raise the bar--for myself and for my relationship.
In short, I want our Valentine's date to be as eventful and adventurous as this one:
Now I'd be lying if I said the above gentleman's wicked sharp suit and knack for being incredible at everything has nothing to do with my approval. But what is unmistakeably inspiring in this clip is his ability to take his lovely date on a marvelously unique and (frankly) unbelievable journey through what would otherwise be merely another Chinese restaurant with a live band and on-hand magicians. I suppose it got me thinking--what if Valentine's day, rather than a couple's yearly chore, was instead more like the yearly Olympics of Love? What if the mundane ritual involving a 3-hr. wait at the nearest Olive Garden were to be replaced by the culmination of everything the two of you had learned to do over the previous year? The skills, the interests, the talents, all combining into an epically fantastic adventure that would have literally been impossible in years past but now bursts into a triumphant, drudgery-killing night for the history books. That, my friends, I feel has become my mission.
What to Learn?
- Gourmet cooking, scuba diving, motorcycle riding, safe cracking, mountain climbing, skydiving, dance moves, opera singing, painting, sculpting, archery, bomb disarming, hang-gliding, hardcore parkour, dog whispering, zoology, horticulture, martial arts, spelunking..... The list is endless! Whatever your two adventurous minds can come up with. Learn it over the next year, and then start a St. Cupid's adventure encompassing all of it.
What are my plans? I can't tell you. First of all because I'm not yet entirely sure myself, and I'm a heck of a little broke at this moment in my life. But secondly, I don't trust my wife's undeniably mischievous nature (a reason in part why I fell for her) not to read this post despite my firm instructions. And to be honest I don't know what I want to learn first--I just know I'm seriously lacking in the awesome gentlemanly skills bank. I don't even know how to start about it. Maybe I'll blog my progress, who knows?
All I can say is that the end reason is the same--to take the woman I married on a journey through life filled with wild, unexpected adventures that will evoke a re-learning of everything we thought we knew about each other. My promise as a gentleman is this: To strive my hardest not to bore my wife all the way til death do us part. I want this Valentine's to be the beginning, the beginning of an inspiration. Each year bringing its own February 14th filled with a brand new adventure, and a brand new proving ground for my dedication to never stop learning, never stop impressing, never stop wooing the love of my life.
I challenge you, my friends, to do the same.