«

»

Feb 12 2008

How cheap is your love?

sexyflirtypjs
Original image, sans caption, from PajamaGram dot com.

The annual capitalist pig run-up to Valentine’s Day leaves a particularly repellent aftertaste on the Twisty palate this year, so I will take a moment out of my idyllic agrarian schedule (did I mention that I bought a horse? And that I am considering dropping out of society indefinitely?) and blame it.

Join me now, those of you with iron stomachs, as we contemplate the massive pussygrab that is Valentine’s Day. It’s a national mega-bootycall in a paper-lace heart-shaped candy coating. Dudes throw a bundle of plastic-wrapped gas station roses at the straight girls once a year, and the straight girls are supposed to go to pieces over this magnanimous declaration of ‘love’. According to cultural narrative, the macho male is supposedly hardwired to ‘forget’ Valentine’s Day; this is so that even the crappiest box of stale Russell-Stover chocolates will be received with tears of wide-open-beaver gratitude. Overwhelmed that he has actually remembered to observe the cheap valentinian conventions with such clumsy pink-and-red love pantomimes as are prescribed on the great day, the woman’s learned behavior is to obligingly turn out in the Frederick’s of Hollywood stripper drag that properly feted Valentinees are expected to wear, poised for the humpty-hump.

Maybe her “sexy & flirty PJs” arrived earlier that day in a PajamaGram, a Valentine’s Day gift with which the priapic dude may hope to “spoil her.” Lard knows it’s not every day a girl receives a “Pink Seduction Chemise” in an “organza hat box” ($65.95); naturally the only reasonable response to such a heartfelt expression of devotion is to cook him a nice dinner and afterward let him rip the chemise off you on the living room rug.

It is charming that “spoiling her” may also consist of presenting one’s beloved with an $80 teddy bear. Have you seen the commercials on TV? According to Vermont Teddy Bear.com, the anxiety of the would-be seducer at a loss for the right gesture may be entirely relieved by purchasing one of their stuffed bears. Nothing turns an adult woman into kinky-putty in your hands like the gift of a child’s toy dressed in a fig leaf that says “Let’s Get Bear Naked!”

Nothing, that is, except tacky heart-shaped diamond pendants from American department store JC Penney. Their TV ad shows one of these cheap baubles swinging slowly back and forth like a hypnotist’s pocket watch, while the male voiceover says something like “You are getting sleepy. You think I am the best-looking stud in the room. You will love me longtime. You will perform fellatio on me and 3 of my friends.” In the corner of the screen, the price of the hookup flashes: $99.99.

It’s not relevant to the antifeminist character of Valentine’s day, but damn, this is some butt-ugly jewelry.

Women’s status as a class of purchasable receptacles is never in question, of course. Valentine’s Day merely represents the dime stores’ efforts to get in on a piece of the action, the venerable exchange of shiny objects for sex. Like one purveryor of cheap crap from China says, “Walgreen’s has everything you need to express your love.”

86 comments

11 pings

  1. Madeleine

    Cause we’re living in a world of fools
    Breaking us down
    When they all should let us be
    We belong to you and me
    (doo doo doo doo doo)

    Andy Gibb doesn’t know how feminist he is.

  2. Elizabeth Zanichkowsky

    Hilarious and true, Twisty. I’ve seen the tv ad for pajamagrams, and though it seems impossible, it is more pornographic than Victoria’s Secret “fashion” shows, because it includes the leering man patting the bed. I kid you not.

    EZ

  3. Anastasia

    on the radio yesterday, a giveaway for a gift certificate to a local spa–you know, so she can have all her body hair removed. the co-host reads the ad: “no woman is going to say no to a spa day” and the wacky morning dj quips lecherously “no woman is going to say no after a spa day, either. if you know what I mean uhuhuhuhuhuh.”

    oh, I am so turned on. take me now. really.

  4. Elizabeth Zanichkowsky

    Hilarious and true, Twisty. I’ve seen the ad for Pajamagrams, and, though it seems impossible, it is more pornographic than the Victoria’s Secret “fashion” shows, because it includes the leering man patting the bed. I kid you not.

    Eliza

  5. Elizabeth Zanichkowsky

    Apologies for the double post. A mistaken double click.

  6. Alex

    Well, there go my plans to send Twisty a Pajama-gram/Vermont Teddy Bear/Butt-Ugly Heart Shaped Jewelry triple threat in gratitude for this delicious morsel of faux holiday blaming.

    Even being in a relationship, I’ve never seen the point of Valentine’s Day. Even taking it at face value and ignoring the painfully obvious patriarchal overtones, it’s clearly intended to appeal to people in bad relationships. If you need a special day to remember you love your partner and consumerist crap to “prove” it, it might be time to think about your relationship on the other 364 days of the year.

    On the other hand, my partner and I rather enjoy Valentine’s Day for the glut of chocolate and candy that will suddenly be on massive markdowns the following day. Apparently pink M&M’s are palatable only on Valentine’s Day and must therefore be disposed with haste lest we divert our attention from the next faux holiday spendfest.

  7. Mary Tracy9

    YAY! TWISTY IS BACK!!! You can’t imagine my joy when I saw that I BLAME THE PATRIARCHY had a new post! LONG LIVE THE BLAMING!!!

