Sexist stereotyping is not the way to make men feel appreciated.
March 14th, “Steak and Blowjob Day“, is supposedly a response to the agonizing torture that is Valentine’s Day for men. The idea of this is that after the nightmare of February 14th, with its emphasis on romance and affection, there can be a time for men to feel appreciated, via the provision of the two things men enjoy: steak and fellatio.
This concept rests on three premises. 1. Men hate love and romance. 2. Women hate steak and sex. 3. Relationships consist of doing things you hate because you’re obligated to.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I grant none of those premises.
I’ve written before about how pop culture presents us with a fundamentally broken idea of heterosexual relationships: the notion that men and women have so little in common that the only way we can be together is for both parties to engage in agonizingly unpleasant ritualized behaviors designed to please our partners. Women are to feign interest in action movies and sex, men are to feign interest in art and conversation, and this mutual state of lies and misery is True Love.
Yeah, no. Fuck that. Fuck that with a pineapple on the end of a leaf rake.
What in god’s name has to be wrong with someone that they think The Blowjob of Grim Societal Obligation is going to be more fun than a blowjob given because the blower wants to give one? How bad does your control group have to be that you think that’s a good idea? Is this meant to be the equivalent of the box of Valentine’s chocolates delivered with a depressed mutter of “Here, I guess this counts, right?” Do we want an equivalent to that?
On what planet do women hate steak? Okay, vegetarian women, fair enough, but the same goes for vegetarian men. Those aside, steak is freakin’ delicious and it does not require a penis to think so. For that matter, given that women actually need more iron than men do, how did we start stereotyping red meat as a guy thing?
Most of all, what is with this notion that men hate romance? When exactly did we decide that’s the case? I mean, you can’t find any support for it historically. I don’t think Shakespeare wrote all those sonnets with a gun to his head. Achilles didn’t love Patroclus because he felt socially compelled to. Tristan didn’t write all those letters to Isolde out of guilty obligation. Every gorgeous, heartbreaking line of dialogue in, say, Casablanca or Magnificent Obsession? Written by dudes.
Now, I won’t deny that men could often stand to feel more appreciated. I’m against the idea that love and affection is something men must demonstrate to women via gifts and compliments, but no reciprocal obligation exists. I think both parties in a relationship, hetero or otherwise, should express their love as much as their partner needs to hear, in whatever terms they need to hear it. I’m thrilled when I get a surprise gift from a lover, all the more so when it’s something really thoughtful that shows she was thinking about me. I just don’t think that the sum total of male emotional need is filled by a steak and a blowjob, and it actively depresses me to realize that not only does someone think that, but they think it’s such an obvious point that everyone else can just take it for granted.
If you love a man and you want to make him feel appreciated and cared about today, you should do that. No doubt there is something he wants or cares about or enjoys, something only someone who loves him would know about or understand. Caring is always more romantic than a bad cliché that never made sense in the first place.