Special Occasions: Why Women Care

In early February, my date and I were at a lingerie fashion show, musing over whether dental floss really qualifies as panties.

“Imagine that for Valentine’s Day,” I said.

“I don’t believe in Valentine’s Day,” he said. “It’s just commercial crap.”

Riight. I used to claim that I agreed with him: that I was unconcerned with special occasions, from V-day to B-days. Then a boyfriend forgot our anniversary. I laughed it off, but then went home and shed some salty tears. It was a revelation. Like most other women, I did care. But why?

Perhaps our biological makeup predisposes us to sentimentality. Or maybe it’s socialized: For much of the 20th century, women went largely unappreciated, bringing their men slippers and scotch after long days of homemaking and child-rearing. Special occasions were rare opportunities for men to show their appreciation. Advertisers identified the cash cow and latched onto it. Now, it’s ingrained: Buy her some chocolates, and everyone’s happy, right?

Right. If men can remember, and feign enough interest. No one writes articles offering women advice on how to make up for a forgotten anniversary. Because men happily twiddle their thumbs while we’re marking down our one-month and one-year anniversaries, along with Where We met, That Song We Heard and The Day You Said It.

Women would celebrate something every week if we could. And men? They just have one thing to celebrate: The fact that they remember at all.

Photo courtesy of Alessandro Bonvini.

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