    With respect to the Valentine Day from Hell, lower priced chocolate the next day is GOOD. An infinitesimal payback for making us all feel like freaks for not having “a special someone who loves you so much he’s willing to spend the moneys on you”.

  8. Alarming Female

    Basking in the Twisty love, here.

    it’s clearly intended to appeal to people in bad relationships

    absofuckinglutely.

  9. nightgigjo

    Yeah. What you said.

    My favorite (by which I mean, most gut-wrenchingly painful) commercials are the “Because you’re not That Guy (TM)” ones by Helzberg Diamonds (a KC Jeweler).

    Portrayals of Nice Guys (TM) grooming the frou-frou dog or painting wifey’s toenails, followed by “Because you’re not That Guy ™”, pan to a diamond necklace. Because you’re not willing to do something nice for your woman (who is portrayed each time as a simpering fool), you have to buy her pieces of rock bought with the blood of slaves worked in metal that was likewise paid for by the backs of the unwilling.

    In short: “Say it with bribery”. *gag*

  10. Bird

    If you live in Canada, find your local march in memory of missing and murdered women instead. The marches are focussed around the women, many of them First Nations people, who have are the forgotten victims of violence because they were prostituted, living with drug addiction, or otherwise uncared for by mainstream patriarchal society. The marches are to remember them, to call attention and to make their lives significant to us all.

    That, to me, is way more important than some ugly-ass jewelery and a porntastic bit of lingerie.

  11. Amanda

    My most favorite ridiculous diamond commercial is (I think) for Zales. A couple is driving along a snowy street…he hands her a diamond necklace and, Oh boy, they stop traffic. All accompanied by a song saying something along the lines of “I think that possibly, maybe I’m falling for you!” I think that maybe someday in the unforseen future I could imagine myself being with you, as long as you maintain your weight and subserviant attitude…here’s a diamond! Now, give me some car sex woman.

  12. Pinko Punko

    I agree but am still controlled by the Valentines Industrial Complex.

    -thanks TF.

    Coolio about the horse, maybe a pic or two before you drop out of internet based blaming?

  13. missicat

    Those ads for the Vermont teddy bear are hilarious – these women in an office in their best “dress like a hooker” day sleaze wear, going nuts over some cheap teddy bear.
    Am I right?

  14. pisaquari

    “How cheap is your love?”

    One kickass Twisty post.

    (only one because the blamer market’s down–I’m guessing some serious farming, yeah?)

    F-Off V-day!
    –not to mention all those *timely* Vagina Monologue productions.

  15. kcb

    “Let’s Get Bear Naked!”

    Sounds like caveman-speak to me. I imagine some guy and gal then undressing the stuffed toy together, as if this will reveal the special magic of Valentine’s Day.

    I second the call for horse photos. Fig leaf optional.

  16. Amberbug

    Valentine’s Day is the big “git some” day. It’s like a honeymoon, where EVERYONE inappropriately winks and nudges- parents, store displays, sound bites, media, friends, strangers. They make the coital bed for you, buy or sell you the costume, feed you the chocolate (what is it with the scientific tenor of “chocolate is a substitute for sex with a man or is aphrodisiac for women”? We got female-specific chocolate DNA?).
    The idea of performing ritualistic heterosexual sex for the nation’s corporate holiday calendar is an automatic turnoff, let alone watching the annual training of men on how to feed, dress, bribe, guilt, trip, and “git” the woman to cooperate (toys chocolate undies booze jewelry dinner). “We can show you how to make them feel obliged. For men only.”
    Of course it’s a holiday. It legitimizes the fantasy that “women will give out sexual services today”. It’s like a white sale at the Patriarchy. Just be nice to them on that day, and they’ll give it up all year, or you’ll bring up the nice guy trump card, the “at least” argument. “I remembered Valentine’s day”. Same as “at least I don’t hit you”.
    But these also make MRA activists in training go nuts with “why should I have to buy you stuff to get laid, you horrible gold-digging consuming capitalistic foolish woman-it’s sexist!” That is the worst part of Valentine’s Day- watching misogynists angry to part with money, thought, effort, anything at all, in order to use a woman’s body (because they should be free), and angry as if each and every individual woman was brokering the deal against him.
    This holiday is only for men with bad relationships. Women don’t get holidays. For the women in those relationships, Valentine’s day is a hopeless hell. Its male arranged sexual activity (in common with porn, eh?) its feeling trivialized with a child’s stuffed toy or “something shiney”, its being made to feel like you are a spoiled brat and not a woman trapped with an “at least I….” man. It’s having gratitude expected of you annually.

  17. lucizoe

    I’m sorry, I couldn’t pay attention past the mention of a horse!

    Horse!!! I’m so jealous. I’m going to have a “I want my fucking pony, dammit” moment now.

    I hope many sweaty velvety soft nose nuzzles and dusty ear scritches are in your future. And may your dogs and your horse get on well.

  18. notblueatall

    I just found your blog through another and all I can say is…Thank you! This post totally kicked my ass! You have found in me a faithful reader from this day forward!

  19. Dykonoclast

    Squee! Twisty post!

    I’m particularly fond of the fact that Taser International, Inc. is encouraging dudes to buy their ladies pink consumer tasers for Valentine’s Day with the tagline, ‘Love her? Protect her.’

  20. Theriomorph

    I’m particularly fond of the fact that Taser International, Inc. is encouraging dudes to buy their ladies pink consumer tasers for Valentine’s Day with the tagline, ‘Love her? Protect her.’

    Oh my Dog.

    I am so glad I don’t watch TV. There’s only so much sudden-onset-rabies I can handle having each day.

  21. GoingLoopy

    Last year, the BF and I were watching TV, and one of those Vermont bear commercials came on. I thought it was a joke….I think it was during Saturday Night Live…but the BF assured me it was not. I couldn’t believe that something that stupid was real. I still can’t.

    The BF and I both think Valentine’s is a dumb holiday, so we pretty much skip it.

    But I’m with the commenter above – dumb holiday or no, half-price chocolate is always a winner.

  22. thebewilderness

    Criminy, if you rillyrilly lub her you’ll buy her a taser, so she can zap you if you get stupid. I don’t see much of a market there.
    All this to celebrate some dead guy nobody knows who is, but Chaucer made up a story about how he’s the patron saunt of lovers and the plague.
    What am I missing?

  23. Hawise

    The plague has given us many fine things and the greatest is the Feb. 15th post-Valentine’s Day chocolate sale.

  24. buttercup

    Oh, that pajamagram ad bothers me more than I can say. As if sexxayyy jammies are something a woman actually wants for herself. Fuck that noise. Also on the squeeing women in the teddy bear ad. Nauseating.

    Seconding the request for horse pictures, Twisty.

    And nightgigjo, that’s some first class blaming there.

  25. Dancinghawk

    I’m sorry, but I totally want one of those pink tasers to go with my pink hello-kitty AK47. Why, I could have a totally pink arsenal!

    I hate pink, but the irony would so rock.

    And half-price chocolate (as long as it’s dark chocolate) is worth Valentines/Single Awareness Day frustration.

  26. Trey

    My “favorite” commercials are the ones that skip the innuendo, and go straight to the message – the ones for lube.

    Yep – none of that love stuff. Let’s talk about how to make the sex better, since that’s clearly the point of all of this.

    Eeeeeesh. But yet, refreshingly honest.

  27. RadFemHedonist

    My favorite (by which I mean, most gut-wrenchingly painful) commercials are the “Because you’re not That Guy (TM)” ones by Helzberg Diamonds (a KC Jeweler).

    Portrayals of Nice Guys (TM) grooming the frou-frou dog or painting wifey’s toenails, followed by “Because you’re not That Guy ™”, pan to a diamond necklace. Because you’re not willing to do something nice for your woman (who is portrayed each time as a simpering fool), you have to buy her pieces of rock bought with the blood of slaves worked in metal that was likewise paid for by the backs of the unwilling.

    “because you’re not that guy… get vajajay points by spending teh monehz and exploiting some (brown) people instead of by being around all that feminising pink and petting a dog that isn’t large and potentially threatening and taking part in the process of making her look hot which is like, her responsibility.”

  28. RadFemHedonist

    Also it seems like another way to go “look honey, alcohol, I’m being attentive” ie another excuse to get women drunk, rape them and then call them party poopers for not being OK with it.

  29. zofia

    Have you seen the one where the guys pulls out the butt ugly JC Penny necklace and starts swinging it like a hypnotist’s pendulum and says, you think I’m a great guy, you like me, etc…it’s nauseating.

  30. zofia

    *blush* should have read more carefully. That’s what I get for blaming at work.

  31. Jeanne

    Twisty, will *you* be my Valentine?

    Truly awesome post, as usual. I needed some hardcore patriarchy blaming this week and you did not disappoint!

  32. dak

    i am sooo f*cking tired of hearing the damned pajamagram ads on my local radio station. i want to barf each time i hear them. i finally got smart and downloaded some of my favorite (too geeky to be mentioned) radio programs onto my cell phone and play them in the car.

    ….loooove for sale…..*pukes*

  33. slythwolf

    Clearly Valentine’s Day needs to be re-imagined as some kind of a bacchanalian chocolate and/or dessert festival. But then, I tend to think that’s true of every holiday.

  34. Edith

    My stomach is so far from iron it can’t even tolerate cuisine prepared by chefs who are also, reportedly, iron, let alone Valentine’s festivities.

    And that includes oh-so-ironic SINGLE AND SAD (or S.A.D., see, it’s not even clever because it contains the word its abbreviating, but no matter, it’s still all over every damn poster on my college campus) bar nights. They’re different from other bar nights, you see, because on THIS night we are to get drunk and disgusting and try to feel each other up while avoiding being raped/doing some raping. Oh, wait, it’s not different at all.

    That said, I like candy, and if anyone wants to give me some, I will gladly accept it, sans tirade, even.

  35. nancy

    I am bummed because when heard those stupid pajamagram ads on NPR I always pictured fuzzy flannel jammies covered in pictures of something silly like toasters and mugs of coffee.

  36. Amanda Marcotte

    Let’s not even discuss jewelry ads that openly purport that women’s autonomy will easily be overcome with the flash of shiny rocks. I used to think it was a cute holiday. Now I boycott. I was so angry when I saw that “The Apartment” was going to play at the Alamo on Valentine’s Day. I love that movie, patriarchy-blaming flick that it is, and I went to buy tickets for me and my man, also a fan of the intelligent 60s send-up of romantic comedy conventions. Lo and behold, because it’s Valentine’s Day, you have to pay $75 a head to see this classic film on the big screen.

    Grumble, bitch, moan. If there’s not a better example of the perversion of all that’s good and true than that, I would be hard-pressed to say what it is. Our seats will be occupied by people who are probably too shallow to get why this movie is great, the sort of people who think dumping $75 on a movie ticket is a way to say you love someone.

  37. slythwolf

    $75 to see a goddamn movie?! Rent.

  38. SmartDogs

    Valentine’s Day bites just slightly less than Christmas.

    Being an evil pagan nature-bitch with a bad attitude married to a man who fears me in all the right ways – on holidays I am usually honored with deeply meaningful rites such as ironing, folding of laundry and (oh my gawd I’m getting wet….) vacuuming.

  39. learnlotsbetty

    Did anyone else notice the terrible pigmentation and chest-localized reverse-gravity ailments the pajamagram ladies were suffering?

    On a similar note
    A kid walked in to my agency for his first day of his new volunteer job today. He was wearing a button that read “vagina: the other white meat.” WHAT. THE. FUCK?

    Skipping entirely the problem of wearing anything with the word vagina on it (misogynist or not) when walking in to a professional nonprofit for your first day of work, there are at least three ways it’s monumentally violent and offensive in just a surface reading. So he tells me, when I let him know it’s not OK, that it’s “to help battered women for an event at school.” A quick Google search lets me know that there’s a company selling these buttons in purported–but unspecified–support of V-Day.

    Um, thanks, but no thanks, jerkfaces.

  40. dr.sue

    There was a full-page ad in our local paper for a VD special on hair removal, featuring the generic smiling vapid 12-year-old couple and the caption, “Make her day–and your night!”

    I’m on board with the post-holiday candy bargains, though. Did you know you can buy in bulk and freeze it? It comes out looking like kitty litter, but it tastes fine.

  41. Dilly

    Oh, I cringe every time I see those PajamaGram ads in Atlantic Monthly. And you’d think they’d come up with a phrase slightly less degrading than “spoil her” for that publication.

    I am also considering dropping out of society. Can anyone recommend a nice, self-sufficient, women-only community?

  42. DeeMom

    A nice, self-sufficient, women-only community?
    Sounds good. Count me in.
    I like d*ck, but I don’t like getting d*cked over.
    Until our society loses its penis-focus, we are all in trouble – all the half-priced chocolate in the world can’t make me feel better about things.

  43. Sylvanite

    My biggest problem with Valentine’s Day is that I actually really like chocolates. I’m not actually too into chocolate most of the time, no matter how much I seem to thus be defying gender stereotypes, but there’s just something about chocolates.

    Those Vermont Teddy Bear commercials, though. Yeesh! I can’t think of anything that would make me less likely to put out than the gift of a completely useless stuffed animal accompanied by a sappy sentiment. I’ll bet if it were delivered to my workplace, though, I’d be pressured to pretend that it was completely adorable and just what I wanted!

  44. BadKitty

    I am also considering dropping out of society. Can anyone recommend a nice, self-sufficient, women-only community?

    Word. I’ve been slowly but surely removing myself from this thing we call “civilization”. If you hear of anything, Dilly, let me know.

    “vagina: the other white meat.”

    Words fail me.

  45. invisible

    Dearest Lard Jesus,

    I love the BeeGees, with the white-hot heat of a google-plex-infinity-GOD sun.

    Do you hear me?

    Cause we’re living in a world of fools
    Breaking us down
    When they all should let us be
    We belong to you and me
    (doo doo doo doo doo)

  46. Tigs

    Naw, itchy pjs and red #5 make me feel like a Real Woman.
    How can you blame on that?!

  47. Helen

    On the other hand, if my SO were to send me a horsiegram containing a horse like Stanley, I might be extremely moved.

  48. Grey Muse

    My fiance got me both seasons of the long cancelled HBO show Carnivale for Valentine’s day. I’m eternally grateful that he understands while I enjoy romance, I also enjoy epic sagas of Good vs Evil and stories that make me think, rather than fluff love.

  49. Cara

    My “favorite” commercials are the ones that skip the innuendo, and go straight to the message – the ones for lube.

    Yep – none of that love stuff. Let’s talk about how to make the sex better, since that’s clearly the point of all of this.

    Not even “make the sex better”–the lube is so he can get in there without paying attention to her at all. Actually making the sex better (for HER) is too much work.

    Glad you posted, Twisty.

  50. TinaH

    I wonder if we could use Horsiegrams to comment on the blame-able patriarchy – I’d love to send the pajamagram people a steaming pile of horse dookey!

    And, Twisty, delighted as ever to hear from you!

  51. RadFemHedonist

    “vagina: the other white meat”

    Racism, misogyny, the desire to rape women or possibly cut them up and eat them…

    maybe he didn’t want to wear that big a button.

  52. Ron Sullivan

    I’m gonna use up the whole month’s plum-blossom balmy Berkeley spring optimism at one go and think, if only for a moment, that “the other white meat” implies a promise that the wearer will perform some cunnilingus, as in “eat me.”

    Whew. That went fast.

    That’s aside from the fact that anyone who thinks a vagina is white has obviously never been near one with his eyes open. Even assuming that “vagina” is the usual mistake and it really means “vulva.” Even.

    Buttons aside, how is sending a woman “flirty” pajamas supposed to be a favor to her? I mean, by the time you’re actually in pajamaland, you’d think things would be well past flirting. Does this mean that all these years of sleeping nekkid and actually, you know, having sex just whenever, we’ve been doing it wrong? Oh well, too old to change now.

    Guys, if you have to bribe her, you’re doing it wrong.

  53. kathryn

    Welcome back! And with a vengeance!

    So, why do advertisers think that a full body waxing will “make my day”? Depiliation hurts! The only thing about it that could possibly cheer a woman up about getting all of her hairs plucked from her most delicate areas would be the approval of her man. Not that any guy interested in hair-free hoochies actually wants to see them the night after the plucking.

    I confess to once shaving it all off just to make a guy happy. That was awful. I looked so stupid with a curvy woman’s body and the crotch of a prepubescent. And the itching as it grew back in! That was a one-time mistake, let me tell you what.

  54. Sylvanite

    I can’t even imagine getting a brazilian wax. I only shaved once, for medical reasons, and was completely miserable for the duration. That’s just not a place where vthere should be stubble!

  55. el ranchero

    Wait a minute… so you’re telling me I can’t expect a blow job for these roses? But they were like $5 each! And I got her 4 of them, fer Chrissakes!

  56. CafeSiren

    I was at a party a couple of weeks ago where someone told me of visiting a town (I forget where) where there were billboards advertising V-Day gift certificates for Botox. Because nothing says “I love you” in the patriarchy like paying for your woman to have her face paralyzed.

    But I concur on the butt-ugliness of the JC Penny jewelry.

  57. Esme

    Last year, when we were all out selling tickets for the Vagina Monologues, a kid at my school started using his half page of editorial space in the school newspaper to write article after article about how much he hates the Vagina Monologues for “spoiling” Valentine’s Day. That’s right, folks. Drawing attention to the fact that women have these weird things called “lives” and “experiences,” raising money for domestic violence shelters, and putting on a production that forms a female-friendly community on campus is somehow “spoiling” a day that he himself admitted was a greeting card holiday.

    *sigh*

    Still though, half off chocolate tomorrow AND a date with a guy who works prosecuting domestic violence cases.

  58. motherfluffer

    While I never turn down the chance for some serious patriarchy blame, my b/f and I use it as an opportunity to find one another the funniest/rudest card around. Then we go out or stay in and drink and eat curry and chocolate together. We both enjoy sex so to me it seems fairly irrelevent which one of us pays for dinner. If I wasn’t in the mood, that wouldn’t be an issue at all. Our relationship is better than great – so the “valentines day is for people in crap relationships” is not true for me (though I could name a dozen couples for whom v-day is a desperate act at pretending they still desire one another).

    For us, the big V is a great excuse to eat tasty crap food, get tipsy and have sex. What’s wrong with that? So what if it’s rooted in patriarchal tradition – so are weddings, and I bet some of you got married the symbolic way, passed from daddy to husband.

    The best comment was about diamonds and the exploitation, etc that goes into making them. Probably those teddy bears are made by abused little Malaysian girls in sweat shops, while some of the models of the sexy lingerie are probably depressed, demoralised young women with some eating disorder or other.
    In short, there are some real feminist issues out there and I don’t think valentine’s day is one when you’re in the basic “flowers for sex.” Start talking about the women who are absent and genuinely subjugated. I know patriarchy still rules over here, and it is a cheap argument to say “compared to these women, we’re free” but angsty blogs about jewllery is hardly going to do anything other than make you look quite petty in light of serious issues.

    But those JC Penney necklaces are f***ing hideous.

  59. hearmeroar

    V-day, along with Christmas and birthdays, is so much about ridiculous expectations. If there is something I want, I just go buy it for myself. And tomorrow—I want 50% off Godiva chocolate. What has changed about this chocolate from one day to the next? Nothing but the price. It is divine in its’ deliciousness and I want it. I will not wait for anyone to give it to me, I will give it to myself. And if anyone-and I do mean anyone-ever gave me that horrific jc penney jewelry, I would be thinking about where I could hide a body. Happy V-Day all you wonderful women-Above all, let’s love ourselves and I’m so happy Twisty is back!!!

  60. Nora Bombay

    Actually, I think I could make good use of the Vermont Teddy Bear.

    More specifically, the dog could.

    I’ve got a dachshund. He likes to chew on things. And that bear would be (once the eyes and any danger parts are removed) the way that I could save, oh, at least $7 off my monthly pet food bill.

    Why, I’m pretty sure Tucker would be willing to drag it across the house for months, chewing on it, dipping it in his water bowl, and generally doing whatever small dogs like to do to stuffed things.

    But all things considered? I’ll pass.

  61. mearl

    Ah, Valentine’s Day: the holiday where women can tell ourselves we’re doing it for ourselves when we spend half an hour shaving off all body hair except eyebrows and head, exfoliate and moisturise and pluck and blowdry and style and gloss and enhance and accentuate and minimise and worry about thigh bulge and ass bulge as we stuff ourselves into a scratchy teddy and thigh-highs, and hope that the boyfriends we are putting up with have cleaned their ears and washed their rank and hairy old balls for the occasion. Then we get the ultimate privilege of being shoved down into the pillow as the boyfriends bang us into the headboard while fantasising about the Victoria’s Secret fashion show. Yeah, I don’t miss it. I’ve had two good Valentine’s Days: both involved dinner with my best friends, where we bought each other flowers and wine and had fancy dinners and got drunk and laughed our heads off all night. Unfortunately for myself and other hetero feminists, those golden days of communing with the girls are now only a bittersweet memory. I have noticed that all hetero female friends tend to abandon you eventually for a guy, and even if everyone thinks V-day is a farce and a pain in the ass and a commercial circus, everyone still does it, and those of us who are single are screwed when there ain’t other single people to distract ourselves with. But I’m not bitter!

  62. K.A.

    As much as I want to selfishly squeeze Twisty’s mental juices for all they’re worth, I have to second the bliss of dropping out of society. I was never as clear-headed and happy as I was when I unintentionally became a media-free, isolated hermit for nearly two years. Until people go Amish long-term themselves, there is really no way to properly convince them of how the media influences and desensitizes and turns your blood from fizzy lifting drink to mucky Augustus Gloop-kidnapping sludge–no matter how critical the jaundiced eye, no matter how much one’s personal tastes in entertainment are the opposite of Deal or No Deal.

    (Though I ‘spose Twisty isn’t talking about sacrificing TV….)

    Twisty, can you write a book in your spare time? It doesn’t have to be about boyz’ love affairs with their own cocks. It can be about fun stuff, because you are teh funny, and whatnot.

  63. KMTBERRY

    Valentines Day may be an example of “fun holiday for children, made creepy by adults refusing to accept they aren’t kids anymore”. (Halloween?)

    I have many happy memories of buying packages of store-bought Valentines (I choo choo choose you!), one for every kid in my homeroom, male and female, in like, second grade, and having cupcakes, and coming home with a pile of little cut-outs that essentially said ” I like you!”

    It was happy. Mmm cupcakes.

    Plus, for like your Grandma, you would MAKE Valentines, with paper lace and glitter.

  64. wheelomatic

    Me and my Nigel both agree that V-day is a trivialization of true feelings at best and heinous exploitation at worst, and we therefore generally ignore it except for snarky comments about the hapless jerks who fall in to the whole hideous trap. It is one of the reasons I tolerate his occasional Neanderthaisms.

    So color me surprised when I get home from work to find a pink envelope on the table with my name on it. I open it to find a card with a sepia toned photo of 2 tots in olde-timey clothes poised a moment before a kiss. Inside the sentiment was something along the lines of “I love you forever. yadda yadda…trite drivel” To which Nigel added: ” Nothing says it better than kiddie porn.” I am still laughing.

    PS Is that an ENGLISH saddle I saw atop the stalwart Stanley? Nifty!

  65. Come the Revolution

    Has anyone seen the tv ad for the engagement ring? Woman opens wrapped gift containing a pink jewelry box with a ballerina on top. “Oh, I had one just like this when I was a little girl.” Gentle Nigel: “it’s yours; I got it from your mom. Go ahead, open it up, there’s more.” There’s an engagement ring in the drawer, cut to pics of the ring and description, cut back to the couple in loving embrace. She says: “I think I know just how she (the ballerina) feels.”

    Really? Plastic, stiff, diminutive, exposed, abandoned, bored of spinning in the same circle for a lifetime?

  66. rootlesscosmo

    Really? Plastic, stiff, diminutive, exposed, abandoned, bored of spinning in the same circle for a lifetime?

    And for sale.

  67. Haywire

    I must say, this year’s Valentine’s day was perfect – I only realized it had come and gone on the 15th. Boyfriend phoned, but forgot to mention the ‘holiday’. Bless him.

    Of course, it’s not as big an event in Norway as the US or UK – I didn’t even know the date until I was 19, believe it or not. However, I’ve been told we’re importing the tradition, so it’s probably only a matter of time…

  68. Hectora

    So. Glad. You’re. Kinda-Sorta-Maybe-Back for-a-time or maybe-just-this-once.

    If you do give up the world, would you consider keeping this little piece of it open? For….me, quasi-anonymous blaming lurker? And those like me?

    No? Well, I enjoy whatever shining gems drop from your keyboard whenever you get the chance. Blog on, dear angel, blog on. Or not, as you autonomously choose in your wisdom. But this made my month.

  69. Lara

    Thankyou for snapping me back into reality Twisty (and co.). That was an awesome post. I officially cannot stand what Valentine’s day has become. I used to love it when I was a small kid and everyone would put little hand-made valentine’s cards in little pockets attached to our desks, with little candies.
    Sharing the sweetness, THAT is what Valentine’s day is all about.
    And I think I am gonna go get myself some discounted chocolate at godiva tomorrow….yum.
    Blame on!

  70. Virginia Ray

    First Feb 14th used to be Susan B Anthony’s birthday which is here not there BUT

    Second, for total bottom of the squirm grossness have you seen the Vermont Teddy Bear ads? I do not have the skills to describe this filth as I experience it.

    Reducing grown women to squealing idiots over a stupid child’s toy is not the worst, no. It is the nod and wink pedophilic content,- that is the worst.

    It makes me queasy because I think there is something evil about showing grown women as desiring children’s toys – portraying working women as wanting children’s toys – women acquiring status in the work place from other colleagues because of getting a child’s toy at work. Actually such a woman would be derided.

    These Vermont Teddy Bear ads reduce women at work to infantile sexual objects squealing over a child’s toy. Legitimating the equation of cheap, tacky children’s toys and sexuality. Humiliating the professionalism of the working women.

    Any self respecting woman would died of shame and trash such a gift. This AH company is encouraging men to humiliate women in this manner at her workplace. Not just disgusting – evil and sexist. I blame the patriarchy.

  71. Sheela

    Greetings, to all Blamers. This is my apprehensive first post, primarily to express my gratitude and awe. I aspire someday to blame as artfully as so many of you here. Second, I must confess that the rare combination of brilliance and hilarity upon reading the post and responses caused a shocked laughter during a mouthful of Breyer’s rocky road ice cream to erupt directly onto the computer monitor. It seemed appropriate to share this paroxysm of chocolate, nuts and marshmallow, given the holiday. IBTP may be better than a pink Taser.

  72. Sunder_A

    I say, let’s take back Valentine’s day–a celebration of the feminine/masculine duality of the Primal Being, in the form of sacred sex–and remember the real St. Valentinus. That story about the good priest who performed soldiers’ wedding ceremonies (when it was illegal for them to marry) and was martyred for it, isn’t a Hallmark Hall of Fame tale, but might as well be.

    The real Valentinus is a fine person to honor. There was none of that celibacy silliness for this priest (he was married to St. Sabina, of whom little is known other than her willingness to listen to and consider the concerns and ideas of a slave). He was often in hot water for such things as denying the bishops’ claim of divine authority to do as they pleased, and teaching that the Holy Spirit was feminine and the personification of Wisdom…what’s not to love? (And I’m a Pagan.)

    And we’ll begin the celebration at midnight on the 14th, so as to scarf up on 1/2 price candy, for self and/or for giving, on the 15th. We will also give one another living plants (from our own gardens/windowboxes when possible), “that CD you’ve been trying to find forever,” handmade gifts, and job coupons (“good for one footrub–one ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ marathon evening–going to a live concert of that band you inexplicably like, and never saying they sound like constipated donkeys”). And that night…we will do whatever we want, so long as it’s for everyone involved.

    Think it’ll catch on?

  73. Gary

    You just spoilt the show for the guys. VD is a “pussygrab”, what a word.

    To all the gals reading this, the truth hurts and the absolute truth hurts absolutely.

    Still a fun post, thanks :)

  74. Mar Iguana

    Late breaking news.

  75. the neoskeptic

    holy shit, what righteous feminist vitriol! stinging and to the point, you are quite a force. i think i’m in love.

  76. Gary Ray

    I am a very strong feminist, radical progressive, and a strong advocate for women’s rights. My darling and I have been together for 29 years and our love is as strong as ever. She has been president of the local NOW chapter wherever we have lived.

    We celebrate Valentines Day and have for 29 years. For us it is day to celebrate romance. We don’t go out. One of us (usually me) will come up with a fancy homemade romantic dinner, always with a home made chocolate wonderful dissert. We make up a fancy menu and give each other humorous cards. We have saved every card we have sent each other and put them out as decoration and to remember where we were when we sent them.

    We don’t spend much money but just time enjoying each other and celebrating another year together.

    Call me romantic, I like a day to celebrate love.

    Gary Ray

  77. CoolAunt

    Until yesterday, I was without Internet access at home for several months. That left me alone to endure those stupid-ass pajama ads without fellow blamers to validate and assure me that they were indeed as sickening as I perceived them to be. (Yes, you’re supposed to feel sorry for me, now. wink) To add insult to injury, not only were the ads pervy, I don’t much care for the statement-as-fact that what I and all other women desire and would most like to receive as gifts are pajamas, sexy or otherwise. It’s small when you look at the big picture but it’s still another example of how easily women’s choices are denied.

    About giving stuffed animals as gifts to women, it’s a problem. Over the years, I’ve been given more than a few. (Gawd, I hope that’s not somehow a reflection of me. eek) The toy givers mean well so I don’t want to seem ungrateful (even though I have to feign gratitude at receiving a pink and white striped tiger that plays half a minute of “Wild Thing” through a speaker that must have been made from an old, used and discarded, aluminum pot pie tin at a volume to wake the dead) nor do I want to hurt their feelings. I mean, they did go to the trouble of getting out and driving to a retail outlet to select the pink and white fluffy product from hel, so there was some effort to please put forth. But the oohs and aaahs and thank yous, what the hell am I supposed to do with the damned stuffed toys? Should I display them? Where? For how long? Then am I to store them along with other, much more meaningful and compact keepsakes, such as the funniest greeting cards and photographs? Or is it okay to give them to Goodwill or to the kids I know after an undisclosed appropriate duration of time?

    After years of not knowing what to do with them, I finally decided only weeks ago that a gift received shouldn’t become a burden to keep and I boxed them up to go to charity. However, I ended up giving them to the girls who live downstairs as a way to stop their insanely noisy game of soccer-on-the-stairs without having to ask them to cut it out and therefore risk pissing them or their mother off. Both problems now solved.

    Now, how to politely stop gift-givers from replenishing the stuffed animal supply?

  78. HB

    It’s funny—pajama grams and Vermont teddy bears are both advertised on the radio extensively, and in one ad the Vermont teddy bear peeps say that all women really want these bears, even if you don’t expect them to (and, might I infer, the women don’t consciously know how much they love those bears either? Perhaps it’s programmed in that extra X chromosome and only recognized upon activation). Upon hearing this ad the week before Valentine’s day, I turned to my partner and said, “I don’t want one of those bears. My reaction to one would be exactly what you expect.” It’s not endearing that the bear has a pencil in its hand and maybe some glasses to indicate that it’s so like me. Thanks, baby. It’s so romantic that you can reduce my personality to two accessories on this very special made-up holiday.

    What the eff is a grown, professional woman to do with a Stepford teddy bear or a hat box? I’m neither a child nor an old lady, and my sweaty baseball caps are just fine without a box, thank you.

  79. Shweta

    Office Supplies are pretty boring, but what about organization, productivity, office humor and annoying your coworkers? http://blog.officenmore.com

  80. aiosmith

    It’s funny—pajama grams and Vermont teddy bears are both advertised on the radio extensively, and in one ad the Vermont teddy bear peeps say that all women really want these bears, even if you don’t expect them to (and, might I infer, the women don’t consciously know how much they love those bears either? Perhaps it’s programmed in that extra X chromosome and only recognized upon activation). Upon hearing this ad the week before Valentine’s day, I turned to my partner and said, “I don’t want one of those bears. My reaction to one would be exactly what you expect.” It’s not endearing that the bear has a pencil in its hand and maybe some glasses to indicate that it’s so like me. Thanks, baby. It’s so romantic that you can reduce my personality to two accessories on this very special made-up holiday.

    What the eff is a grown, professional woman to do with a Stepford teddy bear or a hat box? I’m neither a child nor an old lady, and my sweaty baseball caps are just fine without a box, thank you.

  81. AlienNumber

    A Very Humble Request:
    Would it be at all possible to somehow get a 2012 version of this essay?

    <3

  82. Twisty

    No 2012 version needed; nothing about this ghastly fake holiday has changed from 4 years ago, and it probably never will.

  83. Darragh Murphy

    Thanks for commenting on this post though Alien, thereby bringing it up on my browser so I can repost it everywhere I lurk on the internet. Brilliant!

  84. AlienNumber

    (I know. This is a timeless essay, like 1003% of your other essays.)

    Just wanted this up there in the comment queue, so that Everybody Link It On Your Facebook/Twitter/Whatever Tomorrow.

  85. AlienNumber

    Ha. Darragh, exactamente!
    Great success.

  86. susanw

    It is unfortunate that PajamaGram has tainted a great product with sexist sleaze.
    The Hoodie-Footie pajamas are the warmest, most comfortable, and best designed on the market. Too bad that’s not good enough. They probably make a lot more money with the “sexy & flirty PJs”.

  1. My love don’t cost a thing. «

    [...] I’m just going to hand the curious a print-out of Twisty’s most recent post “How cheap is your love?“ [...]

  2. Anti-schmaltz, anti-saccharine Valentine linkfest at Hoyden About Town

    [...] How cheap is your love? [...]

  3. Two different takes on Valentine’s Day | Blog and News Tidbets

    [...] And next from someone who seems a tad more cynical: [...]

  4. Pandagon :: Why I love Valentine’s Day :: February :: 2008

    [...] Which leads me to why I love Valentine’s Day, which is that it’s the blessed end of an onslaught of commercials aimed at parting men from their money with this pitch: “Sure, it’s a little humiliating to have to kiss up to some woman in order to get her to part with the pussy, but if you do it, she’ll give it up and then you win!” Women are expected to giggle indulgently at this terrible insult on our characters because we get baubles out of it. Twisty has emerged from her blogging hiatus to comment on this aspect. [...]

  5. Feminist Law Professors » Blog Archive » Twisty Asks: How Cheap Is Your Love?

    [...] Here. [...]

  6. Feministe » Happy Valentine’s Day!

    [...] I mean, I hate the heteronormativity and the conspicuous consumerism and if anyone ever bought me velour lingerie or a diamond heart necklace I would immediately end the relationship and go home alone. But a [...]

  7. Maedchenmannschaft » Blog Archive » In Bildern: Das denkt die Welt (10)

    [...] So, Valentinstag in dieser Woche hinter uns gebracht, ohne auf den ganzen Schmu reinzufallen. Als bye-bye noch eine hübsche Montage von Twisty: [...]

  8. She’s A Real Heifer : Elaine Vigneault

    [...] got their own ideas about Valentine’s Day, like Twisty’s anti-Valentine and my love rat. But here’s one really wild one via Taste Better:  ”[A] UK dairy farm [...]

  9. Shae’s Place » Blog Archive » My Love Was Never For Sale

    [...] on these pages before, expressed her disdain for Valentine’s Day recently with a post titled How Cheap Is Your Love. She points out the notoriously tacky lingerie, the expectation that men will trade gifts for sex, [...]

  10. run-on sentences » Blog Archive » OM NOM NOM NOM.

    [...] catching up with my neglected OPML file, I see that several of my favorite blogs all made posts about Valentine’s Day, which, even though I do sorta kinda have an ersatz [...]

  11. The Olympic torch – from Hitler to Headingley « Penelope's Weavings and Unpickings

    [...] devoted to something we should be doing all the time, that it is meaningless, too commercialised, misogynistic etc. But it also crops up in relation to Christmas (goods in the shops too early, probably not [...]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>